December 8, 2016

Treasures from the Rare Book Room


Did you know Starr King School for the Ministry is home to a 1,300-volume library covering the history of Unitarian Universalism all the way back to the early 16th century? The Earl Morse Wilbur Rare Book Collection, named for the school’s first president (1904 to 1931), is one of the most comprehensive libraries on Unitarian Universalism and attracts the interest of theologians both near and far. Recently, members of the Starr King community revisited a particularly special book on behalf of a Bulgarian scholar. In a Facebook post, one of them describes a book pictured above:

“The little book to the right of the fat book, accessorized with a shoelace, is a 1609 edition of the Racovian Catechism, a Unitarian catechism printed in Poland. In 1609, Galileo was still messing around with telescopes and Shakespeare had published his first book of sonnets. This edition was dedicated to James I of England, who ordered all copies burned in 1614. A SKSM student and I took some photos today for a scholar in Bulgaria. This copy was brought to Berkeley by our seminary’s first President, Earl Morse Wilbur. Miss Lucy Lowell, of Boston, established a fund to buy books on Socinianism for the seminary.”

Books of the Earl Morse Wilbur Rare Book Collection can be studied on an appointment basis. To learn more, click here.

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