Historical commission expresses interest in Spurgeon Library
By Allen Palmeri
February 3, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Historical Commission (MBHC) voted Jan. 23 to form a study committee to explore the possible purchase of the Charles Spurgeon Library and relocate the 5,103-volume collection from William Jewell College to the Baptist Building.
David Daughenbaugh, pastor, Little Blue Baptist Church, Kansas City, was appointed to the committee along with Loretta Johnson, Rondo Baptist Church, Bolivar; and Jim Shaver, pastor, Providence Baptist Church, New Bloomfield. They will give a report at the next MBHC board meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. March 23 at William Jewell College.
Two board members, Milton Horne, professor of religion at William Jewell and executive director of the Partee Center for Baptist Historical Studies, and Andrew Pratt, chaplain and vice president for religious ministries at William Jewell, questioned the formation of the committee at the Jan. 23 meeting. They cited a Jan. 2 letter from William Jewell President David Sallee to Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard that stated, “The Spurgeon Library is not currently for sale."
All things considered, Clippard defended the MBHC’s decision.
“Although it may not be for sale today, there may be a day, and what the commission is doing is making sure that William Jewell knows that they (the commission) are available to purchase it should that day come," Clippard said.
The college obtained the library in 1905 when it raised $2,500 at the Missouri Baptist General Association, the forerunner of the MBC. The collection was delivered to the Liberty campus in March 1906 and is owned by the college. It is housed in the Curry Library.
Spurgeon, one of the most prominent English Baptist pastors of the 19th century who has been called “The Prince of Preachers," had what is regarded as the world’s finest library of Puritan literature in existence. The library contains many personal works as well as volumes of literature, theology, religion, travel, biography, science, hymnody, history and humor.
“I think it’s a good move to say we’re interested in it, because the records that are contained in there are a wealth of knowledge that is really going untapped because people don’t know it’s there," Daughenbaugh said. “If we could get it bought and moved here (to the Baptist Building), it would be far more accessible."
The study committee will examine where the library could be moved to in the Baptist Building, conditions under which the MBHC could purchase the library, purchase price, moving and maintenance costs.
In other business, the MBHC voted to secure the transfer of MBC Executive Board minutes and correspondence files from 1916-1974 from William Jewell to the Baptist Building. Clippard noted that from now on, records of this nature need to come to Jefferson City, not the Partee Center for Baptist Historical Studies.
“We will find the space and make adjustments to handle the records," he said.