Southern Chautaugua Presented to SEJ Historians During Annual Conference

The SEJ Historical Society meeting continued Tuesday morning with a prayer followed by a presentation on the Southern Chautauqua tradition at Monteagle, TN.

Ridley Wills is an author and historian of, alas, Presbyterian heritage, but he mearried Methodist and is an authority on both Chautauqua and Monteagle, TN.

Ridley Wills speaks on Monteagle Chautauqua.

SEJ Historical Society Annual Meeting Underway at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville

The Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) Historical Society Annual Conference is now underway in Nashville. Andy Miller, chair of our Conference Society welcomed members from many conferences, both historical societies and Commissions on Archives and History.

Andy Miller addresses Conference during Opening session.

The conference will focus on Twentieth-Century Southern Methodism and  the Popular Culture. Speakers will cover a variety of subjects as well as have round tables to discuss issues related to the role of history in our mission.

Arthur Warren opens the first session of the business meeting for the jurisdiction

More to come as we commemorate our history during this, the Tennessee Conference’s 200th Anniversary.

Tennessee Conference Historian and recently appointed Historian and Archivist, Von Unruh.

Staff Improvement at the Historical Library and Archives

The Tennessee Conference historical library and archives (currently officially the archival depository) has been blessed with a change in staff that will greatly increase access to our collections. Von Unruh, past archivist and present Conference Historian, has been appointed to the position of Historian and Archivist. The position is part time as Von will also be serving as a local church pastor. The position is currently being referred to by a combined title, Tennessee Conference Historian and Archivist, although the role of conference archivist is actually a separate position appointed by the Commission on Archives and History while Rev. Unruh’s position of historian and archivist  came as a conference appointment.

The Historical Library and Archives will begin a new schedule, being opened most weekdays in the mornings through very early afternoon. The exact hours will soon be posted. (Please note: we are still short staffed and Rev. Unruh has many pastoral duties, so it is always a good idea to call first to be sure the depository is open before coming down to do research.) As always, the archives may be opened by appointment on a staff availability basis should a researcher be unable to  make the usual times. Staff restrictions also make only limited research requests to be answered from a distance.

Von brings with him an intimate knowledge of the library and archives, as well as an extensive knowledge of Methodist (in general) and Tennessee Methodist History. He is a trained historian and researcher in addition to being an elder of the church. His appointment bodes well for an increased energy in the Conference’s “ministry of memory.”

Jim Havron will remain as an archivist, although he will now be under the direction of the historian and archivist. We will also still have the services of various volunteers and our administrative assistant, Jackie McFarland.

Growing Stronger in Our Ministry

Just a note that the Tennessee Conference Commission on Archives and History, which has suffered several setbacks in recent years because of sickness, injury and death among its members, has added several new faces who have joined because of a strong passion for history in the church. Leland Carden is serving as president as we have worked to prepare budgets, address staffing needs, prepare for our role in the SEJ Historical Society Meeting that will be held in Nashville in a few weeks, and generally coordinate the work of the committee.

The CAH has also had joint meetings with the leadership of the Conference Historical Society while planning the SEJ meeting. These meetings have been productive enough that there has been talk of continuing in this format to further extend the connection between the two entities. (Of course, any official business by either group is conducted solely with the votes of the members of the group involved.)

What’s in a Name?

The location where we keep all our archival and other historical materials is officially called the Conference Depository. I have never cared for that name, and so I have begun to refer to it, unofficially, as the Historical Library and Archives. The reason for this is that a large part of our collections are monographs or other published materials. Even many of our records are not unique, archival records but published versions of various conferences and events. As a professional archivist and a researcher, I feel the knowledge that there is a substantial part of the collection that is published material and a substantial part that are official records or manuscript collections should be easily and quickly conveyed to the potential researcher in the name. This issue has not been addressed by the Commission on Archives and History because I have not brought it up, but I will sometime in the future.

When it comes right down to it, we have a collection of artifacts, art and objects. We really should be considered a heritage or history center to encompass all these physical pieces of our history. But that will wait.

My opinion as an individual, not representing anyone else.

Jim Havron

Conference Archivist.

Volunteers and Students Helping With TN Conference Collections (Updated)

The Archival staff is pleased to announce the addition of 2 well qualified persons to assist in the business of the archives;

Prof. Albert Whitenberg, archives teacher and doctoral candidate,as well as IT director, at Middle Tennessee State University has volunteered to be an archival assistant and process material for the depository. He is currently working on 3 collections from closed churches.

David Martin, member of both the Historical Society and the Commission on  Archives and History (CAH) has volunteered to be a researcher.

While neither of these men can help make the open hours of the depository more consistent, they will help create better access to the material we have.

We also have the benefits of the services of Heather Adkins, a Public History/Archives graduate student, also from Middle Tennessee State University. Ms. Adkins works at the Albert Gore Research Center and is doing practicum work for the Conference by evaluating and reprocessing collection material, and working on the production of finding aids.

Ms. Heather Adkins Working at the Depository

In addition to the above mentioned folk, we have several other students from the Public History graduate program at MTSU who may do practicum work for us.

Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 11:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Bellevue UMC Archives Wins State Award!

The Archives of Bellevue UMC was recognized for outstanding achievement by the Society of Tennessee Archivists during their annual meeting this year. Margaret Cornell accepted the award on behalf of the church, thanking all those who worked on and supported the establishment of an archival collection at the church.

If you are considering establishing a new archives for your church and are anywhere near the Nashville area, call Bellevue and make arrangement to visit theirs. It is an excellent example of what can be done.

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

October is Archives History Month in TN

Tell us what is going on in your archives. If you do not have one, this is a good time to consider creating one. If you have ideas, suggestions, or need help, contact the archivist, Jim Havron, at archivist@tnumc.org.

Published in: on September 23, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Von Unruh Selected as New Conference Historian

Von Unruh, pastor at Morton Memorial in Monteagle, has been asked by the Commission on Archives and History to take on the job of Conference Historian. He has accepted. Von has long been a mainstay of the programs, societies and commissions in the conference, as well as the Southeastern Jurisdiction, relating to history. He is past archivist, past editor of the Historical Society’s journal, and a long friend of past historian, John Abernathy Smith. The CAH is very pleased to have him.

Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Leland Carden elected chair of the Commision on Archives and History

Leland Carden, past and current member of the CAH, has been elected to chair that commission. Leland immediately replaced archivist Jim Havron, who had been serving as acting chair for some months.

Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 7:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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