Historic books have new 'long loan' home to help researchers

Gibson Library Society Committee Members and volunteers with Saffron Walden Quakers

Gibson Library Society Committee Members and volunteers with members of the Saffron Walden Quaker Meeting and researchers who use the Quaker books. - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

The small but important library of Quaker books kept at the Friends' Meeting House in Saffron Walden's High Street has been transferred to the Gibson Library.

The books will be held in the Gibson Library as a separate collection on a “long loan” basis. It will allow researchers to more easily consult the books.

The transfer was marked by a small informal meeting.

Representatives from the Saffron Walden Quakers met with members of the Gibson Library Society in the Gibson Library reading room.

A considerable amount of preparatory work was necessary before the transfer could take place.


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The books have been individually listed, and a special bookplate inserted inside each book.

For the transfer, the books were wheeled through the streets on a trolley by Karl Gibbs to the Gibson Library, then checked against a list and recorded in the accessions' register before they were placed on shelves.

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Julie Miller and Kevin Davey, two historians with a special interest in Saffron Walden Quaker history of Saffron Walden Quakers, also attended the meeting.

Julie is Curator at the Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon, and a lecturer at Essex University. She is currently writing a biography of the Quaker John Farmer (1667-1724), an early anti-slavery pioneer in North America.

Kevin Davey, who grew up in Hadstock, is the author of an award-winning article on the arrest of a group of Quakers in Hadstock in 1661, which won an award from the British Association for Local History for research and publication.

He also wrote a second article on the anti-slavery campaigners in and around Saffron Walden during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Both articles have been published in Saffron Walden Historical Journal.

Martyn Everett, chairman of the Gibson Library Society, said: “It is appropriate that the books should be held in the Gibson Library, where they will be more easily available to researchers, as the Gibson Library's early founders and benefactors were local Quakers, and we already have several early Quaker publications in the collection - and of course we will be continuing to add new books on Quaker history to the library.”

Kelly Cole and Gillian Williamson receive books from John Evans and David Oelman, Saffron Walden

Kelly Cole and Gillian Williamson (Secretary) of the Gibson Library Society, formally receive the Quaker books for safe keeping at the library from John Evans (Elder) and David Oelman (Clerk) of Saffron Walden Meeting - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Julie Miller, PhD researcher at the University of Essex, and Kevin Davey, author and historian, with Quaker books, Walden

Julie Miller, PhD researcher at the University of Essex, and Kevin Davey, author and historian, who both use the Quaker books for research purposes - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Julie Miller, PhD researcher at the University of Essex, and Kevin Davey, author and historian, with Quaker books, Essex

Julie Miller, PhD researcher at the University of Essex, and Kevin Davey, author and historian, who both use the Quaker books for research purposes - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Some of the Quaker books transferred to The Gibson Library on long loan basis, Saffron Walden

Some of the Quaker books which have been transferred to The Gibson Library, Saffron Walden, on long loan basis - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

A close up of one of the Quaker books which has been transferred to The Gibson Library on long loan, Saffron Walden, Essex

Some of the Quaker books which have been transferred to The Gibson Library on long loan - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Gillian Williamson, Secretary of the Gibson Library Society with some of the Quaker books, Saffron Walden, Essex

Gillian Williamson, Secretary of the Gibson Library Society, with some of the Quaker books - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Kelly Cole and Gillian Williamson (Secretary) formally receive the Quaker books from John Evans and David Oelman

Kelly Cole and Gillian Williamson (Secretary) of the Gibson Library Society, formally receive the Quaker books for safe keeping from John Evans (Elder) and David Oelman (Clerk) of Saffron Walden Meeting - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Kelly Cole and Gillian Williamson receive Quaker books from John Evans and David Oelman, Saffron Walden, Essex

Kelly Cole and Gillian Williamson (Secretary) of the Gibson Library Society, formally receive the Quaker books for safe keeping at the library from John Evans (Elder) and David Oelman (Clerk) of Saffron Walden Meeting - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography


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