Our Work In The Archives, First Quarter 2022 | Presbyterian Historical Society

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Our Work In The Archives, First Quarter 2022

June 8, 2022
Assyrian refugees in Baqubah, 1918-1919. From Gal3 Ir12g.

Here's how PHS archivists served our constituents over the winter and early spring!

Our digitization team imaged more than 12,600 pages of text and images in the quarter. Two new participants in our African American Leaders and Congregations initiative were among them: Westminster Presbyterian Church (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Faith Presbyterian Church (Germantown, Pa.). Westminster, a fixture in West LA for almost 120 years, was organized by Black Presbyterians who'd grown up in Presbyterian schools in the Carolinas. 

We've also imaged photographs from the old West Persia Mission, taken by Presbyterian missionary Marie Gillespie, documenting the 1918-1919 flight of Assyrians from the Ottoman army occupying Urmia, and their lives in refugee camps in Baqubah. 

New additions to our online archives include 30,000 images from the Sheldon Jackson collection, imaged by the Internet Archive in 2019, now with enhanced metadata by our own staff. 

After delays caused by COVID, 2020 research fellow, Connor Kenaston of the University of Virginia, was able to visit for three days. His dissertation topic is “Faith Networks: Religion, Media, and Capitalism in Twentieth-Century America.”

Sonia hosted PHS Live with Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, who recently published the book, Unbroken and Unbowed: A History of Black Protest in America.

Hear a Cascades Presbytery commissioner make an impassioned appeal about preserving church records. Via Cascades' YouTube.

Lisa met virtually with the Presbytery of Central Florida and gave a presentation on the presbytery’s history and PHS services. David appeared at the presbyteries of East Iowa, Transylvania, Greater Atlanta, Detroit, Cascades (twice), and the Highlands of New Jersey. We're on the road toward visiting every presbytery, at least virtually. We're eager to join your presbytery online to tell the good news about PHS, and we're available to host webinars on maintaining church records. Email David for more details.

During the quarter, Nick processed records of the UPCUSA Emergency Ministry on Conscience and War, more than 22 cubic feet documenting the Church's direct aid to conscientious objectors, including through prison visitations and aid to emigrants to Canada.

Staff assisted 34 in-person researchers for a total of 52 scheduled visits. We did 156 retrievals for 312 items, and we responded to 537 inquiries, including those from 60 PC(USA) congregations and 31 mid-councils.


See who's asking us questions in this interactive map!

Members of the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York, visited to research their church’s history in celebration of 200 years of service. They are producing videos, which will be released here periodically.

During the quarter, we brought in 68 new collections amounting to 110.49 cubic feet, including major groups from the Presbytery of Central Florida and the old Presbytery of Elizabeth, as well as the first accruals of the J. Herbert Nelson II papers.

Stay tuned for news of this spring and summer's work to grow our collections and build understanding, using Presbyterian history.