Finding material in the SBHLA
The best approach for finding material in the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives is to start with the online catalog. This is done through a simple or advanced search. Some researchers may want to search across the finding aids for material. It can be useful to search both the catalog and the finding aids for materials of interest.
Books and Pamphlets
The SBHLA actively collects publications that reflect Baptist life and thought. The book collection is a circulating one for on site users and is a balance of old and new related to Baptist history and religion in America. Specific items include biographies of Baptist leaders, sermon collections, Bible study aids, and works on Christian doctrine, church polity, dissertations, and histories of churches, associations, conventions, and agencies.
The SBHLA's extensive pamphlet collection focuses on the response of Baptists to theological and social questions, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but covers all aspects of Baptist writings.
Archives and Manuscripts
The SBHLA houses selected official records of the following current and former denominational agencies: Foreign Mission Board, Home Mission Board, Executive Committee, Christian Life Commission, Historical Commission, Stewardship Commission, Annuity Board, Brotherhood Commission, Radio and Television Commission, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Baptist Sunday School Board, and the American Baptist Theological Seminary Commission. The archives holds the personal papers of pastors, missionaries, presidents of the SBC, and denominational leaders. Records of other related Baptist institutions and organizations are also included.
Finding Aids – An index and guide to archival collections.
Annual proceedings and minutes of national, state, and associational Baptist organizations are rich resources for information. Annuals include reports, motions, resolutions, lists of ministers, and statistical information on churches. Some annuals are available in hard copy; others are available on microfilm. A separate Primitive Baptist collection of annuals is maintained.
The massive microfilm collection includes church records, annuals, pamphlets, books, Baptist periodicals and newspapers, and music. Materials related to African-American Baptists, British Baptists (including the Baptist Missionary Society Archives), and Baptists in other countries are also available to researchers.
Most of the microfilm in the collection is available for purchase and searchable through the links below.
Books on microfilm – A directory of books and pamphlets on microfilm.
Serials on microfilm – A directory of the collection of serials on microfilm.
Church Records on microfilm – A directory of the collections of church records on microfilm.
African American Resources on microfilm – A directory of African American Resources on microfilm.
Church Music on microfilm – A directory of the collection of church music on microfilm.
More than 300 current periodicals are available, including Baptist publications from other countries. Hundreds of other discontinued newspapers, journals, newsletters, and other serials published by and about Baptists make up most of the collection. The holdings cover mainly the 19th and 20th centuries. Indexes are available to a few of these publications. The Southern Baptist Periodical Index is available to assist researchers.
Recordings of oral history interviews with denominational leaders, proceedings of meetings and conventions, sermons, and music are available in this collection. Audio recordings of Southern Baptist Convention meetings began in 1954. Videotapes and motion picture films produced by Southern Baptist Convention agencies, as well as other denominational meetings, are also located here. Motion picture films and filmstrips produced by several agencies of the SBC are located in the collection.
The extensive photograph collection contains images of Baptist leaders, pastors, missionaries, buildings, events, groups, churches, and church events. A sampling of the photograph collection can be viewed in the Photo Gallery. The photograph collection of the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) has been transferred to the SBHLA.