Monthly Archives: February 2011

On My Mind – Charles Weber

Twenty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Professor of History Charles Weber was featured in the October/November 1992 issue.

Chuck WeberEarlier this year [1992] the Los Angeles Times reported that the word “global” and its derivatives, such as “globalization,” “globalize,” and (worst of all) “global-ability,” is “fast becoming the business cliche of the 1990s.” We can expect that the use of the term global will increase dramatically in business and politics. Simply reading the newspaper and traveling outside North America makes this observation abundantly clear as we consider the long-range implications of the so-called New World Order. For most of us living in North America it is evident that our own society and communities are increasingly more culturally and ethnically diverse. Global change is all around us.

In my own discipline of history there is a growing tendency to emphasize history’s cosmopolitan aspects and to internationalize the discipline both in scope and in its comparative methodology. It is now expected that one must analyze the larger theoretical and international implications of more specific studies.

In many ways the church has led the way in this globalization. Next year marks the bicentennial of the inception of voluntary missionary agencies started by William Carey. These agencies provided a great impetus to the modern missionary movement. While much has been written about the impact of this movement, it has resulted in a significantly different, worldwide Christian community.

Two hundred years ago over 99 percent of all Christians lived in Western cultures. A hundred years ago this figure was about 94 percent. Today about two-thirds of all Christians live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or Oceania. And the new center of gravity for our Lord’s Church is continuing to shift in this direction.

The prominence of these new churches outside the West is accentuating the global character of the church in many directions. Now these churches outside Europe and North America represent over 1,100 of their own missionary-sending organizations with over 36,000 missionaries. During the last year I have had the privilege of teaching, with Alumni Association assistance, at two centers of the Asian Graduate School of Theology in Indonesia and Korea. What a thrill it is to see the vision of mature, young adults from various parts of Africa and Asia preparing themselves intellectually and spiritually to augment the growth of the church in their home societies and beyond, Likewise their vision has broadened my own.

On campus we are attempting to respond to this globalization. Students must take a course specializing in another culture. Many faculty members and students have involved themselves in academic and ministry activities in regions of growing Christian influence. The College sponsors study programs to East Asia, the Middle East, and various parts of Europe, while the HNGR program encourages, for both students and faculty, study and service in developing nations.

My hope is that as our world becomes more global in its thinking and action–politically, economically, and spiritually–that our thinking will adjust to these new conditions all around us. Our thinking needs to accommodate the new dimensions of the world in which we are living.

Chuck Weber, Professor of History, has been teaching at Wheaton since 1968. He earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in African History and East Asian International Relations. Chuck founded Wheaton’s East Asia study program in 1974 and among the founders of the HNGR program. Dr. Weber’s teaching and research is focused mainly on how African and Asian cultures have developed historically and how they influence the modern world. He is especially interested in how Christians have impacted these societies and the role Christians have played in the development of their national identity.

A Revolutionary Bible…

The early history of publishing English bibles in America was not one of success as a monopoly existed in England and that control extended to her colonies. The “crown” would not allow that monopoly to be breached by giving permission for bibles to be printed in the colonies. In the colonial period bibles were shipped from Holland and England. However, when the war for independence began embargoes began and bibles were one commodity that fell into short supply.

In 1777 the chaplain of the Continental Congress, Patrick Allison, asked its leadership to address this great shortage. In response Congress passed a resolution to import bibles from wherever they could be obtained, “from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere,” however nothing was ever done.

Aitken BibleThis failure of action spurred on the work Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken. This Quaker native of Scotland had only been in the colonies since 1769. He was the publisher of the Philadelphia Magazine along with Benjamin Franklin’s son-in-law Richard Bache. It was Aitken that the newly formed Congress engaged to publish its journals and proceedings. During the war resources were scarce, but Aitken took it upon himself to gather the resources necessary to produce a small “duodecimo” New Testament. Due to the great demand the 1777 volume was reprinted in 1778, 1779 and 1781. Seeing the desire the people had for copies of the bible Aitken sought the support of Congress to produce a complete bible.

Rev. John Witherspoon, president of The College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), spearheaded a review of Aitken’s ability to produce a bible and recommended to Congress that in the “interest of religion, as well as…the progress of arts” Aitken be approved and employed to produce a bible. So, Aitken’s 1782 Bible was the first, and only, bible to be printed with the approval of Congress.

Though other translations of the bible into other languages had been printed in North America, this was the first English bible to be printed. 10,000 copies of Aitken’s bible were printed and it was small enough to fit into the coat pocket of the Revolutionary War soldiers. Today, few copies remain and these are some of the rarest bibles with a single page selling in the hundreds of dollars. Wheaton College’s copy can be viewed on display in the Museum of the Billy Graham Center.

What Wheaton College Did for Me: Carl F.H. Henry

This remembrance by Carl F.H. Henry appeared in the April, 1966, Wheaton College Alumni Magazine, as part of a series called “What Wheaton College Did for Me.”

Carl FH HenryAcademically, high tide at Wheaton came during the senior course in theism and comprehensives, which helped to integrate previous years of study from a Christian perspective. There had been the rigorous discipline of Miss Blaine’s Latin classes, the high humor of Dr. Straw’s logic courses, the intellectual confrontation of Dr. Clark’s philosophy major, and too much more to record. Socially, there was the opportunity to establish enduring evangelical friendships that some day would span the earth, and to find my sweetheart and companion for a lifetime. Vocationally, there was the busy suburban “news beat” for Chicago and Wheaton papers, which helped a former reporter meet the collegiate budget. Devotionally, there were daily chapel, semester evangelistic or revival services, and the house prayer meetings. Spiritually, there were the Saturday night “Midnight Brigade” Sunday school classes at Mooseheart, and preaching opportunities.

All in all, it was a good experience. I have never wanted to undo it. Those of us who rubbed elbows on campus had a sense of destiny in the making. Elsewhere the tide of religion was mainly flowing the other way. We had no option but to drift with that stream or to put evangelical conviction to its test. Alumni went to the ends of the earth, to the frontiers of faith, some to places of peril – and in that time of turbulence they stood firm. It was a great heritage – one we hoped future generations (our children as well) could and would discover and preserve for themselves.

On My Mind – Beatrice Batson

Twenty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Professor of English Emeritus E. Beatrice Batson (who taught at Wheaton from 1957-1987) was featured in the August/September 1991 issue.

Beatrice BatsonWhen I came to teach at Wheaton in the autumn of 1957, I discovered a nucleus of professors and students charged with excitement over Wheaton’s mission as a Christian liberal arts college. Combined with this concern was the belief that mind and spirit should he so constantly and consistently nurtured that complacency would be highly unlikely to make permanent inroads. I found the atmosphere extraordinarily exhilarating. Admittedly, some of us were idealists; perhaps such idealists that not a few individuals determined to find new and different ways of talking about the whole educational process. Through the decades, however, there were still those who were unable to think dispassionately of Wheaton’s mission. Similar zeal is by no means absent in 1991.

Several years following that autumn of 1957, I met at a professional conference one of my former students, then an advanced graduate student at Yale. Among the first questions he asked me were: ‘What are Wheaton students really like now?” and “Is the faculty remembering the mission of the College?” Or in paraphrase, “Are faculty members consciously aware that they are teaching human beings who must make moral and spiritual responses in life ?”

My reply to him was another question: “What kind of student do you wish to see at Wheaton?” Quick as a flash, he answered, “Hungry students. Let them he cynical, and let them be angry.” He continued, “But whatever they are, be sure they are hungry–hungry for nourishment that feeds mind, heart, and spirit.” What came clear was that somebody had a heavy and joyous responsibility. “To study at a college like Wheaton,” he insisted, “is to he exposed to a faculty and a curriculum that will not let students forget the large human questions of meaning and purpose.” However excellent the speakers at that professional conference may have been, it was the urgent tone of my former student’s pleas that lingered longest in my memory.

With the onslaught of unparalleled campus unrest in many colleges and universities during the late sixties and early seventies, prophets of doom began to declare that the liberal arts ideal would wither away or bit by bit literally slip from consideration in the strongest liberal arts colleges. Problems were far too complex, we were frequently told, for contemporary students to spend time on “the arcane vestiges of the past,” as critics pejoratively titled the liberal arts. To jettison every thinker and artist prior to the late twentieth century seemed no solution to some of us. Minds and imaginations burnished on Plato and Aristotle, Aeschylus and Shakespeare, Augustine and Kierkegaard (and scores of others) might well be the sort of informal minds and lively imaginations that should be working on different issues, we reasoned. Besides, students hungered for meaning and purpose.

What my former student urged still persisted in my mind in more recent years when numerous educational leaders held that students were in college to acquire a passport to immediate pleasure, instant success, and economic affluence. This indictment, however, failed to dissuade some of us from our firm belief in the mission of a Christian liberal arts college.

When I left close contact with the thinking of students and faculty for retirement in 1988, I continued to teach one course in Shakespeare. Although I was aware of new theories that pervaded scholarly writing and knew of the abuse that pseudo-scholars heaped upon those who affirmed the liberal arts ideal, I continued to discover that students did not consider Shakespeare’s works to be anachronisms. They perceived that his inimitable writings embodied large human questions and always-contemporary subjects even though the great artist wrote 400 years before they were horn.

In October 1990, I came from active retirement to serve as Kilby Professor of English and from October to May as acting chair, due to the serious illness of my colleague, Dr. Joe McClatchey. In these responsibilities, I had a closer contact with students and more interaction with faculty.

Since that autumn in 1957, many changes have occurred. In this year, 1990-91, faculty were challenging luminaries on their own ground, discussing terms not even named in 1957; students were wrestling with new issues, thinking hard on complexities born of their technological age. As before, there was still a nucleus who saw themselves as “privileged inheritors of a rich legacy” the mission of the Christian liberal arts college. I have a deep conviction, even in my most pessimistic moments, that Wheaton has in its community particular individuals who know that they are “custodians of something immensely valuable,” and they sense a dire need to keep it alive.

Dr. E. Beatrice Batson, Professor Emerita of English, was chair of the department for 13 years. During the academic year 1990-91, she served as Kilby Professor of English and as acting chair. Since her retirement she continues her work as coordinator of the Shakespeare Collection and has organized bi-annual institutes for undergraduate teachers of Shakespeare, sponsored by the Shakespeare Special Collection, since 1992. She received the Wheaton College Alumni Association Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award in 2007.

Origins (of a footnote)

Russell MixterAfter heightened interest following the centennial of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species and publication of the American Scientific Affiliation’s Evolution and Christian Thought Today, edited by Russell Mixter, on February 16, 1961 Wheaton hosted a science symposium, titled Origins and Christian Thought, that eventually stirred up significant controversy for the college. Attendees from the community, particularly a local pastor, spread word that Wheaton was “countenancing evolution and theistic evolution.” Once this was published in conservative journals president V. Raymond Edman received a deluge of concerned mail. Each letter was answered with several documents being sent as enclosures. All this led to a footnote being added to Wheaton’s Statement of Faith that read: “Wheaton College is committed to the Biblical teaching that man was created by a direct act of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race.”

On My Mind – Roger Lundin

Twenty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Blanchard Professor of English Roger Lundin was featured in the April/May 1991 issue.

Roger LundinThis spring I taught The Brothers Karamazov for the fifteenth time; I imagine that over the years I have reread it at least ten times. What is striking is that my experience is as fresh today as it was when I first stood trembling before a class in 1979 trying to unravel some of that great book’s many mysteries. Teaching a novel as rich as The Brothers Karamazov does not involve straining to find something new to say about an all too familiar subject; instead, each time I work through that book, I simply try to remain alert to what it is saying afresh to me and my students about the world in which God has placed us.

When I read The Brothers Karamazov for the first time as a freshman at Wheaton in 1968, Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov addressed my deepest anxieties about faith and doubt. I first taught the novel more than a decade later, only a few months after the Jonestown Massacre I was haunted by the uncanny parallels between the world of the Grand Inquisitor and the totalitarian rule of Jim Jones over his sect. And as I taught the book this past semester, the Persian Gulf War brought home the power of Ivan Karamazov’s struggles with questions of suffering, especially the suffering of innocent children. I teach in full confidence that a decade from now this old book will still illuminate the dark and baffling events of that new day.

Several years ago, the Christian critic Edmund Fuller wrote in his valedictory column for the Wall Street Journal that he was unimpressed by the saying, “You are what you eat.” To Fuller, the far more interesting generalization is, “You are what you read.” The “printed word gives us the extraordinary freedom to choose the intellectual company we will keep, to select those with whom, in spirit, we will walk.” That freedom is a privilege, and “in the highest sense it is a duty, in at least a due proportion of our reading time, Paraphrasing Joshua, ‘Choose you this day whom you will read.'”

As an undergraduate, I came to Wheaton as a new Christian in search of the intellectual and spiritual company of which Fuller spoke. When Beatrice Batson, Arthur Holmes, Morris Inch, and others introduced me to the likes of Augustine, Luther, Dostoevsky, and Karl Barth, I prized the opportunity of entering into dialogues with powerful minds struggling with issues of life and death, of justice and forgiveness. I especially appreciated the fearlessness of my teachers in making me confront the most difficult matters of the human spirit. I profited from encountering the negations of Nietzsche as well as the affirmations of Luther; I needed to hear Emily Dickinson’s questioning of God as much I needed to be strengthened by the poetry of George Herbert; and as a Christian trying to comprehend his world, I needed to understand the secularity of Harvey Cox as well as hear modern words of promise from Helmut Thielicke. Whether being challenged or comforted by works from the distant or recent past, I was learning how to live as a Christian by listening to voices from that past.

As I have taught at Wheaton over the last decade, my sense of the power of the past has become coupled with an awareness of the fragility of what Robert Bellah, in Habits of the Heart, calls “communities of memory.” A genuine community, a “community of memory does not forget its past. In order not to forget that past, a community is involved in retelling its story.” This is one service that a Christian liberal arts education can perform for Christ and the Church in a fractured and forgetful world. By bringing to life the history of human thought and suffering, and by doing so in dialogue with the biblical witness, the Christian teacher is helping to hand down what the Apostle Paul calls the “treasure” we carry in our “earthen vessels.”

Teaching at Wheaton, then, involves storytelling of a special kind. In a remarkable recent book, After Virtue, the moral philosopher Alasdair Maclntyre argues that “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?'” A liberal arts education enables students to see the relationship between their individual stories and the broader cultural story they have been born into and the special history they have become a part of in Christ. The prophet Micah asks, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Whatever its flaws, a liberal arts education at Wheaton is a remarkable thing because of the challenge it sets for students and teachers alike to learn afresh what it means to obey such a command.

Dr. Roger Lundin ’71, Blanchard Professor of English, returned to Wheaton in 1978 to teach literature after earning a master of theological studies at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and his master’s and doctorate in English at the University of Connecticut. He was named junior teacher of the year in 1984 and senior teacher of the year in 1995. Some of Lundin’s published works include: Literature through the Eyes of Faith, Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, and Believing Again: Doubt and Faith in a Secular Age.

To the Moon!

On this 40th anniversary year of the Apollo 14 space mission it is appropriate to consider Wheaton’s relationship to space.

For nearly 70 years a domed observatory, resembling a derelict space capsule fallen to Earth, stood conspicuously on the front lawn of Blanchard Hall. With its telescopic eye poised to the stars, the “Lemon,” as it was nicknamed, informed generations of students about the graceful syncopations of celestial bodies. LemonSince its 1972 relocation to Camp Honey Rock, the Lemon has been replaced by two successive observatories, both situated atop Wheaton’s science buildings. Since its inception Wheaton College has studied the metaphysical Heaven of the Bible, but the observatory symbolizes its engagement with the physical heavens – and those who’ve set their gaze on that boundless expanse.

Harold Lee Alden, born in Chicago, graduated from Wheaton College in 1912. He acquired his master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1913. After that he earned his doctorate in astronomy in 1917 from the University of Virginia, where he researched at the McCormick Observatory, using its 26-inch telescope, one of the largest in the world. In 1925 Yale developed a new telescope and shipped it to Johannesburg, South Africa, to observe the clear southern skies. Alden, sent to direct the program, lived there with his family for nearly 20 years, returning to the University of Virginia in 1945, where he served as professor of astronomy and director of the Observatory until retiring in 1960. He died at age 74. As one of 500 deceased men and women of science, including luminaries like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, Alden was honored to have a crater on the dark side of the Moon named after him.

As a youngster Paul W. Gast, also from Chicago, suffered poor health. Often staying home he read books and magazines like Moody Monthly, from which he learned about Wheaton College. “My ambition has always been research and experimentation,” he wrote on his application. “…And I felt if I was to go into this field it was necessary to go to college.” While at Wheaton, where he was recognized as a top student in chemistry, Gast met his future wife, Joyce, with whom he would parent three children. Graduating in 1952 he pursued advanced education and taught at several universities, notably as Professor of Geology at the University of Minnesota. In 1970 he was hired by NASA as Chief of the Planetary and Earth Sciences Division at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas. As a member of the Lunar Sample Analysis Planning Team, he advised NASA on the disposition of lunar samples brought to Earth by the Apollo missions. For his exemplary service Dr. Gast was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Geochemical Society’s V.M. Goldschmidt Medal and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Science Award. He was president of the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology Section of the American Geochemistry Union, in addition to publishing numerous articles detailing the origin of volcanic rocks, the chemistry of Earth’s upper mantle and geochronology. In 1973 Wheaton College recognized him with its Alumni Service to Society Award. Sadly, Gast had been earlier diagnosed with cancer and died at age 43 in March of that year. “His death,” eulogized geochemist Dr. J. Lawrence Kulp, “is a loss to the nation, to science, to NASA, to his many friends and colleagues, but most deeply to those he loved – his family. May his memory strengthen us, may it enrich our lives and may it turn us to God. That was his desire.”

Grote Reber did not attend Wheaton College, though many of his relatives did. In 1937 Reber, using parts from the University of Chicago and elsewhere, built in his parents’ back yard in downtown Wheaton a radar dish for cosmic radio reception. For ten years he was the only active radio astronomer in the world, listening to the weak but constant static of the solar system. In 1944 he published his discoveries on radio wave transmissions in the Astrophysical Journal. His research paved the way for satellite communications, AM and FM radio bands and cell phones. Reber’s radar dish is now displayed in Green Bank, West Virginia, on the grounds of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Reber’s mother, a school teacher, stimulated her son’s interest in science with articles written by her former pupil, Edwin Hubble, another explorer of interstellar mysteries. Born in Missouri, Hubble lived for several years in the city of Wheaton, though he did not attend Wheaton College. Graduating from Wheaton High School, he entered the University of Chicago; then, as a Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University. In 1923 he published his paper, “Island Universes,” revealing his discoveries regarding redshifts, the increased wavelengths of radiation emitted by a celestial object. The nebulae farther away, he observed, were receding at the fastest rate, indicating an expanding universe. His seminal work placed him on the cover of Time magazine in 1930. National Geographic cited him as possibly the most important astronomer since Galileo, and Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time stated that “Hubble’s discovery that the Universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th Century.” Not only is a middle school in Wheaton named after Hubble, but so is an orbiting telescope, known for its occasional malfunctions as much as for its spectacularly successful functionality. Edwin Hubble died in 1953.

Shannon Lucid was born in Shanghai, China, of parents working with China Inland Mission. When China closed to missionaries, the family moved to Bethany, Oklahoma. From 1960-62 Shannon attended Wheaton College, but departed before completing due to tuition increases, finishing her advanced education at the University of Oklahoma. In 1978 NASA selected her as an astronaut for its Space Shuttle flight crew. Flying multiple missions, Lucid held the record for most hours in orbit of any woman in the world; her record was broken in 2002. She also held the United States single mission flight endurance record on the Russian Space Station Mir. She was been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Russian Order of Friendship Medal. When asked by reporters if she found God in space, Dr. Lucid replies: “No. God found me years ago. That is your story.”

Some information for this entry is derived from Mary Anne Phemister’s 32 Wheaton Notables, their stories and where they lived.

Hamming it up

1939 Tower Radio ClubIn March 1937 a group of radio enthusiasts formed the Tower Radio Club. Using its own funds the club built a 1/2 kiloWatt transmitter that could reach forty states. Under the direction of physics professor Paul E. Stanley the club trained students in radio communication. The club was also able to meet some of the communication needs of the college. The club would also broadcast football games from DeKalb, as well as the North Central College basketball classic.

Former member Clayton Howard ’39 used the skills he picked up in those early years as he later would serve as a technician at HCJB (Heralding Christ Jesus’ Blessings) radio station in Quito, Ecuador. He worked at HCJB for over forty years and was well known as the host of the DX Partyline show. Upon his retirement Radio Moscow broadcast “The living legend of the Andes has retired!” The club continued on for several more decades after Howard’s time.

But when Rich Boyd ’74 arrived at Wheaton College in 1970 he was an DXer (distancer) and wanted to join up with Wheaton’s club ham station, because, as he saw it, every college certainly must have one. He asked around and had no success in making contact. Until, that is, when he spotted the radio antennae perched atop Blanchard Tower. Tracing the cable from the “tribander” he saw them loop into a window in the tower. Some snooping and detective work helped him locate the hamshack on the fourth floor tower room (renamed the Arthur Holmes Seminar room after the 1990 remodeling).

QSL card

Once he made his way inside Boyd found a copy of the club’s ham license and found that the station hadn’t been used since the fifties. The radio gear was in mint condition underneath the dusty tarps. Boyd soon got the club back up and running with a dozen or so other guys.

Just as the radio club continued on for several decades after Clayton Howard’s years, so too did the club go on after Boyd’s time. The Tower Radio Club was operating in the early 1990s when the Internet was mainly for academic use and the World Wide Web was yet the rage. However, today, in the 2010s ham radio operation may be less visible to the average person, but its usefulness is significant, particularly during times of natural disaster as was seen during Hurricane Katrina.

Our Survival in the Nuclear Age – Robert McNamara

Robert McNamaraFebruary 4 marks the anniversary of the first U.S. helicopter being shot down over Viet Nam in 1962, just two months after helicopters arriving in Viet Nam to provide assistance to the South Vietnamese troops. There are few names associated with the entry into and the escalation of U.S. involvement in Viet Nam than Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He had overseen the growth of U.S. military non-combatant “advisers” from 900 to 16,00. There were well over one-half million troops in Viet Nam by the middle of 1968. McNamara’s legacy is tied to the Viet Nam era and the military strategies employed. Despite the negative assocations his defense expertise and intellect were still sought after. On February 4, 1988 McNamara delivered the the annual Tiffany Lecture on Foreign Affairs at Wheaton College. Mr. McNamara spoke on “Our Survival in the Nuclear Age.”

The Tiffany Memorial Lecture on Foreign Affairs aims to foster interest in and understanding of international affairs at Wheaton. The Tiffany fund was established to honor the memory of Orin Tiffany, a long-time Wheaton history professor who had a passion for foreign affairs. Prof. Tiffany had the honor of attending the 1945 San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations. Past speakers include Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mark Hatfield, John Lewis Gaddis, Robert Pastor, Anthony Lake, Robert Seiple, and James Turner Johnson.

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Books Without End

ColophonFor various reasons books occasionally do not make it into a reader’s hands; and so the book that might-have-been acquires a sort of mystique. “A lost book,” writes Stuart Kelly in The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read (2005), “is susceptible to a degree of wish fulfillment. The lost book, like the person you never dared asked to the dance, becomes infinitely more alluring simply because it can be perfect only in the imagination.” The simplest form of loss, notes Kelly, is destruction. An infamous example is the legendary Library of Alexandria, supposedly holding all the wisdom of the ancient world, burning to ashes in a single night. Other books are sacrificed to carelessness, as when a certain publisher moved offices, absentmindedly leaving behind manuscripts in a building slated for immediate demolition. Some books never achieve completion because of the death of the author, as when Charles Dickens expired before solving The Mystery of Edwin Drood, or Geoffrey Chaucer reached his eternal destination before his storytelling pilgrims reached their earthly destination in The Canterbury Tales. Often writers simply lose interest in a project. Probably every archive holding printed matter contains unpublished manuscripts.

The Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections houses a few such documents, material undoubtedly meant to be edited, packaged and distributed to the public, but is now foldered neatly in acid-free boxes and shelved in a climate-controlled facility. A brief survey follows:

The second president of Wheaton College, Dr. Charles Blanchard, left for posterity Psychological Foundations, a book-length manuscript discovered as a worn, yellowed roll in the Blanchard home in 1949 by Dr. Clyde Kilby and Miss Julia Blanchard. It advances Blanchard’s observations regarding the development of the “soul life.”

The late Dr. Joe McClatchey (SC-45), professor of English at Wheaton College, wrote The Praise of God in Literature: From Homer to Hopkins, a 400-page study of worship in western literature as seen throughout the centuries.

Jeanne Murray Walker (SC-72), poet, playwright and Professor of English at the University of Delaware, penned a young adult novel entitled Stranger, dated 1989. Though her editors were favorable and encouraged revision, the book was not published.

Academic Arthur Christy (SC-82), recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Intellectual History and American Literature, committed several years to researching The Thoreau Fact Book, reflecting his interest in the New England transcendentalists. It remained unfinished upon his death in 1946.

The brilliant missionary and political professor, Dr. Kenneth Landon (SC-38), husband of Margaret Landon, author of Anna and the King of Siam, composed an unpublished history of Malaya, along with several uncollected short stories, some of which initially appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.

And, among the papers of Madeleine L’Engle (SC-03), author of A Wrinkle in Time, lay several unpublished manuscripts, including sermons, short stories, retreat addresses, a handwritten novel called The Feast of Stephen and a nearly completed novel called A Lost Innocent, featuring Camilla, who first appeared in Camilla Dickinson (1951) and later in A Live Coal in the Sea (1996). Also archived is the text for an illustrated children’s book titled Moses, Prince of Egypt, intended for release with the 1998 DreamWorks animated film.

Though “lost” to the general public, these works are fortunately still available for inspection in Wheaton’s Manuscript Reading Room.