Dutch Church Library Provenance Project

In May, Drs. Mark Janzen and Michael Springer brought students from the University of Central Oklahoma to London for two weeks to work on the ongoing Dutch Church Library Provenance Project, a collaboration between Lambeth Palace Library and the Church. The students, History and Museum Studies majors, spent their time researching and cataloguing books given to Lambeth Palace by the Dutch Church following the Second World War. ‘I am grateful for this opportunity providing invaluable experience for our students,’ explained Dr. Springer, a History professor at Central Oklahoma.

‘International field experience is important for preparing students for professional careers, and it is thrilling to work with Lambeth Palace Library and the Dutch Church, two significant institutions in London’s rich history’. Read moreWe participated in the project this summer, gaining archival experience working with 16th and 17th century texts as well as further developing practical skills in communication and teamwork. We are also pleased to assist Lambeth Palace Library, the Dutch Church, and any scholars wishing to use the collection. Our work identifying and cataloging the books, and our research on ownership, will be added to the library’s catalogue and, eventually, to the Dutch Short Title Catalogue making it easier for scholars to access the works. One exciting discovery we made is that the Church’s gift is larger than the previously estimated 200-300 books. Students will return next summer to continue researching this important part of the Lambeth Palace collection. An especially exciting highlight of our time in London was a tour of the Dutch Church and the treasures of its library. We wish to thank everyone who contributed to our experience including Marja Kingma, Diana Mercer, and Dr. Rosalind Janssen from the Dutch Church, and Giles Mandelbrot from Lambeth Palace Library.

Brenna Graham and Taylor Mills

Further to the report by Brenna and Taylor in the August/September issue of the Kerknieuws, we would like to put on record our appreciation of their achievements.

The original focus of our project was on the rare books held in the Dutch Church: to do a stock check, create an electronic database, and add details to the Short-Title Catalogue Netherlands of eligible pre-1801 volumes.  One of our hopes was eventually to extend the scope to identify and record full details of all the titles transferred to the library at Lambeth Palace, but this seemed a distant possibility.  All this changed when Professor Michael Springer, visiting the Dutch Church in June 2016 to give the keynote address at the “I am a Stranger” conference, volunteered the services of his students who would be visiting Europe the following year.  We were delighted to accept his offer, and even more delighted with the results: the students thoroughly examined around 240 volumes and recorded the details on a spreadsheet.  Once completed, one of the possibilities opened up by the Provenance Project will be to “reunite” the collection by creating a single database that will enable scholars to identify related material held at the two different locations.

An interim report on the whole project is in preparation.  In the meantime, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Professor Springer, his colleagues and students at the University of Central Oklahoma and look forward to welcoming them back next year to continue their work on the project.  We are also very grateful to Giles Mandelbrote, Librarian and Archivist, and his colleagues at Lambeth Palace Library, for making this phase of the project possible.

Diana Mercer & Marja Kingma