VISIT BAKER HISTORY | Quayle Bible Collection

Virtual Exhibits

While the Quayle Bible Collection remains closed out of concern for the safety and health of our visitors, we are excited to share our past five exhibits virtually.  Please click on an exhibit title below to delve further into each topic and see highlights from our unique collection.

Beyond a Text: The Life of Scripture Outside of the Words (2018-2019)

Revolution, Rebellion, and Reformation: 500 Years After Luther (2017-2018)

More than Matriarchs: Women in the Book of Genesis (2016-2017)

King David: Poet, Warrior, Seducer, and Murderer (2015-2016)

Books and Culture (2014-2015)

The Collection

The original collection reflected Quayle’s wide interests. The earliest is a 13th century illuminated manuscript; the latest, a 20th century King James Bible published by the Dove’s Press. Bible highlights include a New Testament of Tyndale (1549), a Great Bible made for Henry VIII (1539), a Geneva Bible (1560), two King James Bibles (1611), a Genoa Psalter (in which Arabic characters first appeared in print), and a leaf of John Eliot’s Algonquin New Testament (1661). But he also collected historical texts by Josephus and Luther, prayer books, books of hours, sermon collections and treatises.

Under the watchful eyes of Hattie Osborne, the first Quayle curator, and President John Scarborough who took a special interest in the collection, it grew quickly. Gifts and purchases filled out and enhanced the collection under Mary McCormick, Ray Firestone, John Forbes, and Kay Bradt. These later additions include a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible (1456), the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), William Blake’s illustrations for the book of Job (1825), illuminated breviaries (eleventh through fourteenth centuries), clay tablets from Ur (2000 BCE). The collection now numbers over six hundred volumes.

Quayle Tour FAQ

How many people can the room accommodate for a tour?

  • 12-15 (depending on the visitors’ ages & mobility)
  • Larger groups may want to divide up and visit multiple locations

Are restroom facilities available nearby?

  • Yes, but they are not large – there are men’s and women’s restrooms, each with two stalls.

How long does a tour take?

  • 30-45 minutes (depending on the visitors’ ages and interest)

What else is there to see on campus?

How far in advance do I need to make arrangements?

  • Two weeks

When is the Quayle Exhibit open?

  • Visitors are welcome to drop in from 1-4 on most Saturday or Sunday afternoons
  • We are closed during the Christmas holidays, on Easter, and during August
  • It is often possible to make arrangements to visit at other hours, if library staff members are available

How can I make a reservation or get more information?

While we wish we could accept every book that donors offer to add to the Quayle Bible Collection, our limited storage space requires that we be selective in what we add to the collection. If you are considering donating a book to the collection, please send an email to that includes as much of the following information as possible:

  • Title as it appears on the title page
  • Language(s)
  • Publisher
  • Publication location
  • Date of publication
  • Size
  • Condition
  • Whether you are the owner of the book
  • Provenance: how did the book get into your possession? What was the chain of possession? Any significance the book might hold to your family?

We also appreciate pictures of the book that you wish to send. After reviewing your offer with the collection curator, Mr. Walling will respond with the decision and next steps. Thank you for considering donating to the Quayle Bible Collection.

Bishop Quayle

Bishop William Alfred Quayle was, by all accounts, an exceptional man. He was born in Parkville in 1860, the son of Manx immigrants en route to the Colorado gold fields. They left the infant with his uncle’s family not far from Baldwin City. He enrolled in the Baker Academy at the age of 14 and graduated from the University in 1885. He was ordained in the Methodist Church in 1886, but continued to teach ancient languages at Baker until 1890, when he became President serving until 1894.

He left academia in 1894 for the church although he maintained strong ties to Baker for the rest of his life. After serving a number of large congregations in Kansas City and Indianapolis he was elected Bishop by the 1908 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. All the while, he wrote prolifically, publishing over twenty books on literature, nature and the spiritual life (more information below).

Quayle treasured books for both their contents and their aesthetic qualities. The books he authored were designed and illustrated with care and his favorite volume from the collection was a beautiful volume, a 13th century Italian manuscript bound in a silver cover. Quayle’s interest in the history of printing and bible translation is evident in the number of early printers and early examples of the milestones of bible translation.

In addition to these rare books, his personal library contained books about books – rare books, early book collectors, the rare book business – all marked in his distinctive hand. In his travels, he met rare book dealers who helped him build the collection, but he seems to have enjoyed the rough-and-tumble of the rare books world as well, bidding on books at auction, himself.

At his death in 1925, he left his collection, which numbered about 250 volumes, to Baker University.

William A. Quayle (1860-1925)

Bishop Quayle’s Writings & Sermons

PDF Icon List of publications by William Quayle, including all known editions

Catalog search for William Quayle as an author, including local holdings and electronic versions (view now link)

PDF Icon List of sermons by William Quayle, including available copies in the Quayle, the Library, and the Archives

The Baker University & Kansas Area United Methodist Archives have four boxes of papers associated with Bishop William Alfred Quayle (1860-1925) that consist of correspondence, books by Quayle, letters and documents regarding Quayle’s literary works and sermons, Baker University related documents, and photographs. The collection is arranged first by initial donation, and then by a later accession. The initial donation consists of correspondence, books by Quayle, letters and documents regarding Quayle’s literary works and sermons, and photographs. Correspondence is arranged chronologically (1891-1922). Two books by Quayle are included, God’s Calendar (1907) and In God’s Out-of Doors (1902). There is also a print titled “Young Aspens” by C.A. Seward. Photographs in the collection are stored separately under call number PH127. There are two photographs, a snapshot of an unidentified elderly couple in a garden, and a gathering of Methodist bishops at Bethany Methodist Hospital, 1920. Also contains Baker University documents including the University Quarterly (a course catalogue), 1906-1907; clippings regarding the university; correspondence between the University and Quayle’s daughter, Allie Quayle; and also a personal ledger of William Quayle’s that contains genealogical information, recipes, and a detailed listing of meals eaten between 1920 and 1923. There are also two manuscripts that may have been written by Quayle: one is titled “Con Amor,” which reads as a love letter to a woman, and one is titled, “The Story of Margaret,” which reads as a letter to a daughter who is battling a debilitating disease. There is also correspondence between Quayle family members (1922), and correspondence addressed to Bishop Quayle. This accession also contains a poem that has someone marked, “possibly a Woodsworth poem.”

Letter from Bishop Quayle, dated 1909

Past Exhibits

Beyond a Text: The Life of Scripture Outside of the Words | 2018-2019

Visit the online exhibit.

pdf Exhibit Booklet

Since its conception, the Bible has been more than a mere book. However, the majority of readers believe the words and their meanings are what make the text special. The average reader may not consider the paper on which the Bible is printed, the shape of the letters, or even the language in which the text is written. The 2018-2019 exhibit of the Quayle Bible Collection will showcase the intricacies of the written word and its ornamentations that make the production of the Bible a special work.

Revolution, Rebellion, and Reformation: 500 Years After Luther | 2017-2018
Visit the online exhibit.

pdf Exhibit Booklet

On Oct. 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk and college professor nailed a list of 95 complaints against the Catholic Church on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Little did he know that his Theses that called for a reformation would lead to a religious revolution. The 2017-2018 exhibit of the Quayle Bible Collection will showcase the history of the Protestant Reformation through texts and illustrations to mark the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.

More than Matriarchs: Women in the Book of Genesis | 2016-2017

Visit the online exhibit.

pdf Exhibit Booklet

With the exception of giving birth, the narratives of women in the book of Genesis are ignored today; however, their stories shape all three of the Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. From Eve to Potiphar’s wife, the 2016-2017 exhibit of the Quayle Bible Collection will showcase the lives and experiences of these significant women through texts and illustrations, and how they are interpreted by multiple religions. The majority of this exhibit was planned by students at Baker University.

King David: Poet, Warrior, Seducer, and Murderer | 2015-2016

Visit the online exhibit.

pdf icon Exhibit Booklet

King David is a complex and, in many ways, contradictory figure. Living during the 10th century BCE, he was the second king of Judah and the first king to unite all of the tribes of Israel in what is now known as the United Monarchy. The exhibit shows images of his rise to power in the Court of Saul, of breaking away and of establishing his own court in Jerusalem as well as the struggles within his court and the triumphs and tragedies of his personal life and relationship with God.

Books and Culture | 2014-2015

Visit the online exhibit.

pdf icon Exhibit Booklet

The Books and Culture exhibit explored ways in which books reflect the cultures that produce them and, in turn, influence subsequent cultural development. Books on display included a beautifully illuminated scroll of the Book of Esther, two Korans, and a New Testament in Cherokee among other

Illuminating the Bible : Woodcuts & Engravings | 2013-2014

pdf iconExhibit Booklet

The printing press was a potent tool for the movers and shakers of the Reformation. William Tyndale, an important Reformation figure and translator of the Bible, is reported to have said, “If God spare my life, before very long I shall cause a plough boy to know the scriptures better than you do.” Thanks to the printing press, his English Bible was widely read throughout England in spite of having been banned.

Tyndale and other Reformation Bible translators made the Bible accessible in the languages that people spoke every day, but that was not enough. They added introductions to each chapter, notes to help the faithful understand difficult passages, maps to orient readers to the events of the Bible and illustrations to capture the essentials of an entire story to be taken in at a glance.

The themes of the exhibit included the Creation, the depiction of God, demons, plagues, miracles, the life of David, wicked women and maps.

The Secret Life of a Jacobean Drawing Room | 2012-2013

pdf iconExhibit Booklet

The Secret Life of a Jacobean Drawing Room explored the 17th century world of the Welsh Marches. Visitors were invited into the drawing room of the Urishay Manor (or Castle, as it is often called) to appreciate the woodwork and stained glass and to absorb its atmosphere. The manor was built by Thomas Delahay toward the end of the 17th century on the site of an 11th century family castle near Peterchurch in Herefordshire.

Books on display included 17th century Bibles, sermons, and prayer books and allowed visitors to delve into the religious, social and cultural life of the period.

The Impact of the King James Bible, 1611-2011 | 2011-2012
400 Years of the King James Bible | 2010-2011

pdf iconExhibit Booklet

On angynne sercēop God hēopenan and eor∂en. So begins one of the earliest English Bibles, dating from about 1000 AD, In the beginning God made heaven and earth. By the time the Authorized, or King James Version was published in 1611, eight more translations had been made. Many copies were burned in large public bonfires only to be replaced by copies smuggled into England in cloak-and-dagger adventures. Two of the translators were burned at the stake. It was a dangerous business!

The Bible – Acted, Sung and Given Ornament | 2009-2010

pdf iconExhibit Booklet

This exhibit focused on how the arts have been used to express and ornament the Bible through history.

What first springs to mind are illustration and illumination of texts and initial letters, from initial letters beautifully decorated with pen work that spill over into the margins to hand painted miniatures and woodcuts.

Music, too, is important to our understanding of the Bible. Psalters, in particular, were instrumental in making us familiar with some of the most beautify poetry of that era. Examples of the work of Martin Luther, Louis Bourgeois, John & Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts and others were on display.

Beautiful papers are used to make important and cherished books even more beautiful. We discovered over 100 examples of marbled papers in the collection – the exhibit highlighted the patterns and techniques of this art form.

History of Writing & Publishing | 2008-2009

The Spencer Wing

In 1925, the collection was housed in an alcove in the library in Case Hall. When the Collins Library was built in 1960, Kenneth A. Spencer, who had served on the Baker University Board of Trustees from 1944-1956, became aware of the need for an environmentally controlled and secure facility. He and his wife, Helen Foresman Spencer provided this wing to house the collection in a controlled and secure environment. Mr. Spencer died before the building was completed, but Mrs. Spencer took an exceptionally active part in the project, furnishing it with a seventeenth century drawing room, the Urishay Room, which provides a wonderful atmosphere and space for special events.

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