Below you will find two of the only known existing images of Octavius Winslow.
For someone who wrote so prolifically and had such a great impact on the church through his works, it is a shame there are no other images of him.
The story behind how these images were discovered will accompany each image.
The First Image: The Photograph
The account of how these images were discovered is as follows. I have asked the owner of the photos, Murray Brett, to write an account of how he obtained them:
Through the years, the writings of experimental Calvinists such as Octavius Winslow have been the most instrumental in leading me to live upon God as my very best portion, and in shepherding our church family to do the same. After reading Winslow for some time with great profit, I started collecting his writings around 2005. In mid 2006, I corresponded with Iain Murray to ask his ideas on publishing the collected works of Winslow and if enough information is available to write a biography. Iain had considered the matter himself and doubted if sufficient source material would be available for a biography, but offered his collection of books and sermons by Winslow to fill out what I lacked.
Late in August, a friend named Scott Meadows who knew of my appreciation for Winslow came across a picture for sale on eBay. Scott helped me set up an account so that I could bid on the photograph. On August 29, before the bidding began I wrote to the owner whose name is Laura Colosanti. Laura is a collector of old photographs and when she decided to sell some of them, she did research on Winslow for herself. Laura lives near the place Winslow pastored in New York and was glad to hear of my interest in Winslow and wrote that she could not remember who she purchased the photo from originally, though she did recall that it was purchased from someone in England who came across a Victorian photo album that was falling apart.
Each of the photos was labeled in the album, and the seller made sure to carefully include the label with each corresponding photo that was sold. On Saturday September 2, I entered my bid and succeeded in purchasing the picture of Dr. Winslow DD for a little less than $30. Shortly afterwards, I wrote to Gary Brady of the Evangelical Library of London who also has interest in Winslow. I offered an electronic copy for him to post on his website with other information about the man whose writings we have come to profit from so greatly.
Since that time, Gary has given my name to other lovers of Winslow, one whose name is Tanner Turley who recently completed his doctoral dissertation on “The Experimental Preaching of Octavius Winslow.” The last call I received regarding Winslow was from Matthew Blair who has put together this wonderful website with the collected writings of Winslow. I am very happy to provide a copy of this photo for the site he has created and hope that you increasingly grow in your appreciation of this careful expositor who aims at the mind, will, and especially the heart. It is also my great desire that through his writings you may grow in experimental Calvinism, a kind of vital Calvinism that proves in every sphere of life that the Sovereign Lord is your All.
Seeking to live upon God and for God together with you,
Murray Brett, pastor
August 29, 2010
But the question may still be asked, “How do we know this is Octavius and not another minister named Winslow?” Murray Brett tells me that on the front of this image the name “Dr. Winslow D.D.” is penciled in at the top.
But yet still this does not prove that this man is our Octavius.
To further this investigation, I contacted the Church of England and was in turn contacted by Dr. Rachel Cosgrave who is the Deputy Archivist at Lambeth Palace Library, London. She forwarded a scan of the Crockford’s Clerical Directory of 1878 which shows all of the ministers of the Church of England at that time with the name Winslow.
None of them had a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) except one….Octavius Winslow.
That, in my mind, sealed the deal as to who the image truly was.
Many thanks to Murray Brett for taking the time to scan these images at 1200dpi and making them available to me for posting here and to JM Vergara for providing his expert skills in Photoshop to help make these images more enjoyable and clear.
The Second Image: Etching
Then, in March of 2011, I was contacted via one of the comments on the blog by someone from England stating that they had in their possession a previously unknown etching of Octavius, complete with signature. I contacted this person (who wished to be known simply as Peter) and he told me that he had this image in a collection of original nonconformist documents that his family had amassed over the years and that he would be happy to share the image with me.
Needless to say, I was very excited to learn of its existence and that he was willing to share it with me.
Also, with the addition of this etching to the image collection, we can now prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the photograph above is indeed our Octavius Winslow D.D.
Additional Images Concerning Winslow
Please visit my Winslow photo collection on Flickr for some more great historical images.