Primary Sources for the Presbyterian Masses

Archive for the ‘PCA Historical Center’ Category

Latest Accession at the Historical Center

In PCA Historical Center on 06/08/2012 at 16:22

The PCA Historical Center is blessed today with the accession of about seven volumes of a periodical titled The Church at Home and Abroad. This was a PCUSA journal covering both home and foreign missions, and the issues received cover all but four years of the 1887-1898 run of this journal.

But why is the PCA Historical Center gathering old PCUSA publications?

The most direct way of answering that question is to give you an overview of the holdings here at the PCA Historical Center, which can be broken down into four basic groups:

I. Organizational Records – Records of the PCA and its agencies, plus the records of five other conservative Presbyterian denominations. To list these:

  • Presbyterian Church in America [1973-ongoing]
  • Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod [1965-1982]
  • Evangelical Presbyterian Church [1961-1065], formerly the Bible Presbyterian Church, Columbus Synod [1956-1961]
  • Bible Presbyterian Church, 1938-1956
  • Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod [1833-1965]
  • Covenant Presbytery [1971-1984]

II. Manuscript Collections – The papers of over one hundred forty people connected with the above denominations. These collections typically include correspondence, published and unpublished writings, as well as materials representative of each person’s involvement with the Church.

III. Congregational Histories – Published and unpublished history materials for over 700 local churches, most of which are affiliated with the PCA.

IV. The Research Library – At present this is a modest library, with a goal of collecting titles in all aspects of American Presbyterianism. The purpose of this library is to provide the larger context or setting for the archival collections housed here at the Historical Center. Library holdings currently total about 5000 volumes, and work is underway to better manage these holdings, by building a database or “online public access catalog” (OPAC for short). As we continue to build the research library as an aspect of our larger Collection, we have more resources with which to serve our patrons, and it is here where these issues of The Church at Home and Abroad fit in to the larger scheme of things.

Archives don’t just preserve materials. If all an archives did was to house materials away such that no one ever utilized them, what would be the point of that? Physical control or acquisition of documents and then their preservation in a closely monitored environment—these are just the first steps in the work of any archives. The real work or purpose of an archives is to then make that material accessible to the public. Intellectual control of those same documents involves knowing what you have on the shelves and being able to provide patrons with access to that material. This is where the Internet has been such a helpful tool for archives, in publicizing their holdings. Finding aids, or indexes, are prepared for each collection as it is processed, and these finding aids are then posted to the Historical Center’s web site.

In a similar way, the Center’s research library needed a convenient management tool, and an online public access catalog was the obvious way to accomplish this goal. Most OPAC software is expensive, but I was able to locate an open source, free software which seems to have the needed features. Since February of this year, I’ve slowly been building the database for the OPAC, and now have over 1250 entries, or about 25% of the research library’s current holdings. For a sneak peak at the OPAC, click here.  As an added bonus on the OPAC web page, note too that there are links at the bottom of the page for indexes to various 19th- and 20th-century periodicals. It’s unlikely that I will compile a similar index for The Church at Home and Abroad, but it is, nonetheless, a blessing to have this added resource available for all who use the Historical Center.

Recent News at the PCA Historical Center

In PCA Historical Center on 26/05/2011 at 17:49

An update on recent progress at the PCA Historical Center:

Dr. George P. Hutchinson has made the donation of another accrual to his Papers, this donation totaling nineteen boxes of materials.  Noteworthy among the items is a set of thirteen volumes published by the  Alliance of the Reformed Churches Holding the Presbyterian System, and covering the proceedings of that ecumenical organization, 1884-1937, 1959, and 1970.

An accrual of two boxes [2.0 cu. ft.] to the Papers of the Rev. Donald J. MacNair.

Rev. Tom Jones has donated materials from his days as part of the infamous singing duo of Dameron & Jones.  Items include a copy of the cassette tape produced by the duo, transcriptions of their songs and some photos. — [“We’ve been OP, BP, and EPC, and RPCES; And what we’ll be this time next year is anybody’s guess.”]  Tom has also just today donated a set of CD’s containing his interview with the Rev. Bud Moginot.

and lastly, Chaplain David P. Peterson has made the donation of his Papers, 0.5 cu. ft.
All of these materials remain unprocessed at this time.

Recent researchers in the Center have included Dr. Doug Herman, history professor at the Big Sandy Community Technical College, Prestonsburg, Kentucky, researching in the Buswell and MacRae collections; and Ms. Jinja Kim, a doctoral student from the University of Hokkaido, Japan, conducting research for her dissertation in our Japan missions collections.

Some of the recent accessions to the Center’s research library include:

Baker, Daniel, Daniel Baker’s Talks to Little Children. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1856.

McKay, Ellen Cotton, A History of The Rye Presbyterian Church. Rye, NY: The Church, 1957.  Hb, xix, 260 p.; indexed; 23.5 cm.

Morton, Herbert Donald, Origins of the Twentieth Century Reformation Movement. Philadelphia: Westminster Theological Seminary, 1967; Th.M. Thesis; 157 p.; 28 cm.

Phillips, A.L., The Call of the Home Land: A Study in Home Missions. Richmond, VA: The Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1910.  Hb, 197 p.; 20 cm.

Prize Essays on the Temporal Advantages of the Sabbath. Considered in relation to the Working Classes. Containing Heaven’s Antidote, The Torch of Time, and The Pearl of Days. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, undated.

The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and Its Consequences to the Protestant Churches of France and Italy; containing Memoirs of some of the Sufferers in the Persecution attending that event. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1839.  Hb, [4], 215 p.; 16 cm. Read the rest of this entry »