Rare Books

ACU Special Collections houses thousands of rare books in several specialized and focused collections:

The Center for Restoration Studies collection specializes on those items produced by or about the Stone-Campbell Movement.  These British and American initiatives to restore apostolic Christianity resulted from the independent efforts of nineteenth-century religious reformers Barton W. Stone and the father-son team of Thomas and Alexander Campbell. Earlier related movements include those led by James O’Kelly in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee and Elias Smith and Abner Jones in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Walter Scott’s preaching, evangelism and writing greatly buoyed the Campbell movement throughout the Ohio Valley. The union of some from the O’Kelly, Smith and Jones groups with the Stoneites, and its subsequent union with the Campbell group in the 1830s thrust the new body into a place of significance in early nineteenth-century America. By the end of the nineteenth century the Restoration Movement spread to other parts of the English-speaking world and today the movement has a presence in nearly 200 countries worldwide.  The items held in this collection represent all three major American communions — Churches of Christ, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — as well as united churches in several other countries.  The materials are primary sources that reveal the history and advocacy of this movement across its many voices, in many places, from its inception until recent living memory. Included here are all manner of published materials: books, periodicals, tracts, and pamphlets.

The core of the Austin Taylor Hymnal Collection is the personal hymn book collection of Austin Taylor, 20th century song writer and singing school teacher among Churches of Christ.  It has been augmented by other donations, such as many items from Dr. Jim Mankin’s personal collection, and continues to grow.  The Taylor collection represents the entire scope of Christian hymnody.

The LeMoine Gaunce Lewis Collection contains monographs from the personal library of Dr. LeMoine Lewis who served ACU from 1949-1986 as a faculty member in the Bible department.  The Lewis collection is strong in early church history as well as rare and fragile volumes from as early as the sixteenth century.

The O. C. Lambert Collection is the personal library of author O.C. Lambert who conducted extensive research and writing about the history, theology and practices of Catholicism.

The C Collection serves as the library’s main collection of antiquarian, rare, or unique books.  Included is a collection of Bibles that spans over 700 different languages and/or versions — including the Waynai Bible (the World’s Largest).  There are also many texts from various religious groups, a host of rare books from every disciplines as well as literary sets, reference works and encyclopedias too rare or valuable to shelve in the main stacks.  A special focus of the C Collection is the history and culture of Texas. Important in this collection are several histories from surrounding counties and  the most complete set of early Abilene city directories.

The Early Day Textbooks (or Curriculum collection, abbreviated as CURR) consists of primary and secondary public school textbooks.  This collection is augmented by occasional donations from personal libraries or by adding extremely old or rare texts from the main library. Almost all imprints are pre-1930.

The International Library for Children’s Literature contains Newbery and Caldecott winners, as well as Osborne Collection facsimiles with some turn of the century editions and foreign language texts.

The Robert Donner Collection consists of books, serials, pamphlets and ephemera on American history, political science, economics, Americanism, minority groups, and Communist and Socialist activities within America.  Robert Donner collected most of his library, which he housed in his Colorado Springs, Colorado office, after his retirement from the Donner Corporation in 1957.  The collection consists of about 4,000 books and over 3,000 pamphlets and ephemeral items.  The research value of the Donner collection is that the materials were printed from within various political movements and therefore often unavailable through traditional commercial publishing channels.  The books and pamphlets of his collection are cataloged and a complete index of the pamphlets, which are housed in a vertical file and on the closed stack shelves, can be browsed here on the web.

The nucleus of the Burnya Mae Moore Cookbook Collection is comprised of cook books and other materials assembled by Burnya Mae Moore, long-time ACU Home Economics teacher (1928-1975). Other titles have been added emphasizing West Texas and Southwest cookery.

The Walter and Nella Robbins Railroad Collection contains books, periodicals, timetables, passes, clippings, and memorabilia collected by Walter Robbins of Palestine, Texas.