The School of Theology Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to records of enduring, historical value relating to, or created by, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Boston University School of Theology. The New England Conference Collections contain Local Church Records, Conference Records, conference journals and other publications. The School of Theology Collections contain records of the administrative offices, organizations and institutes. We also hold personal papers and artifact collections donated by prominent New England Methodists and School of Theology faculty members. Records exist in a variety of different formats including documents, photographs, audio and moving image recordings, artworks and artifacts. An appointment is required to access the church records and the other archival collections at Boston University School of Theology Library. Please call or email (617-353-1323 or email@example.com) before you plan your visit to the library.
Morgan Memorial-Goodwill Industries
This important service organization was founded by Rev. Edgar J. Helms (STH, 1895) and has grown to become an international model for social agencies. Annual reports, board minutes, and news clippings from its 100-year history report its activities during the years. Files are arranged chronologically, with a general inventory.
For more information about the Morgan Memorial, Inc. archival collection, click here.
New England Conference Commission on Archives and History
The Commission collection focuses on the history of the United Methodist Church in New England, with Conference Journals, church records, and archived records of conference boards and agencies, along with Methodist-related social and service organization records. Commission materials, especially journals and church records, are listed online. The listing in these pages is complete except for information notes on parish history.
Learn more about the important work done by NECCAH here and search for holdings information.
New England United Methodist Historical Society
All materials dealing with the Methodist church in New England, including conference journals and records, church records, records of organizations and social groups, books and papers, were transferred to the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History. Included are manuscript letters and memoirs collected by the Historical Society and books by or about New England Methodism. General histories of the Methodist Episcopal Church recording the evangelization of New England, and national-level publications, such as General Conference materials, the Book of Discipline, and the General Minutes were also transferred to the Commission. All other published materials dealing with Methodism or other topics were transferred to Boston University School of Theology Library, including the Society’s collection of 18th and 19th century publications by or about John and Charles Wesley.
For more information about the New England United Methodist Historical Society, search for it in our archival holdings database here.
Early Printed Bible Pages
The School of Theology Archives is home to a collection of sample leaves from early and important Bible editions. Find information about our holdings here.
One of the side-effects of our early missionary training was a collection of Bibles in various languages, previously in the Reading Room at 72 Mt. Vernon Street. The collection supplements the Massachusetts Bible Society Collection, but is not cataloged on-line.
William E. Barton Samaritan Collection
The Barton Collection contains materials accumulated during a quarter century (1903-1926) of personal contact with the Samaritans, including correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and scrolls. Primary material consists of nineteen scrolls, including two Pentateuchal scrolls of early twentieth century vintage, the original and unpublished Arabic texts of Priest Jacob on the history and thought of the sect, five small modern codices of parts of the Samaritan Pentateuch, two Samaritan prayer books, an Arabic treatise by Priest Isaac on Jacob’s Well, and untranslated autobiography of Jacob in Arabic, two copies of the Samaritan Book of Joshua in Arabic, one of which has a commentary in Samaritan Hebrew, and a copy of Abu’l Fath. The photographs include forty-three prints of the Abisa scroll from a 1919 filming, discredited at the time, but verified as authentic after re-photographing by Perez Castro in the 1950s, and other photographs or glass slides of the Samaritans. Personal letters reveal his contacts with the Samaritans and dealers through whom he obtained the scrolls and other materials. Also contains about 150 letters by or about the American Samaritan Committee.
For more information about the William E. Barton Samaritan Collection, click here.
James D. Purvis Samaritana Collection
The Purvis collection contains both primary and secondary materials on the Samaritans. The primary materials consist of fifty volumes of Samaritan texts, including thirty-five hand-copied volumes, mostly collected in the early 1960s, for the most part anthologies of liturgical materials–service books for daily and Sabbath prayers, songs and prayer for the liturgical year, and songs for special occasions–as well as copies of biblical texts and theological writings, with texts in Samaritan Aramaic and Hebrew (in Samaritan characters), and less frequently in Arabic (sometimes in a mixture of Arabic and Samaritan characters). Included are four antiquarian volumes, and a substantial run (1981-82, 1984, 1986, 1996-1999, with some issues from 1991-1992) of Aleph-Beth: The Samaritan News. Secondary materials include twenty-eight monographs in English, Hebrew or German, including bibliographies, mostly published in the 1960s to 1990s, and eighty off-prints or photocopies of articles on the Samaritans, primarily in English with a few in German, mostly from the 1950s to 1990s.
Click here to read more about the Purvis Collection.
Dr. Scherf Taize Collection, 1924-1974
The Dr. Theresa Scherf research collection on Taize has extensive photocopy resources on early writings of Brother Roger and founding philosophy behind the Taize Movement.
Dr. Theresa Scherf collected these photocopies and translations of source materials while writing her dissertation, “Monasticism as Church: The Taizé Rule in the Light of Western Monastic Tradition” (Ph.D. Marquette University, 1988)
To learn more about the holdings in our Dr. Scherf Taize Collection, visit our archival database here.
Anna Howard Shaw Center Collection
The Anna Howard Shaw Center at Boston University School of Theology promotes structures and practices that empower women and honor diversity. The Center is named after the Reverend Doctor Anna Howard Shaw, a Methodist minister, medical doctor, and suffragist. Ten years after its founding in 1978, the Shaw Center was designated as the women’s center for the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. The collection includes transcripts from an oral history program on clergywomen. It also includes the center’s old subject files filled with articles on a variety of women’s related topics. Copies of the Anna Howard Shaw Center newsletter and Sojourner are also part of this collection.
For more detailed information about our holdings in the Anna Howard Shaw Center Collection, visit our archival database.
The Archives accepts donations that relate to the United Methodist Church, and its predecessor denominations, in New England. We also collect personal papers, artifacts, art, and other records that relate to the history of Boston University School of Theology. Other collecting areas include records relating to social justice and religion, art and theology, and Global Missions. Contact the Archivist to determine whether your records are eligible for donation.
Please fill out the Donor Agreement Form and submit this with the records you wish to donate. The Archivist reserves the right to reject any donations due to size, condition, and relevance to the School of Theology Archives collections policies. Please call and check in with the Archivist before donations are sent to the Library.
Records Management in Local Churches
Click on the collapsible box to learn the answer to these frequently asked questions!
Scheduling an Appointment
Researchers must have an appointment for use of archival materials. Researchers must call at least 24 hours in advance for access to archival collections. Walk-ins may be accepted on a case-by-case basis for books in the Research Collections ONLY (Rare Book Collections). Please contact the Archivist and Preservation Librarian to make an appointment.
Yes, you can request information via phone, letter or email. There may be a charge for reproductions of large quantities of material.
We look forward to your genealogical research questions. Please be advises that due to volume of requests for ancestral information that the Archivist can only spend 20 minutes searching for records in the archives. It is encouraged that you make an effort to visit the archives if you wish to learn more, or conduct large-scale projects.
New England Conference Commission on Archives, School of Theology Collections, and Personal Papers Inquiries
Research inquiries regarding the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History records, the Boston University School of Theology records, personal papers, and artifact collections will be given more time. This is especially true if you are conducting research for a book or dissertation.
For email and phone inquiries in these collections, the timeline will be determined by the Archivist.
Some items can be copied. Photocopies of some collections may be restricted due to fragile condition, confidentiality, copyright, request of the creator or the discretion of the Archives and Preservation Librarian. In addition, collections will not be available for research until they are processed.
Photocopy requests will be approved on an individual basis. No collection may be copied in its entirety.
Copies of unpublished materials may be used for private research use only.
Photocopying and duplication fees will be assessed by the Archivist and Preservation Librarian on a case-by-case basis. There is no charge for files sent via email.
If we are mailing the reproduction to you, shipping fees may apply. If the patron requests a reproduction of a recording (cassette, CD, CD-Rom, DVD, or digital audio file) or photograph, the cost will be negotiated with the Archivist and Preservation Librarian. Researchers and those requesting information may also be charged for shipping charges.
You can use your camera to take pictures of the archival materials in the research reading room when your visit to the School of Theology Archives so long as the item is in the public domain, or you have consent from the donor, Archivist and Preservation Librarian, or other party related to the collection. Any and all reproductions of records are for personal research purposes only.
Permission to Publish
Please Note:Permission to examine or photocopy does not constitute permission to publish.
For Collections whose Copyright is Managed By the School of Theology Library
Yes, if you plan to publish what you have copied in your dissertation, book, article, etc. Please fill out the Permission to Publish Form and submit it to the Archivist and Preservation Librarian, firstname.lastname@example.org. A response approving your request may take a few days as the Head Librarian and Archivist assess your request.
For Collections whose Copyright is Maintained by the Owner/Creator
If the School of Theology Library does not hold copyright to the item you wish to publish, permission to publish previously unpublished material must be obtained from the owner of the rights.
For those items in which copyright is still maintained by the author, donor, his/her heirs or other appointed parties named in the Deed of Gift, it will be necessary to obtain permission to publish directly from those individuals. Contact information for those parties holding ownership rights of the materials held in the School of Theology Archives may be provided to researcher at the discretion of the Archivist and Preservation Librarian.
If you wish to reproduce a record (i.e. a photo, one document, etc.) in its entirety held by the School of Theology Archives in your dissertation, please fill out the Permission to Publish Form and submit it to the Archivist and Preservation Librarian at email@example.com. The Archivist will respond to your request as soon as it has been approved by the Head Librarian. There may be a few days of processing before you receive your confirmation email.
It is incumbent on the researcher to contact the appropriate parties for permission to publish.
Boston University School of Theology does not surrender its right to grant permission to others to print the same material, nor does Boston University assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright laws or of the publication rights for the manuscript held by the writer, his heirs, executors, or assignees.
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 of the United States Code) governs the scanning, photocopying, and other reproductions of copyright material. When you scan something at the School of Theology Library, you are agreeing to abide by this law.
Copyright Law is designed to protect the rights of the creator of a work. If you are interested in learning more about the concept of copyrighted works and the fair use for educational purposes of that work, the American Library Association has a good summary of how it applies to libraries. To quote from the ALA article:
Fair use is a copyright principle based on the idea that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted works for educational and informational purposes. Under fair use, someone other than the copyright holder may freely copy, display, perform, and distribute copyrighted material, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.
The United States Copyright Law (Title 17) can be found here http://www.copyright.gov/title17/
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or “research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
Boston University reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Please refer questions to the Office of Publications Production (x4559).
Are there any records that I will not be able to view?
Access to some collections may be restricted due to fragile condition, confidentiality, request of the creator or the discretion of the Archives and Research Collections Coordinator. Collections will not be available for research until they are processed.
For the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History Collections, administrative records of a general agency are closed for twenty-five (25) year period. Agency personnel files are closed for seventy-five (75) year period. For individuals wishing to look at more current documents, an appeal, in writing, must be made to the School of Theology Archivist and Preservation Librarian/ New England Annual Conference Archivist.
For the School of Theology Archives Collections, and Personal Papers Collections access to certain classes of records is restricted by federal law or request of donor. These include:
- Individual education records of living students or living former students as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, unless the student or former student grants access in writing.
- Individual employment records of living, current or former faculty members,
administrators or other staff members, including records which concern hiring, appointment, promotion, tenure, performance, termination or other circumstances of employment.
- Records where usage might constitute an invasion of privacy or which are currently in litigation.
- Records restricted by Deed of Gift.
Citing Archival Materials
Citations should include the name of the collection followed by the name of the repository. The basic citation or courtesy for photos should include, the item name/description, the collection name the name of the archives [Boston University School of Theology Archives] and the location [Boston, MA].
Examples from Turabian and MLA style manuals are below:
Turabian, Kate A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations
Letter, Hiram Johnson to John Callan O’Laughlin. 13, 16 July. 28 November, 1916, O’Laughlin Papers, Roosevelt Memorial Collection, Harvard College Library, Cambridge.
PhD Thesis Citation
Sandra Landis Gogel, “A Grammar of Old Hebrew,” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1985), 46-50.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th Edition.
Sweet Studios. Portrait of Richard Burton. 1912. Jessie Belle Rittenhouse Papers. Rollins College Archives, Winter Park.
Wattles, Willard. Letter to Hamilton Holt. 25 January 1940. Willard Wattles Papers. Rollins College Archives, Winter Park.
Please be sure to check the Style guides before publishing. These examples are subject to change as the guides are regularly updated.