Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Highlights from Bridwell Library Special Collections: Theology and Church History


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.

Works of the great theologians and ecclesiastical authorities of the Christian tradition are strongly represented at Bridwell Library. Books and manuscripts representing the breadth of these holdings include essential works by St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Thomas Aquinas, and a variety of documents concerning Christian instruction, canon law, hagiography, and church administration. In addition to books, this section includes an original manuscript papal bull and a unique copy of an early printed indulgence.

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Illustrated Suites, Sequences, and Sets


Originally exhibited April 26– August 10, 2010
Entry Hall


Bridwell Library holds a wide range of illustrations in books and manuscripts created in various locales and time periods. The images in these volumes offer readers both aesthetic pleasure and graphic information which complements textual content.  This exhibition focuses on printed illustrations which were intentionally created as coherent series of images.  Included are suites of engravings, entirely engraved books with image and text included on the same plate, illustrated sequences of woodcuts and engravings in printed books, and sets of prints in publications intended for children. All were published between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries in continental Europe, England, or Mexico. 

Several of the publications are biographies, a genre particularly well-suited for image sequences which highlight episodes in the lives of religious figures.  Subjects here include the life of Jesus and the lives of saints, martyrs, and hermits. Other narrative accounts with illustrated series delineate the Stations of the Cross, the order of the Mass, and the origins of the Virgin of Guadalupe in New Spain.  The variety of publications on display also includes works for children that incorporate sets of illustrations based on episodes in the Bible.  Created as educational tools, these images are an integral part of the work, purposefully included to attract and maintain the interest of youngsters beginning their study of scripture. 

For readers of all ages, these illustrated series provide an opportunity to engage with publications beyond textual reading and to discover the potential of printed works in which the use of images is a primary focus and an essential element.  Beyond the written word and the embellished page, these images educate and edify, simultaneously providing viewers with information and the opportunity for spiritual reflection.

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Inscribed Illuminations and Inspirations: Manuscripts at Bridwell Library


Originally exhibited August 8, 2016 – December 16, 2016
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


Surveying the wide range of manuscripts in Bridwell Library Special Collections representing the Christian, Judaic, and Islamic traditions, this exhibition includes items produced between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries in numerous locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The array of texts, languages, letterforms, illuminations, and illustrations provides evidence of both known and unrecorded scribes, artists, readers, and owners as well as insights into the cultural, historical, bibliographical, and aesthetic contexts in which these manuscripts were created.

These works both complement and supplement printed holdings in significant collecting areas for Bridwell Library including scripture and worship, devotion, theology and church history, and religious instruction and study.  Focusing on these genres, Bridwell Library continues to build a diverse and instructive collection of manuscripts, many of which demonstrate how handwritten books and documents remained essential facets of religious and intellectual life following the introduction of printing in Europe in the mid-fifteenth century.

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The Summer Musical Celebration: An Exhibit in Honor of the Organ Historical Society Convention and the Hymn Society Conference


Originally exhibited July 23–August 31, 2019
Online Exhibition


This exhibition celebrates two significant musical organizations meeting in Dallas and at Southern Methodist University this summer: the 2019 Organ Historical Society Convention and the 2019 Hymn Society in the United States and Canada Conference. The twenty-two selections from Bridwell Library Special Collections comprise manuscripts and rare books produced between the twelfth and the late eighteenth centuries. Among those are four hybrid works that combine manuscript and printed materials in a variety of ways within each individual volume. In highlighting these musical items, Bridwell Library hopes that society members will be informed, engaged, and inspired by this selection of musical offerings.

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Welcome Additions

Canon Missae

Origially exhibited September 9 – December 12, 2014
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


This exhibition highlights fifty rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, prints, and letters that were acquired by Bridwell Library Special Collections between 2008 and 2014. Produced in Europe and the Americas from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, these works include late-medieval manuscripts, early printing, devotional manuals, books for worship, biblical translations, illustrated religious texts, Methodist writings, and printed ephemera. Each selected item is an authentic witness both to the history of written or printed communication and to important aspects of religious life in the past. Exhibited here for the first time, these recent acquisitions enhance the research potential of Bridwell Library’s holdings in a variety of important collecting areas.  

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