We often enjoy viewing and appreciating rare books for their beauty as works of art. Scholars, also however, appreciate access to rare information that is found within.
A recent example involves a rare book written in the Bantu – Luyia language of Kenya – Tsinyimbu tsyokwidzominya nyasaye. This is the only copy recorded in WorldCat. Quaker missionaries translated Western church hymns into the native language. This 1920 publication is rough looking and was well used. The paper is poor and brittle. It may not be beautiful but an ethnomusicologist at the University of Georgia who, interested in the musical impact of Quakers in Kenya, was excited to learn of Haverford’s copy.
Distance collaborative research into this text was made possible through email and with digital images. The music professor was able to enrich her understanding of this obscure topic and the shared information helps Special Collections to value this modest resource even more.