Adventures in the Archives: Rare Books

Although Trinity’s archives has a large number of collections dating to the 20th century, there is a portion of the collection that dates to a few centuries earlier. We call it our “Rare Book” collection. The collection consists of over 200 books dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, with the majority being from the two centuries in between. Authors in our collection include the likes of Jonathan Edwards, Pierre Bayle, Philipp Spener, John Calvin, George Whitefield, Isaac Watts, and Immanuel Kant.

How did Trinity acquire this impressive collection? According to Dr. Woodbridge (a church history professor who taught here for 47 years and has amazing stories), we can thank Dr. John Warwick Montgomery for our collection.

Dr. Montgomery taught church history at TEDS from 1964 to 1974. He has also taught at a number of other universities, including Patrick Henry College and universities in Canada and England. His love of academia is also evident in the fact that he has earned 10 degrees, including PhDs, law degrees, and librarian degrees.

From 1959 to 1960, Dr. Montgomery served as a librarian at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School library, which explains his future interest in acquiring Trinity’s rare book collection. According to Dr. Woodbridge, Dr. Montgomery would travel to Europe in the summers, and found all of the books in our collection from bookshops over there.

Another contribution that Dr. Montgomery made to Trinity was co-found the Simon Greenleaf School of Law in 1980, which became Trinity Law School in 1997. It is located in Santa Ana, California. The goal of the school is to integrate the Christian faith with law.

Dr. Montgomery currently lives in Europe, and is a prolific writer. You can check out one of his many books at our library: Click Here




Balmer, Randall Herbert. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

“History.” Trinity Law School. (accessed November 16, 2017).

Martin, David V., and Nigel M. de S. Cameron. Trinity International University 1897-1997: A Century of Training Christian Leaders. Deerfield, IL.: Trinity International University, 1998.

“Who’s J. W. M.?” John Warwick Montgomery. Last updated July 21, 2016. (accessed November 16, 2017).

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