If you have never been to the Fuller Archives & Special Collections Department, we would like you to know more about it. We asked our Archives & Special Collections team, Adam Gossman and Yvette Mankerian, to answer a few questions about this very special part of the David Allan Hubbard Library.
What services are offered in the Archives & Special Collections Department, and where is it located?
ADAM: When the Archives were founded in honor of the great missionary and ecumenicist, David du Plessis, it was set out to be a “center for spirituality.” Since then, it has morphed into an extensive ecumenical archive with collections ranging from Pentecostal and Holiness movements to the papers of the former chaplain of the United States Senate, Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, to the Orthodox Prayer Ministry led for so many years by Father Duane Pederson.
In addition to our Ecumenical Archives, we also have Fuller Theological Seminary Institutional Archives, which exist to retain material from throughout our various departments and campuses in an effort to preserve the precious history of Fuller Seminary as it is played out each day.
Our department is also in charge of Special Collections. Unlike the vast majority of the materials in the Archives, special collection items are published material that have particular significance. Practically speaking, the difference between the Special Collections and the Archival Collections is that a patron can check out material from Special Collections, whereas to reference archival material, an archivist must be present, and certain restrictions are put in place to protect the material from damage.
There is a middle ground–and that is the Rare Book Room. We are also the gatekeepers to the rare books, which are the largest and most important of the Special Collections. We treat the rare books as an archival collection, with restrictions and protective measures upon usage.
What is your role in the Archives?
ADAM: My job title is Archivist. My role is to represent the Archives to donors, students, staff and faculty in a way that embodies what it stands for and what Fuller stands for. A major job of any archivist is to retain information, but I also believe that part of my role is to retain the spirit behind the collections we retain. I am infinitely curious about the people who created these collections and the people these collections are about.
YVETTE: I joined the Archives team as the Archives Digital Access and Preservation Librarian very recently to aid in the digitization efforts of the carefully preserved historical documents and artifacts belonging to the various donors as well as the institution. The accessibility of the variety of items, stemming from audio/visual to artwork to written sermons, will aid anyone who is looking to amplify his or her research or spiritual growth. Together with the Archivist, Adam Gossman, we hope to bring to light and give access to our wonderful collection.
What collection or single item is your favorite in the Archives?
ADAM: This I don’t have an answer for. There are many things that are completely awesome. We have a Chinese “coin” from the year AD 14. One of my other favorites is a Greek New Testament which was given to Adolph von Harnack’s nephew at his confirmation. Later, Harnack’s nephew grew up to be a staunch atheist, but his sister was a part of the resistance to the Nazis and actually fell in love with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s brother.
Father Duane Pederson gave us some sacred icons painted by a monk in prison, with special paint made from various products, like ketchup. They are quite beautiful. I have yet to figure out a safe way to display them.
YVETTE: Being new to the Archives, all collections and items are intriguing and amazing. I have to say that, at the moment, I am fascinated by the small collection of pottery housed in the Archives. These items are mostly from the Holy Land with a few from Iraq, before their museum was looted.
What do you want people to know about the Archives that most people don’t know?
YVETTE: The Archives facilities are state of the art, with climate controlled environment and ample shelving for the variety of items we house. It is rich in Fuller Theological Seminary history as well as with individual donors who have been a major influence at this institution. This collection is growing not only by content but by being accessible to our faculty and students alike.
ADAM: The Archives are rooted in an effort to expand ecumenical dialogue through study and worship. On February 7, 1985, when many of Fuller’s current students were in diapers or not yet born, the David Du Plessis Center for Christian Spirituality was founded.
We are still very committed to the ecumenical goals originally established. The Center has morphed and evolved into the current Ecumenical Archives, in which several denominations are represented, including Eastern Orthodox as well as Presbyterian. We seek to expand our representation of various traditions of our great theological heritage.
In addition to the denominational collections we also have a Performing Arts section, which houses a collection of James Dean material and a Philip Shen original origami collection. We have a Missionary and Psychology section as well; an Ecumenical Section that houses material from the Southern California Ecumenical Council; and the expanding and growing collection of materials from the Berlin Fellowship that ministered in Germany during the Cold War.
We also have an expanding Media Archive, which includes photos of distinguished figures in Fuller Seminary’s history, and a vast collection of video material including Fuller’s institutional videos.
The most important thing for people to understand about our Archives is that we would love to show you around.
How can people visit the Archives and see the collection?
ADAM: Please make an appointment if you would like to visit the Rare Book Room, Archives, or Special Collections. E-mail email@example.com or call 626.584.5311. Please also visit our Web site: http://libraryarchives.fuller.edu/.