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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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Wesley family papers, 1726-1889 and undated 3 Linear Feet — 46 Items

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The brothers John Wesley (1703-1791) and Charles Wesley (1707-1788) were Church of England clergymen and two of the founders of Methodism; Sarah Wesley (1726-1822) and Sarah Wesley (1759-1828) were the wife and daughter of Charles Wesley. The Wesley family papers span the years 1726-1889 and mainly comprise the correspondence of John and Charles Wesley, with single items from the wife and daughter of Charles, both named Sarah; there is also an inventory of John Wesley's library taken at the time of his death, 1791, and a photograph album, 1889, of English sites related to the Wesleys and the history of Methodism. Correspondence discusses John Wesley's life as a student at Lincoln College, the administration of Kingswood School, the brothers' mission to Georgia in the 1730s, and Methodism's eventual separation from the Church of England. Correspondents and people mentioned in the letters include the Countess of Huntingdon, George Whitefield, James Oglethorpe, Joseph Benson, and Samuel Bradburn.

The Wesley family papers, 1726-1889 and undated, comprise correspondence, poems, sermons, affidavits, and other documents of the brothers John Wesley (1703-1791) and Charles Wesley (1707-1788), both Church of England clergymen and two of the founders of Methodism; of Sarah Wesley (1726-1822), wife of Charles; and of Sarah Wesley (1759-1828), daughter of Charles and Sarah.

John Wesley's letters discuss his life as a student at Lincoln College; the administration of Kingswood School, Bath; his conflict with the Countess of Huntingdon; his involvement with the funeral sermon for George Whitefield and Whitefield's estate; and various other topics including the appointment of ministers. Charles Wesley's letters discuss details of the Wesley brothers' experiences on their mission to Georgia, including their relationship with James Oglethorpe, and his regrets over the Methodists' separation from the Church of England. Correspondents and persons mentioned include Samuel Wesley (brother of John and Charles), Eliza Bennis, Joseph Benson, Samuel Bradburn, James Kenton, and Samuel Lloyd.

Other materials include an inventory of John Wesley's library at the time of his death; a signed affidavit concerning a major chapel of British Methodism, opened in Nottingham in 1783; a photograph album of places in England associated with the Wesley family and the history of Methodism; and some infant baptismal clothing (a christening gown) attributed to the Wesley family.

Original correspondence housed in Box 1 available by prior request only. Use copies are in Box 2.