Browse Exhibits (7 total)

Books and Prints by Albrecht Dürer

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Originally exhibited August 22–December 10, 2011
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries

Introduction

This exhibition features seventy prints by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) that highlight the artist’s contributions to European culture and religious experience. It includes several of Dürer’s earliest book illustrations, as well as woodcuts from his 1498 Apocalypse. Central to the exhibition are two of Dürer’s greatest achievements, the series of woodcuts known as the Large Passion and the Small Passion, both published in 1511. Also featured are important works from the last decade of Dürer’s life, which reflected the artist’s interests in artistic theory and the emerging values of the Protestant Reformation. 

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Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection

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

Introduction

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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Fifty Women

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Originally exhibited August 26 – December 13, 2013 
Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries 

Introduction

This exhibition features more than fifty books from the late Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century that were written, produced, owned, or inspired by women. Selected from Bridwell Library’s Special Collections, the exhibited books present contemporary evidence of the important roles that women of all callings – saints, queens, heroines, authors, printers, artists, mothers, and daughters – have played within the history of book production and readership. Together, the stories told by these books offer fascinating insights into the diverse personalities of individual women in Europe and the Americas during past centuries.

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Highlights from Bridwell Library Special Collections: The Reformation

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Originally exhibited May 24–July 31, 2013
Entry Hall

Introduction

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.

Bridwell Library’s collection of early Reformation era pamphlets, sermons, broadsides, catechisms, commentaries, and vernacular Bible translations is highlighted by the major works of Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Jean Calvin, numerous other sixteenth-century reformers, and Counter-Reformation authors. The exhibited items include several works of extreme rarity: while two are the only copies preserved in the United States, two others are the only recorded copies.

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Jean Calvin (1509–1564): A Quincentenary Exhibition

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July 14–December 8, 2009
Entry Hall

Introduction

The sixteenth-century theologian and reformer Jean Calvin exerted immense influence on the character and practice of Western Christianity. Born in Noyon, a small town in the Picardy region of France, Calvin was educated at the Collège de Montaigu in Paris and completed his law studies at Orléans in the early 1530s.  His Institutio Religionis Christianae (“The Institutes of the Christian Religion”), the first published systematic statement of Reformed theology, appeared in 1536 and was followed by four revised and expanded editions issued during his lifetime. Settling in Geneva, Calvin promoted the Reformation both locally, through ecclesiastical discipline and the introduction of vernacular catechisms and liturgy, and internationally by means of his numerous publications.  The influence of Calvinism was particularly strong in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and among the Puritans in England, Scotland, and colonial North America.

Central to Calvin’s reforms was the primacy of scripture in faith and practice, the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and benevolence in Christ, and the necessity of discipline within the Church. His theological knowledge, exegetical skills, and clear and precise writing style contributed to his success promoting the transformation of the Church and to his status, along with Luther, as the most significant author of the Protestant Reformation. He produced a large and important body of writing including the Institutio Religionis Christianae; translations of the Old and the New Testaments; commentaries, sermons, and lectures on the Bible; polemical works; and an immense body of correspondence. This exhibition commemorating the quincentennary of Calvin’s birth provides a brief introduction to the man and his work through his translation of the Bible and commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, English editions of the Institutio Religionis Christianae, and images of the author.

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Martin Luther in the Age of Print

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Originally exhibited August 7– December 15, 2017
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries

Introduction

Commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the announcement by Martin Luther (1483–1546) of his Ninety-five Theses against indulgences, and the beginning of the Reformation, this exhibition serves as an introduction to the reformer and his printed works. After attending university in Erfurt, Germany, Luther eventually focused on theological study, entered the Augustinian order in 1505, and was ordained two years later. In October 1512 he received his doctorate in theology and joined the theology faculty at the University of Wittenberg, a position he would retain throughout his career. The dissemination of his critique regarding indulgences began an extraordinary publishing career that reflected his multiple roles as a theologian, preacher, teacher, and translator. The various genres represented in this exhibition include polemics and treatises, sermons and commentaries, Bible translations, and catechisms.

In addition to his immense impact on Western Christianity in the early modern period, Luther also greatly influenced the world of print in sixteenth-century Europe. A remarkably prolific author, he published more than twenty-five hundred editions of his German works, not including the various editions of his German Bible. Often first appearing in Wittenberg, his books were frequently reprinted in Leipzig, Erfurt, Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Strasbourg. These established printing centers provided additional distribution of his works while Latin translations further increased his readership.

Exploring different printed contexts for Luther’s works, this exhibition includes Bibles and indulgences produced prior to Luther’s own publications as well as pre-seventeenth century Catholic responses to Luther and the early Reformation during his lifetime and after his death. This combination of Luther’s publications and those of his adversaries provides insight into the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation and the divisiveness engendered by this quest for religious reform as witnessed in the age of print.

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The First Four Centuries of Printed Bible Illustration

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Originally exhibited January 28–May 18, 2013
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries

Introduction

This exhibition of fifty Bibles from Bridwell Library’s Special Collections examines the historical context, artistic development, and cultural impact of the use of illustration in printed editions of the scriptures. Beginning with the pictorial woodcut initials of fifteenth-century German Bibles, highlights of the exhibition include vernacular Bible translations of the Reformation period that used striking and sometimes controversial imagery to enhance their impact, outstanding engraved Bible illustrations from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and examples of illustrated editions from nineteenth-century America.

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