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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University-- Home of the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection. Image courtesy of Flickr user Chris. B.. The North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem grew out of the work of the North Carolina Baptist Historical Society, established in 1885. The society began the collection and preservation of Baptist newspapers and other periodicals, college catalogs, minutes of Baptist associations and conventions, and other publications of historical value to North Carolina Baptists. Much valuable material originally was collected and kept in Raleigh under the supervision of the general secretary of the Baptist State Convention. By 1922 the collection had far outgrown the space that could be devoted to it, and negotiations were begun to move it to Wake Forest (then Wake Forest College, in Wake County), under special provisions that did not surrender the claim of the convention to the material. The removal was begun at that time but was not completed until a fireproof extension to the library was built in 1926.

Through the work of several prominent faculty members, most notably George W. Paschal and Charles C. Pearson, the collection continued to expand. But it was through the efforts of Ethel Taylor Crittenden, Wake Forest's librarian from 1915 to 1946, that the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection became officially designated by the Baptist State Convention as the repository for all North Carolina Baptist historical materials and records. The daughter of the college's sixth president, Charles E. Taylor (1884-1905), Crittenden collected her father's papers and received donations from the North Carolina Baptist Historical Society and the state convention. In 1970 the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection was renamed in her honor. The modern Ethel Taylor Crittenden Collection in Baptist History contains a vast amount of materials dating from the 1770s to the present, including more than 16,000 books and other publications and hundreds of biographical and autobiographical materials relating to Southern, Missionary, Primitive, African American, and other Baptist churches in the state. The collection, located in a wing of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library, is now almost exclusively supported by Wake Forest University, with its connection to the North Carolina Baptist State Convention diminished.


George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists (2 vols., 1938).

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Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University-- Home of the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection. Image courtesy of Flickr user Chris. B.. Available from (accessed June 8, 2012).

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North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection:


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Mrs. Avis Stearns Van Waggenen in her Stearns genealogy reports: "About 1750 with his sons and daughters and their families left Tolland on account of ecclesiastical difficulties...a pamphlet was published at the time giving an account of the troubles..." Do you have the pamphlet?


Hi James,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and posting your question.

I'm unable to find the reference to the pamphlet in Mrs Van Wagenen's publication.  I'm also including here a citation and a link to her Genealogy from Internet Archive.  

Van Wagenen, Avis Stearns. Genealogy and memoirs of Isaac Stearns and his descendants. [Syracuse, N.Y. : Courier Printing Co. 1901. (accessed April 24, 2014).

The librarians here at the Government & Heritage Library may be able to help you locate the pamphlet if it exists. 

You can find their contact information at  I am also sending this reference referral to the email address you included with your post.

Thanks again for visiting NCpedia -- please visit us again and good luck with your research!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia Staff

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