collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism material assembled by Dr.
Frank Baker, a longtime scholar of Methodism and professor at Duke University,
comprises a large part of the library's Methodist materials. The collection
consists of manuscripts and published writings
by and about John Wesley (1703-1791), his brother Charles (1707-1788),
and other members of the Wesley family. There is also material
concerning the rise and development of British and American Methodism;
books the Wesleys drew upon for their reading, study, writing, and publication;
materials concerning Methodist background in the Church of England; and
other items from the time in which Methodism
arose. These materials along with materials in the Divinity School
Library comprise one of the most comprehensive Wesleyana collections in
The library also holds British religious pamphlets,
tracts, and sermons covering most aspects of religion and theology
in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland dating from the 17th, 18th,
and 19th centuries. Additional printed items include conference
and circuit publications from England, and, extending into the twentieth
century, from throughout the United States.
Manuscript items include minutes and record books, primarily
from Methodist congregations, circuits, districts, and conferences in North
Carolina. There are also many personal papers of Methodist clergy and laity,
including those of Methodist bishop and prohibition activist
and of John Lakin Brasher, leader of the Holiness
movement in the Methodist Church.
of English and American Anglican/Episcopal materials include sermons,
theological, devotional, and controversial literature, and biblical
editions, commentaries, and paraphrases, especially from the
sixteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. Published reports
of governing bodies of 19th and early 20th century
Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and other mainline American denominations
in the southeastern United States, and other literature emanating from
them, are also well represented. There are also numerous manuscript collections
of ordinary adherents as well as leaders of these denominations, including
such figures as Baptist preacher and theologian
Carlyle Marney and teacher
and scholar of Christian ethics Paul Ramsey. There are some important records
of African American churches in the South and papers of whites and blacks
relating to them, like the diaries of Winfield Henri
Mixon, A.M.E. official in Alabama, 1895-1932.
The library also houses published records of Congregational and Unitarian
churches as well as the papers of the influential Congregational minister
and lecturer Flavius Josephus Cook, 1838-1901.
library holds several collections of missionary papers dating from the
early to the late 20th century. Baptist
and Methodist missionaries are most heavily represented in the collections.
A few of the countries served by the missionaries include China, India,
Japan, and Zimbabwe. Among the collections are the diary of Mary McMillan,
a Methodist missionary teacher in Hiroshima, Japan, from just before World
War II to about 1990, and the papers of the
Fairbank Family, who were Protestant
missionaries for the United Church Board of World Ministries in West Central
Concerns of women ministers in the Southern United States are represented
in the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South Records. These
papers document how women ministers have confronted social issues including
sexism, racism, abortion, child abuse, poverty, and gays and lesbians in
the library holds an extensive collection of hymnals-principally English,
American, German, and German-American; biblical editions from all periods
and in many languages; and smaller holdings
of liturgical and devotional texts. Materials relating to 18th, 19th,
and 20th century church architecture,
particularly British, form another strength in the collection.
Jewish religious materials are located primarily in the Abram and Francis
Pascher Kanof Collection of Jewish Art, Archaeology, and Symbolism, a notable
component of which is a collection of over three hundred Haggadahs
(the book of ritual used in the Jewish family circle on Passover), many
of them early, illustrated, limited, or ephemeral editions.
library holds a number of religious manuscripts dating from the 8th
to the 19th centuries. The Kenneth Willis Clark Collection of
Greek Manuscripts contains ninety-eight items dating from the 9th
to the 17th centuries. Of these, twenty-seven contain the texts
of the New Testament. Others represent diverse homiletic
and liturgical books for services in the Byzantine Church.
There are more than seventy-five religious Latin manuscripts. Included
among them are a number of Vulgates dating from the 12th to
the 15th centuries as well as liturgies and rituals of the Catholic
Church dating from the 9th to the 16th centuries.
Other religious manuscripts include a few in Arabic, Coptic, and Ethiopic. In addition
to the Koran, there are Arabic manuscripts that contain a list of praises
to Allah, rules for fasting, and instructions on how to read the Koran.
Among the Coptic manuscripts are a Bible lectionary from the 14th
century, a homily dating from the 8th century, and several liturgies
dating from the 10th through the 18th centuries.
While considerable descriptive work has been done for the
less is available for the other pre-modern manuscripts. Patrons
should consult a reference librarian in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and
Special Collections Library if interested in looking at any of these older
If one is looking for manuscript minutes from Methodist congregations, circuits, districts, or conferences, one should speak to a reference librarian in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.
Although not an exhaustive list, following are a few topical
headings for finding materials on the above subjects in the Duke University
on-line library catalog.
CHURCH ARCHITECTURE [may be further subdivided by place]
CHURCH OF ENGLAND--SERMONS
DECORATION AND ORNAMENT, GOTHIC
HYMNS, ENGLISH [may be further subdivided by century]
METHODIST CHURCH [may be further subdivided by place]
METHODIST CHURCH--SERMONS [may be further subdivided by century]
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH--HYMNS
METHODISTS [may be further subdivided by place]
MISSIONARIES [may be further subdivided by place]
SERMONS, ENGLISH [may be further subdivided by century]
WOMEN CLERGY--SOUTHERN STATES
WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH--LITURGY
Also names of other specific religious denominations such as LUTHERAN CHURCH, BAPTISTS, EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
In addition to these headings, one may also search for material by names of individuals.
Complementing the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library's collections of religious materials is the Divinity School Library which contains a collection of more than 330,000 volumes in the field of religion and related disciplines. The Baker Methodist Research Center, named for Dr. Frank Baker and housed in the library, contains an extensive collection of Methodist research materials.
Archives and Research Centre at the John Rylands University Library
For more information or assistance, contact a reference librarian at the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.