Archives Update as of Spring 2017!

This site is still in stasis for the time being. There are plans to use it in the future, starting with more blog posts, hopefully as an access portal for specific collection information and possibly digital materials. The wheels grind slowly, but they are grinding along.

Many of these links are still good, and we are not altering the past posts as some are still receiving traffic in a way that suggests interest by researchers or others. The primary Web page for the Tennessee Conference Commission on Archives and History (CAH), including the Archives itself and the Tennessee Conference Historical Society can be found on the Tennessee Annual Conference Website:
(This is under the Finance and Resources menu tab on the main page of the conference)

Updated information includes:
Chair of CAH-  Rev. Leland Cardin
Archivist and Historian- Von Unruh
Chair of Historical Society-   David Martin
Secretary/Treasurer of Historical Society-   Linda Collier
Conference Representative to SEJ CAH-  David Martin
Conference Representative to SEJ Historical Society-   Leland Cardin
Project Archivist and Resource Archivist-  Jim Havron (Jim serves as “Webmaster” of this site and may be reached at
Social Media and Internet Communication Committee-   Jim Havron and David Martin

The archives is generally open 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM (Central Time) M-F, excluding holidays. One should check ahead before visiting to be sure of the hours on the particular date research is desired. Contact can be made through email.

Oops! Site Restructure Replaced the “FAQ” Pages

At least, that is what we think. Awhile back, the theme that we used on this site was discontinued by WordPress and replaced with a new theme. We had the option to change, but remained with the updated version.
We have just (very) recently noticed that our FAQ page was no longer part of the site.
We do not know for certain when the changes occurred, so it is just an assumption on our part that this happened when the template for the site change.
We also noticed that a couple of previous posts (below) failed to publish, but when we re-published them, they appeared to publish on the original publication dates. We have not yet discovered any other posts that have not appeared, but if you are interested, you might browse the posts periodically to see if any have appeared to have published in the past.

Questions about this process can be addressed to Jim Havron,

Flip-Flop Here at Tennessee Methodist History

If you follow the blog, you may notice that it is once again active and once again holds the position of the “landing page” for this site. The “home” page is still currently a work in progress (or else will be replaced with another site, in which case we will post the information prominently!)

Plans to update this site to serve as an active, primary Website for the Commission on Archives and History, as well as to modify the blog, have been set aside for the time being as staff changes and shifting priorities have caused them to be placed on the back burner. For this reason, we will return to the previous format of blog posts fronting the site.
When future changes are made, be assured that plans will include providing appropriate links for continued access to this blog.

Reminder Regarding Archivist for Tennessee Conference

It has been brought to our attention that some people were unaware that Rev. Von Unruh serves as Historian and Archivist for the Tennessee Conference. This was posted on this site when he was appointed to that position some time ago, (here). At that time the position was part time, and Rev. Unruh also served as a local church pastor. Since that time the appointment has become a full-time position. This allows Von to maintain more consistent reference hours, primarily 7-3, Monday-Friday. Please note that because of staff limitations, the library and archival repository hours may still be inconstant, as Rev. Unruh may have to attend to business elsewhere and volunteer staff may not be available. Please call ahead before planning your visit.

For more on Von Unruh’s updated appointment, see the post, here.

(Jim Havron continues to serve as an archivist in the position of resource member of the Commission on Archives and History.)

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.