Advanced search

News from the Archives - Issue 2 (Spring 2014)

Recent Donations

Pages from 18th century set of the complete works of Isaac Newton, donated by Barry H. Downing, PTS Class of 1963

Among the recent donations to Special Collections is a five volume set of the complete works of Isaac Newton published in London by J. Nichols between 1779 and 1785. Newton kept his personal religious beliefs rather private and refused to take holy orders in the Church of England, something which was normally expected of Cambridge faculty in his day (he had to receive a special dispensation from King Charles II exempting holders of his chair from this requirement). Yet he was known to be a deeply religious person who was convinced that the order and beauty which he found in the universe could not have come about by chance. In addition to his well-known writings in the field of mathematics and natural science, he studied scripture, theology and church history, and this edition of his works contains the first complete printing of a lengthy letter he wrote on the textual history of I John 5:7, as well as his writings on ancient chronology and the prophetic writings found in the Bible, especially the books of Daniel and Revelation. The volumes were the gift of Barry H. Downing (PTS Class of 1963) who after completing his studies at Princeton Seminary went on to complete a doctorate on “The Eschatological Implications of the Understanding of Time and Space in the Thought of Isaac Newton” at the University of Edinburgh.

Handwritten manuscript of a sermon preached by William Frazer, colonial New Jersey preacher, 1771

Another recent gift to the library’s Special Collections was a small collection of nine handwritten eighteenth century sermons from Katie Engstrom of Dallas, Texas. These include sermons preached by Colin Campbell, Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Burlington, New Jersey, and William Frazer, Rector of St. Michael’s Church, Trenton, New Jersey. These colonial and post-revolutionary ministers were among her ancestors, and the sermons were handed down through the family.

Bob Golon Retires

December 2013 saw the retirement of Bob Golon from his position as Manuscripts Librarian here in Special Collections. Bob first came to Princeton Seminary as a Project Archivist to work on the extensive Carl McIntire Manuscript Collection consisting of over 600 boxes of material from the files of this noted 20th century fundamentalist preacher and radio personality. Through diligent concentrated work Bob was able to inventory and arrange this massive collection, making its rich holdings available for researchers. He produced an extensive electronic finding aid, available online, as well as an 80 page illustrated print booklet introducing the collection, its history, and an extended glossary of specialized terms and abbreviations. Since becoming available through Bob’s hard work, the McIntire Collection has become one of the most used collections in the Special Collections area of the library. Among others, Markku Ruotsila, of the University of Helsinki in Finland, made several extended visits to Princeton to work in the collection and is preparing a full-length scholarly biography of McIntire based on his research which it is expected will be published this year. Bob also used his work on the McIntire Collection to interest the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in holding one of its semi-annual sessions at Congress Hall in Cape May, an historic hotel on the South Jersey coast which was once the center of many of McIntire’s activities. Bob worked on the planning committee for the sessions, while Ken Henke, Curator of Special Collections, prepared a talk on McIntire and the collection for those attending the conference.

As Manuscripts Librarian, Bob participated in the ongoing daily work of Special Collections, arranging and describing a number of our collections, including recently the collection of materials related to the organization of Christians Associated for Relationships with Eastern Europe (CAREE). This organization originated from the work of Czech theologian and former Princeton Seminary faculty member Joseph Hromadka and others who sought to promote world peace during the Cold War years by deepening the understanding between Christians in Central and Eastern Europe and those in the United States. Charles West, former Stephen Colwell Professor of Christian Ethics at Princeton Seminary, was active with CAREE and its predecessor, the Christian Peace Conference, for many years, and his donation of papers related to this work was the basis for the collection. Additional papers in the possession of other officers of the organization were also solicited and contributed and together provide a fine overview of the organization’s work during the Cold War years, and in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Researching and installing a new electronic system for monitoring the temperature and humidity in our climate-controlled book boxes was another of Bob’s many contributions, and he will be greatly missed.