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Special Collections 

Signed to Kill a MockingbirdThe United Library has  several collections of antique and rare items.  In addition to the institutional archives of Garrett-Evangelical, there are rare books, a few museum pieces, and even a Geneva Bible.  Viewing items from the special collections is by appointment only and is scheduled on weekdays between 8:30 and 4:30 when staff are on duty.  Please e-mail the Library Director with your request.

Hibbard Rare Book Collection 

Photo of pottery in collectionBetween 1907 and 1920, Lydia Beckman Hibbard (1834-1920), who was a faithful Episcopalian in Chicago, gave about $23,000 to the Hibbard Egyptian Library at Western Theological Seminary.  Two professors of the school, Olaf Toffteen (Professor of Semitic Languages and Literature 1907-1910) and Samuel A. B Mercer (Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Literature 1910-1922) were responsible for the initial development of this library whose rich holdings encompassed the fields of Egyptology, Semitic Languages, and Near Eastern archaeology.   Holdings include Description de l'Egypte (Paris 1809-28) Rosellini's I monumenti dell'egitto e della Nubia (Pisa 1832-44), Lepsius's Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien (Berlin, 1849-54) and Botta's Monument de Ninive (Paris, 1849-50).  The Hibbard Rare Book Collection (and the Mummy) are now housed at Garrett-Evangelical. 

Keen Bible Collection 

Photo of Keene Bible CollectionThis collection, initiated by Paul Edwin Keen, Professor of New Testament and Exegesis at the Evangelical Theological Seminary from 1927-1957, includes over 700 English Versions and Revisions of individual testaments or the entire Bible.  Of 275 extant Bible Translations, 225 are available in the Keen collection.  Among the outstanding First Editions are Matthews Bible  (1537), The Taverner Bible (1539), The Geneva Bible (1560), the Bishops Bible (1568), the Rheims New Testament (1582), the King James Version (1611), and the Douai Old Testament (1610).  Holdings also include Short Bibles, Translations of the Apocrypha, Vulgate Texts, and several Resultant Greek Texts of the New Testament.  Also present in the Yi Bible Room is the personal library of Bishop John Seybert, an Evangelical Association bishop of the mid-nineteen century.

Methodist Special Collection

The manuscripts in this archive fall into three groups.  The first consists of the papers of former Garrett-Evangelical Presidents and faculty members including Milton Terry, Charles Stuart, and Georgia Harkness.  The second portion of the collection contains a varied set of materials embracing Methodism from its inception in the 18th century to the present day. Of note are the journals, letters and papers of Ezekiel Cooper and William Colbert.  Of particular interest are several letters written by John Wesley.  The final portion of the collection includes a large number of books, pamphlets, and periodicals including approximately 500 titles of 18th Century imprints by John and Charles Wesley.  Other authors and subjects in the collection include John Fletcher, George Whitfield, and polemical pamphlets originating from early controversies in the American church and from Wesley's reaction to the American Revolution.  

Garrett-Evangelical Institutional Archives

The insitutional archives focus on the history and faculty of Garrett-Evangelical and its predecessor institutions (The Chicago Training School, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Garrett Biblical Institute).   There are, however, other collections of materials in the archives including papers from bishops, sermon collections from notable preachers, and other materials.

Northern Illinois Conference Archives

The Commission on Archives and History of the Northern Illinois Conference (United Methodist Church) houses its collection of records and manuscripts at Garrett-Evangelical.  Currently there is no archivist for this collection.  The volunteers who make up the NIC commission on archives and history are listed on the NIC website.

The archives are largely comprised of the records of closed local churches from the geographical region approximating the northern third of Illinois.  Some out of state collections are found within the archives; these relate to churches or organizations associated with the former Swedish and Norwegian-Danish conferences of the Methodist Episcopal (later Methodist) Church.  Beyond the records of local churches there are administrative records from conference organizations.  Few items in the archives relate directly to the laity although many had or may have had involvement from lay people.  The archives also contain conference journals and other publications although these serials exist in much greater number and in better, more complete runs in the collections of  the United Library.

There are a few manuscript collections, largely sermons of former ministers from the area and some of the marriage, death and baptism records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.