Dr. John. T. Christian, a noted Southern Baptist figure and church historian, collected numerous rare pamphlets and books in his travels. Other librarians, such as Nell Davis, continued procuring rare items of historical significance. Noted Southern Baptist church musicians and former faculty members of the school of music, William Plunkett Martin and Edmund Keith collected rare hymnals.
The rare collections of the libraries are unique in that the main library rare collection has numerous items dating back into the 18th and 17th centuries; an autographed volume by C. H. Spurgeon noting that it [the volume] was his favorite book,and 3 incunabula (books printed before 1501). Several rare manuscripts, including an 8th century Hebrew scroll, are on loan to the NOBTS Center for New Testament Textual Studies for display purposes and careful study. The music library rare collection has over 700 rare hymnals and Psalters; some dating back to the early 17th century.
John Etherington, "The Anabaptists William Hussey, "An answer to
Groundwork for Reformation," 1644Mr. Tombes," 1647
"Infant's Baptism Maintained," 1650 14th century Psalter leaf (France?)
C.H. Spurgeon, handwritten preaching notes
from Genesis 27:38
"Amazing Grace" words appear for first time with tune, NEW BRITAIN
in William Walker's "Southern Harmony," 1835.