Special Collection Treasures
Published in October 2005 by Jennifer Taylor
William Ruston standing next to bell with President Wright

William J. Rushton and President Leslie Wright

The Rushton Memorial Carillon was first installed on campus in Reid Chapel in 1968. The carillon was donated by William J. Rushton in honor of his parents, two sisters, and brother. When the carillon was first erected, 49 bells were included. It was the first four-octave chromatic carillon in the United States. Each bell was cast with a meaningful inscription, making the bell system not only unique to the United States but to the world. No other bell system at that time included inscriptions on each bell.

In 1979, the bells were moved to the Harwell Goodwin Davis Library. Eleven more bells were added at that time. The largest bell, C3, weighs 5,192 pounds and has a diameter of 61-9/16". The lightest bell, C8, weighs 26 pounds and has a diameter of 7-1/8". The total weight for the bells is 29,244 pounds.

Installation of one of the bells

Installation of one of the bells

Inscriptions on the Bells

Inscriptions marked by the *asterisk were taken from European bells cast in the 15th and 16th centuries.

First Bell
"A thing of Beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness."

John Keats - Endymion

Second Bell
"Yea, music is the prophet's art among the gifts that God hath sent, one of the most magnificent!"

Longfellow - Christmas

Third Bell
"I will praise the name of God with a song; I will Magnify Him with thanksgiving."

Psalm 69:30

Fourth Bell
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him."

Psalm 28:7

Fifth Bell
"Bless the Lord, O My Soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

Psalm 103:1-2

Sixth Bell
"Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sand of time.

Longfellow - A Psalm of Life

Seventh Bell
"For bells are the voice of the church, they have tones that touch and search the hearts of young and old; one sound to all, yet each lends a meaning to their speech, and the meaning is manifold."

Longfellow-Bells of San Blas

Eighth Bell
"Strike it now and you shall hear sweet and soft and silver clear, such a note as thrills your heart with its tender, magic art."

Bells of San Miguel

Ninth Bell
"Those evening bells! Those Evening Bells! How many a tale their music tell of youth, and home, and that sweet time when last I heard their soothing chime!"

Thomas Moore - Those Evening Bells

Tenth Bell
*"Sauvius in nullis vox concinit aenea campis in byrum glomerata melo"

(No rounded bronze has ever sung a sweeter tune on any campus)

Eleventh Bell
"Golden bells! What a world of Happiness their harmony foretells"

Edgar Allan Poe - The Bells

Twelfth Bell
"Ring in the nobler modes of life, with sweeter manners, purer laws"

Alfred, Lord Tennyson- In Memoriam

Thirteenth Bell
"Ring in the love of truth and right, ring in the common love of good."

Alfred, Lord Tennyson- In Memoriam

Fourteenth Bell
"Ring in the valiant man and free, the larger heart, the kindlier hand."

Alfred, Lord Tennyson- In Memoriam

Fifteenth Bell
"Ring out the want, the care, the sin, the faithless coldness of the times."

Alfred, Lord Tennyson- In Memoriam

Sixteenth Bell
"Ring out the darkness of the land, ring in the Christ that is to be."

Alfred, Lord Tennyson- In Memoriam

Seventeenth Bell
"O come, Let us sing unto the Lord; Let us Make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation."

Psalm 95:1

Eighteenth Bell
"Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with Psalms."

Psalm 95:2

Nineteenth Bell
"For the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods."

Psalm 95:3

Twentieth Bell
"O come let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the lord our maker."

Psalm 95:6

Twenty-first Bell
"For He is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."

Psalm 95:7

Twenty-second Bell
"O sing unto the Lord a new song sing unto the Lord, all the earth." Psalm 96:1
Twenty-third Bell
"Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day."

Psalm 96:2

Twenty-fourth Bell
"Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people."

Psalm 96:3

Twenty-fifth Bell
"For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all Gods."

Psalm 96:4

Twenty-sixth Bell
"Honour and Majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary."

Psalm 96:6

Twenty-seventh Bell
"Give unto the Lord, o ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength."

Psalm 96:7

Twenty-eighth Bell
"give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering and come into courts."

Psalm 96:8

Twenty-ninth Bell
"O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: Fear Before Him, all the earth."

Psalm 96:9

Thirtieth Bell
"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof."

Psalm 96:11

Thirty-first Bell
"Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice."

Psalm 96:11

Thirty-second Bell
"Before the Lord: for He cometh for He cometh to judge the earth."

Psalm 96:13

Thirty-third Bell
"He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."

Psalm 96:13

Thirty-fourth Bell
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands."

Psalm 100:1

Thirty-fifth Bell
"Serve the Lord with Gladness: Come before His presencewith singing."

Psalm 100:2

Thirty-sixth Bell
"Know ye that the Lord is God; it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves."

Psalm 100:3

Thirty-seventh Bell
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name."

Psalm 100:4

Thirty-eighth Bell
"For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting and Truth endureth to all generations."

Psalm 100:5

Thirty-ninth Bell
"Beati Immaculati. when you me ring, I'll sweetly sing. I mean to make it understood that though I'm little, yet I'm good."

Devon Church Bells (England)

Fortieth Bell
"Praise ye the Lord, Praise God in his Sanctuary. Praise Him in the firmament of His Power."

Psalm 150:1

Forty-first Bell
"Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord, praise ye the Lord."

Psalm 150:6

Forty-second Bell
* "Laudate nomen eius, quoniam sauvis est dominus, in aeternum misericordia eius."

(Praise His name, since the Lord is pleasing, His compassion everlasting.)

Forty-third Bell
*"Cantabo domino qui bona tribuit mihi et psallam nomini domini altissiumi."

(I shall sing to the Lord who grants good things to me, and I shall sing to the Lord most high)

Forty-fourth Bell
*"Laudate dominum in cymbalis jubilationis omnis spiritus laudet dominum"

(Praise the Lord on the bells, let every spirit praise the Lord)

Forty-fifth Bell
*"Jubilate deo omnis terra servite domino in laetitia"

(Every land make a noise unto God, serve the Lord in gladness)

Forty-sixth Bell
*"Cantate domino omnis terra cantate domino omnis terra."

(Sing a new song unto the Lord, all the earth sing unto the Lord.)

Forty-seventh Bell
*"Laudate dominum omnes gentes, laudate eum omne populi."

(Praise the Lord all nations, praise Him all people.)

Forty-eighth Bell
*"Cantate nomen eius quoniam sauvis est dominus."

(Sing His name since the Lord is compassionate.)

Forty-ninth Bell
*"Sit nomen domini benedictum laudate illum cymbalis sonoris."

(Blessed be the name of the Lord, Praise Him O resounding bells)

Fiftieth Bell
*"Gloria patri filio et spiritui sancto."

(Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.)

Fifty-first Bell
* "Sit nomen domini canticum novum."

(Let the name of the Lord be a new song.)

Fifty-second Bell
*"Sonoro meo sono resono Deo."

(I sound again for God with my sonorous ring.)

Fifty-third Bell
*"Gloria in excelsis Deo."

(Glory be to God in the highest.)

Fifty-fourth Bell
*"Dulscire nostris resonat tinnitibus aer."

(The heavens resound sweetly to our jinglings.)

Fifty-fifth Bell
"Though I am the least, I will be heard as well as the rest."

From the smallest bell in a peal of six in Weltshire, England, cast in 1666.

Fifty-sixth Bell
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name O most high."

Psalm 92:1

Fifty-seventh Bell
"Whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things."

Philippians 4:8

Fifty-eighth Bell
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28

Fifty-ninth Bell
"The man who has music in his soul will be most in love with the loveliest."

Plato, The Republic

Sixtieth Bell
"O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!"

Psalm 96:1


  • Carillon V/F, Special Collection, Samford University Library, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • "Rushton Memorial Carillon Dedication to Preced Candlelight Dinner May 23." Samford Today
  • Nunnelley, William. "Singing Spires of Samford." Birmingham, 8:5 (1968): 12 - 15.
  • Samford University, Rushton Memorial Carillon, Samford University, Birmingham Alabama 1968. Samford Univeristy 1968.
  • Samford University, Rushton Memorial Carillon, Samford University, Birmingham Alabama. Samford Univeristy 1979.