Special Collections

The Special Collections consists of three main divisions: manuscripts, photographs, and audio/visual materials.


Manuscripts

The manuscript division of the Special Collections contains over 520 lineal feet of personal papers (diaries, correspondence, ephemera, etc.) from families or individuals. Most individuals played a significant role within the Brethren in Christ Church in the 18th, 19th, or 20th centuries.

These collections have special value because they document church and family life, during a particular era, from a personal perspective. Nearly 200 manuscript collections from the papers of church leaders, ministers, missionaries, and various lay members are available for research use. Some materials within individual collections are restricted for researcher use.

Click here for a list of manuscript collections.

A page from the diary of H. Frances Davidson, a pioneer Brethren in Christ missionary to Zambia and Zimbabwe
A page from the diary of H. Frances Davidson, a pioneer Brethren in Christ missionary to Zambia and Zimbabwe

Photographs

The photograph division of the Special Collections contains thousands of photographic prints, color transparencies, and digital images depicting individuals, locations, and scenes from Brethren in Christ Church, Messiah College, and Upland College life.

The images are identified and cataloged according to the following categories:

A photo from the 1930 Brethren in Christ General Conference
A photo from the 1930 Brethren in Christ General Conference

Brethren in Christ Church

  • People
    • Individuals and Families
    • Groups
  • Places
    • Congregations
    • Camps/Institutions/Locations
    • Foreign Mission Fields
  • Events
    • General Conference
    • Miscellaneous

Messiah College/Upland College

  • People
    • Alumni
    • Campus Life
    • Class and school portraits
    • Employees/Associates (individuals and groups)
    • Students - formal clubs and student groups
    • Students - music groups
    • Students - sports
  • Places
    • Locations/Structures
  • Events


Audio/Visual Material

The audio/visual division of the Special Collections contains more than 6,000 items, including cassette recordings, reel-to-reel audio tapes, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, phonograph recordings, and movie films covering various aspects of Brethren in Christ Church, Messiah College, and Upland College life.

A major component of this division is the oral history recordings, which are preserved in various formats. Hundreds of oral history recordings contain information about church and college life, including:

  • Personal memoirs of Brethren in Christ church leaders and missionaries
  • Interviews of Brethren in Christ individuals in North America
  • Interviews of Brethren in Christ individuals from around the world
  • Oral accounts of events in Brethren in Christ and history
  • Oral accounts of life at Messiah College and Upland College
Typed transcripts are available for many (but not all) of the recordings.