The more I use a keyboard the less I enjoy writing script. It takes a lot of work. And, the less I write with my hands the more my handwriting looks the same as it did in my first grade writing projects at Monroe Elementary School in Conneaut, Ohio. But, I still appreciate the written word and often marvel at the various manuscript discoveries we uncover here at the United Methodist History & Archives Center at Drew University.
Mark Shenise, processing archivist at the General Commission on Archives and History for The United Methodist Church has been busy organizing some of Drew’s smaller unprocessed collections. Last week, he uncovered a gem – the Luke Tyerman collection. Tyerman (1820-1889) was a British Wesleyan Methodist minister and author. His first parish work commenced in the mid-1840s and the Encyclopedia of World Methodism notes “Although much had been written about eighteenth-century Methodism before his time, Tyerman was the first historian to produce serious, scholarly biographies of John Wesley, George Whitefield, and John Fletcher.”
The Tyerman collection consists primarily of seven bound, handwritten manuscripts on the life and work of John Wesley and his father Samuel. These manuscripts include notation and marginalia that did not make the final published versions of both Tyerman biographies. For those interested in how 19th century authors wrote about some of the key personnel of Early British Methodism these manuscripts will bring to light both the published versions and the thoughts and ideas behind the final products.
Tyerman was tireless in his steady work on these handwritten text. I wonder what he would have thought about delete keys and the cut and paste feature of today’s computers?