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.

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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.)

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.

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.