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THE LAST WORD

Remnant Trust headquarters moves closer to Fort Wayne

Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 10:07 am

In September 1997, we published an Associated Press story out of Hagerstown in east-central Indiana about the Remnant Trust, a new venture at the time to loan dozens of rare books to colleges around the country.

In June this year the non-profit Remnant Trust announced plans to move its headquarters from Jeffersonville to Winona Lake and the former Billy Sunday Museum just 40 miles from Fort Wayne. This week the foundation announced the completion of its move and an open house this weekend.

Some may remember visits by the Remnant Trust to Fort Wayne. In 2006 a number of rare documents were put on display at the University of Saint Francis, including a program from the 1863 event at which Abraham Lincoln gave the “Gettysburg Address.” The following year, the trust brought some of its rare documents to the Allen County Courthouse for an exhibition in conjunction with the donation for permanent display of a rare legal document from 1544 given by an anonymous donor.

And two years ago this January, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne hosted the Remnant Trust at the Helmke Library through April that year with versions of documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address.

The Remnant Trust is an American public educational foundation that shares a growing collection of more than 1,100 original and first-edition works dealing with the topics of liberty and dignity, including the Emancipation Proclamation, an edition of the Magna Carta from 1542, and writings from historically significant authors such as Thomas Paine, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The trust makes this collection available to colleges, universities and other organizations for use by students, faculty, scholars and the general public. Those exposed are encouraged to touch, feel and read the originals.

Part of the foundation's mission is “to elevate educational standards and the public's understanding of individual liberty and human dignity through the precedent-setting, hands-on availability of the world's great ideas in original form.”

The move to Winona Lake was funded through a $170,900 grant from Warsaw's OrthoWorx, a $50,000 grant from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, and the donated use, maintenance and utilities of the former Billy Sunday Museum by Grace College. The funding will be necessary to retrofit the museum with precise temperature and humidity controls as well as a security system.

An open house was to be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today and 1-4 p.m. Sunday at its new headquarters at 1101 Park Ave. in Winona Lake.

Kerry Hubartt is editor of The News-Sentinel.