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CTSFW Announces New Additions to Rare Book Collection
The Reverend Doctor D. Georg Williams Collection of Rare Books
|FORT WAYNE, IN, September 22, 2022—Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW) dedicated The Reverend Doctor D. Georg Williams Collection of Rare Books September 16, 2022, at a small service held in the Elaine Kirkpatrick Rast Reading Room outside the Ross Rare Book Room on campus. The 378 volumes, collected by the late Pastor Williams over the course of his lifetime, were transported to Fort Wayne from Nebraska by Williams’s wife, Georgia, his daughter, Rachel Hollingsead of Papillion, Nebraska, and friends from Zion Lutheran Church in Ainsworth, Nebraska, where Williams served as pastor for 42 years.|
|Williams, an alumnus of Concordia Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1977; STM, 1985), left his collection of rare books to CTSFW in his will. Georgia Williams notes that he started collecting in 1973, when he began his seminary training in Springfield, Illinois, and he was constantly looking for rare books to purchase.|
CTSFW President Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast Jr., who presided at the dedication service, thanked the Williams family for the remarkable gift, noting the importance of collections like these in the formation of future leaders of the church. “With the Georg Williams Rare Book Collection, you see how all the people of God, working together, provide these resources for the continued proclamation of Christ and His Gospel throughout the ages,” said Rast.
Williams had a particular interest in editions of the Book of Concord and the works of 16th-century theologian and reformer Martin Chemnitz. Georgia Williams joked that Pastor Williams would “spare no expense when it came to Chemnitz.” Several of the Chemnitz volumes were on display at the dedication, integrated into a special display behind glass celebrating the 500th anniversary of Chemnitz’s birth (November 9, 1522). Chemnitz volumes in the Williams collection include editions of the Examen (The Examination of the Council of Trent), the Harmoniae Evangelicae (The Harmony of the Gospels), and the Loci Theologici (Topics of Theology).
|The impressive collection also includes a 1523 Wittenberg printing of a Martin Luther sermon for Pentecost, a 1552 Johann Brenz Catechismus Pia et Utili, the 1560 Philip Melanchthon Corpus Doctrinae Christianae (Summary of Christian Doctrine), and six 1580 first editions of the Book of Concord, including four Dresden editions, one Tuebingen edition, and one Magdeburg edition.|
|Rev. Prof. Robert Roethemeyer, the Wakefield-Kroemer Director of Library and Information Services at the Seminary, walked some of these volumes around the room, pointing out their special features.|
“I’ve had the privilege for nearly four decades now as a theological librarian to handle many editions of the Book of Concord,” Roethemeyer told the group. “But never did I have the experience until last night, around the table in the preparation room with the family as we were pulling these volumes out, to enjoy an exquisite example of a 1580 Book of Concord, Magdeburg edition. The title page is just glorious. It has not been marked up. It survived all these many years.”
|Several of the books in the collection include notes in the margins—many in different languages and even centuries apart from other notes in the same book. Williams delighted in finding and reading these unique and interesting insights from some of our early church fathers as they went through their own formation.|
|“I don’t think George ever wrote in the books,” said Georgia Williams. “But he loved to read what the other people wrote.”|
Dr. Williams was a “consummate pastor-scholar who placed his considerable intelligence in the service of the crucified Savior,” according to CTSFW professor Rev. Dr. William Weinrich, who provided material for a tribute that was read at the dedication. “He was a scientist, a wonderful linguist, a deeply read theologian, and a remarkable preacher.”
With the addition of the Williams Collection, CTSFW’s rare books collection now stands at just over 6000 volumes.
About Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne
|Founded in 1846, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, forms servants of Jesus Christ in a vibrant, Christ-centered theological community that engages and resources the church and the world, domestically and internationally, with distinctively Lutheran teaching, practice, and worship. To learn more, visit ctsfw.edu.|