C-N’s Baptist Archives Celebrates Silver Anniversary

Linda Gass, who works part-time in the archives since retiring for Stephens-Burnett Library, and Al Lang search the collection for a particular Tennessee Baptist association’s history.

Carson-Newman’s Baptist Archives is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Tennessee Baptist Convention commissioned repositories at Belmont University, C-N and Union University in 1986 and each institution drew materials from its corresponding region.

Material that had been housed first at Belmont and then back at the Convention’s Brentwood offices were transferred to C-N in the summer. Part of Carson-Newman’s Mildred L. Iddins Special Collections, The Middle and East Tennessee Baptist Archives offer churches and associations a place to keep safe copies of their histories and also serves as a treasure trove for historians and genealogical researchers.

“Our materials are for the use of the college staff, students, scholars, and the general public,” said Al Lang, C-N’s archivist. As a “faith-based archive” we believe that by preserving materials documenting the history of Carson-Newman and Baptists, we are keeping a record of God's work in the lives of His people. As David writes in Psalm 22:30: ‘Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord.’”

C-N’s archived collection contains the minutes, records, annuals, and histories of various churches and associations. It also holds the journals, letters, and personal papers of ministers, missionaries and laypeople.

The Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union opted to house its historical records in C-N’s archives in 2007. The WMU collection, which dates to the 1880s, is available for research, as are early Tennessee Baptist newspapers, Tennessee Baptist Convention annuals, regional state newspapers, and selected Southern Baptist journals.

Other special holdings include collections from pastors like J.A. Lockhart, an East Tennessee minister who kept a personal journal from 1898 until 1946; Russell Bradley Jones, a missionary, pastor, professor and TBC president; Glenn Toomey, one of the first people to actively collect Baptist church histories in the region; and Lofton Hudson, founder of the Christian Counseling Center.

For more information, contact Lang at 865-471-3542, or by email at alang@cn.edu