Archives & History Reports (1970-79)

1979 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     The Louisiana Conference Commission on Archives and History is charged by the Discipline of the United Methodist Church with cultivation of appreciation on the part of our people of our Methodist heritage, and with the preservation of the various historical records of Louisiana Methodism, its conferences, agencies and institutions.

     The Commission maintains two depositories: (1) the "Louisiana Methodist Archives", housed in the Cline Room at Magale Library at Centenary College, Shreveport, and (2) a depository housed at Alexander Library, Dillard Universty, New Orleans.

     We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made in the continuing task of secunng, evaluating, cataloging and preserving the important archival materials which over the years have been entrusted to our care.

     We remind the various agencies of the Annual Conference that their important records, which are no longer needed for current operations, should be delivered to the Louisiana Methodist Archives for preservation.

     We are grateful for the concern for our Church's history which has led ministers and laypersons to preserve, in their personal care, important records of the Conference, its agencies, institutions, and local churches which otherwise might have been lost to us. We encourage any who have such official records to deposit them for permanent care in the Archives. We invite all who share this concern to assist in the discovery of, request for, and deposit of such Church records.

     The Commission plans the publication of an "Historical Register" of local churches in the Louisiana Conference. Toward that end, each church will be asked to complete a simple form which will provide the Commission with needed data for its church listing.

     We encourage qualified local churches to become registered with the Commission as "Historic Sites." Forms are available from the Louisiana Methodist Archives, Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana 71104.

     The Commission plans a bi-district church history workshop in the autumn of 1979 at a date and location to be announced.

James Christie, Chairman

1978 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     The Commission is pleased to report that there is an increasing concern for the preservation of the records - the story - of the work of the Church in Louisiana.

     The Commission, as directed by the Discipline of our Church, maintains two archival depositories. Our principal depository is located here at Centenary College, in the Cline Room at Magale Library, where we are fortunate to have the benefit of professional archivist's services. Our other depository is at the Alexander Library at Dillard University, where are housed our collection of materials related to the history and heritage of former Conference B and the black churches of Louisiana. The Annual Conference has provided a special grant of $1000 to provide for the cataloging and display of these materials.

     Among the acquisitions added to the Archives this year are the papers of R. H. Harper, and (as of this week) the copies of the LOUISIANA METHODIST for the years 1949-52, presented by Virgil D. Morris and Jolly B. Harper in memory of their co-editor, Ralph Cain.

     We want to encourage every member of this Conference, indeed, every United Methodist, to be alert to identify and secure for the Conference any historical materials thought to be of value in the preservation of the record of our heritage.

     We remind all boards, commissions and committees of the Conference that their official records should be deposited in the Archives when they are no longer in active use.

     We remind all officers of these agencies of the Conference that these records, although generated by their dedicated service, are the property of the Conference, and should not be considered by them as their personal papers. Such materials should be deposited in the Archives when no longer needed for the continuing business of the board, commission or committee.

     The Commission and the Archivist will assist local churches in the preparation of their histories. The Archives at Centenary offers inexpensive microfilming services for the duplication of records of local churches and Conference agencies.

     Additional Historic Sites have been registered and marked during the year, a list of which is attached to this report. We are pleased today to present Historic Site markers to the representatives of the Holly Grove (Vernon Parish) and the Gibson churches. We urge other churches and individuals to assist in the registration of other worthy historic sites, forms for which may be secured from the Archivist at Centenary or from the Commission.

     During the coming year, we hope to establish at least one District or Bi-District chapter of the Historical Society. Persons interested in this project are asked to contact the Commission or their District Superintendent.

     Wesley Chapel, City Road, London, has been undergoing restoration for several years, and will be reopened on November 1, 1978, the 200th anniversary of its opening by John Wesley. We urge contributions from every local church in the Conference toward the balance needed on our Conference goal, thus helping to assure the Chapel being free of debt. We invite interested persons to participate in the Reopening Celebration.

1977 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     The Commission on Archives and History is pleased to report its activities in discharge of the duties outlined in Par. 735 of the 1976 Discipline.

     The Conference Archives at Centenary College has benefited from a major expansion of the Cline Room of Magale Library which was completed during the past year.  The Archives are open during regular library hours, and members of the Annual Conference are invited to inspect our depository during the coming session.  We have a part-time archivist there, and limited research and microfilming services are available, requests for which should be directed to: Louisiana Conference Archives, Centenary College, Shreveport, LA 71104.

     Records related to former “Conference B” are housed at the Alexander Library at Dillard University, New Orleans.  Special funding from the Annual Conference this year will permit the Commission to secure the integrity and provide for proper cataloging and display of this valuable historical material.

     We request that any persons having historical records which may be of value in helping to provide a complete chronicle of the story of Methodism in Louisiana deposit these with our Conference Archives.  Such materials will be gratefully received, acknowledged and preserved, in keeping with the “Archival Policy” printed in the 1975 Journal.

     We remind the various boards and agencies of our Annual Conference that copies of their minutes and other records of possible historic value are – by direction of the Discipline – to be deposited with the Archives.

     We wish to thank those persons and committees who have been responsible for preparing and publishing local church histories, more than a hundred of which have been deposited in the Conference Archives.  We urge those churches which have not yet prepared their histories to do so during the coming year.

     Certification by the General Commission on Archives and History of the grave of Richmond Nolley at Jena as a Methodist Historic Site was completed, and on March 20, 1977, Bishop J. Kenneth Shamblin led a special service at Jena in which this official marker – the first accredited to Louisiana – was presented and dedicated.

     The Commission has developed a plan for the accreditation and marking of sites of historic significance to Louisiana Methodism.  A special site marker is available from the Commission.  Details and applications forms may be secured from the Archives at Centenary.

     The major project of the Commission during this quadrennium – the publication of a History of Louisiana Methodism – is moving forward under the leadership of Dr. Walter Lowrey, historian, and the Commission’s Editorial Committee.  Projected date for publication is 1979.  The Commission will be grateful for any historical data, suggestions and financial support for this important project.

     We invite all interested persons to become members of the Historical Society, which will hold an open meeting during the 1977 Session of the Annual Conference at a time and place to be announced.

James E. Christie, Chairman
W. Spiller Milton, Secretary

1976 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     The Commission is pleased to report significant developments at both of our Conference archival depositories.  At the Centenary College archives, the Commission's new microfilming equipment has been installed and is now in use.  As a result of a grant from the Shreveport-Bossier Foundation, a major expansion of the Cline Room, which houses the archives, is to be undertaken during the summer of 1976, and the completion of this project will provide badly needed additional space.  In cooperation with the Centenary Library, the Commission has secured the Services of a part-time archivist who is rendering valuable research, filing and cataloging services. Valuable additions to the archival collection housed at the Alexander Library at Dillard University have been secured this year, and a dedication service was held in April for these materials.

     We request that any persons having historical records which may be of value in helping to provide a complete chronicle of the story of Methodism in Louisiana deposit these in one of our Conference Archives. Especially needed are materials relating to former Conference - its agencies and local churches, and the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Protestant Church in Louisiana. Such materials will be gratefully received, acknowledged and preserved, in keeping with the "Archival Policy" printed in the 1975 Journal.

     Limited research services are available through the archivist at the Conference Archives at Centenary. Requests for information should be directed to: Louisiana Conference Archives, Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana 71104.

     We remind the various agencies of our Annual Conference that copies of their minutes and other records of possible historic value are -- by direction of the Discipline -- to be deposited with the Archives.

     The Commission has requested that a District Historian be named in each District, and has established Guidelines for their work.

     During the coming year, the Commission plans to conduct a History Workshop for the District Historians and other persons with similar' responsibilities in local churches who may wish to attend.

     Certification of the grave of Richmond Nolley as a Methodist Historical Site will he com-pleted soon, and a special service will he held as soon as possible thereafter.

     The Commission has developed a plan for the identification, accreditation and marking of sites of historic significance to Louisiana Methodism. Materials for this purpose will be available at Annual Conference, Presentation of the first site markers for accredited sites will be made at Annual Conference, 1977.

    We urge the appropriate observance of May 23, 1976 as Heritage Sunday, and of July 4, 1976 as Bicentennial Sunday.

     The major project of the Commission is the publication - hopefully during the 1979-80 conference year - of a new and definitive History or Louisiana Methodism. To this end, the Commission has secured Dr. Walter M. Lowrey as author, and has established an Editorial Committee to guide this important project.

     Inasmuch as we - with all those who have gone before us - have helped to make this history, we now call upon all United Methodists in Louisiana to share in this task. Before the writing begins, there is much research to be done, which can he greatly enriched by ad-ditional historical material not now available to us. We call upon our people to help us find this material. Some will wish to contribute to the pre-publication costs of the project, and the Commission will welcome such gifts. And upon publication, every local church, every minister, and many Methodists grateful for their heritage will want to have a copy in their libraries.    

     We therefore request that - with the adoption of this report - the Annual Conference for-mally endorse the Commission's proposed publication of a new History of Louisiana Methodism, and urge every local church to deposit with the Archives a copy of its history or a completed historical questionnaire by May 1,1977.

RESOLUTION

     Resolved: That the Louisiana Annual Conference endorse the proposal of the Commission on Archives and History for the publication of a new History of Louisiana Methodism, and authorize the Commission, by and for itself and without any financial obligation upon the Louisiana Annual Conference, to solicit gifts, enter into contracts with the author and printer/publisher, arrange for sale and distribution, and engage in other appropriate and necessary activities related to the project.
James F. Christie, Chairman W. Spiller Milton, Secretary

1975 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     Paragraph 1274, 1972 Discipline or the United Methodist Church states:

     1. Definition   Archives, as dlstinguished from libraries, house not primarily books. but documentary materials such as records, minutes, journals, diaries, fl reports, pamphlets, letters, papers, manuscripts, maps, photographs, audio visuals, recordings, and any other items, regardless of physical form or charac-teristic, which pertain to the current activities and the history of the United Methodist Church.

     To comply with requirements of paragraph 1277 of the 1972 Discipline of the United Methodist Church this Archival Policy is submitted to the Louisiana Annual Conference.

ARCHIVAL POLICY 

     1. The Commission on Archives and History of the Louisiana Annual Conference shall be the official custodian of the archives of the Conference which shall be located at and administered by the Centenary College Library and the Dillard University Library                            I
     2. Archivists shall be appointed by the Commission in consultation with the head librarians of the depositories.
     3. The Annual Conference and each of its Boards, Commissions, Committees, or Agencies, and the like shall make sure that its activities are adequately recorded. These records should document the policies, programs, and actions of each organizational unit through initiating, planning, adoption, and the implementation phases.
     4. Each Board, Commission, Committee, Agency, and the like shall designate a person or persons to act as liaison with the Chairperson of the Commission on Archives and History.
     5. Each records liaison officer, in conjunction with the Chairperson of the Comrnission on Archives and History shall develop a schedule for  the disposal of inactive records of each organization. 
     6. Where records on contain information of a confidential nature, restrictions may be placed on their use at the time they are deposited with the Commission.
     7. All materials in the Archives subject to restrictions which may have been placed upon them, shall he available for research use in accord with the rules of the archival depository.
     8. No records shall he taken from the place of deposit except by written consent of the board or agency which originated the records 
     9. Ministers and lay-persons possessing personal or official papers books or other materials of value for church history are encouraged to depositor bequeath such materials to the Conference Commission on Archives and History
     10. In connection with the program for maintaining a depository for and thc servicing of inactive records of the Conference, as outlined above, the Commission on Archives and History will provide for thc fumigation and restoration of records the arrangement of records in archival containers according to provenance the creating of finding aids, and the conducting of record inventories of the conference boards and agencies and local church levels.

     II. The conference has available a machine for microfilming legal size and smaller materials. For protection of conference records the Commission proposes to microfilm its most important documents, minimizing storage and lessening damage from handling original documents. This machine may also be used to microfilm local church materials, the original of which the local church wishes to retain, thus centralizing all Conference records.

Respectfully submitted, Mrs. W. M. Nolan, Chairman W. Spiller Milton, Secretary

1974 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     Members of the Louisiana Conference Commission on Archives and History were guided by Dr. John Ness, Jr., Executive Secretary of the Commission on Archives and History, United Methodist Church, in a Workshop at their semi-annual business meeting October 1973.  Disciplinary duties were discussed in detail.  Foremost among them is the responsibility to obtain inventory, care for, and regulate the use of records, artifacts, and pertinent materials.  All Boards and Agencies of the Conference need information on what to save, when, and where.  All churches need similar instructions.  A statement of Archival Policy is being developed.  There is the realization that more storage space will be necessary.

     The Jurisdictional Workshop to be held at Oklahoma City University, October 18-19, will be open to 'interested parties" from local churches who want to learn more about the functions and methods of the Commission.

     The Conference Historical Society is particularly emphasizing local ob-servance of Heritage Sunday, May 26.  They suggest flowers for graves of deceased ministers. This is also the date for the offering for the restoration of Wesley's Chapel in London. Tourists in our Third Annual Methodist Her-itage Tour (November 18-26) will visit this site.

     The death in December of Mrs. Kathleen Owens saddened our heart. She was the guiding spirit of Cline Memorial Room which houses our archives.

    Finally, let me suggest to you that during 1976, the year of the Bicentennial of our nation, July 4th is on Sunday.

Respectfully submitted,
Mrs. W. M. Nolan, Chairman

1973 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     The Commission on Archives and History sponsored a United Methodist Heritage Tour of England in November.  The Second Annual Tour is scheduled for November 19-27, 1973, under the leadership of James E. Christie.

     The Historical Society of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church was organized at Epworth England during the tour. The purpose of this society is to assist and support the Annual Conference Commission on Archives and History in carrying out its Disciplinary duties, and to promote interest in the study and preservation of the history of the Conference, its antecedents, its agencies, and its institutions.  This society solicits your membership.  A luncheon meeting is to be held May '80 at Centenary College Cafeteria with Dr. John Ness, Jr., Executive Secretary of the Commission on Archives and History, The United Methodist Church, in attendance.

     Names of Local Church Historians have come in slowly. We have sent to each minister for the use of the Historian a copy of "How to Write And Publish The History of a United Methodist Church." We have provided the District Superintendents with copies of the leaflet, "The Craft of Composing a Memoir"

     To aid people who use the microfilms for research we have purchased seven reels with index for births, marriages; and deaths recorded. in the New Orleans Christian Advocate.  Research assistance may be obtained for a fee, in an authorized church search, by writing Mrs. Kathleen Owens at Centenary Library.

     We recommend the grave of Richmond Nolley at Jena for a marker and national classification as a "United Methodist Site."  We are asking the approval of this Conference.  'Designation at a later date as a United Methodist "Shrine" or "Landmark" will require the approval of General Conference.

     Sincere appreciation goes to Bishop Crutchfield, to The Louisiana Methodist, and to the many people in local churches who have advanced our cause during the year.

Resolution

     The Commission on Archives and History asks the Louisiana Annual Conference to authorized as a "Methodist Historical Site" the grave of Rich-mond Nolley at Nolley Memorial United Methodist Church at Jena, Louisiana.

Mrs. W. M. Nolan, Chairman

1972 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     The Commission on Archives and History reports a busy year.  Mrs. Kathleen Owens, supervisor of the Cline Room, home of our Conference Archives, Centenary College Library, reports an increasing number of researchers.  Five interesting rolls of microfilm containing the Journals of former Conference B have been purchased by the Commission.

     Vice-Chairman J. W. Wilson attended the South Central Jurisdiction Workshop at Mount Sequoyah in November.

     To encourage every local church to prepare and appreciate its own history, we are asking each congregation to observe an Anniversary Day, reporting it to the Historical Commission.  This may or may not be associated with a Homecoming Day. Let us recall one important anniversary now. In January of 1847, one hundred-twenty-five years ago, a Louisiana Conference was organized at Opelousas Church.  Many churches inherit this anniversary. During the past year brochures on writing the history of a local church have been distributed as requested.

     We are asking that Heritage Day this year be observed with an Asbury emphasis on October 29th. A booklet, BISHOP FRANCIS ASBURY IN THE MAKING OF AMERICAN METHODISM by W. C. Smeltzer, D.D. has been endorsed by our Bishops and District Superintendents for distribution in congregations to promote Methodist Spiritual Renewal.  Order blanks for sample copies are available from Commission members.

     This is a repeat call.  Little response has come from past appeals to Conference members for data needed in the Death Roll printed periodically m the Conference Journal.  Look in the 1971 Journal between pages 204 and 212. We need to complete records for more than seventy-five deceased brethren! Certainly, many conference members will know a friend or relative who can furnish some facts needed.

    The Commission on Archives and History offers valuable interest fields for the minister and history-minded laymen. Check your libraries for church history materials an different reading levels.  The National Commission at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, has much to offer.  They also publish a superior quarterly magazine, METHODIST HISTORY.

     Some Louisiana sites of importance in the history of Methodism need to be added to the official register.  Send in your nominations and fact sheets for consideration.  Present research centers around old Camp Meeting areas.

     We commend those who have contributed to Archives this year. Special thanks go to those Boards, Commissions, and Agencies of our Conference who are organizing histories of their units.

Mrs. W. M. Nolan, Chairman

1971 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     During the past year the Conference Commission on Archives and History, in association with the staff of the Centenary College Library, has continued to seek out, acquire, and preserve historical records of Louisiana Methodism.  Numerous persons doing research on particular phases of church history have used these records and the Library staff members have been extremely helpful in making them available.  Among the most widely used materials are the complete set of the official journals of the conference, and a microfilm copy of the complete files of the New Orleans Christian Advocate.

     The Commission has begun attempts to gather materials concerning phases of Methodism in Louisiana which are presently unrepresented in our archival collection.  These include material on the Methodist Protestant Church, the Evangelical United Brethren, and the churches now in Louisiana Conference B, and other churches connected with the history of Methodism.  This work will be aided by the Archivist of the United Methodist Church of Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, who visited and surveyed our own holdings early this year.

     We continue to receive histories of individual churches in this conference and have catalogued those received in the Centenary Library.  We urge each church which has not yet done so to prepare a comprehensive record of its origins and development.

     All funds allocated to the commission for the past two years have been set aside for the purpose of purchasing a microfilm camera and equipment when sufficient money for the purchase is accumulated.  The equipment will be used not only to record the thousands of items now in the Archives at Centenary College, but can also be used to microfilm records of individual churches and agencies for deposit in the Archives.  This will provide a central depository for church records in Louisiana and will make research in church history easier and more rewarding.  It will also provide duplicate records of important documents, making them safe from the destruction of time and natural hazards.

     The Commission requests that each Church make an inventory of its records and report on its holdings to the Commission.  We are especially interested in adding to the Archives pictures of historic interest to Louisiana Methodism, as well as letters, diaries, and other materials relating to the Church, its agencies, its pastors, and its work.  If you have such materials, please write describing them to: The Methodist Archives, Centenary College Library, Shreveport, LA 71104.

     The Commission plans an exhibit for the Annual Conference of material selected from the Archives, to be displayed in the cases in the foyer of the meeting hall for the Uniting Conference.

Walter M. Lowrey, Chairman

1970 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

     During the past year the Conference Historical Commission, in association with the staff of the Centenary College Library, has continued to seek out acquire, and preserve historical records of Louisiana Methodism. Numerous persons doing research on particular phases of church history, have used these records, and the Library staff members have been extremely helpful in making them available. Among the most widely used materials are the complete set of the official journals of the Conference, and a microfilm copy of the complete files of the New Orleans Christian Advocate.

      Dr. H. L. Johns of Monroe during the past year has compiled valuable study of the Methodist Circuit Riders in Mississippi and Louisiana, covertng the period 1792-1847, which is available in the Cline Room of the Library.

     The Louisiana State Archivist has agreed to microfilm many of the invaluable records of the Conference during the next fiseal year. This project will serve both to assure preservation of unique materials and to make them available on microfilm in various areas of the state and nation.

     The Commission has begun attempts to gather materials concerning phases of Methodist in Louisiana which are presently unrepresented in our archival collection. These include material on the Methodist Protestant Church, the Evangelical United Bretheren, the churches now in Louisiana Conference B, and other churches connected with the history of Methodism. This work will be aided by the Archivist of the United Methodist Church of Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, who visited and surveyed our own holdings early this year.

     We continue to receive histories of individual churches in this Conference and have catalogued those received in the Centenary Library. We uurge each church which has not yet done so to prepare a comprehensive record of its origins and development.

Walter M. Lowrey, Chairman