Archives & Special Collections

The Styberg Library’s Archives include the Garrett Institutional Archives (including the archives of its predecessor institutions) and the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) Archives.


The Library’s Special Collections include a collection of rare Bibles and the Methodist Collection. Here you will find rare Bibles (including first editions), books printed prior to 1800, works of historical significance, materials about John and Charles Wesley and the early history of Methodism, and various archaeological items.


To view digital images and exhibits created from these collections, please visit our Digital Collections page.


The Archives & Special Collections are accessible by appointment weekdays 8:30 am-4:30 pm.


Contact the library staff to schedule an appointment.

Our Collections

The institutional 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 of past presidents, former faculty members (such as Milton Terry, Charles Stuart, and Georgia Harkness), and notable Methodist leaders.


Collections List


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.


These 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 found within the archives 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 also administrative records from conference organizations.


Few items in the NIC Archives relate directly to the laity, although many had or may have had involvement from lay people. These archives also contain conference journals and other publications, although these serials exist in greater number and in more complete runs in The Styberg Library’s main collections. There are a few manuscripts, largely sermons of former ministers from the area, and some of the marriage, death, and baptism records microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.


Collection Lists


The Bible Collection constitutes one of the primary special collections at The Styberg Library. This collection was initially collected by Dr. Paul Edwin Keen, Professor of New Testament and Exegesis at the Evangelical Theological Seminary (1927-1957). Since Garrett Theological Seminary and Evangelical Theological Seminary merged in 1974 to form Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, the Keen Bible Collection has been part of The Styberg Library collections. Along with the personal library of John Seybert, an Evangelical Association bishop of the mid-19th century, rare Bibles are housed in the Yi Family Bible Room, a gift from the Yi Family in 2011.


The Bible Collection contains over 700 English versions and revisions of the New Testament, Old Testament, or complete Bible. Out of 275 possible Bible translations, it holds 225. Among the outstanding first editions are the Matthews Bible (1537), Taverner Bible (1539), Geneva Bible (1560), Bishops Bible (1568), Rheims New Testament (1582), King James Version (1611), and Douai Old Testament (1609-10). The earliest print in the collection is a Latin New Testament included in a Latin Commentary of the New Testament which was printed in 1481.


The manuscripts in this collection include journals and letters of noted Methodists (including John and Charles Wesley) as well as early books, pamphlets, and periodicals. The manuscripts in the collection fall into two groups.


The first group 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 and Charles Wesley as well as Bishops Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury. These were procured by Mr. William Deering and various librarians. Some were received as donations.


The second group of the collection includes many 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. Many of these materials were made possible through the generosity of a former trustee, Mr. William Deering, who purchased a large collection from Mr. Francis M. Jackson of England. This collection of 3,500 volumes was the product of several generations. Deering also purchased an additional 1,400 volumes and various letters from significant Methodist leaders.


Between 1907 and 1920, Lydia Beekman 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 at 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. These resources were integrated into The Styberg Library’s collection in 2009.


Holdings include Description de l’Égypte (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).