Widening the Circle

Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo and Academic Dean Therese DeLisio view an Irish translation of the Bible (1681).

A few weeks ago Dean Terry DeLisio and I had the privilege of visiting the Newberry Library in Chicago to view the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection, which had just arrived from Columbus. Although I knew what the inventory looked like on paper, it was a moving experience to examine some of these extraordinary holdings in person: an edition of a work by Erasmus published in his lifetime, with a woodcut by Hans Holbein’s father gracing its opening page; a brilliantly hand-illuminated Muslim prayer book; hundreds and hundreds of mid-nineteenth-century American pamphlets and sermons published by small town presses throughout the Midwest; presentation copies of nineteenth-century tracts signed by Hannah More, the distinguished evangelical English poet and pamphleteer; a multi-volume travel diary in an exquisite hand, written by an early twentieth-century Bexley alumnus.

All these precious volumes had been in storage and inaccessible in Columbus for almost 20 years. They have now become part of one of the finest independent research institutions in the United States, to be permanently catalogued as “the Bexley Hall Collection—a gift of Bexley Seabury Seminary” as funds become available, and featured in an important exhibition on Religious Change that will open at the Newberry in the fall. (Bexley and Seabury alums know a lot about religious change!)

As our Board of Directors well understood in arranging this gift, making such resources as the Bexley Hall Collection available on a global scale is deeply appropriate for a unique institution like ours—a seminary “beyond walls” dedicated to widening the circle of theological scholarship and inter-religious understanding.

We are in good company. Since its founding in the late nineteenth century as an independent research library, the Newberry has had a policy of open public access—where the public high school junior writing a term paper on Native American history is as welcome as a seasoned university scholar researching her next ground-breaking monograph. Our own Bexley Seabury Board member, Canon Diane Porter, who grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park, remembers with fondness a formative trip to the Newberry as a young girl, the reward for her first-prize participation in a summer reading club. I would like to think that Philander Chase, our irascible founding bishop and the initial collector of these volumes, would have been one of the first readers to show up at the Newberry, no doubt loudly taking credit for his foresight in creating this world-class collection.

Next time you are in Chicago, make a visit to the Newberry, and ask them to show you that Erasmus volume. Our friends there will be happy to welcome you to this new way-station of our seminary beyond walls.

Seminary Donates Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection to the Newberry Library

Seminary Donates Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection to the Newberry Library

Bexley Seabury’s July 2016 consolidation from two campuses to one, in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park/Woodlawn district, presented an opportunity to steward the seminary’s historic collection of early Bibles, Books of Common Prayer and other volumes. What better home for precious works on religion and culture that constitute the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection than Chicago’s Newberry Library?

Among the rare finds in the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection is this book of oral history in Arabic, with interlinear explanations in Persian (ca. 1680).
Among the rare finds in the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection is this book of oral history in Arabic, with interlinear explanations in Persian (ca. 1680).

“As one of Chicago’s richest centers for scholarship and culture, the Newberry is the ideal home for the Bexley Hall collection,” said Bexley Seabury President Roger A. Ferlo. “We are delighted to enhance the already impressive archive on the history of religions at the Newberry Library, and share our resources with the community.”

Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo and Academic Dean Therese DeLisio view an Irish translation of the Bible (1681).
Newberry President and Roger Ferlo
Newberry President David Spadafora and President Roger Ferlo view a volume by Erasmus, Apologia ad Jacobum Fabrum Stapulensen (1518).

Early Bibles and works by Erasmus, and other rarities

The Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection consists of over 325 titles and over 120 bound volumes containing approximately 1,200 nineteenth-century pamphlets. Among the books in the collection are early Bibles and Books of Common Prayer, early printings of works by Erasmus, and works of theology, philosophy, and travel.
“Bexley Seabury has stewarded this remarkable rare-book collection with great care and expertise,” said Newberry President David Spadafora. “We look forward to building on their excellent work and welcoming the collection’s current users into our community of learning and scholarship.”

Some volumes solicited by Bishops Chase and McIlvaine

For years after Bexley Hall Seminary was founded in 1824 by Philander Chase, first Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, many books came from England. Bexley Hall acquired these books in response to requests by Chase and Charles Pettit McIlvaine, who succeeded Chase as second Bishop of Ohio and president of Kenyon College. Bishop McIlvaine was instrumental in assembling the extraordinary collection of nineteenth-century pamphlets that form the core of the Bexley Seabury gift to the Newberry.

Other religious works at the Newberry

The Newberry has long been a pre-eminent repository for works on the history of religions. Rare early Bibles and illuminated Books of Hours were among the works that the Newberry acquired with the Henry Probasco Collection in 1889; the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing includes many theological titles. In the last decades, a number of seminaries have transferred their libraries to the Newberry, among them Mundelein College, Catholic Theological Union, Concordia University, Dominican Friars of the Province of Saint Albert the Great, and McCormick Theological Seminary.
Titles in the Bexley Hall Collection will be available at the Newberry as they are catalogued by staff.
Fall 2017 exhibit will showcase some titles

The gift of the Bexley Hall Collection coincides with a major Newberry project titled “Religious Change, 1450-1700.” With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Newberry is modeling an institutionally integrative approach to produce an exhibition and accompanying digital resources and programming for the fall of 2017.

Staff from across the institution, and external scholar-advisors, have drawn on materials from all parts of the Newberry collection to tell the story of how new religious ideas, disseminated through print, challenged traditional authorities and thrust the medieval world into the modern age.

The Bexley Hall Collection will contribute important works to the study of this topic as well as deepen the Newberry collection of early nineteenth-century American imprints from small towns where presses were often set up to print sermons and religious tracts.

March 2017 ALUMNI CYCLE OF PRAYER

March 3 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1995 & 1996

Marjorie F. Mair-Hansen, Richard Molison, T. Abigail Murphy, Laura Noble, Susan S. Payne, Richard A. Ressler, Michelle K. J. Roos, Carmen R. Seufert, Debra L. Trakel, Stephen T. Wilson, Karla M. Woggon, Paul D. Allick, Melanie R. Barbarito, Linda M. Bartholomew, Pamela Breakey, Terry W. Bull, Anthony F. Buquor, Daphne C. Cody, Maribeth Conroy, Ralph B. Laycock

March 4 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1996 & 1997

William V. Martin, Robert M. Mayor, Todd A. McGregor, Bradley O. McIntyre, William R. Nesbit, Steven M. Roberts, Elizabeth J. Sausele, Kathryn M. Schillreff, Mary Jo Schuetz, Angela F. Shepherd, Allen Shin, Paul E. Shoop, Thomas P. Smith, Penny L. Watson, Judith H. Whelchel, Susan S. York, Julia S. Ashby, Mark Bourlakas, Tracey F. Carroll, Michael D. Colvard

March 9 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1997& 1998

Janice E. Gordon-Barnes, David T. Gortner, Martin Greenland, Charles L. Holt, Nancy Hotra, Michael C. Hunn, Elizabeth B. Jameson, Lois B. Keen, Pamela J. Keyes, Mark A. Lattime, Kathryn C. Mathewson, Clifford A. Moore, Patrick Ormos, Barbara J. Price, Charlotte C. Reed, Mary K. Rejouis, Charles T. Stanford, Cynthia Stone, Margaret W. Thomas, Richard Towers, Kathryn L. White, Lorna H. Williams, Vicki D. Zust, Harry Burnett, Harrison Burrows, Christopher C. Calderhead, Belinda Chandler, Domenic K. Ciannella, Christopher O. Cole, Brian R. Coleman, Sylvia R. Czarnetzky, Gordon J. De La Vars, Markus Duenzkofer, William Jay Fasel, Katharin K. Foster, C. Eric Funston, F. Elizabeth Garrett, Carolyn Gill, Larry W. Handwerk, James W. Harris

March 17 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1998

Andrea R. Hayden, Douglas P. Johnson, Craig M. Kallio, Donald R. Kenyon, Leo R. Landhuis, Joseph W. Lund, Linda M. Malia, Amy E. McCreath, Peter Michaelson, E. Gale Morris, Dorian L. Mulvey, Darlene Muschett, Sandra Pacyga, Jason L. Parkin, Bonnie A. Perry, Terri C. Pilarski, Anne L. Reed, Susan H. Russell, Joyce E. Sirianni, Joanne L. Skidmore, Heather VanDeventer, T. Cherian Varughis

March 18 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1999

Brian N. Baker, Douglas S. Brown, Kathleen K. Brusco, Melissa L. Burmeister, Meigan N. Cameron, Anthea Cannell, Julia A. Cicora, Carol H. Cowan, Mildred L. Cox, Freda Dohoney, Dean A. Einerson, Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Yolanda N. Gambino, Peter R. Gustin, Robert R. Hansel, J. Derek Harbin, William E. Hardwick, Suzann V. Holding, Paul M. Kirby, Sherod E. Mallow

March 23 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1999 & 2000

Diane M. Markevitch, Bryce McProud, Dale L. McQueen, Susan K. Nightingale, Walter E. Pond, David L. Price, Pamela Redding, Richard E. Sanders, Emily J. Schnabl, Dabney Smith, Patricia W. Snickenberger, Nancy Svalberg, Martha E. Wallace, Paul D. White, Hickman Alexandre, David B. Bailey, Spencer D. Carr, Barbara T. Cheney, Patricia A. Conley, Sharon K. Gracen

March 24 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 2000

Cynthia J. Hallas, Theodore W. Johnson, Judith C. Kalom, Wendy D. Lane, Sarah V. Lewis, Alice Marcrum, Jean McCarthy, Todd S. McDowell, John E. Midwood, Dawn-Victoria Mitchell, W. Taylor Moore, KyungJa Oh, Roberto D. Pamatmat, Cheryl Parris, Mary E. Perrin, Sylvia B. Robbins-Penniman, Rober Sainsbury, Timothy E. Schenck, Cynthia Sever, Jerry Shigaki

March 25 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 2000 & 2001

Patricia B. Size, Richard R. Swanson, William J. Van Oss, Mary B. Vidmar, Florence R. Winkelman, Brian Beno, J. Brad Benson, Melinda D. Bobo, Kathryn P. Clausen, Edward W. Curtis, Margaret D’Anieri, Joan P. Delamater, William F. Dopp, Jeffrey A. Douglas, Douglas R. Dunn, Cynthia A. Espeseth, Jason A. Fout, William P. Gahan, John K. Graham, Clifton Healy, Lane G. Hensley, Richard M. Jones

March 2017 ALUMNI CYCLE OF PRAYER

March 3 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1995 & 1996

Majorie F. Mair-Hansen, Richard Molison, T. Abigail Murphy, Laura Noble, Susan S Payne, Richard A. Ressler, Michelle K. J. Roos, Carmen R. Seufert, Debra L. Trakel, Stephen T. Wilson, Karla M. Woggon, Paul D. Allick, Melanie R. Barbarito, Linda M. Bartholomew, Pamela Breakey, Terry W. Bull, Anthony F. Buquor, Daphne C. Cody, Maribeth Conroy, Ralph B. Laycock

March 4 – Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Class of 1996 & 1997

William V. Martin, Robert M. Mayor, Todd A. McGregor, Bradley O. McIntyre, William R. Nesbit, Steven M. Roberts, Elizabeth J. Sausele, Kathryn M. Schillreff, Mary Jo Schuetz, Angela F. Shepherd, Allen Shin, Paul E. Shoop, Thomas P. Smith, Penny L. Watson, Judith H. Whelchel, Susan S. York, Julia S. Ashby, Mark Bourlakas, Tracey F. Carroll, Michael D. Colvard