Special Collections

The IWS Library Special Collections feature a broad range of publishers and denominations, with books and hymnals related to Christian worship from the 20th century. Explore our special collections below.

Webber Collection

The Webber Collection is comprised of over 600 print books that belonged to worship theologian and IWS Founder Robert E. Webber (1933-2007). The print books contain his personal, hand-written notes. These include books written by Webber, as well as books written by other authors that Webber found important. This collection has a specialized call number within the IWS Library of WEB and is only available for in-library use. Explore The Webber Collection.

In addition, the IWS Library has created a guide for IWS students and researchers related to the Webber Collection and Webber’s works below:

Robert E. Webber: An IWS Library Guide

IWS Thesis Collection

Two print copies of every IWS Doctor of Worship Studies thesis published are collected and available for in-library use during the January and June on-campus intensive session. Print IWS theses do not circulate due to their nature as the official archive of the Institute’s scholarship. Electronic PDFs of IWS theses are password protected and available for current IWS students, staff, faculty, and alumni to access through the library catalog. Learn more about IWS Theses.

Hugh T. McElrath Collection

Hugh T. McElrath (1921-2008) was a prominent scholar and church musician who taught hymnology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. McElrath owned a winter home in Penney Farms, Florida. His collection includes hymnals, songbooks, and books on hymns published during his lifetime. Many items in the collection feature hand-written notes by the author which include his name, date of purchase, and location where he acquired the material. The collection is currently not cataloged, but is available to view in the IWS Library upon request. In addition, you may view an online exhibit which features selected Christian hymnals from the Hugh T. McElrath Collection below:

The Life of Hugh T. McElrath: An Online Exhibit on the 20th century Hymnologist through Hymnals

Congdon Music Collection

Rev. George K. Congdon (1904-1983) was a missionary with the Rural Evangelistic Mission, and with his wife Florence Congdon, served Native Americans of the Navajo tribe in New Mexico for nearly 50 years (1934-1983). Rev. Congdon would provide hymns translated into the Navajo language and printed on the printing press he had acquired for the mission station. Over the years he amassed a collection of over 150 hymnals and songbooks for Christian worship and mission meetings, most published between 1890 and 1950, which are now part of the IWS special collections. The songbooks are kept in acid free envelopes to ensure preservation. The collection has been donated to the Institute for Worship Studies through the generosity of IWS alumna Dr. Judy A. Congdon, Rev. Congdon's niece. The collection is currently not cataloged, but is available to view in the IWS Library upon request.

David Witt Hymnal Collection

David Witt (1941-2014) was a strong supporter of IWS, serving as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees, chair of the Audit Committee, a member of the President’s Advisory Council for Excellence and as organist for the convocations and commencements. This collection, donated by Patricia Witt, includes a broad range of over 40 hymnals published primarily in the first half of 20th century, and encompasses a variety of Christian denominations. The collection is currently not cataloged, but is available to view in the IWS Library upon request.
The IWS Library Special Collections are available to be viewed by appointment only. Visitors may make an appointment by email at library@iws.edu or by phone (904-264-2172).