Hutchings Gallery

Rare Books of the Rosenberg features extraordinary, one-of-a-kind works from the Library’s outstanding collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Rare Books of the Rosenberg traces the history of written communication and how it has evolved over the last 4,000 years. Early examples of writing include cuneiform tablets from ancient Babylon (ca. 2350 B.C.) as well as papyrus covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics (ca. 650 B.C.). Before the invention of printing, books were copied and illustrated by hand. The Library’s collection includes illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period as well as a page printed on Johann Gutenberg’s movable type press in 1460.

Collage of books and artifacts included in the Rare Books of the Rosenberg exhibit

Collage of books and artifacts included in the exhibit: Rare Books of the Rosenberg.

When the Rosenberg Library was established in 1904, it absorbed the collection of the Galveston Mercantile Library which was established in 1871. This collection included a number of valuable and collectible texts as well as first editions of many important literary works. These books formed the foundation of the Rosenberg Library’s Rare Book Collection, which continued to expand over the Library’s subsequent decades of operation.

A variety of rare and interesting religious books are featured in the exhibit including an accordion-fold Buddhist prayer book, a handwritten copy of the Quran, and historic Bibles. Miniature books and examples of modern fine edition printing are also included.

Rosenberg Library Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission to the museum galleries is always free.
For more information, please contact the Museum at (409) 763 – 8854 ext. 125.
History of the Hutchings Gallery
In 1968, Sealy Hutchings, Jr., Robert Knox Hutchings, Elizabeth Hutchings Cavin, and Mary Hutchings pledged a donation to the Rosenberg Library Building Fund for its expansion project. The Hutchings Gallery was established as a memorial to their parents, Sealy Hutchings, Sr. and Mary Moody Hutchings. The room was dedicated in 1971 after the library’s Moody Memorial Wing was completed.

The oil portraits on the west wall are of John Henry Hutchings (1826 – 1906) and his wife, Minnie Knox Hutchings. The couple married in 1856, and they had eight children. In 1845, John H. Hutchings, the father of Sealy Hutchings, Sr., formed a partnership with John Sealy and George Ball, creating Ball, Hutchings, and Company. John Hutchings negotiated the bonds to construct the first bridge across the bay and was instrumental in improving Galveston’s harbor. During the Civil War, Hutchings was active in importing arms and other supplies for the military. He later became president of the Galveston Wharf Company.

On the south side of the room are charcoal portraits of Sealy Hutchings, Sr. (1869 – 1936) and Mary Moody Hutchings (1870 – 1943). Together they had seven children. Sealy Hutchings served as president of his father’s banking firm, which also handled wholesale dry goods. Mary Moody Hutchings was the daughter of Col. W.L. Moody, one of Galveston’s most prominent and successful businessmen. Mrs. Hutchings was involved with numerous civic and educational projects in the community.

The large landscape painting on the east wall was given to the Hutchings Family by Waters Davis, a fellow Galvestonian. Davis purchased the work during the late nineteenth century while on vacation in Europe. The mountain landscape, entitled Vue de Sogefjord, was painted by Olaf Peterson. On the north wall hangs a portrait of Sealy Hutchings, Sr. as a young boy with his brother, George Hutchings.

Over the years, the Hutchings Family has made numerous gifts to the Rosenberg Library, greatly enhancing its museum and archival collections.