Dr Williams’s Trust and Library: A History
Title Details

360 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

15 b/w, 2 line illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

Dr Williams's Trust and Library: A History

by Alan Argent

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
This first complete history of Dr Williams's Trust and Library, deriving from the will of the nonconformist minister Daniel Williams (c.1643-1716) reveals rare examples of private philanthropy and dissenting enterprise.
The library contains the fullest collection of material relating to English Protestant Dissent. Opening in the City of London in 1730, it moved to Bloomsbury in the 1860s. Williams and his first trustees had a vision for Protestant Dissent which included maintaining connections with Protestants overseas. The charities espoused by the trust extended that vision by funding an Irish preacher, founding schools in Wales, sending missionaries to native Americans, and giving support to Harvard College. By the mid-eighteenth century, the trustees had embraced unitarian beliefs and had established several charities and enlarged the unique collection of books, manuscripts and portraits known as Dr Williams's Library. The manuscript and rare book collection offers material from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, with strengths in the early modern period, including the papers of Richard Baxter, Roger Morrice, and Owen Stockton. The eighteenth-century archive includes the correspondence of the scientist and theologian Joseph Priestley. The library also holds several collections of importance for women's history and English literature. The story of the trust and library reveals a rare example of private philanthropy over more than three centuries, and a case study in dissenting enterprise. Alan Argent illuminates key themes in the history of nonconformity; the changing status of non-established religions; the voluntary principle; philanthropy; and a lively concern for society as a whole.
Prologue
1 Dr Williams and his Will
2 Benjamin Sheppard, Receiver 1721-31 - Faith, Fitness and Diligence
3 Constructing the Library Building 1725-30 - A Proper Plan
4 Francis Barkstead, Receiver 1731-47 - Piety and Charity
5 John Cooper, Receiver 1748-62 - Liberty and Liberal Dissent
6 Richard Jupp junior, Receiver 1762-95 - A Very Respectable Body
7 Richard Webb Jupp, Receiver 1795-1850, and David Davison, Receiver 1850-57 - Fashionable Sympathies Amid Increasing Light
8 Walter D. Jeremy, Receiver 1857-93 - The Scrupulous Observer
9 Francis H. Jones, Secretary and Librarian 1886-1914 - Introducing Order
10 Robert Travers Herford, Secretary and Librarian 1914-25 - Application and Imagination
11 Stephen Kay Jones, Librarian 1925-46, and Joseph Worthington, Secretary 1925-44 - A New Age with Old Strains
12 Roger Thomas, Secretary 1944-66 and Librarian 1946-66 - Trusted Innovator
13 Kenneth Twinn, Secretary and Librarian 1966-76 - Modest Dependability
14 John Creasey, Librarian, and James McClelland, Secretary, 1977-98 - Mixed Blessings
15 David Wykes, Director 1998-2021 - Past, Present and Future
16 Dr Williams's Trust - An Assessment

Appendix 1 Trustees in 1723
Appendix 2 Lists from Short Account (with later additions)
Bibliography
Index

ALAN ARGENT is Research Fellow at Dr Williams's Library, London and minister of Trinity Congregational Church, Brixton. He has edited The Angels' Voice for the London Record Society and is the author of The Richard Baxter Treatises (Boydell, 2018).

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Title Details

360 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

15 b/w, 2 line illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press