Woodstock College Library - An Eclectic Collection

Online Exhibitions

The Woodstock Theological Library collection has a long pedigree in Jesuit Institutions serving the needs of scholastics. While it was assembled in 1869 for the express purpose of providing a theological resource for the Woodstock College, it contains far more than just theological tomes. The exhibit on offer is meant to showcase a number of works by famous authors from across the spectrum held within the library collection. The broad collecting interests of past librarians, and the catholic interests of Jesuits, can be seen in this showcase, with first editions of seminal works of poetry, natural science, and literature. While you might expect a Suarez and Aquinas, the collection shows its richness with Galileo’s Works rubbing hardback covers with the Collected Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. With such a wealth of material, the collection continues to serve students and scholars of all interests.


The exhibit is currently displayed in Wolfington Residence Hall, home of the Jesuit Community at Georgetown. 


The Game of Logic

Carroll, Lewis, and J. P. (Jørgen Pedersen) Gram. The Game of Logic. [First edition], Macmillan and Co., 1886.

Lewis Carroll, of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland fame, wrote this work, part game and part textbook, as an attempt to teach symbolic and propositional logic. With a four year training in philosophy for every Jesuit seminarian, it seems that librarians were looking for interesting ways to teach the curriculum by using Lewis' novel approach.  


Works of Galileo Galilei

Galilei, Galileo. Opere di Galileo Galilei : nobile fiorentino accademico linceo : già lettore delle mattematiche nelle Università di Pisa, e di Padova, dipoi sopraordinario nello studio di Pisa : primario filosofo, e mattematico del serenissimo Gran Duca di Toscana. Nuova ed. Firenze: G. Tartini, 1718.


The first volume in a three volume series of the collected works of Galileo Galilei printed in 1718. Woodstock has a strong collection of early figures in the history of science, with the works of Darwin, Bernoulli, Newton, Bacon, Copernicus, and Boyle among its holdings. 


Newton's Principia

Newton, Isaac, and Roger Cotes. Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. 1713.

The second edition of the Newton’s most celebrated work, the Principia. It is within this work that Newton expounds on the laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation.


The Innocents Abroad

Twain, Mark, and Mark Twain. The Innocents Abroad, or, The New Pilgrims’ Progress : Being Some Account of the Steamship Quaker City’s Pleasure Excursion to Europe and the Holy Land ... American Pub. Co., 1869.


The Jesuits at Woodstock, were not only interested in works of history, science, and theology, but also had a collection of novels. Here we have a first edition of Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, which chronicles Twain's excursion through Europe and the Holy Land aboard a retired Civil War steamship. 


Leaves of Grass

Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass. Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, 1860.


The collection also contains a great deal of poetry, both their own and the celebrated poets of the day. Displayed is a rare third edition of Walt Whitman’s endlessly rewritten epic poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, a collection which started at 12 poems, and by the final edition, ballooned to over 400. The stamps on the title page indicate how the Woodstock collection grew over time, with additions from the Jesuit novitiates in Frederick, Maryland, and St. Andrew-on-Hudson, in Poughkeepsie, New York. 


Gerard Manley Hopkins

Hopkins, Gerard Manley, and Robert Bridges. Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Now First Published. [1st ed.], Humphrey Milford, 1918.

Published thirty years after his death, this first edition of the works of Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, includes such celebrated poems as Hurrahing in Harvest and God’s Grandeur (displayed). It would be hard to find a poet more greatly admired by Jesuits than Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit himself. 


Brideshead Revisited

Waugh, Evelyn. Brideshead Revisited; the Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, a Novel. Little, Brown, 1945.


Another work which interested the librarians at Woodstock was the great 20th century novel, Brideshead Revisited, by the British Catholic convert, Evelyn Waugh, which follows the relationship of Charle’s Ryder and the Flytes, an old aristocratic Catholic family. Woodstock's copy is a first edition.  


Melville's Wordsworth

Wordsworth, William, et al. The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth : Together with a Description of the Country of the Lakes in the North of England, Now First Published with His Works ... J. Kay, Jun. and Brother, 1839.

One of the great treasures within Woodstock's collection is Herman Melville's copy of the Complete Poetical Works of Williams Wordsworth, with his own annotations. The annotations are not extensive, however, on the title page he records where he read it, sailing onboard the Meteor and the North Star while in the Gulf of Mexico.  Further information can be found in an article by Thomas Heffernan. 



Poe's Eureka

Poe, Edgar Allan. Eureka : A Prose Poem. New York: Geo. P. Putnam, of late firm of "Wiley & Putnam, 1848.

Though the theological material within the Woodstock collection was largely orthodox, they were not above collecting their rivals. Eureka, one of the final works of Edgar Allen Poe, is a long cosmological poem detailing his thoughts on the relationship of material and spiritual reality that was decidedly strange. The work was equally derided and celebrated when it was published, and is quite rare, with only 500 copies in existence.


Curated by Adrian Vaagenes