As the world’s largest Baptist university and the only one offering a doctorate in religion, it makes sense that Baylor would serve as a depository for the denomination’s history and research. The Baptist Studies Center for Research, approved by Baylor Regents at their February meeting, will bring it all together.
The center will pull together hundreds of thousands of Baptist-related research materials — books, letters, sermons, photos, oral histories and more — already at Baylor, then add to that printed collection a virtual depository of important Baptist documents, photographs, books and other collections. The online archive will include not only digitized versions of materials from Baylor’s collection, but also from other collections and libraries partnering with Baylor in bringing everything Baptist into one (virtual) location.
The center will also bring scholars and researchers to the Baylor campus while offering Baylor graduate and undergraduate students new research opportunities. Dr. Bill Bellinger Jr., chairman of the department of religion at Baylor, says once funding is secured, the new center will begin adding value to Baptist life, helping Baptists learn more about their denomination’s history and pass that history down to new generations.
“This is one of the ways that Baylor can make a contribution to the Baptist future,” Bellinger explains. “We also think that it’s a way to contribute to Baylor’s efforts at making sure our Baptist heritage is not only a heritage of the past, but also incorporates the living tradition and the current research efforts of the university.”
Sic ’em, Baptists!