The Library's Special Collections consist of 30,000 volumes with an emphasis on Anglican and Episcopal documents, early Bibles and editions of the Book of Common Prayer. Rare printed Bibles include the Coverdale Bible (1535), the first complete Bible printed in English, and a first edition of the Authorized King James Version (1611). Other significant holdings include works of sixteenth through nineteenth century English theology, important editions of patristic texts, devotional works and sermons from the 15th to the 20th centuries and include more than 120 incunabula.
Collection strengths include: editions of the Bible in English, Latin, the major European languages, as well as native American, Asian, and African languages; biblical exegesis; editions of the Book of Common Prayer from 1549 to the present day, in every language represented in the Anglican Communion; English Theology from the early sixteenth to the nineteenth century; Anglican ecclesiology; and neo-Gothic church architecture. In addition, a small but distinguished group of medieval illuminated manuscripts is housed in Special Collections.
Also included within Special Collections are the GTS Archives, which contain archival papers of many Episcopal bishops from Samuel Seabury to the present, including significant correspondence of virtually every U.S. Episcopal bishop from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. The Archives contains the Episcopal Church's diocesan convention and journal records dating from the eighteenth century, as well as significant materials that describe the history and mission of The General Theological Seminary from its founding in 1817 to the present. The mission of the Archives is to identify and preserve significant and unique records generated or received by the General Theological Seminary community that have enduring value and are past the period of active use. Access to materials is regulated to safeguard confidentiality and privacy in accordance with policies established by the Library.
Special Collections and Archival Material GuidelinesSpecial Collections are available by appointment between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, with the exception of GTS holidays. A library staff member will be present in the Rare Book Reading Room while rare, manuscript or archival materials are being used.
Patrons who wish to have access to special collections and archival materials must make an appointment with the Reference Librarian and have an approved Keller Library research application on file at the Library. Contact the Reference Librarian at 212.243.5150, x323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss access. Twenty-four hours advance notice is required for requests.
Procedures for Requesting Materials
Researchers must complete and sign an application form once each fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) and must provide acceptable identification (driver's license or photographic I.D. card, photocopy kept on file).
All manuscripts and archival materials are housed in closed stacks. Readers may request particular items by submitting the appropriate call slips to the Reference Librarian or the Technical Services Librarian. The materials will be brought to the researcher. No material will be pulled for use after 3:45 p.m.
All materials must be consulted in designated areas only and may not be taken to other areas of the Library. The Library reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before a patron leaves the building.
Handling and Care of Special Collections Materials
Special collections materials may be used only in the Rare Book Reading Room, with the permission of the Reference Librarian or the Director of the Library. The librarian will inspect all materials at the end of the appointment.
Researchers will be asked to leave all belongings in a locker (other than a laptop, pencil or sheet of paper) while using Special Collections materials. Individuals not affiliated with The General Theological Seminary must have an approved application form on file at the Library in order to use Special Collections materials. Rare or fragile material may not be photocopied.
The researcher must accept the responsibility of handling carefully all materials made available. Manuscripts and archival materials are to be maintained in the order in which they are received by the researcher. If any material is discovered out of order, please notify the Librarian. Do not rearrange papers. Manuscripts and books may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced over or handled in any way that may damage them.
Researchers may be limited in the amount of material received at one time, usually no more than one item.
The use of ink is strictly prohibited.
No beverages are allowed when using Special Collections material in the Library, and smoking is prohibited.
All materials must be returned to the Librarian by 4:00 p.m. or before the researcher leaves the Library.
Mutilation, destruction and theft of Archives and Manuscripts materials are subject to prosecution.
Reproduction for Research UseThe Christoph Keller, Jr. Library will consider requests for reproduction of material when such duplication can be done without injury to the material and when duplication does not violate donor agreements or copyright law. Requests for reproduction will be considered on an individual basis. Requests for duplicating certain materials may require the approval of the Library Director. All duplication requests must be made before 3:45 p.m. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish.
Permission to PublishResearchers should be aware that the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, USC) provides protection for unpublished materials as well as for published works. Permission to publish from or to quote from previously unpublished manuscripts or from published items under copyright first must be obtained from the copyright holder. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure that permission. For original manuscript materials, the permission of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, as owner of the originals, is also required. In most instances, the Library does not hold the copyright to materials in its holdings.
For any use of the materials or content from the Keller Library’s Special Collections, the researcher must agree to acknowledge the Library as the source of the original material in published works. Use the credit line: Courtesy of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, General Theological Seminary, New York, NY.
CitationsWhen citing material from manuscript collections in this library, please use the following form: [Identification of the item and the title of the collection], [Identification of the record group or manuscript collection number], Special Collections, Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, General Theological Seminary.
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