Category Archives: Collection-related Publications

No Small Feat!

"Mite" Bible2011 is the 400th anniversary of the Authorized Version, or more commonly known, the King James Bible. Through the end of 2011 the Archives & Special Collections has mounted an exhibit, Out of Sacred Tongues, celebrating this anniversary by displaying original and facsimile texts that show the history of the King James Bible.

Included in this exhibit is what would be considered a “mite” bible. This miniature bible is just over 1 3/4 inches tall and contains the full text of the King James Bible. The text is so small it requires a magnifying glass to easily read the text. Fortunately the publishers included one in a pocket in the back of the Bible!!

The Bible was published in Edinburgh and London, Nimmo, Hay, and Mitchell and jointly published with Henry Frowde. The publishers had the text printed at the Oxford University Press who had recently acquired the ability to print “micro” text. Some may be familiar with this printing technology through the “compact” edition of the Oxford English Dictionary which allowed individuals to own the gargantuan 600,000 word, twenty-volume, dictionary–that took 80 lexicographers to complete– in just two volumes. That two-volume set, like the mite bible, came with its own magnifying glass, but stored in a drawer. This set was a great enticement to join book clubs like the Conservative Book Club.

The production of this Bible was no small feat in the same way that the creation of the King James Bible was no small undertaking. “Authorized” in 1604 a group of the “best learned” from Oxford and Cambridge, along with bishops and the chief learned of the church” set about the task of translating a Bible for the whole church. After seven years the 47 scholars involved produced what has become the most widely sold book in history. In 1881 when a group set about to revise and update the text they found that “the longer we have been engaged upon it the more we have learned to admire its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression, its general accuracy, and, we must not fail to add, the music of its cadences, the felicities of its rhythm.” Not until more recent decades has the text of the King James been supplanted by more modern renderings.

A rare breed – Charles Percy

Charles PercyCharles Harting Percy died over the weekend at 91. He was an unusual politician, not unlike another recently passed Republican, Mark Hatfield. Percy was on the moderate-end of the Republican spectrum, probably a bit left of Hatfield. Both were known as Rockefeller Republicans. He had broad appeal in Illinois, including in the African-American community in Chicago. The Washington Post’s Emily Langer said, “in today’s polarized political climate, Sen. Percy would be described as a rare breed–an unabashed liberal and skeptic about military spending and war….He repeatedly clashed with President Richard M. Nixon on foreign and domestic issues.” Again, not unlike Hatfield.

Born in Florida and a reared in Chicago, Percy was elected to the United States Senate from Illinois in 1966 after having worked at Bell and Howell for over 25 years. Percy remained in the Senate until 1985. On two different occasions (1968 and 1976) Percy explored the possibility of running for President, but did not run either time. His most important political act, and one that had the most enduring legacy, was overhauling the process of nominating federal judges. Implementing a system of broad input, including the bar association, Percy’s approach was unusual for the time.

The Wesley Pippert papers contain several files related to the life and career of Charles Percy. Pippert served as Percy’s Press Secretary from 1967-1968 during one of the exploratory periods for the U. S. presidency. The Pippert Papers are available to researchers at the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections.

American Scientific Affiliation celebrates 70th Anniversary

This past summer the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) held it’s 2011 annual meeting at North Central College and co-hosted by Wheaton College on the topic of Science-Faith Synergy: Glorifying God and Serving Humanity. “Wheaton College has had a long association with the ASA, and many of its earliest activities, starting in the 1940s, involved a number of Wheaton College faculty,” according to Associate Professor of Biology Raymond Lewis, local arrangements chair for this year’s meeting. Additionally several Wheaton College students presented their research.

Seventy years ago, the ASA was founded by five Christian scientists: John Haitsma, Peter Stoner, Russell Sturgis, Irving Cowperthaite, and F. Alton Everest. When Alton Everest passed away at age 95 in 2005, the American Scientific Affiliation lost the last of its five founding fathers and its first president from 1941-1950.

The American Scientific Affiliation is a fellowship of men and women of science and disciplines that can relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science. Its stated purpose is “to investigate any area relating Christian faith and science” and “to make known the results of such investigations for comment and criticism by the Christian community and by the scientific community.”

The Records of the American Scientific Affiliation are available to researchers at the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections.

Ruth Cording

Ruth James Cording (who graduated with a literature degree from Wheaton College in 1933) was born and raised in Auburn, New York, of Welsh and Irish descent. Her father was a Baptist pastor and her grandfather, Evan Thomas James, had emigrated in 1866 from Wales. In fact, Auburn greatly resembled Wales, from its rocky terrain and rolling hills. Ruth knew she had cousins yet living in that distant land of poets and singers and was fully aware of the Welsh contribution to Christian hymnody and revivalism, but her interest burst aflame when she discovered in 1958 her grandfather’s diary, written in 1887 when he returned to Wales to visit his aged mother. Her curiosity piqued, she decided to investigate that “…damp, demanding and obsessively interesting country,” as historian Jan Morris writes. First, however, Ruth read as many books as she could locate. Her research provided the core of her Welsh book collection.

Soon thereafter in 1962 she met a cousin, Neli Davies, visiting the U.S. One year later, Ruth and her husband, Ed, full of purpose, journeyed at last to the brooding, storm-swept land of Wales and happily engaged “…the friendliest people on earth,” as she and Ed determined. They spoke in Capel Ficar, the chapel where her grandfather had attended as a child, and located the graves of her great grandparents, buried in the church cemetery. They also visited cousin Neli at her cottage, stacked from floor to ceiling with Welsh books – many of which she eventually presented to Ruth.

When Ed retired from the Directorship of Wheaton Conservatory in 1970, he and Ruth rented a flat at New Quay on the shores of the Cardigan Bay on the Irish Sea. Settled for a comfortable stay, they traveled to the Preseli Islands, marveling at the “blue stone” transported to Stone Henge. They visited St. David’s Cathedral and saw the “Bleeding Yew Tree” at Nevern and the schoolchildren’s graves at Aberfan, site of the tragic mine disaster. Continuing apace, they saw David Lloyd George’s monument in Cricceth and ascended the summit of Snowdon with its glorious view of the countryside, placing a stone on top, according to Welsh custom, “…though getting down was a bit rough,” Ruth remarked. They attended the International Music and Poetry Festival at Llangollen and searched out the home of William Williams, the songwriter who wrote “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jevovah.” Among other high points they watched the weaving of a Welsh wool tapestry at Altcaven Mill and saw potters spinning clay at their wheels. They followed the Arthurian Grail legend from English Glastonbury to Ozzleworth, from whence seven monks, carrying the sacred olivewood “cup of healing” had fled during the dissolution of the abbeys, traversing the mountains to Strata Florida Abbey and then to the mansion at Nanteos. They even caught a glimpse of the legendary cup when it was displayed at the National Library of Wales.

By motorcar they journeyed the National Library at Aberystwyth and also to the National Centre for Children’s Literature nearby. She and Ed were guided to the village of Laugharne where Dylan Thomas is buried, and climbed up to “the Boathouse” where many of his poems were written. During this visit Ruth called the Welsh writer, Dr. D.J. Williams, lovingly called “The Granddaddy of the Welsh.” He encouraged her to write about Wales for American children. She was also introduced to Waldo Williams, the renowned Welsh poet, and visited the double-naved chapel of R.S. Thomas, the famed British poet who lived in sight of picturesque Bardsey Island. All the while they took slides, capturing innumerable picturesque moments.

In addition to traveling, Ruth published several short stories, articles and books, including The Turquoise Bracelet (1959), Glenn and Bill at Prospect Point (1953) and C.S. Lewis: A Celebration of His Early Life (2000). She was instrumental in assisting Dr. Clyde Kilby with establishing the Marion E. Wade Center. On St. David’s Day, 1991, Ruth Cording donated her Welsh books to Wheaton College, stating, “It is our hope that this collection, which will be added to year after year, may be a source of great satisfaction and usefulness here at Wheaton College even as it has been to me.” Ruth died on May 5, 2008, just shy of her 97th birthday.

The Ruth J. Cording Welsh Language and Literature Collection (SC-43) is available to researchers on the third floor of the Billy Graham Center.

Friday Night Lights

Wheaton High School Football team, 1920The school year has begun in many parts of the country and, despite record-breaking heat, fall is in the air. This means football! Football begins on Red Grange field as the Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers take on the Glenbard West Hilltoppers from Glen Ellyn. Over ninety years ago Harold “Red” Grange (first row, third from the left) donned a football uniform along with his fellow Wheaton classmates and made his way to the local field with its simple wooden goal posts. Before play could begin it was likely necessary that the field needed to be cleared of the many apples that had fallen from the trees around the field. The “Red” Grange collection at Wheaton College is the largest publicly available archival collection on this football great. It covers much of his life and career.

It doesn’t take brains – just perseverance

Arthur Schulert, born on a farm near Gladwin, MI, was third among eight children. He accepted Christ at age nine. A lad possessing determination, he conquered his stuttering in high school while participating in the debate club. From there he enrolled at Wheaton College, studying chemistry, squeezing four years into three. He then enrolled at Ohio State for one quarter before transferring to Princeton, pursuing his graduate degree while assisting with the Manhattan Project. Briefly pausing his scientific studies, he took theological training at Grace Seminary in Winona Lake, IN, while teaching part-time at Taylor University. Schulert earned his Ph.D in biochemistry at the University of Michigan in 1951. Downplaying his abilities, he insisted that “It doesn’t take brains – just perseverance.” In addition to acquiring a degree at Michigan, he also found a wife – Ruth Darling – while attending InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meetings. After marrying the couple moved to New York City. In 1955 he joined Lamont Geochemical Laboratory, researching the effects of often-lethal radioactive fallout, specifically “Strontium 90,” a man-made variant of the metal that seeks human bone, causing in large doses bone cancer and leukemia. During the late ’50s Schulert frequently appeared on television, discussing the danger of nuclear radiation and environmental abuse. His pioneering research was covered by Newsweek, Time, Life and the New York Times.

Though Schulert labored in laboratories among the variables of powerful natural and artificial forces, he offered comfort with this thought: “The One who made the world also gave us His Word, the Bible. In the Bible we find that Jesus Christ offers His power and very life to those who will trust Him. This power transforms man’s self-destroying nature and imparts eternal life to the believer’s soul. The Christian, in the face of nuclear perils, can confidently repeat after the Apostle Paul, ‘All things work together for good to them that love God.'” He never felt that modern scientific advances discredited the Bible. If there seemed to be a contradiction, the difference may result from either misinterpretation of the scriptures or ascribing undue finality to scientific pronouncements. As evidence accumulates, he felt, science would more closely confirm the Bible.

In 1966 he joined the Vanderbilt University Medical School Biochemistry faculty, and four years later founded the Environmental Science Corporation where he served as president and CEO. Schulert and Ruth were active members of the Village Baptist Church, Gideons International and the Tennessee Organization of Professional Speakers. He delivered in 1968 an address entitled “Wheaton’s Survival Amidst Rapid Change and Rising Federalism” to the annual Wheaton College Scholastic Honor Society. Dr. Arthur Schulert died in 1993, survived by his wife, five sons and two daughters. Appropriately, his funeral, pre-arranged by Schulert himself, was “…a time of praise and thanksgiving.” Its theme: “It is well with my soul.” Schulert’s papers (SC-175), comprising correspondence and published articles, are housed at Wheaton College Special Collections.

Mending Fences

On October 30, 1997 Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) gave the third annual Kuyper Lecture entitled “Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society,” sponsored by the Center for Public Justice and Wheaton College. During the economic prosperity of the late 1990s, Coats asked whether a growing economy, high employment, and low interest rates indicate that the citizens of the United States are thriving? In Coats’ published address and responses from three distinguished social activists, Coats applauded America’s economic prosperity and the more limited role of government, but was distressed by the moral crisis of the culture and the signs of a weakening “civil society.” There is a paradox inherent in the viewpoint of the American founders: In order to have political freedom, individuals must embody self-discipline and virtue. It is the responsibility of parents, church leaders, and nonprofit service providers to train each generation in democratic habits and manners: reasoned reflection, self-mastery, public spirit, and respect for the rights of others. Senator Coats addressed the need to strengthen the authority and economic well-being of those institutions that teach moral values. As author of the legislative package The Project for American Renewal, he argued that the government must use its authority to empower constructive actions in the nongovernmental sector. [ Excerpted from The Center for Public Justice ].

The annual Kuyper lecture has been held since 1995 and is named for Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), an influential Dutch scholar-statesman. Kuyper saw that religion was a the deep, driving influence of competing religions in human society and that Jesus Christ made comprehensive and inescapable claims on the world and these two were exemplified with the strength and influence of international bonds of Christian community. Kuyper believed that the Christian life cannot be confined to church life. Accepting Christ’s claim of authority over the entire world, he sought to follow the implications of that faith into politics, journalism, education, and other human endeavors.

The Daniel R. Coats Papers are available to researchers at the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections.

Audio icon LISTEN to Dan Coats 1997 Kuyper lecture (mp3 – 01:04:08, Coats begins at 11:10)

Vigorous in health and purpose

Arthur E. Christy, born in Lo Ting, South China, to Emma and Fritz Christopherson, missionaries for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, spoke Chinese before he spoke English, receiving his education at a Chinese village school. At 16 Christy (he later legally changed his name) departed China for the United States, pursuing his education at Wheaton College where he distinguished himself in scholarly endeavor as well as nobility of spirit. Not confined to the library, he participated in track, glee club, baseball and several other activities. A profile from the 1923 Record offers a glimpse into his campus life:


“Kristy” hails from China were they throw the baby girls away. Whether or not the fact that he was a boy saved him, we do not know. Certain it is that they never realized in those days of his early youth the wonderful combination of ennobling elements that are manifest in his character today. They have found expression in his senior year in a variety of activities, including the office of Beltionian vice-president, senior council representative, fullback on the 1921 eleven, and editor-in-chief of The Record. “Art” expects to land in China eventually, where we predict he will again occupy an editor’s chair.

Graduating from Wheaton, he taught at St. John’s Military Academy, the University of Minnesota and New York University before enrolling at Columbia. Darien Straw, professor of Logic and Rhetoric at Wheaton College, wrote to the Dean of Columbia, advocating Christy’s academic fellowship:

Concerning Mr. Arthur E. Christopherson, who was a student of mine throughout his college course, I desire to write a word of commendation as bearing upon his worthiness to receive a fellowship. He is a sturdy character, vigorous in health and purpose…His habits are good, his ideals are Christian, his energies are superb, his self-enjoyment is ample, his record is good, so I commend him to your most favorable consideration.

Of course, he was accepted. Residing in New York, Christy published Images in Jade, translations from classical and modern Chinese poetry. His courses at Columbia led in 1932 to a doctorate in comparative literature. His dissertation, entitled The Orient in American Transcendentalism: A Study of Emerson, Thoreau and Alcott, appeared in 1932 with The Transmigration of the Seven Brahmans. From 1935-36 he was a Guggenheim Fellow; and from 1930 to 1945 he taught at Columbia University Department of English and Comparative Literature, supervising master’s theses in American literature. In 1945 he was appointed professor of American Literature at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

When his missionary mother died in 1941, Christy composed an obituary published in The Alliance Weekly: “Her heart quietly ceased its functioning and she moved unobtrusively as in all her earthly life, to her heavenly resting place.” Five years later, recently returned from a conference on the participation of higher education in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at Estes Park, Colorado, Christy’s own heart “quietly ceased” as he crossed a street on his way from the University of Illinois campus to his home. Shortly thereafter, admitted to McKinley Hospital, he was pronounced dead at age 46 from an entirely unexpected heart attack. His death was an incalculable loss to the field of letters. He left a widow, Gertrude Noetzel (B.A. University of Wisconsin, 1920 and M.A. University of Illinois, 1947), and a son, Bruce, born in 1928 (B.A. University of Illinois, 1950).

Frederick Buechner – Spy

Frederick BuechnerIn 1953 after great success and failure as a writer Frederick Buechner left his post at Lawrenceville School to write full time. After leaving the security of his job he found he was unable to write a word. Needing to make a living he pursued several options. After his initial failed attempt as a professional writer Buechner sought employment in the advertising world but found that he needed a toughness that he knew he didn’t have to weather the rejection that can come in that business. So, in a complete roundabout he sought work with the Central Intelligence Agency. The United States had developed a hydrogen bomb and Khrushchev had become the leader of the Soviet Union. If there was to be another war Buechner would have rather been in the CIA rather than back in the infantry. Buechner had to interrupt his studies at Princeton to serve in the United States Army from 1944 to 1946. When asked in an interview if he could inflict pain upon someone to extract vital information in order to save lives Buechner realized he didn’t have the stomach to torture someone and discarded the CIA as an option. After these failed attempts at writing and finding gainful employment Buechner found himself feeling that much of his life was a farce. Finding himself on his own pilgrim’s progress — his own divine comedy. This comedy took him to church, simply because he had nothing else to do with his Sunday morning. After listening to sermon after sermon Sunday after Sunday Buechner was drawn to George Buttrick’s sermons. One sermon, actually one phrase, in particular struck him with great significance. Buttrick, in an off-the-cuff comment described Christ’s refusal of Satan’s temptations and the counterfeit crown he was offered. Buttrick said that the inward coronation of Christ as King takes place in the hearts of those who believe in him. The coronation occurs “among confession, and tears, and great laughter.” Buechner stumbled upon the open door of God’s grace that had been opened to him as he mulled over the pair of words, “great laughter.” In his 1985 chapel address at Wheaton College he recounted that “On such foolish tenuous holy threads hang the destinies of all of us.” The spy’s secret life was of little significance for Buechner as he realized that there was a life hidden to him. He found what he had half or partly-seen at other times in his life. He said he “found Christ.” All the poetic, psychological or historical words he knew failed to fully describe this event. Buechner found he had to rest simply in the name of Christ.

Betsy Palmer

Betsy Palmer simply needed funds for a new car when she accepted the role of Jason Voorhees’s demented mother in the wildly successful slasher flick, Friday the 13th (1980). Reading the script, she realized it wasn’t exactly Shakespeare. “I never expected that anyone would see that darn thing,” she recalls. Nonetheless, her performance brought her a measure of fame that she had not before enjoyed. (In fact, she was nominated for a Golden Rasberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress). Asked about her “accidental” association with the horror genre, she remarks, “I love it. It’s exposed me to a whole new generation that didn’t know I existed.”

Though movie buffs remember her for this role, Palmer had performed for decades in a variety of productions, on film, television and stage. She acted alongside Jack Lemmon, James Cagney and Henry Fonda in Mister Roberts (1955); she appeared with Joan Crawford in Queen Bee (1955) and Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Sullivan in The Long Gray Line (1955). She was a panelist on the game show, I’ve Got a Secret, and appeared twice on the cover of TV Guide. She also acted on As the World Turns, The Love Boat and Knots Landing. In 1964 she recorded “Betsy’s Fashion Notebook,” an album featuring her cosmetic tips; and in 1969 she won the “Straw Hat Award” for her starring performance in the theatrical production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. However, her life swerved from its familiar patterns when, returning home after a stint as Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, she decided to end her 19-year marriage to New York gynecologist Dr. Vincent J. Merendino. “We married each other for the wrong reasons,” she said. “I married a doctor and he married an actress.” She turned her life over to God and experienced a new peace. “It was as though God welcomed me home. I began to see it was alright for God to take over.” She and Merendino had one daughter, Melissa.

Aside from show business, Palmer served on the Greater New York Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. A formal commendation from the Army acknowledges “…her active commitment of time, talent and resources to aid those in need in the New York area…” and “…her warmth of personality and grace, which has made her a standout in all phases of the entertainment industry…”

“Breezy” Betsy Palmer, ever gracious, offers this advice: “Instead of worrying about what other people think, don’t try to act, just be who you are from moment to moment. Give 100% of yourself, and if that’s not enough for someone that’s judging you, at least you have the integrity of knowing that you’ve done the best you can.” In 1985 she visited her high school in East Chicago, Indiana, her hometown. The mayor proclaimed it “Betsy Palmer Day” and offered her the key to the city.

Palmer’s papers (SC-28), comprising correspondence, scrapbooks, newsclippings and photos, are housed at Wheaton College Special Collections.