Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wheaton -- Aftermath

So, one unfinished bit of business from my week at the Wade that I thought was interesting was finding out more about their College Archives & Special Collections.

As I noted in one of my posts this week (,

"In the old college library, before the Wade got its own building, the two used to be housed in the same wing of the same floor, so that a door opened into a shared anteroom/ display area with the Wade Collection on the left and the Special Collections on the right (which led to A. N. Wilson's accidentally conflating the two side-by-side collections into one in a passing referenced in his CSL biography, which got him a lot of grief)."

To this, David Bratman -- who at one point had an extended research trip to the Wade (in which among other things he made good use of the Charles Wms holdings, esp. the extensive unpublished correspondence) -- commented

"As I remember it, it wasn't a shared display area. Both Special Collections and the Wade were accessed by a back staircase in the library. You went up to the top landing, and there were two identical (and unmarked, I believe) doors. The one on the left was the Wade. The one on the right was Special Collections.

On my first visit to the Wade, I was also taken across the hall to the Special Collections display room too, and there in a case was Muggeridge's typewriter, the one mentioned by Wilson which his critics have so heatedly declared does not exist. Obviously he was taken there too, and was merely not clear that the room across the hall didn't belong to the Wade too.

Wilson has plenty of problems, but some of this critics owe him a retraction."

Seeing the divergence between out recollections, I bethought myself of an easy way to resolve the discrepancy: I asked Marj Mead, who was at the Wade before, during, and after both mine and David's visits in the old library. Turns out we're both right: I'm remembering the collection as it was when I first visited it, and his is from a little later. Later yet the Wade apparently took over both areas. Now that the Wade has its own building, the area is given over to Technical Services and library administrative offices, while the Special Collections have moved over to the Billy Graham Center on the south-east side of campus.

So, hope that clears things up; sorry for the confusion.

In any case, one good effect of it was that it led me to make a side-trip on my way to the dining hall that last lunchtime, during which when leaving I spotted a display of several rows of little tri-folded flyers or leaflets, each describing one of the college's Special Collections. I started picking out a few of the more interesting looking ones, then decided instead to try to get one of each, the better to be able to take away a good idea of their range.

Of the leaflets, the one that immediately caught my eye was CLYDE S. KILBY PAPERS -- oddly enough, while the collection he established based on his own correspondence with C. S. Lewis formed the original core of what is now the Wade collection, Kilby's own papers aren't in the Wade itself, it turns out, but the Graham Center: the final paragraph of his informational leaflet reads

"Material related to the seven British authors is located at the Wade Center at Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL. However, Clyde Kilby's papers, published and unpublished, are housed separately in the college's Special Collections in the Billy Graham Center. All material is available to researchers."

In addition to Kilby, which came as something of a surprise, the other authors I'd seen on the Wheaton College Bookstore's "Special Collections" shelves alongside the Wade Center authors -- Muggeridge* and L'Engle and Buechner -- were all represented, along with a wide array of authors and personalities: Calvin Miller (author of THE SINGER trilogy**) I can see, but Red Grange? Oswald Chambers fits in pretty well w. Wheaton's ministry, from what v. little I know about him, but I was surprised to find Margaret Landon here, author of ANNA & THE KING OF SIAM (better known by its musical adaptation, THE KING & I). Her book I've read, albeit years and years ago, but I've never even heard of others: Jacques Ellul, Ken Taylor (creator, it turns out, of THE LIVING BIBLE), Jim Wallis, Coleman Luck, Leanne Payne, and Luci Shaw. Unfortunately it looks like Dennis Hastert's papers are here too -- but then consulting the "Holdings Information" leaflet, I see that C. Everett Koop's are as well, so perhaps that balances that out a bit. Joe McClathey, who taught Tolkien and fantasy at Wheaton for years after Kilby retired, is also represented. The remaining handful ranged from JONATHAN BLANCHARD PAPERS (it's only right that Wheaton shd have a holding dedicated to the college's founder), papers and records relating to the NAE (Nat'l Assoc. of Evangelicals) and the Sojourners, one on their Fourth Folio copy of Shakespeare's HENRY IV (both parts), and finally one describing not a Special Collection but the College Archive -- old college catalogues, a century's worth of yearbooks, thousands of photos, correspondence (official & otherwise), scrapbooks, &c.

So, all in all an interesting sideline, which I thought I'd share.


current reading: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD by GKC (on Kindle); LETTERS TO A DIMINISHED CHURCH by DLS (actual book).

*and yes, I shd confirm that like David and Wilson I too was shown Muggeridge's typewriter, which wd have made more of an impression on me if at the time I'd had more than a vague impression of who he was.

**and who, amazingly enough, seems not to have an entry on wikipedia.

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