Browse Exhibits (4 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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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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The Imitation of Christ Through Six Centuries


Originally exhibited May 9–August 29, 2012
Entry Hall


For six centuries, the Imitatio Christi (“Imitation of Christ”) has been the most widely read Christian book after the Bible. It consists of four Books: the first two counsel the reader on the spiritual life; the third deals with the inward consolation of the soul; and the fourth concerns the virtues of Communion. Written ca. 1418 by Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380–1471), the Latin text has been translated into hundreds of languages and printed in some ten thousand editions. Its spirit of personal devotion patterned on the life of Christ helped sow the seeds of the Protestant Reformation as well as the Counter-Reformation, and it profoundly influenced such diverse figures as St. Ignatius Loyola and John Wesley.

Bridwell Library holds twenty-six fifteenth-century editions of the Imitatio Christi and scores of editions dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. These include many vernacular translations into English, German, French, Italian, Arabic, and Croatian, as well as fine modern editions. The books selected for this exhibition highlight the history of this perennially popular text from ca. 1473 to 1905.

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Virtual and Real


Originally exhibited February 3 – May 17, 2014
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


Since the founding of Bridwell Library in 1951, staff members have promoted the use of special collections and archives by curating exhibitions and hosting public events. During the 1990s the Library also began providing internet access to selected exhibitions, collection inventories, and images of important volumes and artifacts. In 2010 Bridwell Library published its first set of digital images as part of the SMU Digital Collections online database. Today the Library offers numerous digital collections containing more than 4,000 high-quality images, audio files, and videos.

Providing remote access to rare and unique print, manuscript, photographic, audio, and video materials helps Bridwell Library fulfill its educational mission. Each month thousands of patrons view these virtual representations of real objects. The purpose of this exhibition is to bring the virtual and the real together in the same place at the same time so that both can be studied and enjoyed.

“Virtual and Real” presents fifty-six items representing twelve digital collections. All twelve featured collections relate to the history of the United Methodist Church or Perkins School of Theology. Throughout the exhibition visitors are encouraged to scan the Quick Response (QR) codes and explore the linked images and metadata while viewing the artifacts. To view installation photographs, follow this link.

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