Frank W. Tober was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1919. As a youth, he was an avid reader who enjoyed history and literature, but he was particularly interested in the sciences. Following his graduation from high school in 1937, he enrolled at Michigan Technological University where he earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1941. He subsequently received a master's degree in chemical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1941 and a doctorate in physical chemistry from Yale University in 1948. Tober went on to have a long, successful career with the Du Pont Company.
Dr. Tober maintained a wide range of book collecting interests, including the history of printing and publishing, the history of papermaking and the manufacture of paper, the era of Napoleon and the French Revolution, and contemporary fine printing and book arts. However, the cornerstone of Dr. Tober's personal library was his collection on literary forgery, which includes examples of forgeries from all periods.
Dr. Tober bequeathed his collection to the University of Delaware Library following his death on June 24, 1995. The Frank W. Tober collection comprises nearly four thousand books and periodicals, hundreds of manuscripts and papers, and a variety of other materials, including artwork and ephemera.
Frank W. Tober collected this wide variety of paper specimens and samples from around the world, including manufacturer's paper sample books, catalogs, individual paper specimens, and a portion of St. Louis collector and bookbinder Francis T. Guelker's collection on the history and craft of bookbinding and papermaking. It also includes a variety of books, articles, pamphlets, brochures, and other printed ephemera relating to all aspects of papermaking and the book arts.