Centenary College Archives partners with Southern Methodist University to digitize Methodist publications (1893-1939)

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections recently completed a collaborative digitization project with Perkins School of Theology's Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University. As a result, researchers now have online access to publications documenting Methodist Episcopal Church congregations along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast and in East Texas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

"This project successfully fills gaps in the collections of each archives and makes the volumes more accessible to the public," says Chris Brown '01, Centenary Archivist. Each archives handled scanning while Centenary staff and student workers edited the nearly 3,400 scans to create electronic reproductions of the forty-seven volumes.

Timothy Binkley, Bridwell Library Archivist, notes that, "Annual Conference journals are important sources of information about the careers of Methodist clergy, the establishment of circuits and charges, changes in district and conference boundaries, and the actions of conference board and ministries. Due to age and physical use, the Gulf Conference journals have become brittle, and replacement copies are difficult to find. Digitizing the journals and posting them online will help us preserve the information while making it available to more people."

The Gulf Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church formed in 1893 and merged with the Southern Conference in 1923. As explained by Methodist historian Dr. O. E. Kriege in 1939, "The Gulf Conference was erected to take care of several English speaking congregations which sprang up among settlers from northern states (mainly Iowa) in the western part of Louisiana and in Texas." Today, this lineage can be traced to current congregations such as Jennings United Methodist Church in Louisiana and Shelbyville United Methodist Church in Texas.

To access this digital collection, click here.

For more information about the project, contact Centenary Archivist Chris Brown (318.869.5462 or archives@centenary.edu) or Bridwell Library Archivist Timothy Binkley (214.768.1989 or tbinkley@smu.edu).