Baptist Historical Collection: A Unique Resource for Genealogists

The North Carolina (NC) Baptist Historical Collection (also known as the Ethel Taylor Crittenden Collection in Baptist History) documents the history of North Carolina Baptist associations, churches, institutions, organizations, and individuals. The collection is used by researchers across the state as well as nationwide for genealogical research.

The North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection is comprised of original manuscripts (handwritten and typescript) and printed records (dating back to 1772), photocopies of records, and microfilmed records from over 1,000 North Carolina Baptist churches. The records contain a wealth of information about each church represented. Types of records include, but are not limited to, minutes from business meetings, treasurers’ reports, church covenants, membership lists, organizational records of mission groups, history sketches, deacons’ meeting minutes, financial reports, attendance information, newsletters, budget information, newspaper clippings, property deeds, bulletins, Sunday School records, committee reports, and Woman’s Missionary Union materials. Depending on the size and age of the church, the records can span hundreds of years or just a decade. It is the variety and uniqueness of these records that make them such a valuable research tool as well as an important part of North Carolina’s cultural heritage.

It has been a long-term goal of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library to digitize the collection in its entirety so that all can access it freely online. Annually, Special Collections & Archives receives several hundred reference requests for Baptist-related questions. For information about our Baptist collections with links to our digitized content, visit our website at

Our Digital Collections include the major publication for Baptist Churches in the state (published by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina), Baptist publications, archival collections for nearly 120 North Carolina churches, and Baptist Biographical and Association files collected by Wake Forest University. We have a number of collections still to be digitized, including 3,000 reels of microfilm, archival collections, and thousands of reel-to-reel audiotapes.

Collection Location
Special Collections & Archives-Room 625, Z. Smith Reynolds Library
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

We encourage researchers to contact us at archives@wfu.edu to either send a request or schedule a visit.

Contributed by Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Director-Special Collections & Archives, ZSR Library, Wake Forest University