The 2022 Old Wye Lecture Series concludes with a presentation focusing on the underappreciated man who in the late 17th and early 18th centuries spearheaded the first major effort to establish libraries in the New World. That man was the Reverend Thomas Bray, indefatigable minister, philanthropist, and commissary to the Province of Maryland. The lecture, to be given by Dr. Joseph Prud’homme of Washington College, will take place in the Parish Hall of Old Wye Church, 14114 Old Wye Mills Rd. in Wye Mills at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16.
The title of Dr. Prud’homme’s lecture is “Rev. Thomas Bray and Colonial Maryland: A Case Study in Religion and the Public Good.”Bray’s plan for establishing public libraries housed in parish churches and used for teaching purposes was conceived with the specific aim of bringing the benefits of education and Christian religion to enslaved persons, native Americans, and impoverished debtors. During his lifetime Bray succeeded in creating more than three dozen such libraries in the American colonies, several here on the Eastern Shore. Ultimately, due to the society he founded to carry on his work, almost one hundred Bray libraries were created in colonial America. Bray himself was also opposed to the evil of slavery, and saw religion as a key force for human liberation.
Dr. Prud’homme is the founding Director of the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College, which is co-sponsoring the Old Wye Lecture Series in partnership with the Wye Episcopal Parish. Dr. Prud’homme, who currently teaches at Washington College, is a widely-published scholar who received his doctorate from Princeton and has held fellowships at Harvard and Oxford.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a gathering for Discussion and Refreshments. For questions or further information about the lecture, call Wye Parish, 410-827-8484.
For immediate release/contact: Mary Campbell 410-758-3071.