I recently attended a campus meeting where we discussed the digitizing needs of our North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection. As part of my preparation, I detailed all of our digital work over the past 10 years as part of an overall status report. We have made great progress, thanks to the hard work of the Special Collections & Archives Team; in particular Digital Collections Librarian Mel Rutledge and Collections Archivist Stephanie Bennett as well as those providing reference assistance for patrons, Reference Assistant and Processing Archivist Finley Turner and Public Services Archivist Rebecca Petersen May. We look forward to making even more of our collections easily accessible and available to researchers through the coming years.


Baptist Biographical Files, available online (completed in-house)

39,000 pages digitized (12,000 names): 46 boxes

Baptist Association and Church Files, available online (ongoing, in-house)

The Baptist Church and Association files continue to be digitized and 50,483 pages were scanned in 2021. 133 boxes have been completed, out of 193 boxes total.

Biblical Recorder, available online, but re-digitizing (ongoing, in-house)

We are in the process of re-digitizing the Biblical Recorder due to the increasing costs of the third-party proprietary platform which currently hosts the issues. The BR began printing in 1834 and its content (often written by WFC Board of Trustees or Faculty members) closely mirrors and provides context for the history of Wake Forest College. Currently completed: 1834-1864

(1865-1891: oversized issues will need to be outsourced to a third-party vendor)

Reverend Harold McKinnish (ongoing, in-house)

Known for his oratory, compassion, and humor, the Reverend McKinnish served as pastor or interim pastor at 10 different Baptist churches in North and South Carolina. He delivered thousands of sermons, conducted more than 1,100 funerals, and preached at more than 400 revivals across 12 states. This collection includes sermons, music, and video recordings of his last sermon and funeral service. His daughter, Linda McKinnish Bridges, is currently working on his biography.

Additional Digitizing Projects:

Baptist Newspapers (in collaboration with DigitalNC)

Religion in North Carolina (in collaboration with Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill), 2012-2015

Biggest Need:

3,000 reels of microfilm documenting over 1,000 churches in NC; currently reviewing list so we can obtain a cost estimate for selected reels. Reels can be duplicated upon request by patrons (between 10-20 orders over the past several years, using the Southern Baptist Library and Archives in Nashville and Backstage Library Works).

Metadata Needs:

Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk Reel to reel tapes (2017)

SCA continues to create metadata for our 2017 CLIR-funded Recordings at Risk Grant which provided support for digitizing open-reel and cassette tapes for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina by George Blood (Philadelphia, PA). During the pandemic, 330 metadata records were created by SCA students and SCA/ZSR Library faculty/staff. These recordings document the American evangelical movement and contain presentations by prominent Southern Baptist pastors and church representatives at evangelical conferences and annual meetings of the Convention. Nearly 700 recordings remain needing metadata.

As primary source material, the insight this material provides for the American evangelical movement through five decades is invaluable on many levels. The speakers include prominent Southern Baptist leaders, including such notables as Kenneth Chafin, Billy Graham, Dale Moody, Wayne Oates, and Stephen Olford. The subjects range widely, from internal Baptist concerns relating to baptism and dancing at Baptist colleges, the role of the church in an increasingly liberal society, missionaries working abroad, political involvement, and the role of women. Historians, researchers, scholars, and students, whether focusing on culture, the evangelical movement, gender, or religion, will gain new perspectives and understanding by having access to these previously unavailable materials.

LSTA Digitized Church Records (2016)

(digitizing and metadata completed in-house; still needs Primo cataloging records created with links to online content)

This digital collection was made possible by a 2016 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) NC grant. It contains material on 118 North Carolina Baptist churches (some dating back to the 1700s) selected from our NC Baptist Historical Collection. Objects digitized include original records, photocopies of records, and microfilmed records. The collection may contain timelines of constitutional dates, associational memberships, and any name changes, divisions, or mergers the church may have gone through; newspaper clippings; brief historical sketches; lists of former and current pastors; church directories; and photographs.

All of our materials are available through our North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection Portal.