Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650

Nov. 20, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Through Dec. 18, Perkins School of Theology's Bridwell Library will exhibit highlights from one of the finest private collections of rare books ever created in Dallas.

The Ruth and Dr. Lyle M. Sellers Collection was assembled more than 50 years ago by the late Dr. Sellers, chief of the otolaryngology department at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas from 1946-1963. Most of the collection has never been seen in a public exhibition.

Central to the exhibit are 13 medieval manuscripts, including four exquisitely illuminated Books of Hours; several highly decorated liturgical books; a fine gilded Quran; an ancient papyrus fragment and an important medical treatise in Hebrew, dated 1466. Materials from the 15th century consist of a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible and 13 early printed books, including several translations of Arabic medical texts. Other sciences are represented by important works by Aristotle, Galileo and Audubon.

Highlights from 19th-century literature include famous first editions by Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll. Also of interest are several books once owned by famous people, many fine historical bindings and important monuments from the history of book illustration.

Stored at the Baylor Health Sciences Library for nearly 40 years, the Sellers Collection consists of approximately 2,000 volumes in all fields of learning. For purposes of improved preservation, the Sellers family placed the most precious of the rare books on long-term deposit at SMU's Bridwell Library in 2001. A full-color illustrated catalog by the curator of the exhibition, Eric White, is available at Bridwell.

The exhibition is free and open to the public in the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries at Bridwell Library, 6005 Bishop Blvd. For information, call (214) 768-3483.