University Library to Showcase Extensive Private Collection of C.S. Lewis Materials Donated to Mercer

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More than the Wardrobe

MACON – Mercer’s University Library will host a special event, “More than the Wardrobe,” March 21-22 in Macon to showcase an extensive private collection of C.S. Lewis books and materials procured by the late Rev. Perry C. Bramlett.

Rev. Bramlett was a graduate of Southern Seminary, respected minister, noted author and dedicated Lewis scholar. His collection was donated to the University in 2016 by his widow, Joan Fine Bramlett of Fairhope, Alabama.

“The Bramlett Collection provides the library with depth in an area of scholarship that bridges two important Mercer disciplines – theology and literature. The wealth of C.S. Lewis and related material gathered together in one location will serve to attract scholars from the broader region in addition to being a rich resource for Mercer students and faculty,” said Scott Gillies, interim dean of the University Library.

The collection includes Rev. Bramlett’s notes on more than 2,500 hours of talks, tours and retreats presented to churches, colleges and groups across the country, as well as almost 1,700 books and 630 non-book materials used in his research and writing on Lewis that emphasize the man, the writer and his influence on others. Furthermore, the collection contains materials on Lewis’ circle of friends, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Warnie Lewis, Joy Gresham Davidman and Pauline Bayne.

“Perry worked very hard and truly loved sharing about C.S. Lewis. He was also very good at it. Our friend, Dr. Ron Higdon, wrote a book about grief after his son died. He shared that ‘Personal, concrete remembrances of someone you have lost are especially significant to the reality of a life lived,’ and ‘To remember is to bestow a gift of significance.’ Perry always inspired his audiences to read C.S. Lewis. Providing this collection to Mercer and having Perry honored is my way to inspire and encourage many and share the significance of Perry’s life,” said Mrs. Bramlett.

Mercer’s Jack Tarver Library on the Macon campus will unveil the Bramlett Collection on March 21 at 5 p.m. on the library’s second floor. Dr. Higdon, retired minister and co-author of Touring C.S. Lewis’ Ireland and England: A Travel Guide to C.S. Lewis’ Favorite Places to Eat and Walk, will speak on the significance of the collection and share reflections on Rev. Bramlett as part of the opening reception.

“Perry’s mission was to take C.S. Lewis to the people. Having this collection at Mercer provides an opportunity for faculty, students, researchers and the University community to benefit from Perry’s research. This ‘destination collection’ should attract scholars to Mercer and to Macon,” said Theresa Rhodes, assistant dean for collection services at the University Library.

The following day, March 22 at 10 a.m. in Penfield Hall, Dr. Higdon will lead a seminar on the impact of Lewis, followed by a panel discussion moderated by selected faculty, alumni and local clergy. Shane Gottwals, owner of Gottwals Books and a 2006 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts, will discuss “A Grief Observed from Oxford.” Father Matt Harlow, rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Warner Robins, will speak on “C.S. Lewis in the Family and the Church.” Dr. Gary A. Richardson, professor of English at Mercer, will discuss “Fantastic Friendships: C.S. Lewis, Authorship, and the Oxford Inklings.”

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Rhodes at (478) 301-2031 or rhodes_tp@mercer.edu.

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Kyle Sears