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Arts Center - Rare Sacred Music

Collections housed in the Arts and Special Collections Research Center. Highlighting rare hymnals and medieval music manuscripts.


The Arts and Special Collections Research Center includes many rare hymnals, tune books, and gospel songbooks dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries.  They have been acquired through many donations and purchases over the years, with those listed below contributing the majority of the works. 

Harry Eskew Hymnology Collection

Consists of some 2,200 volumes of hymnals, hymnology books and journals, and related works on church music and worship. Most of the items are from the 19th and 20th centuries. Many languages are represented, including Arabic, Hebrew, German, French, Latin, and Japanese. Rare items in the collection include a first edition of William Walker's Southern Harmony from 1835 and William Tans'ur's 1764 tune book, Royal Melody Compleat, The New Harmony of Sion.

Collection of Travis and Margaret Bassett Johnson

Contains more than four hundred rare and out-of-print songbooks.  Included are collections of American, English, Irish, Scottish, and German songs; hymnals and psalm collections; gospel song compilations; early American oblong tune books; school and college songbooks; collections of spirituals; Stephen Foster songs; and folk songs of numerous groups and nations.

Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley Collection

The Ouseley Collection contains 297 books and scores from the library of Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825-1889), an English church musician, scholar, and composer.  Most of these items date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and include hymnals, anthems, cathedral books, organ music, part songs, madrigals, oratorios, and operas, as well as books on music. 

P. Boyd Smith Hymnal Collection

This collection of more than 400 hymnals was a gift to Baylor from California Baptist University, home of a larger P. Boyd Smith Hymnology Collection. Smith was the first president of CBU; the collection was originally donated by his son, S. E. Boyd Smith, who was a founding member of the music faculty. The hymnals are all from the 19th and 20th centuries, dating as far back as 1825.

University Libraries

One Bear Place #97148
Waco, TX 76798-7148

(254) 710-6702