Visiting the Collection

  • Hours
  • 1 - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • and by appointment
  • Call or email to arrange a tour:
  • | 785.594.8414
  • Location
  • The Quayle collection is just inside the front door of the Spencer Wing, Collins Library on the Baker University campus.
William A. Quayle (1860-1925)

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.

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.