The following is from the July 21, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

SMU Perkins librarian's career spoke volumes

But after 46 years, the Rev. Page A. Thomas will mosey on

The Dallas Morning News

How many theology school librarians are also, in their spare time, blacksmiths?

The Rev. Page A. Thomas may be the one and only. He appears to have made history in another way, by avoiding getting moved from job to job, which is what the United Methodist Church does with ministers.

For 46 years, deans of the Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University successfully petitioned UMC bishops to let Mr. Thomas keep working at Perkins' Bridwell Library.

Mr. Thomas – who cuts a vivid figure in a religion library by wearing boots, Western shirts and bolo ties – is stepping down this summer.

"He will retire as the holder of a record that may never be broken – the longest number of years of service in a single appointment by a Methodist minister," said William Lawrence, Perkins' dean.

Mr. Thomas describes his career as an accident that went on for nearly half a century. "I really haven't regretted a minute of it," he said.

Scholars of Methodism certainly haven't regretted Mr. Thomas' career. Retired Bishop John Wesley Hardt of Dallas, author of books on the denomination's Texas history, describes him as a leading figure in Methodist studies.

Richard Heitzenrater, former acting director of Bridwell Library and now a professor and Methodist studies expert at Duke University Divinity School in North Carolina, said:

"Nobody knows more about Bridwell, from the infrastructure systems of the building, to the technical library operations within the building, to the books in the collection, to the services that support the work of the students and faculty, to the programs that serve the public in the Dallas area and the nation."

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