Andover-Harvard Theological Library has been collecting material in the area of religious freedom for many years. Illustrative of this emphasis is the special collection concerning the Lutherans who were expelled from Salzburg, Austria, in 1731 and 1732. It was one of the most ruthless and severe religious persecutions in Western Europe. Archbishop Leopold von Firmian's Edict of Expulsion ordered those without property to leave within eight days. People with property were given three months to sell out and leave. Many of the poor had to march in winter and died on the way. The emigrants fled to East Prussia, the Netherlands, and the colony of Georgia in the New World. In Ebenezer, Georgia, they built the Jerusalem Church, the oldest house of worship still in use in the state. Andover-Harvard holds a collection of all the eighteenth-century histories of the expulsion, plus tracts, broadsides, and published collections of correspondence, and the library continues to collect related secondary resources.
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was the largest of the Protestant missionary societies active in the nineteenth century. It had missions in more than twenty countries and established printing offices in South Africa, West Africa, Malta, Smyrna, Beirut, Urmia (Iran), Madras, South China, Hawaii, and Micronesia. Presses were also created to print missionary materials for Native Americans, such as the Cherokee, Nez Perce, and Seneca. Andover-Harvard holds a large collection of the pamphlets printed by these mission presses. Most were given to the library in 1968 when the United Church Board for World Ministries (UCBWM), the successor to the ABCFM, closed its library in Boston.
Douglas Horton served as Dean of Harvard Divinity School from 1955 to 1959. His wife, Mildred McAfee Horton, was president of Wellesley College and, during World War II, the commander of the Navy WAVES. The Hortons gave many significant rare books to the library, including a gift of three hundred rare books in 1969. Many are on Puritanism and Congregational polity, which were special interests of Dean Horton. There are many first editions of Puritan divines, such as Increase and Cotton Mather, as well as important tracts of Luther and Zwingli.
One of the important collections that came from the library of the former Andover Seminary when it merged with Harvard in 1908 is the collection of Sprague Pamphlets, named for William B. Sprague of Albany, New York, the author of Annals of the American Pulpit.
Sprague presented the collection to Andover during the years 1869 and 1870. Many early items in the collections belonged to the Reverend John Barnard of Marblehead (Harvard class of 1700). There are about 8,000 pamphlets, including many sermons and biographical pieces on nineteenth-century preachers. There are also special subject sections on temperance, slavery, and peace, among others.
This is a collection of the theological portion of the library of John Codman of Dorchester (Harvard class of 1802). Presented in 1847, it consists of about 1,250 volumes, many of them ancient and in handsome bindings.
The Library holds an extensive collection of Dutch materials representing the writings of the famous Dutch Reformed theologian, Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) and his followers known as Remonstrants. Arminius advocated a more liberal view of theology than the strict determinism of the followers of John Calvin. As such, he is often cited as an influence in the development of both Methodism and Unitarianism.
The Remonstrants were named after the title of a petition presented to the Dutch civil government in 1610 requesting that those ageeing with Arminius be granted rights in the church. In one article they declared that Divine sovereignty was compatible with a real free-will in humans. Following condemnation at the Synod of Dort (1618-1619), many were banished and some persecuted.
The portrait of Arminius is from the Library's Dutch portrait collection which came to the Library as part of the library of Jan Pieter de Bie (1871-1959).