Billy Graham Center


The resources listed here , most of which are intended specifically for volunteer archivists, are intended to be of assistance to those involved in the difficult and important task of preserving their congregation's history. This is a task that involves not just saving bits of papers, film, and tape but also and especially making the archives a living and useful resource for the members of the faith community.

Note: As far as we know, availability information listed below is accurate, but contact the distributor listed for each item for completely up-to-date information. Do not order materials until you have talked with the distributor.

Table of Contents

Web Sites

Links to several denominational archives can be found at this portion of the Billy Graham Center web site:

Other web sites of interest are:

Archives and Record Keeping: A How-to Guide for Congregations and Conferences. Prepared by the United Church of Canada, 2005.

Brunner, Mark. Ten Steps In Building A Church Archives. 1997. "Brunner, the Archives Chairman at Grace evangelical Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, provides ten practical guidelines for churches to build their own archives.

CSCA Church History and Archives Preservation Resource Page A very rich page, created by Michael Nai Chiu Poon primarily for church Archives in Malaysia and Singapore, but containing much helpful information on program analysis, oral history, etc. and many useful links.

Church archives articles . These are available online from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. "These articles are offered to anyone interested in church archives and records. We hope they will be useful to those concerned with preserving local church records and historical materials." The Society is located in The Southern Baptist Convention Building, 901 Commerce St., #400, Nashville, TN 37203-3630, 615-244-0344.

Brief Guide for Archives of Congregations (Lutheran)

Oral History Program by L. Dale Patterson

"How to Start a Church Archives"

Manual for Developing a Baptist Archives

Memory Work: A Guide for ELCA Congregational Archives and History Available online. "This booklet of archival resources for congregations is produced as a service to parishes by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Region 3 Archives. The nine synods of ELCA Region 3 support the work of the archives. The important historical records of the nine synods and their predecessor bodies, dating to the 1840s, are stored and made available for use at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota."

The problem of conservation in small libraries and a practical solution

Service Bulletins. The Concordia Historical Institute, the official archives of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, has published over sixty brief pamphlets that deal with various aspects of historical preservation. Many of these are specifically intended for church archivists seeking guidance on what to collect and how to preserve it. A complete list of the bulletin can be gotten by clicking here or by writing to: Concordia Historical Institute, 801 DeMun Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105, (314) 505-7900

*Smalley, Martha Lund and Seton, Rosemary, comp. Rescuing the Memory of Our Peoples/ Archives Manual. International Association for Mission Studies, 2003. This manual was intended to serve as a basic source for any Christian institution (particularly denominations) anywhere in the world that was starting or maintaining an archival program. Paper copies can be ordered, at a cost of $US10 for printing and mailing, from the Overseas Ministry Study Center, 490 Prospect Street, new Haven, CT 06511. This manual grew out of the 2002 Rescuing the Memory of Our Peoples conference in Rome. The web site for the conference is at:

Technical tips - care of books, documents, and photographs

Tips on creating an archival scrapbook or photo album

Tips on Preserving Scrapbooks



Bentley, Eljee. Manual for Developing a Baptist Archives Published by the Commission on Baptist Heritage of the Baptist World Alliance, 6733 Curran Street, McLean, VA 22101-6005, USA, Bergeron, Jeanette. The manual was written in 1990 and made available on the web in 2001.

Bergeron, Jeanette. Manual for South Carolina religious archives and recordkeeping. State Historical Records Survey Board, July 1999.

A Brief Guide for Archives of Congregations
Office of the Secretary, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 1996. Some of the information in this manual would only pertain to churches of the ELCA, but there is a great deal that is helpful and instructive for any church archivist. It is particularly helpful in defining the different types of documents that can be found in a church. Click to go to the web site for the Archives of the ELCA.

Duffy, Mark J. Bibliography of Archival Resources for Parish and Diocesan Historians

---. Records Management for Congregations: A Manual for Episcopal Parishes and Missions. 2008.

Guidelines for Managing Records of the Annual Conference and the Local Church . A publication of the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church and intended for Methodist churches, but with some information that would be helpful for any church archives. Available from the Commission.

Haury, David A. Heritage Preservation: A Resource Book for Congregations Historical Committee of the General Conference of the Mennonite Church and the Historical Commission of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Church, 1993. A very useful handbook for congregations on the nuts an bolts of what and how to preserve. This book is also online at:

A Heritage at Risk/The Proceedings of the Evangelical Archives Conference, July 13-15, 1988. Billy Graham Center, 1988. Includes a section on minimum standards that contains useful information for a church archivist. Document is on the web. Click on title to go to it.

Ling, Evelyn. Archives in the Church or Synagogue Library. Church and Synagogue Library Association, 2nd Ed. Rev. 1996. Available from the Church and Synagogue Library Association, 2920 SW Dolph Ct., Ste. 3A, Portland OR 97219-3962, 503-244-6919 or (800) 542-2752.

A Manual for Small Archives. Association of British Columbia Archivists, 1994 and revised in 1998. A valuable introduction to archival work.

Maser, Frederick E. How To Write A Local Church History. A pamphlet of the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. Available from the Commission.

McKee, Wilma. Heritage Celebrations: A Guide to Celebrating the History of Your Church. 1993. A a practical handbook for planning and documenting significant events in the life of the local congregation. The book is available through the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee Store at:

Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church The Pastoral Function of Church Archives. A February 2, 1997 statement by the Roman Catholic Church on the importance of church archives and a suggested plan of action for preserving them on a diocesan level. Much of the booklet is of course intended for the organization of a Catholic congregation, but there is also much that is generally applicable and useful. Note: Print copies of the paper in various languages are available, but the online version is only in Italian.

Preserving Church Records. Presbyterian Church in America, n.d. This brochure and other material intended for the church archivist and the church historian. Available from the Historical Center of the Presbyterian Church in America, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO 63141, (314) 469-9077.

Preserving Your Church Archives: Workshop 2000. Transcript of a workshop held by members of the staff of the Archives of the Billy Graham Center for local volunteer church archives.

Proffitt, Kevin. Starting from Scratch: Creating the Synagogue Archives. The American Jewish Archives, 1994. A very useful handbook, applicable to churches as well as synagogues. Contains sections on Authorization and Support, Collecting Policy and Appraisal, Physical Facilities and Supplies, Organization and Procedures, Preservation and Conservation. Available from the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Records and Archives Management for Presbyteries produced by the Archives of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Reformed Church in America Archives Policies

Ritchie, Donald A. Doing Oral History. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. 2003 An excellent basic manual that covers all aspects of oral history. Available from the Society of American Archivists,

Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn. Preserving Archives and Manuscripts. SAA, 2nd ed., 2010. Basic information on the best way of preserving different types of archival material. Available from the Society of American Archivists, 527 S. Wells, 5th Floor, Chicago, IL 60607, , (312) 922-0140, Fax: (312) 347-1452, e-mail:

Smalley, Martha Lund. An Archival Primer. New Haven, CT: Yale Divinity School Library, Revised Edition, 2010. Intended as a manual for a professional archival repository, rather than a church archives staffed by volunteers, but much of the information is applicable.

Telling Their Stories: The History of Women in the Local Church-A Resource Packet. General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, 1991. Packet of information on how to recover and celebrate the history of women in the church. Suggestions for programs, special events, and research projects are included. Timelines, recommended reading, and quotations/passages from women are included. Available from The General Commission on Archives and History, P.O. Box 127, Madison, NJ 07940, 973-408-3189.

To Remember and Celebrate: Worship Resources for Heritage Event. The General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. Intended to help a church plan a historical event, such as a church's anniversary, Heritage Sunday, or building dedications or other events. Information on how to plan, publicize, and fund a celebration is included. Other parts of this packet include ideas for events, quotations from Methodist forefathers and foremothers, and a resource directory to general information sources in the Methodist Church and church wide agencies. Available from The General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 127, Madison, NJ 07940, 973-408-3189.

Wind, James. Constructing Your Congregation's Story. Minneapolis, Augsburg Fortress Press, 1993. Booklet intended for people who are writing the history of their congregation. Much of the information will also be useful to a church archivist.

--------. Places of Worship: Exploring Their History. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1990. Originally available from the American Association for State and Local History, 172 Second Avenue, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37201, (615) 255-2971, E-mail: Now available from AltaMira Press.

Wittman, Elisabeth, ed. Brief Guide for Archives of Congregations of the ELCA. Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, n.d.

Yakel, Elizabeth. Starting an Archives. SAA and Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1994. An excellent manual for any organization (including a church) which is thinking about starting an archives. Helps you ask the important questions and gets you started in the right direction. Available from the Society of American Archivists

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American Association for State and Local History
172 Second Avenue, Suite 202
Nashville, TN 37201
(615) 255-2971

The Church and Synagogue Library Association
P.O. Box 19357
Portland, OR 97280-0357
Phone: (503) 244-6919 or (800) 452-2752 (LIB-CSLA)
Fax: (503) 977-3734 Web page:

Evangelical Church Library Association
P. O. Box 353
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60138
Phone: 630-681-7591
fax: 630-681-7592

Society of American Archivists
527 S. Wells, 5th floor
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 922-0140
Web page:

The URL includes links to many denominational archives.

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Archival Supplies

Sources of Conservation/Preservation Products and Supplies

Gaylord Bros.
PO Box 4901
Syracuse, NY 13221

The Hollinger Corporation
P. O. Box 8360
Fredericksburg, VA 11404
(703) 898-7300
(800) 634-0491 (orders)

Light Impressions
439 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607-3717
(800) 828-6216 (orders)

Metal Edge West, Inc.
6340 Bandini Avenue
Commerce, CA 90040
(800) 862-2228

University Products
517 Main Street,
P.O. Box 101
Holyoke, MA 01041-0101
(800) 628-1912 (orders)

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Last Revised: 11/30/10

Expiration: indefinite

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