The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Review: “Baptist Autographs in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 1741-1845”

with 4 comments

Baptist Autographs in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 1741-1845

Transcribed and ed. Timothy D. Whelan

Mercer University Press, 2010, 522pp., cloth, $55 / £48.95

ISBN 978-0881461442

The ‘accidental’ discovery of a few letters by the editor of this volume led to further burrowing into the archives of the John Rylands University Library, eventually bringing to light some 300 letters sent within the Baptist community from 1741 to 1845, the vast majority previously unpublished. Diving in, we enter worlds at once strange and familiar, displaying a whole range of theological, ecclesiastical, and domestic concerns across a fascinating and seminal one hundred years of denominational history. In this, the volume transcends the merely academic sphere, and sheds light on a swathe of issues of principle and practice, both seemingly prosaic and indisputably significant. Although many letters involve luminaries such as John Sutcliff (prominently), Andrew Fuller, John Gill, the senior and junior Rylands, William Carey, William Knibb, Joseph Ivimey and John Rippon, there are hosts of less well-known men and women represented, plus non-Baptists such as George Whitefield and John Newton. The biographical footnotes and the magnificent 126 pages of biographical index, giving sketches of some 300 individuals, are probably worth the price of the book in themselves, not to mention a variety of helpful indeces. We owe Dr Whelan a great debt of gratitude for his painstaking labours, which have made available an invaluable resource for Baptist historians, and one which individuals as well as colleges and seminaries will crave.

PS I know it’s a Ronseal title, and not the most thrilling (this may not be a field where imagination is in great demand), but at least you’ll not forget what’s inside.

4 Responses

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  1. I got a copy with a gift certificate my sister gave me for Christmas. Good stuff.

    Barry King

    Saturday 12 February 2011 at 23:27

  2. Brother, thank-you for drawing your readers’ attention to this. Would it be possible to let me know if there are any letters to or from Alexander Carson in it? Thanks!
    PS. Say hi to your dad for me.

    ianclary

    Sunday 20 February 2011 at 21:01

    • Hello, Ian – greetings back from the esteemed parent. With regard to Carson, I regret to say that the indeces for authors, recipients, and honourable mentions do not contain his name even once. I hope that’s not too disappointing.

      Jeremy Walker

      Monday 21 February 2011 at 08:14

      • Not surprising, but it would have been wonderful if he had. I’m hoping to find letters by Carson and this would have been an easy place to start. Thanks for looking!

        ianclary

        Monday 21 February 2011 at 13:04


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