VTS Rescues Tractarian Treasure Trove from eBay

Portrait of John Henry Newman by Sir John Everett Millais, 1881 | Wikipedia

By Richard J. Mammana Jr.

The Bishop Payne Library at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) has become a major global center for the study of the Oxford Movement with the acquisition of more than 12,000 pages of Tractarian pamphlets in June 2022.

The bound volumes, originally part of the collections of Philadelphia Divinity School (closed 1974) and Episcopal Divinity School (last degree granted 2017), were for sale on eBay in early June when they were noticed by Michael Krasulski, archivist of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Quick work by the Rev. Dr. Mitzi Budde, head librarian at VTS, secured the collection intact for scholars.

The 222 pamphlets in 13 volumes date from 1833 to 1878, a time period of extraordinary significance for Anglicanism. They begin with the traditional opening of the Oxford Movement or Tractarian Movement in the Tracts for the Times. They continue through the traditional end of the movement with the last of the Tracts in 1841 and the conversion of leader John Henry Newman to Roman Catholicism in 1845.

The pamphlets chronicle the ongoing impact of the Tractarian movement in later developments related to Ritualism and Anglo-Catholicism in England, Ireland, the United States, and Australia.

The pamphlet collection will be catalogued in 2022, with information available to researchers by emailing paynelib@vts.edu.

Richard J. Mammana Jr. is the Episcopal Church’s associate for ecumenical and interreligious relations.



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