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Former missionary’s Africa collection reaches 3,000 volumes at Southw

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–About two hundred books will be added in July to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Quillen Collection, which includes first-edition books by famed missionary and naturalist David Livingstone and by missionary pioneer Robert Moffat.
The 3,000-volume collection, housed in the A. Webb Roberts Library, and comprised mostly of books about eastern, central and southern Africa, was donated by former Malawi missionary and Southwestern graduate Lonnie Quillen and his wife, Patricia, last year.
The latest additions to the collection include books about journalist Henry Morton Stanley’s journey to find Livingstone who was ministering in Africa during the mid-19th century. A facsimile of Livingstone’s diary and sketches he made is also in the new arrivals at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary.
“This collection has been a wonderful resource for our missions faculty and will prove especially valuable to doctoral students studying missions,” said Berry Driver, director of libraries at Southwestern.
Many of the volumes are rare, out-of-print first-edition books. When Quillen, a bibliophile interested in Livingstone, was preaching in 1970 on mission in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), he became intrigued by the towns of Emilikazi and Bulawayo and bought every book he could find on these regions of Africa. Later, books by or about Livingstone and Moffat became the focus of the collection.
“We began collecting these books to learn more about Livingstone and the work he did from 1841 until his death in 1873,” Quillen said. “I found a bibliography on him in Cape Town, South Africa, listing 764 books on or about him. Our collection has over 200 of those books.”
The Quillens were appointed by the International Mission Board to Botswana for four years in 1982 and then to Malawi for another four years in 1987. They retired from mission service in 1991. He is now pastor of Magnolia Baptist Church, a small country congregation near Cleveland, Texas.
The Lonnie and Patricia Quillen Africa collection was given to Southwestern last year in commemoration of the service of Justice Anderson, professor of missions and director emeritus of the seminary’s World Missions Center, and retired professors of missions Earl Martin and Marion “Bud” Fray. The collection came with its own index and is housed in the library’s archive department repository, available for in-house use only.
Quillen said he gave the school his collection to augment the library’s reserves on Africa. “When we were on furlough at the seminary in 1986-87, we discovered we had more books on the subject than the seminary did,” he said.
The books offer an exhaustive representation of mission work in Africa, Anderson noted. “The collection centers on the area of Africa falling south of the Sahara Desert,” he said. “These books cover everything from culture to politics to missions. Name the subject, the Quillen collection addresses it.”
Quillen was unable to place a value on the collection but said many of the books have been out of publication for several decades.
“Collecting these books was never easy on a missionary’s salary,” he said, “and it hasn’t gotten any easier on a retiree’s salary. We’re still buying books, though, and Southwestern will get them all.”

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  • Bryan McAnally