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by Beth Farwell

The year is 1773.

The curtain rises for a new Christmas play by David Garrick in the famous Drury Lane Theatre in London, England.

The author, David Garrick (1717-1779), was a well-known Shakesperean actor, producer, dramatist, poet, and manager of the theater on Drury Lane. During his long career in the theater, Mr. Garrick introduced a more natural acting style and reformed the theater experience.

242 years later, this same play "A Christmas Tale" comes to life again with the help of Sam Henderson; a modern day actor, writer, director and adjunct professor in Baylor University's Department of Theatre Arts. He is reading from the original play housed in the Central Libraries Special Collections.

Sit back and imagine yourself in this 1773 audience.

Drury Lane Theater

Listen to the prologue with Father Christmas inviting you, the audience, to experience the story.

This particular play in its entirety is available to you through the Baylor Digital Collections. Click here You are also invited to visit the library to see these wonderful pieces of history in person. More information can be found on our webpage:

If you'd like to know more about our wonderful reader, Sam Henderson, you can read more on the department's webpage Sam Henderson.

We hope you've enjoyed this visit into our wonderful treasures. May your holiday season be blessed and full of peace.

We are so grateful for Sam Henderson's help and talents and Stephen Bolech's expertise as our audio engineer. Many thanks!


By Beth Farwell, Interim Director for Central Libraries

Meet Spencer Drango.Beth and Spencer A rare and extremely talented individual who graciously took time off from the offensive line on Baylor’s football team to meet up with a different kind of rare Baylor lineup.

The definition of rare: exceptional, extraordinary, singular.

As #58, Mr. Drango’s 2015 year is exceptional. Currently he is a candidate for All-American, the Outland Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi Award, and the Wuerffel Trophy. In October, 2015 he was chosen as one of 12 finalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy which annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. He is a returning All-American and two-time first-team All-Big 12 honoree listed as the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle by Lindy’s and Big 12’s “Top NFL Prospect” by Sporting News.

Just as impressive is his work off the field and classroom. In May, 2015, Mr. Drango traveled to Brazil for a mission trip. He is the president of BU’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, which is an organization that raises research dollars for rare diseases. Mr. Drango has participated in Baylor’s ‘Feed My Starving Children’ initiative in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Impressed? Standing tall at 6-6 and weighing in at 320, who better than Mr. Drango to introduce you to Baylor Libraries' impressive line of rare miniature books!

Spencer and Dew DropsMeet "Dew Drops". Standing not quite as tall at 6 cm. (2.3 inches) and weighing in at, … well, not too much. This juvenile devotional calendar was published in the early 1800s by the American Track Society in New York.

Miniature books are books that are no larger than 3” in any measurement, although the Library of Congress classifies miniature books as books less than 4” in any measurement.

Miniature books are like any other book on the inside, just printed on a smaller scale. Printings are usually limited to a small run, so these are uniquely rare due to scarcity and additional labor necessary to create these tiny treasures.

Spencer and PsalmsNext on the line is one of our older miniatures, a book of psalms dated 1629. “The whole booke of Psalmes; collected into English meter by Tho. Sternold, I. Hopkins, and others.”Psalms Standing taller at 8 cm. (3.1 inches) this volume was published in London and printed for the Company of Stationers.

Miniatures can be traced back to ancient days with scrolls. One of the earliest known printed miniature books was from 1468, titled “Dirunale Moguntinum” at 65x94mm. Guttenberg’s apprentice and successor, Peter Sheffer, had printed this book in small gothic script. Only fragments of this book are left and can be found at the Paris National Library.

Baylor is fortunate to own a wonderful example of a “Thumb Bible”. See picture at the top of this page. Spencer and Thumb Bible“Verbum sempiternum” published in London by Longman and Co. in 1849, printed by C. Whittingham. This volume is 55 mm. (2.1 inches) and contains 288 pages. This is the 3rd edition and is a facsimile (exact copy) of an imprint dated October 6, 1693. This is not the whole bible, but a paraphrase of the old and new testaments in verse. This miniature is in good condition with a clasp that is still intact.

Our next on the line is a tiny book of poems written in 1899.Spencer and poemsPoems"Poesie di Giacomo Leopardi" was published in Florence and is 7 cm. tall (2.7 inches).

Our final rare book "lineman" stands tall at 5.7cm (2.3 inches). The “London almanac for the year of Christ 1794” was printed for the Company of Stationers in 1793.Almanac This tiny volume contains a full year’s almanac and shows changes of the moon, days of the month, Saints days, time of high water at London Bridge, a table of “Kings & Queens reigns", list of "Lord mayors and sheriffs from the year 1773 to the year 1794", list of “holidays kept at the Exchequer, Bank, Stamp and Excise Offices... in 1794" and a section describing “the current coins".Spencer and almanac

Rare: exceptional, extraordinary, singular. True for both Spencer Drango and Baylor Libraries' miniatures. Whether big or little, Baylor is proud of these extraordinary talents and creations! Sic ‘em!

To see these treasures in person and for more information, please visit our webpage:

I am so grateful to Spencer for taking time out during a very busy fall schedule. Many thanks to Baylor Athletics, Baylor Development, Carlye Thornton (photographer) and Baylor Libraries for making this “meet” possible.

by Ashley Crane, Library Information Specialist

“I’ll seek a four leaf shamrock in all the fairy dells,
And if I find its charmed leaves, oh, how I’ll weave my spells!”
- Traditional Irish Ditty

This Saint Patrick’s Day, Baylor Libraries invite you to seek out your own four leaf shamrock in our own fairy dell - the Meroney Celtic Collection. This scholar's collection of Irish and Celtic Philology was owned and built by Dr. Howard Maxwell Meroney, a 1926 Baylor graduate and former Baylor Scholar-in-Residence.

Who was Saint Patrick? Why is he connected with shamrocks? In honor of this special day, we sent in Ashley Crane to the stacks to investigate. Here is what she found.

The Meroney Celtic Collection has over 1,200 titles - way too many to showcase here! Instead, I’ve chosen my two favorite titles to highlight.

The Life of St. Patrick and His Place in History (call # Meroney BX 4700 .P3 B8) - In this 1905 publication, the author, J.B. Bury, strives to give the reader a clear picture of Saint Patrick, the man, and his works. Bury doesn’t cut out the legends though, he takes us through the facts, as best as he has been able to confirm, then tells the stories that made Saint Patrick larger than life.

11th century Hymn (Bury's Life of St. Patrick)
11th century Hymn (Bury's Life of St. Patrick)
So what did I learn? Saint Patrick is heralded as the patron saint of Ireland, but he wasn’t Irish - he was a Roman citizen born in Britain (though where exactly is unclear). He was captured at 16 and forced to live as a slave in Ireland for 7 years. It was during this time that “the Lord opened the sense of [his] unbelief.” Following his escape, he underwent spiritual training and was ordained. In a dream, Saint Patrick heard the “Voice of the Irish” urging him to return and convert the pagans.

Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland: A Folklore Sketch (call # Meroney GR 147 .W6 v.1 & 2) - This 2 volume set, published in 1902, contains not only information about Saint Patrick, his life, death, and works, but how faith and religion existed before and evolved after. What made this set of books so interesting? W.G. Wood-Martin, went out of his way to include poems, hymns (including a stanza that has been struck from the official version sung in St. Patrick’s Cathedral), and a photograph of the memorial over Saint Patrick’s reputed grave.

St. Patrick's memorial (Wood-Martin)
St. Patrick's memorial (Wood-Martin)
The volumes also contain discussions on little known controversies surrounding Saint Patrick, including what his actual feast day is and what really qualifies as a shamrock. While no historical evidence exists, legend tells of St. Patrick teaching Irish pagans about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by using the three leaves of the shamrock. The lucky fourth leaf? This addition is not attributed to St. Patrick and is simply a modern superstition in finding something unusual. Volume 2 also includes a short entry on another of St. Patrick’s Day’s symbols - The Leprechaun.

Sound interesting? For more information, please visit our webpage:

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Go n-eírí an bóthar leat.
May the road rise with you.

Many thanks to Ashley for her help in this special collection 'dig'. Ashley Crane works for the Baylor Central Libraries as a Library Information Specialist IV in Liaison Services. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and is currently working on a Master of Library and Information Science through the University of Washington. Having studied in Carmarthen, Wales (the birthplace of Merlin), Ashley is continually fascinated by stories and legends of the British Isles including the Saint Patrick, King Arthur, and the Dragons of Wales.


by Beth Farwell, Associate Director for Central Libraries

It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, it was a perfectly sunny day. A day clearly conjured up by our guest and chief weather anchor for KWTX News 10, Rusty Garrett. Traveling a short distance to Baylor campus, Mr. Garrett visited Moody Library and traveled a long distance back in time to the 18th century when weather news was packaged in small paper almanacs.

Rusty Garrett is the perfect host to introduce you to these fascinating historical and rare documents. I predict fair weather ahead.

Mr. Garrett reads Poor Richard
Mr. Garrett reads Poor Richard
Who is Rusty Garrett?

Rusty Garrett has been a member of the KWTX team since 1989 and a student of weather science and broadcasting since high school. His wife Ann is a local schoolteacher and they are the proud parents of a son, Will, who is an Air Force Dental Tech stationed in San Antonio at Lackland Air Force Base.
Mr. Garrett has worked tirelessly to better the Central Texas community through volunteer work, fund raising, and successful family weather safety programs. Rusty is also active in the Masonic fraternity. He holds a 32nd degree endowed membership in the Scottish and York Rites and in 2007 was installed as District Deputy Grand Master for The Grand Lodge of Texas. He is Past Master of Waco’s Fidelis Masonic Lodge #1127.

A few hundred years earlier, another Masonic member was busy in his Philadelphia print shop. Ben Franklin (1706-1790) began printing his famous “Poor Richard’s Almanack” in 1733.

Rusty & Beth investigate almanacs
Rusty & Beth investigate almanacs

Who is Poor Richard?
“Poor Richard” is a title used by Ben Franklin from his pseudonym Richard Saunders.

What is an almanac?
In addition to weather predictions, an 18th century almanac was a book or table that had a practical use as a calendar, church festivals, astrological notes, miscellaneous literary works, and weather guides with seasonal suggestions for farmers. These were the least expensive kinds of books to print and were often produced in large quantities. For many homes, the almanac was one of few printed books owned and these became highly influential and popular modes of communication.
The origins of almanacs could be traced back to 3000 B.C. with the pyramids, time tables and calendars with the beginnings of astronomy.

Mr. Garrett & Poor Richard
Mr. Garrett & Poor Richard

Throughout the Baylor Libraries’ collections, there are numerous forms of almanacs spanning centuries. Almanacs published in colonial America are particularly interesting containing statistics, proverbs, medical advice and remedies, and even poetry. While a very practical tool for farmers, it served as an information source and entertainment in homes where print owned materials were scarce.

What is Rusty looking at?
Baylor Libraries has original almanacs from two of the most famous almanac publishers during this time period.
Nathaniel Ames Almanac 1741
Nathaniel Ames Almanac 1741

Nathaniel Ames was a physician and student of astronomy. Living in Dedham Massachussetts, Ames published The Astronomical Diary and Almanack in 1725 until his death in 1764. While we don’t have direct evidence of quantity, paper companies have estimated that Ames’ almanacs printed no less than 60,000 copies annually. Baylor Libraries' original is dated 1741. You can view the original by making an appointment or see the entire almanac online in our Baylor Digital Collections Click here

Poor Richard's Almanac 1761
Poor Richard's Almanac 1761
Another original document is a 1761 Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard almanac. In addition to seeing the original here in the library, you can also view this one in our Digital Collections Click here

Franklin’s almanac has significant potential for researchers. This particular year in 1761 contains four introductory pages discussing the importance of small pox inoculations and other medical advice. Earlier, Franklin had dismissed the importance of inoculations but became an advocate following the loss of his son to small pox at age 4 in 1736. Other pages contain his well-known proverbs woven tightly into the chart. See if you can find this proverb found on page 20: “Fear can keep a Man out of Danger, but Courage only can support him in it.”
Ben's proverb
Ben's proverb

Even the title pages are interesting. Compare the Ames to the Franklin and you can see the political atmosphere and the lack of a “nod” to King George.

By the early 1800s there were approximately 500 various almanac titles published. Around this time, Robert Thomas established the Farmer’s Almanac which has changed very little since then.

As you can see, these almanacs are rich with history. Rusty and I hope you have enjoyed this spotlight on a few of Baylor’s treasures. Please stop by in person or stroll through our Digital Collections. I wonder what Ben would think of his almanac viewed on the internet?

For more information, please visit our webpage:

1820 almanac
1820 almanac

Many thanks to Mr. Garrett for taking time out of a busy schedule to help highlight these treasures. And a big thank you to Ben Johansen for his mad awesome photography skills!

by Beth Farwell, Associate Director for Central Libraries

Did you hear about the recent national news story covering the opening of the time capsule in Boston? The capsule was first placed in the Massachusetts State House cornerstone in 1795 by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and William Scollay. You can read the article or watch the video here at the Boston Globe.

Even if you aren't a history buff, opening time capsules are thought-provoking events. What was chosen for future generations to see? What conversations lingered into the wee hours while deciding what to add? What got left out of the box? What are the stories behind each item?

As Michael Comeau the executive director of the Massachusetts Archives stated "How cool, is that."

Very cool.

Far from Boston, Moody Library is home to several original items dated the same year the cornerstone was laid. The time capsule was put in place in Boston on July 4, 1795.
Earlier in March of 1795 an hour drive from Boston (or perhaps 11 hours walking), Eli Forbes preached a sermon in Gloucester titled “The importance of the rising generation.” Here is an image of the sermon's title page from the original 1795 copy housed in Moody Library.

Forbes sermon
Forbes sermon

You can read more of the sermon by visiting our webpage ( and make an appointment (call # = BX4253 .F67x)

A day after the cornerstone was laid in Boston, Morgan Rhees delivered a discourse in Greenville, Ohio to the American Army regarding peace and the treatment of Indians. Below, you can see Baylor's original copy of the title page and first page of the discourse.

Rhees discourse title page
Rhees discourse title page




Rhees discourse
Rhees discourse


Continue your research by visiting our webpage ( and make an appointment (call # = E93 .R46)

For a little more drama if we look across the pond to London England, Daniel Isaac Eaton printed and sold "The British tocsin; or, Proofs of national ruin." This 1795 printing followed his arrest and subsequent exoneration during the 1794 Treason Trials in England. This document has great potential for building your research with primary sources in colonial American and British histories. Moody Library houses the 2nd printed edition dated 1795.


View this document by visiting our webpage: (call # = DA35 .B7x 1795)

Baylor Libraries are excited to share these exceptional 220 year old treasures with you.

How cool is that!