Tag Archives: special collections

Library Finds Document Signed by Andrew Jackson in Old Book

by Donald Gantz, Director of Special Collections and Archives

Editor’s note: Followers of news about libraries know that, from time to time, historical treasures are discovered in the world’s great libraries, such as a medicinal recipe by Hippocrates uncovered last year at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai. One of the treasures in Regent Library’s Special Collections has just such a story. The following article by Library Archivist Don Gantz was originally published in the February 2006 issue of Library Link. The article, written shortly after the manuscript’s discovery, is cautious about its authenticity. The letter has since been authenticated by Lee Shepard, retired Director of Manuscripts and Archives at the Virginia Historical Society.

Kathy Watson shows the letter fastened into the book she was cataloging.

Thanks to the alertness of Kathy Watson, cataloging assistant in the University Library, we have found what appears to be an 1813 arrest order signed by Major General Andrew Jackson. Jackson is famous for defeating the Creek Indians and the British at New Orleans during the War of 1812 and later for becoming the seventh president of the United States.

Kathy was cataloging books acquired from the William Tyndale College library when she found this document fastened between the blank fly leaves of Augustus Buell’s 1904 History of Andrew Jackson. This brief hand-written document orders the arrest of a Sergeant Baldrige and his detention by a special guard in the fort.

The document seems to have evidence of an official seal which secured it after it was folded several times. It had “Gen’l Order, Dec 9, 1813” written on the outside after the folds, and the outside was soiled from handling. It’s placement in the book likely served to preserve it.

Our conclusions about the authenticity of the document remain to be confirmed by having it examined by an expert on historical documents. Our best transcription so far of the hard-to-read hand-scrawled document is:

The adjutant general will immediately arrest Sergeant Baldrige of Capt. Thomas Williamson’s, Company 2 Regt. V- and place him under the provost guard within the Fort,- and warn Lt. Masons who commands the provost guard of this day to attend with his guard within the Fort.

Andrew Jackson
Major Genl
Headquarters, Fort
Strother Decbr 9th 1813

1813 Arrest Order signed by Major General Andrew Jackson

The date of the document, December 9, 1813, and the location, Fort Strother, Alabama suggest it is not a routine document reflecting a routine discipline problem. At this time Jackson was commander of the Tennessee militia and the Tennessee volunteers. Both groups had already attempted defection but had been dissuaded by Jackson’s heavy-handed intervention.

The volunteers, however, were determined to leave on the next day, December 10, 1813, when their one-year enlistment expired. Jackson was equally determined that they would stay until March 10 because they had been given three months at home during that period and he was demanding twelve months of actual service. There were military lawyers in the camp telling the volunteers they had the right to leave. Given Jackson’s iron will, a confrontation was inevitable.

On December 9 (the date of the arrest order), the volunteers’ intentions to leave became clear. But before they made their move, Jackson made his. He ordered the loyal militia to line up above the road to Tennessee and do whatever was necessary to prevent the volunteers’ departure. He ordered the mutinous volunteers to be brought out to parade on the west side of the fort. Jackson then ordered the loyal artillery gunners to aim their two fieldpieces on the volunteers. He mounted his horse, rode up and down the ranks, and exhorted them not to desert. Finally, to force a decisive response, Jackson told the artillery gunners to light their matches, one small step from firing. Jackson was also in the line of fire. He said, and demonstrated, if they chose to desert, it would be over his dead body.The volunteers decided they would stay until the expected reinforcements arrived. Jackson accepted their decision and the mass mutiny was prevented.

December 9, 1813 was an unforgettable day in the military career of Andrew Jackson. It was also the beginning of a series of serious setbacks. Three days later, December 12th, 1,500 reinforcements arrived and Jackson was obliged to keep his word and let the Tennessee volunteers return home. When they had just departed he learned that all the reinforcements’ terms of service would expire within a few weeks. He was eventually left with too few men to defend the fort, which was situated deep in enemy territory, let alone finish his campaign against the formidable Creek Indians.

This period of Jackson’s military career reads like a suspense thriller, and its events leave us itching to learn more about Sergeant Baldrige and why he was arrested on that fateful day, December 9, 1813.

Additional Reading

Buell, Augustus C. History of Andrew Jackson, Pioneer, Patriot, Soldier, Politician, President. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904.

James, Marquis. Andrew Jackson, the Border Captain. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1933.

Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 1767-1821. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

Torah from Yemen housed in Special Collections

Torah Scroll copied in Yemen, c. 1750. Housed in Library Special Collections

by Don Gantz, Head of Archives & Special Collections

Regent University recently received an 18th century Torah scroll from Ken and Barbara Larson, a couple whose mission is to gift Torah scrolls to academic institutions for study and inspiration.1

The Torah is the first five books of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and is foundational to the faith of both. It is hand-written in Hebrew consonants by scribes observing traditions passed down for thousands of years. Dr. Scott Carroll, the scholar working with the Larsons, observed that the rules of the writing process have fixed the text of the Torah.

Our scroll has been dated at about 1750 and originated in Yemen. The history of the Jewish community in Yemen is long and fascinating and is still unfolding. Some forty thousand Yemenite Jews were airlifted to the newly formed nation of Israel in 1949, and just last month, Israel airlifted 19 of the remaining Jews out of the country. A Jewish man and Muslim airport worker have been arrested for helping to smuggle out a 500-year-old Torah.2

The Torah scroll donated by the Larsons consists of 50 calf skins that were made into parchment and sewn together. If unrolled entirely it would be 80 feet long. Most of the skins have five columns of text, but not all the skins are the same width. Some of the skins have holes and other minor defects outside the writing area. Some holes are covered with sewn patches. Some loose seams have been re-sewn by a conservator.

The text has about 860 noted corrections, most being corrections to the form of letters. Special formats of spacing in the text are evident which indicate important passages, such as the Ten Commandments, the song of Moses, and the priestly blessing. Each of the books ends exactly four lines short of the full 51 lines of the previous full columns, an amazing feat of scribal planning.

Now Regent faculty and students, especially those studying Biblical Hebrew, can study and read from a unique and inspiring primary source with a rich history.

The scroll is being stored in a specially designed case in Library Special Collections. Persons desiring to see it should contact by email the Special Collections Supervisor, Donald Gantz (donagan@regent.edu).

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1 Brett W. Tubbs, “Regent University Presented with Gift of 18th Century Torah,” Regent University News, March 17, 2016, https://www.regent.edu/news-events/regent-university-presented-gift-18th-century-torah/

2 Adam E. Berkowitz, “Yemen Arrests Jew for Smuggling Ancient Torah to Israel,” Breaking Israel News, March 25, 2016, https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/64353/yemen-arrests-jew-for-smuggling-ancient-torah-to-israel-jewish-world/.

What is Special Collections?

What is Special Collections? (And why is it locked up?)

by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

In 2013, Special Collections hosted the Living Word exhibition of ancient Biblical manuscripts. In 2013, Special Collections hosted the Living Word exhibition of ancient Biblical manuscripts.

The University Library’s Special Collections & Archives are a treasure trove of unique primary source materials and artifacts. Researchers have travelled from all over the United States and Great Britain to unlock the secrets of our vault.

Although the Library’s Special Collections is becoming an important destination for 20th Century Christian history research, the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey suggests that most students are unaware of Special Collections. Here are two of the comments we received:

Visiting scholar from UK visits Library Special Collections

Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections. Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections.

From July 28 through August 4, the Library hosted a visiting scholar from Britain. John Maiden, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University in Milton Keynes, came to Regent to examine documents in the Rev. Dennis J. Bennett archive, housed in the Library’s Special Collections. Dr. Maiden is working on a book on the Charismatic and Renewal movements during the 1960s and 1970s within the historicmainline denominations in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Bennett archive in the Library occupies a crucial part of this history, since the beginning of the Charismatic movement is often marked by the date April 3, 1960, when Reverend Bennett announced from his pulpit at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California that he had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and had spoken in tongues.

At the end of his visit to the Library, Dr. Maiden thanked Special Collections assistants Donald Gantz and Yabbeju (Jabez) Rapaka for all their help in making his stay a success. The Library is pleased to have been able to assist Dr. Maiden in his research.

Library receives donation of The Remnant Newspaper Collection

by Rev. Yabbeju (Jabez) Rapaka, Ph.D., Special Collections Assistant

Library Archivist Don Gantz receives The Remnant Newspaper Collection from Jerrell Miller. Library Archivist Don Gantz receives The Remnant Newspaper Collection from Rev. Jerrell H. Miller.

Regent University Library recently received a donation of primary source materials chronicling an American revival in the 1990s. Rev. Jerrell H. Miller, editor of The Remnant, a monthly revival newspaper, presented copies of twelve years of his publication to the Library’s Special Collections. The newspaper reflects a prophetic stream of the Pentecostal movement, and features many articles on the Brownsville Revival that began in June 1995 at Brownsville Assemblies of God Church near Pensacola, Florida.

The Brownsville Revival lasted for nearly 10 years, touched the lives of thousands of individuals, and had a global impact, spreading revival flames to many churches throughout the world. During the peak of the revival more than 4 million people attended the meetings. In addition to the United States, they came from more than 34 countries, including Japan, England, India, South Africa, France, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. According to Rev. Miller, many Methodists, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and even Mormons came to Brownsville to encounter God. Several luminaries in modern PentecostalCharismatic circles, including Paul Yongi Cho, Reinhard Bonke, and Thomas Trask (then General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God) graced the pulpit at Brownsville and addressed worshipers hungry for the touch of God.

In addition to having a detailed chronicle of the Brownsville Revival, The Remnant newspaper covers other revivals occurring during the same period that will be of interest to those doing research in the history of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and other renewal movements. These include Hardeeville, Ramona, and Mobile in the United States, as well as revivals in England, Japan, and Nigeria.

Regent University has a strong collection of resources related to global renewal movements, including the Pentecostal Research Collection. The Remnant Newspaper Collection has ties to other collections in the Library, such as the John Wimber Collection and the North American Renewal Service Committee Papers (NARSC). Once the newspapers are processed, a research guide with more information will be available on the Library website.