The center, which will include hundreds of thousands of items already housed throughout Baylor's campus, will be established through the department of religion in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences. It will continue the Baptist story as part of the university's mission, said Dr. Bill Bellinger, professor of biblical studies/Old Testament and religion department chair.
"We think Baylor is the logical place for this center," he said. "We'll have a new layer of accessibility for researchers." Besides making materials about Baptist heritage available for visiting scholars, who in return will provide a lecture series, the center will support research projects for Baylor faculty and encourage students to learn about Baptist identity. Materials also will be accessible to laity.
Baylor and other institutions hold a treasure trove of Baptist materials, and the center will work with Baylor University Libraries and libraries elsewhere in the country and abroad to create an ongoing virtual collection. Work on digitizing materials already has begun at Baylor.
Significant documents, books, photographs, letters and recordings are housed at Baylor in several locations, including the Institute for Oral History, the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, Baylor University Central Libraries, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.
While some other Baptist universities house collections, "they've often been specifically tied to church relations or undergraduate curriculum," Bellinger said. "There really hasn't been something comprehensive and tied to research. We have resources with our digitizing that not everybody has."
For information on how you can support this project, call 254-710-2561 or e-mail Frank_Shannon@baylor.edu".