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The United Methodist Church Records are comprised primarily of bound volumes of quarterly conference minutes that document the administrative life of church units (circuits, charges, and churches) in the N.C. Conference (1784-1974, bulk 1841-1919) and the Western N.C. Conference (1884-1962, bulk 1893-1932) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS). Counties in N.C. represented in the collection include Alamance, Ashe, Bladen, Burke, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Dare, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Gates, New Hanover, Iredell, Lincoln, Perquimans, Randolph, Rowan, Yadkin, and Wake. However, this collection does not include complete runs of any set of bound minutes, correspondence, or other documentation for any N.C. county or district. There are also bound volumes of N.C. Conference, MECS, district conference minutes (1866-1939); financial, administrative, and legal records for the Board of Missions and Church Extension of the Western N.C. Conference, MECS (1909-1952); bound journals of annual conference meetings of the N.C. Conference, MECS (1838-1913); as well as some district, conference, and national records for non-N.C. conferences and for the MECS and the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC). National records include correspondence and financial records from the American Mission in North Africa, MEC (1909-1952). Although the entire collection dates from 1784-1984, the bulk of the material dates from 1800-1940.

The United Methodist Church Records are comprised primarily of bound volumes of quarterly conference minutes that document the administrative life of smaller church units (circuits, charges, and churches) within the N.C. Conference (1784-1974, bulk 1841-1919) and the Western N.C. Conference (1884-1962, bulk 1893-1932) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS). Counties in N.C. represented in the collection include Alamance, Ashe, Bladen, Burke, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Dare, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Gates (also Va.), New Hanover, Iredell, Lincoln, Perquimans (also Va.), Randolph, Rowan, Yadkin, and Wake. There are also bound volumes of N.C. Conference, MECS, district conference minutes (1866-1939); financial, administrative, and legal records for the Board of Missions and Church Extension of the Western N.C. Conference, MECS (1909-1952); bound journals of annual conference meetings of the N.C. Conference, MECS (1838-1913); as well as some district, conference, and national records for non-N.C. conferences and for the MECS and the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC). The national records include correspondence--especially to and from J. H. Colpais Purdon--and financial records from the American Mission in North Africa, MEC (1909-1952); and correspondence, minutes, reports, and printed material documenting the planning for the reunification of the MEC and the MECS (1906-1916, 1932-1939), especially hymnal revision.

In addition to the quarterly conference and district conference minutes, the N.C. Conference and Non-N.C. Conference Series include membership, Sunday School, abstinence society, and susbscription and class lists (Buckhorn, Currituck, Forsyth, and Haw River Circuits); plans and maps of circuits (Currituck, Forsyth, and Holly Springs Circuits); notes, drawings, and inventories of church buildings and furniture (Iredell and Roanoke Circuits); and handwritten "responses" of the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the MEC split, some written by William Gwynn Coe. The Historical Sketches Series includes land deeds for churches and correspondence written by or pertaining to Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke; and some information about churches with mixed-race congregations. Although the entire collection dates from 1784-1984, the bulk of the material dates from 1800-1940.

This collection does not include complete runs of any set of bound minutes, correspondence, or other documentation for any N.C. county or district. Thus, it does not provide a full view of the activities of the Methodist Church in N.C. However, for both the N.C. and Western N.C. Conferences, some districts, circuits, and counties are well-represented. These include, in the N.C. Conference, MECS, the Durham District (1885-1927), Elizabeth City District (1911-1922), Raleigh District (1914-1915 and 1935-1939), and Wilmington District (1866-1898); and Bath Circuit (Beaufort Co., 1849-1894), Dare Circuit (Dare Co., 1859-1903), Fifth Street Charge/Church/Station (New Hanover Co., 1844-1905), Gates Circuit (Gates Co., 1784-1911), Iredell Circuit (Iredell Co., 1823-1873), Leasburg Circuit (Caswell Co., 1883-1930), North Gates Circuit (Gates Co., 1884-1937), Pasquotank Circuit (Pasquotank Co., 1852-1906), Pittsboro Circuit (Chatham Co., 1854-1943), and Yanceyville Circuit (Caswell Co., 1844-1902). In the Western N.C. Conference the Asheville District (1912-1916) and Winston-Salem District (1924-1935) are well-documented, along with Alamance Circuit (Alamance Co., 1893-1908), First Methodist Church/Station (Lincoln Co., 1902-1962), Jefferson Circuit (Ashe Co., 1893-1932), Morganton Circuit (Burke Co., 1889-1932), Polkville Circuit (Cleveland Co., 1911-1927), and Randolph Circuit/Charge (Randolph Co., 1893-1930).

Arranged in five series: National Records Series; Non-N.C. Conference Records Series; N.C. Conference Records Series; Western N.C. Conference Records Series; Historical Sketches Series.

The National Records Series comprises national-level records from the MEC (1820-1952) and the MECS (1857-1939), including correspondence and financial records from the American Mission in North Africa of the MEC (1909-1952), especially correspondence to and from Joseph Cooksey, Edwin Frease, and Joseph Purdon (1909-1925). The MECS national records comprise primarily correspondence, minutes, reports, and printed material documenting the planning for the reunification of the MEC and the MECS (1906-1916, 1932-1939), especially hymnal revision.

The Non-N.C. Conference Records Seriesconsists primarily of bound volumes of quarterly conference minutes for circuits, charges, and churches in the Baltimore, North Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and other Conferences, especially those in Lumpkin Co., Ga.; Marion Co., S.C.; and Gates and Loudoun Cos., Va. Circuit, charge, and church-level records include a classbook of the Pleasant Hill Society (1851-1879, Dallas Co., Ala.); a hand-drawn map from the 1800s of the Holly Springs Circuit (unknown Co., Miss.); and a history of the formation of the Methodist Protestant Church in Maryland, 1833. There are conference-level records only for the Virginia and Wisconsin Conferences and these include an 1815 list of ministers serving Virginia Conference districts and circuits, as well as a group of hand-written "responses" of the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the Methodist Episcopal Church split (1864-1866).

The N.C. Conference Records Seriescomprises primarily bound volumes of quarterly conference minutes that document the administrative life of circuits, charges, churches, missions, and stations of the N.C. Conference, MECS, in the eastern and central counties of North Carolina, particularly Bladen, Caswell, Chatham, Dare, Durham, Gates, New Hanover, Perquimans, and Wake, but also including other counties (1784-1974). In addition, the series includes bound journals of annual conference meetings for the N.C. Conference of the MECS (1838-1913), as well as bound volumes of district conference minutes and quarterly conference minutes for, among other districts, the Durham, Elizabeth City, Raleigh, and Wilmington Districts of the N.C. Conference of the MECS (1866-1939).

The Western N.C. Conference consists primarily of bound volumes of quarterly conference minutes and church registers that document the administrative life of MECS and Methodist Church (MC) circuits, charges, churches, missions, and stations in the western and west central counties of North Carolina (1893-1932). Counties include Alamance, Ashe, Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Davidson, Forsyth, Iredell, Lincoln, Randolph, Rowan, and Yadkin, among others. The series also includes financial, administrative, and legal records for the Board of Missions and Church Extension of the Western N.C. Conference of the MECS (1909-1952), as well as quarterly conference and district conference minutes and trustees minutes for districts within the Western N.C. Conference including, among others, the Asheville and Winston-Salem districts (1912-1935).

The Historical Sketches Series comprises primarily historical and biographical information solicited from N.C. ministers about themselves, their churches, circuits, and counties in 1879 by H. T. Hudson and in 1895 by an unknown person. Also includes earlier and later sketches, especially typescript or handwritten articles, essays, or sermons on Methodism in N.C.

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The Wesley Works Editorial Project, founded in 1960, is an international and inter denominational consortium of scholars that is producing a complete critical edition of the works of John Wesley, the 18th century Church of England clergyman who was a primary founder of Methodism. The Wesley Works Archive, dating from 1676 to 1996, with the bulk ranging from 1724-1791 and 1960-1996, forms part of the working papers of the Wesley Works Editorial Project (WWEP). The collection consists of that portion of the project's documents gathered by Frank Baker during almost four decades of service as the WWEP's editor and main bibliographer, and consists of the correspondence, writings, research, printed materials, photocopied manuscripts, proofs, and other materials produced by Baker and the many other historians, theologians, and clergy, who have participated in the Project. There is much information not only about the founding and early history of the Methodist and Wesleyan Methodist Churches, but also about the history of religious thought and dissent in 18th century England, the Evangelical Revival, and the history of publishing; materials in the collection also throw light on such topics as scholarly publishing and textual criticism.

The Wesley Works Archive, 1676-1996 and undated, bulk 1724-1791, 1960-1996, forms part of the working papers of the Wesley Works Editorial Project (WWEP). Formed in 1960, this international and inter denominational consortium of scholars is producing a complete critical edition of the works of John Wesley, the 18th century Church of England clergyman who was a primary founder of Methodism. The collection consists of that portion of the Project's documents gathered by Frank Baker during almost four decades of service as the WWEP's General Editor, Textual Editor, and main bibliographer, and consists of the correspondence, writings, research, printed materials, photocopied manuscripts, proofs, and other materials produced by Baker and the many other historians, theologians, and clergy who have participated in the Project. Because John Wesley preached, wrote, and published so widely, the content of the research materials required for a full edition of his writings necessarily contains much information not only about the founding and early history of the Methodist and Wesleyan Methodist Churches, but also much information about the history of religious thought and dissent in 18th century England, the Evangelical Revival, and the history of publishing. Beyond the ostensible purpose of the WWEP, however, the modern correspondence and scholarly debate contained in these papers also throws light on such topics as scholarly publishing and textual criticism.

The collection also sheds light on the history and mechanics of the transmission of texts. That is, while the reproduced printed materials here document the complex publishing and textual history of the thousands of editions of Wesley's writings to appear in his lifetime alone, at the same time the original writings of modern scholars involved in the WWEP document how older texts are researched and recovered from the past, all for the purpose of establishing a present authoritative text to be passed on to the future.

Series in the Wesley Works Archive are arranged to correspond to the unit structure of the thirty-five volume Bicentennial Edition. Described more fully below, the initial sixteen series of the archive and the sixteen units and thirty-five volumes of the Bicentennial Edition are as follows: Sermons (1-4); Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament (5-6); A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists (7); Worship (8); The Methodist Societies (9-10); The Appeals to Men of Reason and Religion and Certain Related Open Letters (11); Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises (12-13); Social/Political Tracts (14); Catechetical/Educational Works (15); Editorial Works (16); Medical Writings (17); Journals and Diaries (18-24); Letters (25-31); Oxford Diaries (32); Bibliography (33-34); and Index and Miscellanea (35). A concluding seventeenth series, General Files, gathers materials about the overall history and organization of the WWEP.

The history of the Wesley Works Editorial Project already extends more than fifty years, from its inception in 1960 to the 2011 publication of The Methodist Societies: The Minutes of Conference. This volume, as the seventeenth to be published, marks the halfway point of the entire Bicentennial Edition, which will comprise thirty-four volumes plus a concluding general index volume. Although the General Files are placed as the final series in order to avoid interrupting the parallel structure of series and volumes, they actually mark the best place to begin an overview of the collection, since their various folder groups document much of the administrative history of the Project. Overviews and details of the Project's inception, history, institutional support, and editorial guidelines are best found in the folder groups for the Board of Directors and the Editorial Board. The history of the actual content, intellectual structure, and presentation of volumes can be found in such groups as grouped under such categories as Editorial Procedures and Bulletins of the WWP. Most of the latter were issued by Frank Baker in the 1970s and contain much detail about the content and style choices that were being made for various volumes. The General Files also contain materials that may relate to more than one unit of the Bicentennial Edition, as well as some Wesley publications not selected for inclusion, especially his Explanatory Notes Upon the Old Testament.