What do you do?

I am asked that question at least three times a week.  Usually I explain it after I have explained what exactly Disciples of Christ Historical Society is.

DCHS is a major American Protestant religious archive.  We are the largest archive and library serving the three major church groups whose history is tied to what is called the Stone-Campbell movement.  And we are they only archive the explicit purpose of which is to serve all streams of the movement regardless of denominational affiliation (or lack thereof).  There are other fine archival collections which are part of a university or graduate school (ACU’s Center for Restoration Studies, CTS Library and Harding Grad. immeidately come to mind), but we are a stand-alone entity.  We are not in competition with them, we work with them.  There is no competition among lighthouses.

We house books, periodicals, personal papers, organizational, denominational and institutional records, biographical and congregational files, and photographs.  In a sentence, whatever was produced by, for, or about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Churches of Christ or Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, we acquire, organize, arrange and preserve. We also serve researchers and historians by providing research assistance…by helping them find the information they need whatever their task or purpose may be.

And that’s where I come in.  I handle all of our incoming research inquiries.  Sharman Hartson (my colleague) and I research in our collection to answer the questions, find the information, solve the riddle, fill in the gaps, put a name to a face, or a face to a name.  No two days are the same, and we never know what questions will come in.

Here’s our website.  Click here to submit your information request.  Contact me at ice (at) discipleshistory (dot) org if you have old stuff you’d like to donate.  In a future post I discuss the types of things we preserve.

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