Inside take on a Folger, Bodleian, and Ransom Center exhibition on the creation and afterlife of the King James Bible on the 400th anniversary of its publication.

Posts tagged “Kansas

Pioneering Spirits

Bible. Holman’s Edition, published by M.C. Lilley & Co. in Columbus, OH.
On loan from the Winfield Masonic Lodge #110 the Free and Accepted Masons of Kansas. Image courtesy of Winfield Public Library.

The Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Winfield Public Library displayed two rarely-seen pulpit Bibles, and these items drew considerable attention over the course of the exhibition. The Bibles are associated with two prominent men—Colonel Henry C. Loomis and John Peter “J.P.” Baden—who shaped the early history of Winfield, KS.

Bible. Holman’s Edition, published by M.C. Lilley & Co. in Columbus, OH.
On loan from the Winfield Masonic Lodge #110 the Free and Accepted Masons of Kansas. Image courtesy of Winfield Public Library.

Soldier, Pioneer, and Gentleman: Colonel Henry C. Loomis 

Born in Cattaraugus County, NY in 1834, Henry Loomis grew up in a farming family and inherited an interest in military life from his grandfather, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Loomis served in Company C., 64th N.Y. Infantry and was commissioned as a first lieutenant.  At the Battle of Fair Oaks in June 1862, Lt. Loomis received severe wounds while leading his company in a charge against Confederates soldiers.

Loomis was ordered home to convalesce, and during his recovery, he helped recruit and organize the 154th N.Y. Infantry. He eventually received a commission as a Lieutenant Colonel before leaving the Army and heading West.

As he traveled westward in search of new opportunities, Loomis heard of a perspective opening of the Osage Indian Reservation in the new state of Kansas. Loomis found the valley near the Walnut River near present-day Winfield attractive, and paid the Osage chief $5.00 to stay on his squatter’s claim of 160 acres. Winfield now occupies 100 acres out of the original 160 settled by Henry Loomis.

As one of the founders of the town, Loomis has been first and foremost in every enterprise that would build up and improve Winfield.  Loomis helped organize the county, served as its first county clerk, became a member of the first board of trade, helped secure railroad lines through Cowley County, and served two terms as mayor in 1896. Loomis was made a Master Mason in 1862 and remained a member for forty-three years, advancing to the thirty-third or highest degree.   He died in Winfield and is buried in the town’s Union-Graham Cemetery. His copy of the King James Bible, along with a photograph of Loomis in his Templar uniform, was displayed.

J.P. Baden Memorial Bible. Levant morocco- bound pulpit King James Bible presented to J.P. Baden Memorial Lutheran Church as a memorial to J. P Baden by his wife on January 28, 1906. On loan from Trinity Lutheran church in Winfield, KS. Image courtesy Winfield Public Library.

Enterprising Industrialist and Founder of St. Johns College: J.P. Baden

John Peter Baden was born 1851 in Elsdorf, Germany.  At the age of 15, he sailed on the Richard Reihe and landed in New York City in 1866.  He went to live with his brother in Hannibal, MO to learn the English language and to become a United States citizen.  After working and saving money, J.P., as he came to be know, traveled to Kansas and opened a business in Winfield in 1879.

As a young entrepreneur, Baden operated a packing plant that became one of the largest in the West and handled the bulk of poultry, game, eggs, butter and produce of southern Kansas, Oklahoma, and what was then a part of the Indian Territory. He also owned an ice plant and cold storage facility, and a roller mill and elevator for processing grain. His business ventures proved very successful, as Baden possessed notable talent in making money while simultaneously leading a modest lifestyle.  He poured his profits back into trade, stimulating business and giving work to the unemployed.

J.P. Baden and his wife, Adelaide, brought the first Lutheran church services to Winfield and also established St. John’s College.  The college was founded in 1893 and was the first Evangelical Lutheran College of higher education to admit women. It operated for over a century before closing in 1986. The City of Winfield later purchased the St. John’s College site and renamed it Baden Square.  The Winfield Public Library now occupies one of the buildings on Baden Square, and it seems fitting to display a Bible owned by the college’s founder on the very site that he played such a role in creating.

Sue Birney is the Adult Special Services Librarian at Winfield Public Library in Winfield, KS.


Weathering the Storm

Foreign-Language Bibles

Bibles in German, Spanish, French, Navajo, Aymara, and Lao are on display with Manifold Greatness at Winfield Public Library. Courtesy Winfield Public Library.

The Manifold Greatness traveling exhibit opened on April 11 at the Winfield Public Library in Winfield, KS and will be on view through May 11. This will be the only stop in Kansas for this exhibit.  

Since its opening, Manifold Greatness has attracted a steady stream of visitors, despite the library’s brief closure while while more than 100 tornadoes passed over Kansas! The town of  Winfield escaped unscathed, and Manifold Greatness opened to a wonderful reception on April 16 hosted by the Friends of the Library.

Dr. Phil Schmidt, Professor of History at Southwestern College, opened the library’s five-part program series with a lecture entitled “The Historical Role of the King James Bible and English Power Politics, 1517 to 1692.” His witty and engaging approach encouraged audience participation. Dr. Schmidt shared information on the political, theological, and dynastic power struggles which engulfed the people of England in the 1500’s and 1600’s, both before and after the publishing of the King James Bible. The speech was well received by a packed house; more programs are planned, and www.wpl.org  has a complete listing of upcoming events and programs for Manifold Greatness while it is in Kansas.

Several organizations loaned historic Bibles that are displayed with the Manifold Greatness exhibit. These include Bibles written in  German, Spanish, French, Navajo, Aymara, and Lao; several of the Bibles on display are treasured family Bibles that traveled to Kansas with settlers or were distributed by early missionaries. The Navajo Bible was used by a missionary in Arizona before making  its way to Kansas. The Lao Bible was brought from Thailand around 30 years ago and is printed on rice paper.  The French Bible has traveled with its family from Switzerland to other countries around the world before finally arriving in Kansas, while the German Bible is an heirloom passed down through generations. Bibles are on loan from the Cowley County Historical Society, The Cherokee Strip Museum, The Winfield Masonic Lodge #110 and family Bibles from the community.  More information on family Bibles is available on the Manifold Greatness website.

Sue Birney is the Adult Special Services Librarian at Winfield Public Library in Winfield, KS.


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