The Shaffer Collection of Keble's The Christian Year
In the summer of 2011, Fr. John Shaffer, a son of the House and priest in the Diocese of Central New York donated his collection of editions of Keble’s The Christian Year. The collection of 61 volumes, combined with volumes already held by the library, gives the library representative examples of most editions produced during the long publication history of this significant Oxford Movement work. The many editions of The Christian Year produced in the 150 year span from initial publication in 1827 through the commemorative reprint of 1977 offer a kind of cultural history of the Oxford Movement.
Fr. Shaffer initially became interested in The Christian Year after reading Professor G.B. Tennyson's chapter on the subject in his Victorian Devotional poetry: The Tractarian Mode. From very simple early editions, The Christian Year ran through successively more elaborate editions that added elements such as fine color prints from medieval missals, with later editions looking increasingly like bibles or prayer books themselves.
There are a few particular gems: a copy of the first edition; the beautiful copy given by Keble's patron Sir Thomas Heathcote to his wife Selina on their wedding day; the copy owned by Keble's Oriel College opponent Edward Hawkins; the copy owned by the Cathedral Dean in Memphis who hosted the work of "Constance and her Companions" during the yellow fever epidemic. While Keble did inscribe copies for friends and acquaintances, his inscriptions usually do not include a signature (his modesty was such that the earliest editions of The Christian Year were published anonymously); however, a comparison of handwriting seems to indicate that one of the early copies in the collection has a handwritten inscription from the author. The volumes in the Shaffer Collection may be identified by doing a word search in Housecat for "Shaffer Collection." In coming months, the library staff expects to add to this page a bibliography of the collection with representative images of individual volumes.
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