Dr. Benjamin Walker was born in 1920. His life work was teaching, which he did for 47 years. A two-year graduate from Indiana State Teachers College, he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Bulter University and an Ed.D. from Indiana University. For 29 years, he worked in Bartholomew County, Indiana as a teacher and principal. For 19 years, he served as a professor at Indiana State University. He was particularly interested in old school books and began donating his collection to the Special Collections Department in 1970.
In addition to teaching, Walker served during World War II as an aerial navigator in the Jungle Skippers of the Army Air Corps in the Southwest Pacific Theater, receiving five battle stars, and serving from 1943 to 1946. He was a special crew member selected to go into Japan on August 28, 1945 to make arrangments for Gen. Douglas McArthur to accept the Japan's official surrender on September 2. After serving a total of 21 years both on active and reserve duty, Dr. Walker retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.
Benjamin Walker donated several gifts of books to the collection over the years and maintained an active interest in the holdings. He was particularly proud of the New England primers and other early books he had acquired. He passed away on April 21, 2009.