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Special collections

Special collections, WCC Deposit collection, Rare books, Microfilms, Jacques Waardenburg, Phlippe de Vargas collection


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The WCC Library holds various "special" collections, which are all kept in the custody of WCC Archives, for reasons of their institutional or historical importance or the particularity of their format; e.g., the WCC Deposit collection containing a sample copy of all WCC publications since 1910, the Rare books collection composed of printed works of mainly the 17th-19th century, a collection of historical series and dissertations reproduced on microfilm and/or microfiche (about 300 items), and personal libraries and thematic collections of private donors; e.g., Philippe de Vargas and Jacques Waardenburg. In addition, some minor thematic collections on the Church Fathers, the Christian denominations, and doctrinal theology, are housed in the Archives due to a lack of storage space in Bossey.

Microfilm-special collections

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Jacques Waardenburg collection

In April 2009 the WCC Library received part of Prof. emeritus Dr Jacques Waardenburg's (University of Lausanne) personal library and special collection (about 750 books and 136 archive boxes) documenting his research on Christian-Muslim relations and Islamic studies. Unfortunately, this valuable research collection has not yet been processed and referenced in the Library catalogue, but it is nevertheless available for consultation to interested scholars on request and the supervision of the Archivists.

The collection contains, besides general scholarly and Christian material on Islam, a number of publications by Muslim scholars and reports of dialogue meetings and conferences. There is also documentation about Muslim perceptions on Christianity and mutual relationships among Islamic and European countries, as well as Muslim and Christian scholars across these countries providing evidence of th 20th century's transformation of Muslim societies and arising new concepts of Islam and Muslim identity in the context of secularization and globalization. The materials are in English, French, German, Arabic, and the Syrian language.

Philippe de Vargas collection

Since the 1960s, the WCC Library has held a great part of late Philippe Charles Michel de Vargas' private library documenting the history of Christianity in China in the early 20th century. The donor (1886-1956) was a missionary from Lausanne who worked for the World Student Christian Federation. He was a pastor, orientalist, and lecturer on Western and Church history at Yenching University, Peking, China from 1921-1948.

The collection is fully integrated in the library's holdings across all disciplines, and it can be searched in the Library catalogue, and consulted on site. A major part is kept in the Archives among the Rare Books collection under the classification number 951 for China.