(October 4, 2013)

Centenary Archives digitizes Louisiana Methodist publications (1847-1967)

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections has recently digitized and made available 173 volumes of Louisiana Methodist conference journals (1847-1967). Also added to the archives' online collections is Walter N. Vernon's Becoming One People: A History of Louisiana Methodism.

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Chris Brown and Kayla Ruth

"This project helps our researchers explore the history of Louisiana Methodism," said Chris Brown '01, Centenary Archivist. "These publications document the predecessor denominations that merged to form today's Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. The combined 18,000 pages of these volumes include topics ranging from circuit riders in the 19th century, to female clergy in the 1920s, to African-American Methodist activities in the civil rights era. The journals also include annual reports about Centenary College. Our next step is to collaborate with institutions that can help us fill gaps in this online collection, so stayed tuned in the coming year."

These resources proved valuable to researcher Ellen DeWitt, who recently published the book Glen Orange about her ancestor Rev. Stephen J. Davies, Sr. Davies served the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South from its inception in 1847 until his death in 1864. DeWitt noted, "Open the pages of these old conference journals to discover not only a rich depository for those researching Louisiana Methodism but also poignantly real stories of Methodists, men and women who in the context of their time sought to further the kingdom of God."

The Centenary Archives would like to thank the Louisiana Conference Commission on Archives & History and the Friends of Old Centenary for helping fund this project. Thanks also go to Centenary Archives student worker, Kayla Ruth '15, who helped proof the volumes to ensure clean, complete copies were mailed to the scanning center.

The project was made possible through the LYRASIS Mass Digitization Collaborative — a Sloan Foundation grant-subsidized program that has made digitization easy and affordable for libraries and cultural institutions across the country. Through the Collaborative's partnership with the Internet Archive, all items were scanned from cover-to-cover and in full color. Researchers can choose from a variety of formats, page through a book choosing the "read online" option, download the PDF, or search the full text version.

To view the online collection, visit the website. For more information about the project and the works that have been digitized, contact Centenary Archivist Chris Brown at 318.869.5462 or archives@centenary.edu.