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Frank Baker collection of Methodist circuit plans, 1777-1984 and undated 8.5 Linear Feet — Approx. 2000 items

Consists predominantly of circuit plans from the Methodist Church (Great Britain) and the earlier churches that merged to form it in 1907 and 1932: the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Primitive Methodist Church, the United Methodist Free Churches, and the United Methodist Church (Great Britain). These circuit plans, collected by Frank Baker, document the history, growth, and organization of the itinerancy, established by John Wesley in the early years of the church when Methodism began to spread into the rural areas of England. The plans feature detailed schedules of where the itinerant preachers, known as circuit riders, were to appear and preach each week.

The Frank Baker Collection of Methodist Circuit Plans, 1777-1984 and undated, consists predominantly of circuit plans from the Methodist Church (Great Britain) and the earlier churches that merged to form it in 1907 and 1932: the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Primitive Methodist Church, the United Methodist Free Churches, and the United Methodist Church (Great Britain). These plans document the history, growth, and organization of the itinerancy, established by John Wesley in the early years of the church when Methodism began to spread into the rural areas of England. The circuit plans feature detailed schedules of where the itinerant preachers, known as circuit riders, were to appear and preach each week.

Items in the 19th Century and Overseas Circuits Series were donated in the 1970s and were organized at the item level and encapsulated in the early 1980s. Items were numbered in the order in which they were encapsulated, which bears no relationship to alphabetical order or circuit organization. They are currently boxed in numerical order in three boxes with the following number ranges: Box 1: items 1-240; Box 2, items 241-390; Box 3: items 391-527. Items in the 20th Century Series, numbering around 800 to 1000 items, were donated in the late 1980s and are organized to the folder level.

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Frank Baker papers, 1641-2002 and undated, bulk 1740-1995 112.7 Linear Feet — Approx. 90,000 items — Approx. 90,000 Items

Scholar, editor, collector, and Duke University faculty member specializing in the history of English and American Methodist history, and the life and career of minister John Wesley. Collection documents the professional career and life of Frank Baker, historian of Methodism and particularly of the founder and Methodist minister John Wesley. Materials are arranged in the following series: Baker Collections Files; Correspondence; Libraries and Archives; Ministry; Personal Files; Printed Materials; Professional Service; Scrapbooks and Albums; Subject Files; Teaching Materials; and Writings and Research. Topics covered include: the history of the Baker book and manuscript collections in the Duke University libraries; the history and development of Methodism and of the Wesley family; the Church of England; the Methodist Church in England, the U.S., and other countries; the development of academic research on Methodist history; music and hymnology; and material on the Wesley Works Series, a publishing project headed by Baker. There are abundant research materials on notable individuals associated with Methodism such as Charles Wesley and many other Wesley family members, William Grimshaw, and Francis Asbury. Printed material abounds, and includes many maps, articles, clippings and newspapers, pamphlets, and religious music.

The Frank Baker Papers date from 1641 through 2002, with the majority of the materials dating from the 1800s to the 1990s. The collection houses correspondence, articles, pamphlets, extensive subject and research files, clippings, publicity, a few audio recordings and microfilm, and other materials documenting the professional career and life of Frank Baker, historian of Methodism and particularly of the life and career of minister John Wesley, considered the founder of British Methodism. The collection is arranged in the following series: Audiovisual Materials, Baker Collections Files; Correspondence; Libraries and Archives; Ministry; Personal Files; Printed Material; Professional Service; Scrapbooks and Albums; Subject Files; Teaching Materials; and Writings and Research. Many of the series are divided into subseries, and two are also followed by an Oversize Materials subseries. Note that early dates usually represent reproductions, not originals, although the collection does house some original research materials.

Topics covered by the materials in the collection include: the history and development of Methodism and of the Wesley family; the history of the Church of England, and the Methodist Church in England, the U.S., and other countries; the development of academic research on Methodism and its publications; the history of the Baker book and manuscript collections in the Duke University Libraries; music and hymnology; and the development of the Wesley Works Series, a publishing project headed by Baker. There are abundant research materials on notable individuals associated with Methodism such as John and Charles Wesley, many other Wesley family members, and others such as William Grimshaw and Francis Asbury.

The largest series is the Subject Files (122 boxes), research files assembled by Baker on approximately 1500 topics related to the Wesley family and the history of Methodism and the Methodist Church. Another large series is Writings and Research (48 boxes), containing files of research notes, correspondence, print materials, and publicity related to each of Baker's published works. There are also many student writings in the collection and other materials related to Baker's teaching. Among the Personal Files are biographical files on Frank Baker; awards and honors; travel-related items, and two portrait photographs of Baker's parents. Baker's personal hobbies are reflected in the stamp collecting materials and a group of Victorian-era monogram and crest albums and "libri amicorum," or friendship albums that round out the collection.