Skip to main content

W88-0749. Beardslee Library. Records, 1893-2015. 3.50 linear ft.

Identifier: W88-0749

Scope and Contents

The collection contains reports and accreditation and correspondence from the American Association of Theological Schools (AATS). The American Theological Library Association (ATLA) foundation’s organization, Sealantic Fellowship Program, Lilly Endowment for Furthering Education, and the 5-year Library Development Program (1961-1966) that increased the library collection by over 5,000 volumes. Also included are reports and files pertaining to the construction of the second Beardslee in 1955 and the construction and opening of the Cook Center for Theological Resources (Expand Western) in 1981. Additionally, financial reports, bank statements, annual reports, contributions, library guides and policies, library personnel, library committee memos and minutes, salary reports, correspondence, photographs and reports to governmental agencies are included in this collection. This collection also includes files and ordering of the Guttenberg Bible to Beardslee.


  • 1893 - 2015


Western Theological Seminary was founded in 1866 as a part of Hope College to provide continuing education for the seven graduates pursing the pastorate. The Seminary did not have a library until Semelink Family Hall was built in 1895. In 1986, Chambers Library was established in Semelink Hall with a collection size of approximately 4,000 volumes. In 1913, Beardslee Library was built with a collection of 10,000 volumes. In 1954-1955, the library was given a temporary home in Zwemer Hall as the seminary rebuilt its facilities. In 1955, the Beardslee Library reopened in new facility. The collection continued to grow and in 1981 the Cook Center for Theological Research was built and the Beardslee Library covered the first five floors of the six-story building. At this point, the library’s collection had reached 80,000 volumes. Since then, the collection has grown to 110,000 volumes as of 2015. Western lacked a full-time librarian until 1948. Librarians and directors that have served include Evert J. Blekkink (1917-1927, possibly longer), Albertus Pieters (1942-1945), Margaret Van Raden (1945-1950), Mildred Schuppert (1950-1974), Norman J. Kansfield (1974-1984), John R. Muether (1984-1985), and Paul M. Smith (1985-2009). Ann Nieuwkoop currently serves as the interim director of Beardslee Library.


3.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The first Beardslee library was built in 1913, the second in 1955, and the third is currently housed in the Cook Center of Theological Research. The collection contains reports on the American Association of Theological Schools (AATS) and extensive files on American Theological Library Association (ATLA) foundation, Sealantic Fund, and Library Development Program. Also included are catalogue reports marking the progress of the library, circulation records and statistics, book acquisitions, library policies, procedures and meeting minutes and memos, and financial tracking. Detailed Collection Register available.


9 images (Box 2)


Western Theological Seminary Beardslee Library
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Joint Archives of Holland Repository

Theil Research Center
9 East 10th Street
Holland Michigan 49423 United States