The Partee Missouri Baptist Archive at William Jewell College won a digital imaging grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Studies to digitize every issue of Word&Way from its launch in July of 1896 through 1980 — a total of 71,320 pages. The grant will also pay for the digitizing of The Central Baptist, a Baptist newspaper in Missouri that ran from 1866 until the Word&Way bought it in 1912.
Abigail Broadbent, Partee’s archivist who led the application process for the grant, noted the grant will “digitize a significant portion of the Word&Way, a popular and historic Baptist publication.” The grant will be a partnership with the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project, who will digitize, host and classify the content in a searchable database. The digitization process started in June 2017 and is estimated to be completed and accessible in June 2018.
“This resource is valuable for researchers of Missouri Baptist history, Baptist historians and scholars of religious history, as well as those individuals who would use this paper to research their schools, churches, families and personal histories, and those who have relied upon and still rely upon this resources for spiritual guidance and support,” Broadbent added. “The technology used by the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project will make the paper keyword-searchable, allowing researchers to locate any mention of the church or individual they may be investigating much more efficiently. An additional and unique benefit is that it will also help the Archive track the various changes in church names and association memberships that occasionally make it difficult to find church records.”
Brian Kaylor, editor & president of Word&Way, heralded the grant and digitization as an important step in preserving Word&Way’s archives and making them more accessible.
“We are grateful to the Partee Archive for building a collection of every issue of the Word&Way from the very first issue,” Kaylor said. “We are also grateful to Abigail and others at William Jewell for working toward this grant to bring our body of work to many more people.”
“It was a privilege to visit the Archive again recently and see the first issue of Word&Way, published 121 years ago this month as an independent publication for Baptists in our region and beyond,” he added. “The past issues are a rich treasure chest full of nearly-forgotten stories of faithful Baptists. Digitizing the archives will help us know more about our heritage and the cloud of witnesses who went before us.”
Look in future issues of Word&Way for updates on the digitization process and how to access the database once it is available.
Partee Missouri Baptist Archive and its Services to Churches
The Partee Missouri Baptist Archive was founded in 1981, and is a repository for Missouri Baptist historical documents from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The Partee Archive houses state association annuals and records, regional association records and church histories. The monograph collection includes Missouri Baptist histories,biographies, and references.
Biographical information on notable church leaders, members and pastors, and their notes, scrapbooks and letters are also housed in this location. Visitors to the Archive are welcome to peruse the materials in the guest research area. The Archive is open by appointment, and researchers should contact the Archivist of the Partee Archive to set up an appointment.
The Partee Archive also digitizes documents on a point-of-need basis, typically to accommodate off-site researchers requesting specific primary materials. Church minutes and record books are continually being brought to the Archive for safekeeping and preservation purposes. The climate-controlled facility ensures that the records remain safe in acid-free, archival quality boxes, and may be accessed by researchers upon request. The mission of the Partee Missouri Baptist Archive has always been to provide free and open access to materials pertaining to Missouri Baptist history.