Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Highlights from the Ruth and Lyle Sellers Medical Collection


Originally exhibited February 1, 2016 – July 1, 2016
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


This exhibition celebrates the recent acquisition by Bridwell Library of the Ruth and Lyle Sellers Medical Collection, transferred to Southern Methodist University from Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas in 2015. The collection of six hundred printed books and manuscripts was assembled by Dr. Lyle M. Sellers (1894–1964), Chief of the Otolaryngology Department at the Baylor Medical Center from 1946 to 1963 where the volumes were originally donated in 1963. In 2001, for purposes of improved preservation, one-hundred of the rarest manuscripts and early printed books were placed on long-term deposit at Bridwell Library, where they have been researched, cataloged, exhibited, and made available for study by SMU students, faculty, local researchers, and visiting scholars. With the 2015 transfer, Bridwell Library is the sole owner and caretaker of the collection.

One of the finest private libraries ever created in Dallas, the Ruth and Lyle Sellers Medical Collection includes works in the fields of early medicine and science, natural history, religious ceremony and private devotion, and nineteenth-century English and American literature. In highlighting selections from each of these collecting areas, Bridwell Library honors Dr. Sellers and his vision for a collection of rare books and manuscripts "believing that proper educational progress rests upon belief in God and knowledge of the arts and sciences – my personal library has been developed as an expression of my goal and guidance of the complete, modern physician.” 

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Science and Religion


Originally exhibited December 8, 2009–April 24, 2010
Entry Hall


Books have played a central role in the ongoing dialogue between science and religion since the beginning of written communication in the West. Scientific authors of the Classical past were relatively successful at gaining official approval of their writings, and their authority was accepted implicitly by medieval Christian scholars. However, conflicts arose both as Renaissance scientists developed new methods of empirical testing and as the printing press allowed the rapid circulation of new ideas without Church endorsement. Revolutionary theories about the nature of the universe and humanity’s place within it set many leading scientists in opposition to the conservative positions of the Church. While many scientific works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books, science was not necessarily anti-religious. During the Enlightenment, many important works of science were inspired by a desire to reconcile the tenets of the Christian religion and the new scientific explanations of earthly and heavenly phenomena.

The books in this exhibition fall into four categories: works that show the cooperative sharing of scientific texts between religious groups; scientific treatises by leading medieval church officials; writings in which scientists and the clergy came into direct conflict; and publications intended to reconcile biblical teaching and scientific method.

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