JACKSON, Tenn. – May 13, 2002 – Union University’s Summar Library has once again expanded with the generous gift of a large portion of Rev. Franklin Paschall’s book collection. The retired Southern Baptist pastor graciously decided to donate more than 2,500 books to the library from his own personal collection.
Paschall, who graduated from Union in 1944 with honors, went on to be a preacher and retired in 1983 from the ministry. His collection of books are on the history of Southern Baptist ministry and are currently being housed in the Christian Studies Library in Jennings until there is room for it in the Summar Library.
Some of the books in the collection include Dr. Gill’s Commentary (John Gill was one of the most prominent English Baptists of his day), sermon books by Robert G. Lee, George W. Truett and Charles Spurgeon and other important early Baptist works on polity and ministry. The library book collection from Paschall will continue to grow as he sorts through the 1,000 books remaining in his personal library and passes them on to Union.
“There are several important historical works available to students which weren’t available before,” observed Ray Van Neste, director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies and instructor of Christian studies.
Van Neste has been sorting through the donated books and has helped with storing the books in the Christian Studies Library. Tentative plans have been made for a reception honoring Paschall when he comes to Union’s campus in the fall to make his donation official.
Van Neste said that Paschall’s decision to donate such a voluminous amount of books to Union has not been a recent decision, but an ongoing one. In 1996, he approached Union regarding his collection, however, at the time Union did not have enough space for such a large collection of books so the university was forced to postpone accepting Paschall’s gift until more space was made available. It was not until this year that enough space was open for Union to house the large collection.
Paschall is not the only person who has donated books to Union’s library. There is a long tradition of library donations from Baptist ministers dating back to 1907 when T.T. Eaton left Union his book collection which was one of the largest collections in the south at the time.
“It is amazing how many great Southern Baptist ministers are connected to Union University and how the library benefits from it,” said Van Neste.
“Union is blessed to receive this valuable collection which will benefit many students for years to come,” said Union President David S. Dockery. “We are grateful to Dr. Paschall for this generous gift.”
As Union rejoices in its recent library donation, it is thankful for those who exemplify Romans 12:8 - “He who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality, he who leads, with diligence, he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” It is, in large part, because of generous benefactors such as Paschall, that Union is able to challenge its students to expand their horizons.
By Jennifer Eastman,
Class of 2005
Sara B. Horn,