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Event Features Priceless Books and Author of Acclaimed Memoir

New Date Set for UMass Lowell Prof. to Speak on Discovery of Rare Texts

Profs. John Kaag and Carol Hay
UMass Lowell Philosophy Prof. John Kaag, shown with his wife Assoc. Prof. Carol Hay, will share how his discovery of a rare book collection transformed his life at a March 9 event for the campus and community.


Media contacts:  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or      

* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

Thursday, March 9

4 to 6 p.m.

WHAT:  A cache of priceless books, the memoir they inspired and how they transformed UMass Lowell Philosophy Prof. John Kaag’s life will be the centerpiece of a free event for the public and university community.

Kaag’s acclaimed new book “American Philosophy: A Love Story” recounts his discovery of the Hocking Collection – rare editions of works penned by history’s greatest thinkers, including philosophers Rene Descartes, John Locke and Immanuel Kant – that had been hidden away on a private estate in New Hampshire.

The find was like a balm to Kaag. In the throes of dealing with the death of his father and a crumbling marriage, Kaag asked the age-old question: Is life worth living? Inspired by the extraordinary books and the wisdom they contained, he found his answer and discovered love with fellow UMass Lowell Philosophy Prof. Carol Hay, who worked alongside him to catalog and preserve the books.

“American Philosophy” chronicles Kaag’s experiences and successful quest to bring more than 100 of the Hocking Collection’s volumes to UMass Lowell, where they are now permanently housed. “American Philosophy” has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, National Public Radio and others.

During the event, Kaag will talk about what it was like to find the Hocking Collection and read from his book. The program will also feature a question-and-answer session, book-signing, reception with the author and an exhibit of some of the collection’s texts donated to UMass Lowell by the Hocking family.

This event was originally scheduled for Feb. 9 but was rescheduled because of weather conditions. The program is free and open to the public and no tickets are required.

WHERE:  Allen House, South Campus, 2 Solomont Way, Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.