Have you ever collected anything? Have you ever collected over 5,000 of anything? Donna Ford Attallah, Chapman class of 1961, Trustee, and university donor, boasts just over five thousand angels in her collection. Donna has been collecting her angels for over forty years, and her collection includes a wide variety of sizes, materials, and features. From large bronze sculptures, to whimsical papier-mâché dolls, to tiny crystal figurines, Donna’s angels provide protection, guidance, and comfort for her and others.

A variety of angel figurines lining the top of a cabinet.

Just a small sampling of Donna Ford Attallah’s angels in her home in Long Beach, California

From August to December of 2015, the Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room hosted an “Angels” exhibit, which showcased a selection of angels from Donna’s collection, as well as the “Angels” series of paintings by artist Isa D’Arleans. An opening reception was held for the event in late September 2015, and members of the Chapman community, from faculty members to Town & Gown members, came to see the visiting collection. Donna’s angels were such a welcome presence in the library that we eagerly awaited having them with us again.

A woman kneels facing away from the camera, looking at a display case full of angel figurines

Artist Isa D’Arleans takes in the wide variety of Donna’s angel collection at the exhibit in 2015

An older woman and an older man (the artist) stand next to a large bronze statue of an angel.

Donna Ford Attallah and artist Ken Knight stand next to one of his pieces in Donna’s collection, a bronze statue, at the exhibit reception in 2015

The Leatherby Libraries are honored to announce that, in February 2019, Group Study Room #215 will be dedicated as the Donna Ford Attallah ’61 Angels Room. The room will include a permanent installation of a wide sampling of Donna’s angels. The room will be unveiled in a private event in February, after which it will be available to the students, faculty and researchers via our booking platform as well as private tours that can be coordinated directly with Development Librarian, Essraa Nawar at nawar@chapman.edu.

In preparation for the installation and the dedication of the new study room, several members of the Leatherby Libraries team visited Donna’s home last week, where we had the pleasure of touring Donna’s angel collection, in the presence of one of the artists, Debbee Thibault. It was a delight for us all to talk with Donna and see the angels in their displays, and we can’t wait to have our angels here with us. The room will house an exquisite display cabinet with a sampling of angels from the private collection of Donna Ford Attallah ’61.

Six women and two men, Library staff and artist, stand around the seated Donna Ford Attallah.

From l to r: Lauren Dubell, Coordinator of Brandman University Library Services; Rachel Levinson-Emley, Library Events and External Relations Assistant; Essraa Nawar, Development Librarian; Donna Ford Attallah ’61; Brett Fisher, Chair of the Library Systems & Technology Division; Laurie Cussalli, Administrative Coordinator; Annie Tang, Coordinator of Special Collections and Archives; Debbee Thibault, artist; Dr. Kevin Ross, Associate Dean of Leatherby Libraries