Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection


Originally exhibited September 8–December 11, 2009
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


This exhibition highlights Bibles from the collection of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro (1919–2009), who donated nearly five hundred volumes in more than fifty languages to Bridwell Library in 1996. One of Southern Methodist University’s great benefactors, Mrs. Prothro was the daughter of Joe and Lois Perkins, whose generosity endowed Perkins School of Theology. She graduated from SMU in 1939, one year after her marriage to Charles N. Prothro (1918–2001) of Wichita Falls. In 1962, a Bridwell Library exhibition of fifteenth-century printing inspired her to collect rare books. Her husband’s gift of six early volumes for their twenty-fifth anniversary on January 14, 1963 laid the foundation of a remarkable collection that reflects Mrs. Prothro’s life-long love of scripture and a connoisseur’s appreciation of historically significant editions.

Bridwell Library hosted the first exhibition of the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection in 1966. In 1990, one hundred Bibles from her collection were featured in the inaugural exhibition in The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries, given by her husband for their fiftieth anniversary in 1988. Donated to Bridwell in 1996, her Bibles have played important roles in many of the library’s exhibitions, including small exhibits marking her honorary SMU degree in 1996 and the rededication of Perkins Chapel on her birthday in 1999. Sixty of her Bibles were shown in a ten-year anniversary exhibition in 2006, for which her family donated additional early Bibles in her honor.

The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection invites continual use at Bridwell Library. The Bibles appear in many exhibitions and are shown regularly to visiting groups, examined by students, and consulted by scholars from around the world.  The collection will continue to inspire future students of the Bible, its history, and its lasting influence.

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The Archives at Bridwell Library


Originally exhibited February 1, 2017–June 30, 2017
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


Archives are groups of historical records documenting the activities of organizations and the lives of individuals. Archives are also the repositories that house such records. Bridwell Library is an archive of many archives where researchers may access more than half a mile of archival materials documenting the history of the Methodist movement.

The historical records owned by Bridwell Library comprise three closely-related archives: the Perkins School of Theology Archive, the Bridwell Library Archive, and the Methodist Studies Archive. Additionally, four United Methodist bodies lodge their archival materials at Bridwell Library in order to enhance both preservation and access. The archivists of the South Central Jurisdiction, the North Texas Annual Conference, the Rio Grande Annual Conference, and the Texas United Methodist Historical Society work closely with the archivist of Bridwell Library to manage the most extensive set of Methodist-related primary resources in the Southwestern United States.

The archival program at Bridwell Library serves the historical research community by collecting, preserving, arranging, and describing historical records; promoting awareness and facilitating use of the archival collections; assisting researchers in person and remotely; curating exhibitions; and making presentations to university classes and outside groups. This exhibition explores the diversity of archival records held by and hosted by Bridwell Library.

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William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology, 2002–2016


Originally exhibited April 12–May 15, 2016
Reception Hall


William B. Lawrence studied at Duke University (B.A., 1968), Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Div., 1971), and Drew University (Ph.D., 1984). In 1969 he joined the Wyoming Conference of the United Methodist Church (located in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York). There he served more than two decades as a pastor and district superintendent. From 1998 to 2001 he was senior minister of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. At the denominational level, Dr. Lawrence has served on the General Commission on Religion and Race (1992–1996) and on the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church (2008–present; President 2012–present).

Before being appointed Dean and Professor of American Church History at Perkins School of Theology in 2002, Dr. Lawrence served at Duke University Divinity School (1993–1998), Wesley Theological Seminary (2000–2001), and Candler School of Theology at Emory University (2001–2002). Under Dean Lawrence’s fourteen years of leadership, Perkins School of Theology has constructed Prothro Hall and renovated Kirby and Selecman Halls, created several new programs, restructured the Graduate Program in Religious Studies, appointed new faculty members, and strengthened the administrative staff.

This display highlights William B. Lawrence’s leadership of Perkins School of Theology and his contributions to theological education and church life.

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