Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Early Methodists and Their Books


Originally exhibited August 20–December 14, 2012
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


Among John Wesley’s most enduring gifts to the early Methodist movement was his constant encouragement to make use of a great variety of beneficial reading materials. Through his published advertisements for newly available Methodist titles and specific reading recommendations made in his personal letters, Wesley created a community that shared a common bond in affordable, easily-read, and useful books intended for education and worship.

The fifty items in this exhibition reveal how readers in the first century of the Methodist tradition (c. 1739–1839) acquired, read, inscribed, annotated, and treasured their books. Selected from Bridwell Library’s Special Collections, these volumes include several owned by John Wesley or his brother Charles Wesley, original manuscripts used by early Methodist ministers, and numerous books and hymnals inscribed with the names of everyday Methodist pioneers, male and female, in England and America.

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Highlights from Bridwell Library Special Collections: Wesleyana and Methodistica


Originally exhibited June 7–July 30, 2010
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


This exhibition comprises a selection of highlights from Bridwell Library Special Collections. Representing various strengths of the library’s rare book collections, the materials document the role of books in religious practice in selected eras and locales. These materials reflect the uncommonly strong foundation for teaching and advanced research that Bridwell Library provides for students and faculty of Perkins School of Theology and Southern Methodist University as well as the broader community.

Numerous items within Bridwell Library’s expansive collection of Methodist books, manuscripts, and archives have direct historical connections to the founders of Methodism. Complementing the more than 130 signed letters from the hand of John Wesley, the Library has collected several printed books with manuscript inscriptions or annotations by Wesley, members of his family, or his closest associates. Unique materials highlighted here also include annotated proof sheets and printer’s copy used in the production of important Methodist publications.

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In honorem: Dr. Richard P. Heitzenrater


Originally exhibited May 16–August 22, 2014
Entry Hall


This exhibition honors the work of Dr. Richard P. Heitzenrater, recipient of the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Southern Methodist University in May 2014. Dr. Heitzenrater is the William Kellon Quick Professor Emeritus of Church History and Wesley Studies at Duke University Divinity School and was a member of the Perkins School of Theology faculty from 1977 to 1993 as the Albert Cook Outler Chair in Wesleyan Studies and the Director of the Center for Methodist Studies. He also had a close connection to Bridwell Library, twice serving as Acting Director (May–October 1980 and June 1992–May 1993).

Renowned for his research and writing in the area of Wesleyan studies, Dr. Heitzenrater has the distinction of being the person who broke the shorthand code of John Wesley’s diaries. Dr. Heitzenrater has utilized rare books and manuscripts held by Bridwell Library throughout his distinguished career. Pairing works written by Dr. Heitzenrater with items from Bridwell Library Special Collections, the exhibition highlights the long-term relationship between researcher and library.

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