Tag Archive for Baptist collections

(Digital Collections) “Watch and Pray” – A Look at The ‘Baptist Argus’ Collection, Part I

On October 28, 1897, a new publication released its first issue, and it would go on to influence thousands of lives in the Baptist world over the course of decades. Today, we are adding the first installment of three decades’ worth of The Baptist Argus (later The Baptist World) to our digital collections. In this blog post, we’ll introduce the collection and look at a few key instances of coverage given to the goings on at Baylor University (and our sister institution, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, or Baylor Female College) from 1897 to 1911. Later, we’ll blog about the years 1912-1923.

Before we get too far along, we want to give our thanks to the fine people at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for their partnership in this project. It is their physical copies of The Baptist Argus that we are digitizing for this digital archive, and their partnership and patience with the process are greatly appreciated.

A Voice for Baptists

The Baptist Argus began publication in Louisville, Kentucky in fall of 1897. It featured a blend of news coverage, biographical sketches, prayers and a continuously updated listing of preachers and their new (or former) appointments. The front page of each issue almost always featured a woodcut illustration of a major Baptist luminary.

"The Baptist Argus," Vol. 1, No. 1 - March 28, 1897.

“The Baptist Argus,” Vol. 1, No. 1 – March 28, 1897.

In 1909, the Argus changed its name to The Baptist World. The new name came with a new motto as well, changing from “Watch and Pray” to “Christ for the World, the World for Christ.” Though the layout and content would remain the same, the new emphasis on global church affairs would have greater resonance as the world entered into a state of global conflict in 1914.

We think this resource will provide rich insight into the development of late 19th- and early 20th-century southern Baptists, in particular, the importance of the church’s influence on world affairs. But of interest to historians of Texas Baptist history, it’s the look at developments related to Baylor, Mary Hardin-Baylor and associated institutions (like Waco’s First Baptist Church) that we think will be most valuable.

Baylor in the Argus

Here are just a few of the earliest mentions of Baylor University and some of its big names from the pages of The Baptist Argus. Click on the links to access the full issue for more information.

  • Baylor University has a new department – Correspondence instruction. Prof. John T. Tanner will have charge. (November 25, 1897)
  • Dr. J.M. Carroll has resigned at Baylor Female College to re-enter the pastorate. (January 6, 1898)
  • The Texas Educational Commission arranged the basis of union as follows: Baylor University is to be really a university, and the others preparatory schools of high grade. (March 17, 1898)
  • Baylor University has secured Rev. J.W. Staton as Ministerial Education Agent (March 31, 1898)
  • Baylor College Alumni elected Rev. H.C. Gleiss President (June 23, 1898)


In Part II of this topic (which will come when we add the years 1912-1923), we’ll conclude our look at The Baptist Argus/The Baptist World as it looked in that time. We encourage you to explore The Baptist Argus collection and tell us about the treasures you unearth there. We hope you’ll agree that it’s got tons of potential, and we’re proud to host its digital presence on the Web. You’ll find it nowhere else but the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections!


(Digital Collections) Fire the Celebratory Cannon! The Tull Sermons Project Reaches Completion

With all due respect to the brave men at the Battle of Gonzales, we think this version of the flag is pretty great, too.

For years now, our boss, Assistant Director Darryl Stuhr, has joked that we need a cannon to fire every time we finish up a large project. Since he made that comment, we’ve launched a massive campus newspaper project, put more than 80 years’ worth of campus yearbooks online, and brought numerous other small projects from the archival box to the Internet. Needless to say, any cannon we acquire will need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Today, we’re firing the cannon to celebrate the completion of the Selsus E. Tull Sermons Collection. Just to refresh your memory, Dr. Tull was one of the premier Southern Baptist ministers of the first half of the 20th century, spreading the Gospel from Texas to Arkansas to Florida and back several times over. His handwritten sermon notes touch on topics ranging from the proper way to run a Sunday school program to unmasking the Antichrist and everything in between. For a fuller look at Dr. Tull’s collection, see our blog post from last summer or read his bio on the collection’s landing page.

What’s in the Box?

One of the original wooden boxes that housed Dr. Tull’s sermons.

When we first brought the sermons to the Riley Center back in 2011, they arrived in the original boxes in which Dr. Tull stored them for decades. These varnished wooden boxes were handsomely crafted and in great shape for being more than 50 years old, but they contain chemicals that, over time, could leach out of the wood and damage the envelopes and pages of the sermon notes, so we knew part of the process would include rehousing them in acid-free folders and archival boxes.

The after and before of the sermons’ storage situation.

Because of the compact way the sermons were housed in these wooden boxes, we actually expanded from four boxes’ worth of storage to 12 archival boxes, but the added amount of linear feet is worth the investment to ensure these one-of-a-kind treasures are safe for years to come.

Graduate assistant Chelsea Ferwerda (Museum Studies, 2013 graduation expected) stands with the newly rehoused sermons. Chelsea organized the sermons into their new boxes based on the IDs assigned to them during the digitization process.

The Work of a “Cloud of Witnesses”

This project, which spanned more than two years and multiple sets of student and graduate workers – as well as staff time – was truly a group effort. To wit, the following folks worked on the project at some point in time:

–       Rachel (Carson) DeShong

–       Sarah (Minott) Dodson

–       Chelsea Ferwerda

–       Hannah Kirkhart

–       Elizabeth Edwards

–       Sierra Wilson

–       Hannah Haney

–       Jadi Chapman

–       Allyson Riley

–       Eric Ames

We are truly grateful for the work of all these folks because today, we can unveil a truly unique digital asset to the world.

The finished beauties, ready to return to the archives from whence they came.

Over the next few days, I’ll be working to curate the digital assets and add some additional functionality to the collection – including a way to search quickly by which state Tull was pastoring in when he delivered a sermon, collections of sermons based on particular books of the Bible, etc. – but for now, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the end of a long journey from wooden box to search box.