A New Year, A Major New Collection: “The Baptist Argus” Project Completed, Available Online

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Welcome to a new year of digital collections excellence here at the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Blog. We’re kicking off 2015 by announcing the completion of a multi-year project: The Baptist Argus / The Baptist World newspaper collection! Through a partnership with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, we are pleased to present a full run of the newspaper, which began in 1897 and ran until August of 1919.

The Argus (which was renamed The Baptist World in 1909) was a weekly newspaper dedicated to covering events and news related to American Baptists, particularly in the South. It contained a blend of editorial content, news stories, advertisements and even the occasional work of poetry. For members of the Baptist church at the turn of the last century, the Argus was a welcome source of information on the doings of the church both domestically and abroad.

The digital collection features 1,131 issues of the Argus, from its first issue to its last. All are keyword searchable as the text has been recognized using OCR (optical character recognition) software, making it easy to search the thousands of pages of newsprint. Thanks to the OCR’d text, researchers can locate instances of words or phrases in seconds instead of the hours of tedious close reading that were necessary before the completion of this project.

We believe this collection will further enhance studies in the development of the Baptist identity in America, as well as its impact on the religious communities planted and sustained by Baptist missionaries around the world. We are also hopeful that scholars will use the resources available in the Argus/World collection to provide new insight into how journalism and religious belief worked together to advance the cause of Christ via the printed page. The possibilities for this collection are many, and we are excited to provide the raw material for scholars, researchers and believers of all stripes via this new collection.

Access the Baptist Argus / Baptist World collection via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections here. For more information on the Baptist Argus / Baptist World, read its Wikipedia entry. Special thanks to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for providing the print copies of the materials in this collection; we literally could not have completed this project without your help!

P.S. What do you think of the new look? We figured, “It’s January, everybody’s trying to freshen things up, why not?”

P.P.S. Fire the cannon!

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