The following post was written by Monique Swaby, Religion in North Carolina Project graduate assistant.
My name is Monique Swaby and I am the graduate assistant working with research and outreach for the Religion in North Carolina Project at Wake Forest University’s Department of Special Collections and Archives. I am a graduate of Smith College, 06’ and received my Master of Education from the University of Vermont, 11’. Currently I am working on my Master of Divinity at Wake Forest School of Divinity, 15’. From there I will go on to create a faith-based non-profit that focuses on spiritual formation, community service and teaching in Winston-Salem. I believe this collection will be a great resource to my current and future endeavors for community collaboration and historical knowledge. Some of my work with this project includes producing materials to highlight items in the collection, as well as offering presentations on Religion in NC and its uses to groups at WFU and its neighboring community.
The digital collection for the Religion in NC project is a collaborative effort between Duke University, UNC- Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University. Religion in NC is federally funded through a grant provided by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered by the State Library of North Carolina. This project is entering its third year of funding and will continue to enhance the digital collection of religious and cultural life in North Carolina. What makes this database so special is that it is the only one of its kind. It specifically focuses on one state’s religious life where a multitude of primary resources can be found right at your fingertips through a single collection. This project has gathered primary resources through thousands of local and state-wide religious institutions such as historical foundations, churches, individuals, and library systems at Harvard University, Elon College, the Charlotte Mecklenberg Library, and our very own Wake Forest Baptist Historical Collection to name a few.
So, who exactly can utilize our digital collection and what treasures of historical data can you find? I’m glad you asked. Our collection houses materials that include conference proceedings, meeting minutes, autobiographies, newsletters, serial publications, and sermons. There is also a growing number of ephemeral works such as cookbooks, event programs, and directories. One of the most intriguing aspects of this collection are the personal stories that are recorded through letters and other materials from individual life. Anyone interested in personal, professional, or social history of religion in a vast array of communities can find these resources helpful. The collection may also appeal to anyone who is interested in how technology is being used to document our state’s rich cultural and religious history such as historians, genealogists, librarians, religious groups, teachers, and students. The Religion in NC portal can be reached through our website or directly thought the Internet Archive hosted site. Our goal is to help preserve and transfer the cultural and religious history of our state. With your help we can continue to add to this collection as well if you have any materials you may wish to add. We hope you will enjoy this great resource for many of your personal and professional needs. History is always worth preserving and the religious life of North Carolinians is no exception. Enjoy! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us at Special Collections and Archives…