Magna Carta, Gutenberg Bible page on Display at Benedictine College

Magna Carta, Gutenberg Bible page on Display at Benedictine College

Exhibit Shows "Wisdom of the Ages" Through Historic Documents

Monday, August 11, 2014

Some of the most historic documents in the world will be on display side-by-side this fall, and the general public can see them all for free. Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., is pleased to bring a major exhibition from The Remnant Trust, Inc. to the area.  The spectacular collection includes an extremely rare Dunlap printing of the activity of the Continental Congress (including the Declaration of Independence) from 1778, a page from one of the first finished copies of the Gutenberg Bible from 1455, a copy of the Magna Carta from 1576, a hand-written manuscript of the works of Thomas Aquinas from 1475, the first public printing of the Emancipation Proclamation from the New York Times in 1862, and much more.

These and 35 other precious documents will be on display and available to the general public inside the Laughlin Rotunda in the Ferrell Academic Center on Benedictine’s campus for select weeks during the semester (noted below). The exhibit is free. School tours will be available on any date throughout the fall semester by appointment.

“It is exciting to have materials of this caliber on our campus,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “This exhibit includes 40 key documents expressing ideas that truly shaped the world.”

The exhibit is made possible by a donation from the Haverty Family Foundation. Michael Haverty, well-known Kansas City businessman and philanthropist and former Benedictine College board member, had worked with the Remnant Trust in the production of a documentary on some of their Early American material called “We the People.” After that project, managers at the Remnant Trust had asked him if he wanted to have the documents on display, and he suggested Benedictine College.

The exhibit encompasses four major strands of intellectual history:

  1. The Two Wings of the Human Spirit: Faith and Reason in Dialogue through the Ages
    This includes items like a 1553 letter from Martin Luther regarding the Reformation, the Decrees of the Council of Trent from 1670, an illustrated manuscript Bible from 1225, and a hand-written paper in Persian from 1250.
  2. Unlocking the Mysteries of Nature: The Emergence of a Scientific World View
    Because the printing press helped spread the scientific revolution, this grouping includes a page from the first printing of the Gutenberg Bible from 1455. It also holds a first edition of Nicolaus Copernicus’ On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres from 1617, a rare issue of Galileo’s proof of the Copernican system from 1710, and a printing of Isaac Newton’s theories from 1714.
  3. An Experiment in Liberty: America and the Heritage of the West
    An exciting collection of Early American documents, this section includes one of the rarest 1776 printings of the Declaration of Independence; a first edition of Common Sense, the famous political pamphlet by Thomas Paine, also from 1776; and the journal of the Acts of the First Congress of the United States from 1789, which officially ratified the Constitution and the election of George Washington as the first president.
  4. The Glorious Liberty of the Children of God: Human Rights in the Western Tradition
    Tracing the development of individual rights, this section includes a first edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tome’s Cabin from 1852; a first printing of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the New York Times in 1862; and a 1576 printing of the landmark Magna Carta.

To schedule a school tour, call Kathleen Kiger at (913) 360-7576.

Public Openings & Events:

The exhibition is free and open to the public during these dates:

  • Freedom Week: Sept. 11 – 19
  • Family Weekend: Oct. 4-5
  • Heritage Week: Oct. 13 – 19
  • Patriot Week: Nov. 8 – 14


  • Monday - Friday: 4 – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Oct. 13 @ 7:30 p.m. - Michael Drout will speak on the significance of the Wisdom of the Ages documents. (McAllister Board Room, 4th floor, Ferrell Academic Center)
  • Nov. 8 @ 10 a.m. – Colonial Williamsburg’s Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker) will give a special presentation on the “Documents of Freedom”.  There will also be a showing of the “We the People” film. (McAllister Board Room, 4th floor, Ferrell Academic Center)
  • Dec. 3 @ 7 p.m. – on the 155th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 campaign stop in Atchison, Dr. Kimberly Shankman, dean of the college and a noted Lincoln scholar, will talk about that historic visit, the Emancipation Proclamation, and other documents relating to the abolition of slavery. (McAllister Board Room, 4th floor, Ferrell Academic Center)

Media Contact:

Steve Johnson
(913) 360-7415