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Bridwell Library Named Collections: Overview

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THE WILLIAM PERRY BENTLEY COLLECTION ON PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, PARAPSYCHOLOGY, AND COGNATE SUBJECTS 

was first established by agreement with William Perry Bentley in 1965. In the early 1970s Mr. Bentley provided complete, bound files of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research and other related serials and donated his scholarly books on parapsychology to Bridwell Library. The collection’s purpose is to support scholarly and scientific research in the study of psychic phenomena.

THE BODONI COLLECTION 

includes 419 works printed by Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813), a court printer and type designer regarded as one of the finest practitioners of Italian typography. The collection was purchased with Bridwell Foundation funds in 1974.

THE BRANNIN COLLECTION OF RELIGION IN SOCIAL ACTION 

was established by Carl and Laura Brannin shortly before the death of Mrs. Brannin in 1965. The collection specifically covers contemporary social movements, with an emphasis on the biographies of participants. The collection now includes more than one thousand volumes focusing on social movements of the past four decades.

THE BRIDWELL-DeBELLIS COLLECTION OF FIFTEENTH-CENTURY PRINTING 

was acquired for the library by Joseph S. Bridwell from Frank V. DeBellis in 1962. This collection of 206 fifteenth-century Italian imprints remains the foundation of the Library’s collection of incunabula. Highlights include several editions printed by the first printers in Italy, Sweynheym and Pannartz, including the first edition of St. Augustine's De Civitate Dei (Subiaco, 1467), and outstanding examples of early Venetian printing by Nicholas Jenson.

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THE COREY COLLECTION 

was donated to Bridwell Library in 1961 by Dr. Arthur Corey, long-time practitioner in the Christian Science Church. Comprising 1,700 volumes on the history and development of Christian Science, the collection also includes unpublished transcriptions of Class Instruction given by Edward Kimball, Edna Kimball Wait, and Bicknell Young as well as the correspondence of distinguished Christian Scientists.

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THE DANCE OF DEATH COLLECTION 

comprises 200 works from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries illustrating the literature and art of the macabre: a series of allegorical images and texts with the figure of Death personified taking from life characters representing various social classes and stages of life.

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THE EDICIONES DOS AMIGOS COLLECTION 

includes numerous publications by this outstanding private press based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Highlights include the sumptuously designed masterpiece of the press, Jorge Luis Borges's El Aleph (1998).

THE MR. AND MRS. JOSEPH WALKER ELSTON, III, COLLECTION 

was developed by Mr. and Mrs. Elston to replicate the personal library of David Hume (1711-1776). The collection also includes a comprehensive set of publications by Dr. Joseph Priestley (1773-1804).

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THE FERGUSON COLLECTION 

of United States Presidential autographs, donated in 1956 by Mr. and Mrs. Dan Ferguson of Dallas, comprises signed letters and documents from twenty-seven Presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

THE MARIO FERRARA LIBRARY 

of works by and about Girolamo Savonarola, purchased in 1980 with Bridwell Foundation funds, greatly expanded upon the Selecman Savonarola holdings, making Bridwell one of the largest repositories of works by and about this reformer who was put to death by the Church prior to the Reformation. The Mario Ferrara Library comprises 1,205 titles including thirteen incunables.

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THE THOMAS J. HARRISON BIBLE COLLECTION 

focuses on the origins of the English Bible. The strength of the collection’s 312 volumes is a combination of first editions and later printings documenting the sequence of texts culminating in the 1611 King James Version and the English-language biblical tradition which followed.  Through an arrangement with the Harrison Trust, Bridwell Library became the depository for the collection in 1964. The Harrison Trust generously continued to support the collection by funding the acquisition of rare Bibles through 1995, when the trust was dissolved. 

THE VIOLET HAYDEN/JOYCE COLLECTION 

was donated to Bridwell Library by Mrs. Violet Hayden Dowell on Bloomsday, June 16, 1971. The one hundred volumes include several significant highlights of the James Joyce corpus, particularly works printed in highly limited editions. Noteworthy items include Joyce’s first published pamphlet, The Day of Rabblement (1901); the first printing of Ulysses (1922), number 40 of the first 100 copies, signed by Joyce; and a signed limited edition of his last work, Finnegan's Wake (1939).

THE HORNBY ASHENDENE COLLECTION 

was purchased in 1976 with Bridwell Foundation funds from Michael Hornby, the son of Charles St. John Hornby, founder of the renown Ashendene Press.  Covering the years 1895-1935, the collection comprises the archives of the Press (consisting of correspondence, business records, photographs, proofs, and drawings), the hand-press on which many Ashendene titles were printed, and examples of all 130 editions published by the Press. Included are titles printed both on paper and vellum. For example, the Library holds one of seven known copies of the Ashendene Dante printed on vellum. Combined with the Kelmscott Chaucer and the Doves Press Bible, also represented in the holdings on vellum and paper, these three works are known as the “Triple Crown” of modern fine press books.

THE VALERIE R. HOTCHKISS REFORMATION COLLECTION 

was founded in August 2005 in honor of the former J. S. Bridwell Endowed Librarian and Professor of Medieval Studies who served as Director of Bridwell Library from 1993 to 2005. The collection includes early Protestant pamphlets, sermons, catechisms, biblical commentaries, and other significant works by Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Ulrich Zwingli, and Martin Bucer as well as important works by anti-Protestant authors.

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THE KELMSCOTT PRESS COLLECTION 

is highlighted by a rare vellum copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer that William Morris inscribed to the illustrator Edward Burne-Jones in 1896, and a paper copy that Jones presented to his daughter. These treasures, along with the Ashendene Dante and Doves Press Bible, each also represented on vellum and paper at Bridwell Library, comprise the “Triple Crown” of modern fine typography.

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THE A.V. LANE MUSEUM COLLECTION 

is named in honor of Dallas collector Dr. Alvin Valentine Lane (1860 - 1938). In 1917 he began donating his collection to Southern Methodist University, and in 1926 the University opened the museum to later be named in his honor. The former Kirby Hall (now Florence Hall) housed the museum from 1926 until 1946. After Dr. Lane's death in 1938, SMU theology professor J. H. Hicks was named director of the museum. Assisted by longtime SMU librarian Kate Warnick, Dr. Hicks oversaw additions to the collections, including the 1941 purchase of four Egyptian canopic jars. The last significant addition to the Lane Museum was the Georg Steindorff archive of Egyptian archaeology, purchased in 1952.  The collection is now housed in Bridwell Library's Special Collections.

THE GEORGE LEINWALL JAMES JOYCE COLLECTION 

comprising more than 1,200 separate Joyce items, was purchased with Bridwell Foundation funds in 1977 from Mr. George Leinwall. The collection complements the Violet Hayden Joyce Collection; together the two collections include practically every major Joyce publication and piece of Joyce criticism.

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THE STANLEY MARCUS / BRUCE ROGERS COLLECTION 

was donated by prominent merchant, author, and book collector Stanley Marcus in 1976 on the occasion of the visit of the Grolier Club to Dallas. More than eighty-five books designed by Bruce Rogers (1870-1957), one of the most distinguished American book designers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, are included.

THE STANLEY MARCUS MINIATURE BOOK COLLECTION 

was donated by the prominent merchant, author, and book collector Stanley Marcus in 1986. It comprises 1,100 miniature volumes, including Bibles, bilingual dictionaries, almanacs, children’s books, and works by famous authors. More than ten languages are represented.

THE METHODIST HISTORICAL LIBRARY

formed by the late Bishop Frederick D. Leete, came to Bridwell Library in 1956. Including more than three thousand volumes, the collection is rich in the first editions of John and Charles Wesley. More than 130 manuscript letters by John Wesley form the chief jewel of the files of correspondence which Bishop Leete collected.

THE MINGA COLLECTION 

focuses on the classical concept of poetry as the music of the soul. The collection of approximately 350 books includes Mrs. Ann Barcus Minga's own published verse and is supplemented by two linear feet of archival materials.

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THE NEW THOUGHT ARCHIVE

was established in 1960 in connection with the research of the late Dr. Charles S. Braden, author of the 1963 critical history Spirits in Rebellion: the Rise and Development of New Thought. The collection includes approximately eight hundred volumes in addition to several folders of clippings, photographs, and correspondence by the leaders of New Thought.

THE NEW WORLD TO NEW THOUGHT: THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA

a collection developed in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Donald Curtis, was established by the Leland Fikes Foundation in 1972. Its purpose is to chart the bibliographical steps to religious freedom in America, starting with the early colonies and culminating in the New Thought movement.

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THE LEVI A. OLAN COLLECTION

established in 1963 by gifts from friends, family, and colleagues of Rabbi Olan, includes works from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on the later period. Highlights include the first edition of Diderot's Encyclopédie, the Chagall Bible, and books from the Book Club of California, Gehenna Press, Limited Editions Club, Merrymount Press, and works illustrated by Ben Shahn.  The collection also holds all early winners of the National Book Award for Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for biography.

THE EVELYN OPPENHEIMER COLLECTION 

was donated by Evelyn Oppenheimer, a noted Dallas book reviewer. The collection includes several hundred modern first editions and five linear feet of archival material.

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THE ELIZABETH PERKINS PROTHRO BIBLE COLLECTION 

began with six rare Bibles acquired in late 1962 by Charles Prothro of Wichita Falls, Texas as an anniversary gift for his wife, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, daughter of Joe and Lois Perkins. Elizabeth Perkins Prothro began systematically adding to the collection the following year. By 1990, the collection included 485 volumes, almost all of which are Bibles and related religious works.

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THE SELECMAN SAVONAROLA COLLECTION 

was established by a legacy from the estate of Mrs. Charles C. Selecman, who died in 1968. Mrs. Selecman wished that an appropriate collection of books be established and maintained in joint memory of her late husband, SMU President Charles C. Selecman, and herself. The collection consists of nineteen incunable editions of tracts by Savonarola, the Italian monk whose sermons engulfed the city of Florence in a wave of piety in the late fifteenth century. Complementing these early imprints are thirty-three sixteenth-century tracts and a dozen later works.

THE RUTH AND DR. LYLE M. SELLERS COLLECTION

assembled by leading Dallas physician Lyle Sellers (1894-1964), was transferred from the Baylor Health Sciences Library in Dallas to Bridwell Library in March 2015. The collection includes an outstanding selection of illuminated medieval manuscripts, incunabula, early scientific works including illustrated medical works, and first editions of English and American literature.

THE SHETTLES COLLECTION 

was acquired by a combination of gift and purchase in 1922 from Methodist minister E. L. Shettles. The books and pamphlets focus on the history of the Methodist Church and include numerous early imprints.

THE STEINDORFF COLLECTION 

was purchased in 1952 from the widow of the eminent German Egyptologist, Dr. Georg Steindorff (1861-1951). The collection consists of 1,700 books, more than two thousand reprints and pamphlets, several hundred photographs, and a collection of clippings and private correspondence.  Mrs. Fred B. Ingram and Mrs. W. J. Morris, daughters of the late Dr. A. V. Lane, contributed funds for the acquisition of the collection in memory of their father.

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THE TE DEUM COLLECTION 

was established in 1975 by Rev. Carl and Julia Delle Keightley. The endowment for this collection provides funds for the acquisition of books on religious art and architecture as well as the book arts.

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THE VICTORIAN AND EARLY DECORATIVE BINDINGS COLLECTION 

was donated in 1976 and 1978 by distinguished Texas printers William F. and Barbara L. Holman. The nearly four hundred volumes in the collection include unique examples of decorative bindings from the Victorian period.

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THE MILAM WADE COLLECTION 

and the accompanying endowed book fund were donated by Dallas attorney Milam Wade in 1981. The collection of 1,300 books focusing on English literature and history includes rare editions of the Bible, Shakespeare, and John Bunyan.

THE LANCE WEBB LIBRARY OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION 

was presented to Bridwell Library by Bishop Lance Webb in 1983. The collection includes several hundred works concerned with Christian spirituality.

THE JEAN WHITE/HERTZOG COLLECTION 

was donated by Mrs. Carl Hertzog and Mr. and Mrs. W. D. White in 1978. The 329 items in the collection represent books designed and printed by Carl Hertzog of El Paso, perhaps Texas's most distinguished printer, as well as ephemeral items with manuscript notations by Mr. Hertzog.

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Special Collections