The Awe of a Special Collection

For this week’s essay I lifted a portion of my journal from my internship last semester in the Special Collection/Archives at Samford University:

08/31/16  …I also spent some time talking to Jennifer and Tabitha about my desire to work in a seminary library.  Jennifer then took me to see a part of the Spurgeon Collection.  Oh my.  I held the original transcript of a sermon that Spurgeon preached in 1888.  It was transcribed in what I assume is shorthand by someone sitting in the audience as Spurgeon preached; he preached without notes.  This sermon was on the “Run the race” text, I suddenly can’t remember the reference.  Spurgeon himself edited the transcript… in blue ink.  Then it was sent to the printer who printed the galley sheet, which Spurgeon also edited in blue ink.  I read the whole first part.  It was amazing to think that these papers were his personal edited notes of what would become books of his sermons, from some 125 years ago.  Spurgeon himself made the edits, I was looking at the ink of his actual handwriting, his thoughts as he formed them into what he wanted to communicate.  Samford has 30 of these sets of original transcripts and galley sheets of his sermons.  The more I think about it the more awesome it becomes.

This is the power of a Special Collection; I was inspired. The feeling of holding Spurgeon’s original work still lives in me.

And for blogdoms enjoyment, a random quote that I copied as I read: “What all these years of being paid to read other people’s letters have done to my moral scruples I will leave to your imagination.”

Macleod, Julia H. BC 11. “Problems In Manuscript Cataloging.” Summary of Proceedings…Conference of the American Theological Library Association 10 (1956): 43 ff

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