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Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Receives Valuable Book and Luther Memorabilia

On Tuesday, April 10, Mr. Ernest Fackler presented Concordia Seminary Library of St. Louis with a rare and valuable book, Nicolaus Reusner’s biographical work on major personages of the 16th Century: “Icones sive imagine vivorum literus illustrium.” The visually striking volume, published in Strassbourg in1590, contains many hand-colored woodcut portraits, as well as a unique hand-colored setting of Luther’s seal. Several hand-drawn and colored coats of arms and dozens of hand-written inscriptions, ostensibly from the late-Reformation period, adorn the volume, which appears to have first been owned by Wolfgang Kelner, who traveled around Germany in the 1590s. The presentation of the book to Concordia Seminary Library was made possible by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Scott Meyer of suburban St. Louis.

The book’s value is greatly enhanced by two inserted manuscript pages. One is a page from a sermon written by Martin Luther; the other is a fragment written by Philip Melanchthon. The large number of inscriptions in the book, as yet unverified, are signed by such well-known late Reformation figures as Johannes Olearius, Nathan Chytraeus, Polycarp Leyser, Johannes Eccard, Aegidius Hunnius and David Chytraeus.

In addition to the Reusner work, Fackler contributed 20 other volumes, including a number of Luther first editions (pamphlets, sermons, etc.). Other items of special note are a rare copy of Johannis Campanius’s translation of “Luther’s Catechism” into Algonquin and Swedish (Stockholm, 1696) and a papal bull of indulgence (Milan, 1507). Completing the gift is a collection of ten medallions, dating from 1750 to 1983, commemorating Luther and the Reformation.

“The significance of the gift is difficult to overstate,” commented David Berger, director of library services at Concordia. “It comprises a major contribution to the Reformation holdings of Concordia Seminary’s library and compares favorably with earlier gifts the library has received, such as the Calov Bible commentary once owned by J. S. Bach and the Kluender collection of religious art.”

For additional information concerning this gift, contact: David Berger, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 63105; 314.505.7040.