Saturday, March 28, 2015

This Week in Texas Methodist History   March 29

Martin Ruter Inventories  Basic Methodist Library  March  30, 1838

Suppose you were given the task of bringing Methodism to a foreign country.  You would certainly want doctrinal tracts, Bibles, hymnals, Bible commentaries, expositions, Christian history, etc.  How would one choose what to bring?

We are fortunate that Martin Ruter’s list of books he had shipped to Texas from the United States survives.  It provides a wonderful insight into what constituted a basic Methodist library in the 1830’s.  One should remember that Ruter was Book Agent at Cincinnati from 1820 to 1828,  college president, and a prolific author.  With the possible exception of Nathan Bangs no one was more qualified than Ruter to draw up such a list.  

In the era before modern freight services how did one get boxes of books from the Ohio Valley to Texas?  The answer is through the services of consignment agents.  Such brokers existed in all the important ports of the era.  One would send a shipment to one of the agents who would hold it until the owner or owner's representative picked it up.  It was that system that produced the list from March 30, 1838 because Martin Ruter gave David Ayres authority to receive the book shipment at Columbia “or any other port.”  

Ruter wrote the list from Centre Hill, where David Ayres lived.  Here is the list

1 set Fletcher’s works
10 Ruter’s Gregory
1 set Wesley’s Works
2 Watson’s Institutes (in one vol.)
1 Watson’s Institutes (in two vol.)
10 Life of Wesley
20 Nelson’s Journal
100 Disciplines
100 Hymnbooks  24 mo
100 Hymnbooks 48 mo
100 Hymnbooks 72 mo
10 Polyglott Bibles
500 Scriptural Catechisms
100 Sabbath School Hymnbooks
100 Testaments
1 Set Clark’e Commentary
6 Hymbooks 24 mo
12 Christian Pattern
12 Mrs. Rowe

50 Common Bibles
100 Testaments
To give to Schools. 


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