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Frank Baker (1910-1999) was a faculty member at Duke University in history, an expert on Wesleyan Methodism, and a rare book and manuscripts collector. The Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism, 1536-1996 and undated, comprises correspondence, writings, local histories, printed items, engravings, and many other manuscript materials that date from the earliest years of Methodism to its worldwide expansion up to the 20th century. The collection includes the correspondence of two of the most important founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley, as well as correspondence from members of the Wesley family. Collection also includes correspondence from many of the key figures in 18th and 19th century history of British Methodism: Joseph Benson, Jabez Bunting, Adam Clarke, Thomas Coke, James Everett, John Fletcher, Mary (Bosanquet) Fletcher, Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Elizabeth (Ritchie) Mortimer, George Osborn, Hester Ann Rogers, Richard Tabraham, and Thomas Wride. Other materials include church records and registers, account books, autograph albums, broadsides (notices), circular letters, engravings, maps, sermons, scrapbooks, photographs, and memorabilia. Topics covered by the materials include the life and training of Methodist clergy; the religious life of women; biography and portraiture of Methodists; spirituality; Protestantism in art; and the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism in the early church. Organizational history in the collection covers several branches of the 18th and 19th century church, including Wesleyan Methodism, Primitive Methodism, missions, and missionary societies.

The Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism, 1536-1996 and undated, comprises a vast range of original correspondence, writings, local histories, printed items, engravings, and many other manuscript materials that date from the earliest years of Methodism to its expansion throughout the British Empire during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. The collection includes the correspondence of two of the most important founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley, as well as correspondence from members of the Wesley family, including Samuel Wesley, Sr. (1662-1735), Sarah (Gwynne) Wesley (1726-1822) and the Gwynne family, and the children of Charles and Sarah Wesley: Charles Wesley, Junior (1757-1834), Sarah (Sally) Wesley (1759-1828), and Samuel Wesley (1766-1837).

Additionally, correspondence from many of the key figures in 18th and 19th century history of British Methodism greatly extends the collection's breadth of coverage. Among others, these groups of correspondence include Joseph Benson, Jabez Bunting, Adam Clarke, Thomas Coke, James Everett, John Fletcher, Mary (Bosanquet) Fletcher, Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Elizabeth (Ritchie) Mortimer, George Osborn, Hester Ann Rogers, Richard Tabraham, and Thomas Wride.

The collection materials cover many topics, including: the life and training of clergy women correspondence and diaries; the religious life of women; biography; portraiture; spiritual topics; Protestantism as depicted in art; and the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism in the early church. Organizational history in the collection covers several branches of the 18th and 19th century church, including Wesleyan Methodism, Primitive Methodism, missions, and missionary societies.

Formats of materials include church records and registers, account books, autograph albums, broadsides (notices), circular letters, engravings, maps, sermons, scrapbooks, class tickets, photographs, photocopies of original manuscripts, memorabilia, and realia.

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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.

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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.