News and Events

Introducing Newly Named Wade Co-Directors Crystal and David C. Downing

The Marion E. Wade Center is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Crystal Downing and Dr. David C. Downing as co-directors and co-holders of the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought. As Lisa Richmond, Director of Library and Archives at Wheaton College, explains, “The opportunity to have two such distinguished scholars leading the Wade Center is very exciting and holds great promise for continuing the Wade’s strong legacy of work on the seven authors. We are thrilled that the Downings are joining Wheaton in this role.” As co-directors, the Downings will share administrative responsibilities, and as a joint appointment they will also have significantly more time to invest in writing and research on the Wade authors. They will take up their responsibilities at the Wade Center on July 1, 2018.

Dr. Crystal Downing is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College, PA. She has published on a variety of topics, with much of her recent scholarship focused on the relationship between cultural theory and religious faith. Her first book, Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L. Sayers (Palgrave Macmillan 2004) received an international award from the Dorothy L. Sayers Society in Cambridge, England in 2009. The thought of Sayers and C.S. Lewis is evident in Crystal’s next two books, How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith (IVP Academic 2006) and Changing Signs of Truth (IVP Academic 2012). The success of her fourth book, Salvation from Cinema (Routledge 2016) has led to her current book project, The Wages of Cinema: Looking through the Lens of Dorothy L. Sayers. Crystal has received a number of teaching awards and was the recipient of the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant for 2001 from the Wade Center. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dr. David Downing currently serves as the R.W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College, PA. He has published widely on C.S. Lewis, including Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C.S. Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy (UMass 1992), The Most Reluctant Convert: C.S. Lewis’s Journey to Faith (IVP 2002), which was awarded the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant for 2000, Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis (IVP 2005), and Into the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles (Jossey-Bass 2005). David is also the editor of C.S. Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress: The Wade Annotated Edition (Eerdmans, 2014). A prolific speaker and writer, David has spoken extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally. He has received numerous teaching awards and holds a PhD in English from the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Downings are the first to be jointly appointed to the Wade directorship in the more than 50-year history of the Wade Center. They follow Wade founder and first director Clyde S. Kilby (1965–1980), director Lyle W. Dorsett (1983–1990), and director Christopher W. Mitchell (1994–2013).

Upcoming Events

The Marion E. Wade Center presents a series of short Lenten Reflections on C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters Wednesdays at noon in the Wade Center’s Bakke Auditorium, February 21-March 28, 2018. Sessions will be led by Elaine Powell Hooker and David J.P. Hooker.

Join us in reading and listening to excerpts from The Screwtape Letters as we reflect on them both individually and corporately. Wade Center Librarian Elaine Hooker will share information and artifacts related to the work from the collections of the Marion E. Wade Center, while Art Department Chair David J. P. Hooker will share how this work has become a regular part of his spiritual practice over the last 10 years.

These Lenten Reflections will take place in the Wade Center’s Bakke Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

The Marion E. Wade Center presents a lecture titled "C.S. Lewis & the Myth of Love: (Un)Veiling the Mysteries of Till We Have Faces" by Inklings scholar Andrew Lazo on C.S. Lewis's novel Till We Have Faces on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 7 pm.

Andrew Lazo currently teaches English at Houston Christian High School. He holds an M.A. in English from Rice University and a B.A. from the University of California, Davis. He was the Mythopoeic Society’s 2016 Scholar Guest of Honor and a Plenary Speaker at the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s 2017 Summer Institute in Oxford and Cambridge.
The lecture will take place in the Wade Center's Bakke Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Christine Colón is Associate Professor of English at Wheaton College, and will be presenting three lectures on Dorothy L. Sayers for the 2017-2018 Hansen Lectureship. The series is titled: "Community or Chaos?: Searching for Clues in the Works of Dorothy L. Sayers," and all lectures are free and will be at 7pm in the Wade Center's Bakke Auditorium.

Lecture dates with links to video content: November 2, 2017; February 1, 2018; March 22, 2018.

As part of Wheaton College's Staycation activities, the Marion E. Wade Center and the Wheaton College Tolkien Society will present Tales from the Silmarillion: Great Stories Never End, an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. This short drama for children ages 5-12 will be presented in the Wade Center Bakke Auditorium on Monday, March 26, 3:30-4:15pm; Tuesday, March 27, 10:30-11:15am; and Thursday, March 29, 10:30-11:15am. Join us for family-friendly stories about the history of Middle-earth with some illuminating connections to the stories in The Lord of the RingsNo registration is required but seating is limited to a first come, first served basis.
Join us for Story Time at the Wade Center. Sit by the wardrobe and hear stories by and about authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien – Monday, March 26, 10:00-10:30am and Wednesday, March 28, 2:00-2:30pm. Appropriate for children ages 3 through 10, with caregiver.
The Marion E. Wade Center presents a lecture by Jonathan R. Eller of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies on Monday, April 9, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

In his 1969 study, Enemies of the Permanent Things, Russell Kirk celebrated the "reviving art of moral fantasy, the ancient and persistent power of myth, fable, allegory, and parable." He found this revival most evident in the work of C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, and, among the next generation of writers, Ray Bradbury. Bradbury's similar mythopoeic tendencies and his resistance to corrupting materialism are, perhaps, best studied by exploring his abiding interest in the works of Lewis, Williams, and G.K. Chesterton. Conversely, the myths generated in The Martian Chronicles and related Bradbury stories may also offer the key to understanding why prominent mid-century British intellectuals and writers admired Bradbury's works in the 1950s. As Russell Kirk observed, Bradbury was a master at presenting "that high truth which is best revealed by allegory and proliferating fancy."

Jonathan R. Eller is a Chancellor's Professor of English, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, and senior textual editor of the Institute for American Thought at Indiana University's School of Liberal Arts (IUPUI). He first met Ray Bradbury in the late 1980s, eventually developing a working relationship that lasted until Mr. Bradbury's death in 2012. Most recently, Professor Eller authored Becoming Ray Bradbury (2011) and Ray Bradbury Unbound (2014), biographical studies of Bradbury's early and middle career. He also edits The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, a multivolume series that recovers the original versions of Bradbury's earliest tales. In 2013 he prefaced and prepared a new historical section for Simon & Schuster's 60th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451. Three of Professor Eller's books on Bradbury have been LOCUS award finalists for best nonfiction title in the science fiction and fantasy field.

The lecture will be held in the Marion E. Wade Center's Bakke Auditorium and is free and open to the public. The Wade Center is located on northwest corner of Wheaton College's campus on the corner of Washington St. and Lincoln Ave. in Wheaton. For more information, contact the Wade Center at 630.752.5908 or

Marion E. Wade Center Awarded NEH Grant for Preservation Assessment of Books Owned by C.S. Lewis

The Marion E. Wade Center was recently awarded a Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to assess conservation needs on a selection of books from the personal library of C.S. Lewis. It is the first NEH grant received by Wheaton College. The conservation assessment will be conducted in spring 2018 by a professional book conservator from Chicago’s Conservation Center, who will spend a week examining 420 volumes from Lewis’s library judged most in need of treatment, and will then prepare a detailed assessment for each volume along with cost estimates to complete the conservation work.

The Wade Center owns over 2,400 volumes from C.S. Lewis’s personal library, the majority of which were purchased in 1986 from a library in England which had obtained them following Lewis’s death. These library books form one of the Wade Center's most heavily accessed collections, making them especially vulnerable to deterioration due to regular handling. The volumes, never before evaluated by a conservator and in varying physical condition, contain Lewis’s annotations of unique, unpublished content. As a result, they are a significant and valued resource for gaining insight into Lewis and his thoughts.

Following the assessment, the Wade Center will create a long-term fundraising plan for conservation treatment of the books based on the assessment recommendations. Since part of the Wade Center’s mission is to make its collections accessible and available for present and future generations of researchers and visitors, this grant is integral to its ongoing preservation efforts and related fundraising initiatives.

The Marion E. Wade Center of Wheaton College, Illinois is a major research collection of materials by and about seven British authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams.

Announcing the Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts

The Marion E. Wade Center is delighted to announce the establishment of the Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts, funded by the generosity of The Esmond Nissim Foundation, Inc.

Through her friendship with Wade Center founder Clyde S. Kilby, Muriel Fuller, Wheaton College Class of 1923, was an early contributor to the fledging “Lewis Collection” at Wheaton College. The Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts continues her legacy of support for the Marion E. Wade Center and the work of the seven Wade authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. These authors were creative and imaginative artists in a variety of media, including the literary arts such as stories and poetry as well as drama. A number of these writers were gifted in the fine arts, and music was also a significant and valued part of their lives. The creativity of the Wade’s seven authors has in turn inspired a number of other artists throughout the years.

The Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts enables the Wade Center to feature the creative accomplishments of the seven authors while also highlighting the work of other artists—who were inspired by the seven—by offering talks, performances, and exhibitions, and by periodically commissioning new works. Aesthetic theory, the theological imagination, and related topics will also be explored through talks and seminars.

The inaugural event for the Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts will be held during the 2018-19 academic year.

Publication Announcement: The Messiah Comes to Middle-earth by Dr. Philip G. Ryken

Now published: Wheaton College President Dr. Philip G. Ryken’s  book The Messiah Comes to Middle-earth, containing content from the 2015-2016 Hansen Lectureship. In the book, readers discover that they too can learn much through Tolkien's imaginative storytelling. Through the characters of Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn, Ryken points us toward Christ as we consider his prophetic, priestly, and royal roles.

Copies are available for sale at the Wade Center or via InterVarsity Press Academic.

Narnian Virtues Character Education Project

lamppost-croppedThe University of Leeds, in collaboration with SUNY Cortland and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, has developed a curriculum utilizing C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and looking at whether study of the books can help improve students’ character. Aimed at 11-14 year olds, and designed for delivery in concurrent years, each stage of the curriculum is 12 weeks long. Participating schools will receive free PDF documents containing the needed curriculum materials, as well as updates and ideas via email and social media. More details in the links below.

Narnian Virtues Invitation
Narnian Virtues Workbook Pages
Narnian Virtues Handbook Pages


Study Guide: Learning from the Spiritual Pilgrimage of C.S. Lewis

In this six-part video series, Lyle Dorsett shares what he learned about Lewis’s spiritual formation, including what factors were involved in shaping him into a mature and influential Christian. The video series was recorded at the 2016 C.S. Lewis Institute Summer Conference held at the Marion E. Wade Center.

This Study Guide is designed to facilitate and enhance use of the videos by small groups. It may also be used by individuals for personal study and reflection.


Explore Media Recordings

View & listen to recordings from our previous programming, and other Wade author-related content, on our Media Page and YouTube channel.

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Volume 33 of VII (2016)

Volume 33 (2016) has been released and is now available for purchase online! This volume includes a transcription of a previously unpublished letter by C.S. Lewis, as well as articles on Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lewis. 


Video on "The Hobbit" and the Wade Center

Learn more about the Wade Center and J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit.


Gifts and Books at the Wade Gift Store

Items for sale include DVD study guides for C.S. Lewis's works Mere Christianity by Dr. Chris Mitchell and The Screwtape Letters by Dr. Jerry Root. Also for sale are used books by or related to the Wade authors.