Wesley Works archive, 1676-1996 and undated, bulk 1724-1791, 1960-1996
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research.
- Wesley Works Editorial Project
- 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.
- 80.5 Linear Feet
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
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.
- Biographical / Historical:
Chronology of the Wesley Works Editorial Project Date Event 1960 First Board of Directors formed, comprising deans of sponsoring theological schools at four Methodist-related universities: Drew, Duke, Emory, and Southern Methodist. Dean Robert E. Cushman, Duke University, appointed first President of the Wesley Works Editorial Project ? Frank Baker appointed Professor of English Church History, Duke University Divinity School 1961 Baker appointed as Associate Editor and Archivist on the Wesley Works Editorial Board ? Duke purchased core of Frank Baker's collection, later named the Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism 1964-1997 Gradual annual gifts of Frank Baker to Duke collection 1969 Baker appointed as Editor-in-Chief 1971 Dean Joseph D. Quillian, Jr., Southern Methodist University, succeeded Cushman as President of the project 1975 The Appeals to Men of Reason and Religion and Certain Related Open Letters, first volume to be published (Volume 11) ? Wesley Works Editorial Project named nonprofit corporation (State of North Carolina) 1980 Letters I: 1721-1739 published (Volume 25) 1981 Dean James E. Kirby, Jr., Southern Methodist University, elected President of the project 1982 Letters II: 1740-1755 published (Volume 26) ? Oxford University Press announces plans to withdraw from Project following the publication of Volume 7 1983 A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists published (Volume 7) 1984 Abingdon Press begins publication and re-titles set to Bicentennial Edition ? Sermons I (1-33) published (Volume 1) 1985 Sermons II (34-70) published (Volume 2) 1986 Richard P. Heitzenrater appointed as General Editor, Frank Baker appointed as Textual Editor ? Sermons III (71-114) published (Volume 3) 1987 Sermons IV (115-151) published (Volume 4) ? Volumes 11, 25, and 26 re-published under Abingdon Press imprint 1988 Journal and Diaries I (1735-1738) published (Volume 18) 1989 The Methodist Societies: History, Nature, and Design published (Volume 9) ? Volume 7 re-published under Abingdon Press 1990 Dean Dennis M. Campbell, Duke University, elected President of the project 1990-1993 Journal and Diaries II (1738-1743), III (1743-1754), IV (1755-1765), V (1765-1775) published in successive years (Volumes 19, 20, 21, 22) 1993-1994 List of items created for final large gift 1995 Journal and Diaries VI (1776-1786) published (Volume 23) 1999 Oct. 11 Frank Baker died, Durham, N.C. 2003 Dean Russell E. Richey, Emory University, elected President ? Randy Maddox appointed as Associate General Editor ? Journal and Diaries VII (1787-1791) published (Volume 24) 2005 The Works of John Wesley: The Bicentennial Edition CD-ROM published 2006 Dean William B. Lawrence, Southern Methodist University, elected President 2011 The Methodist Societies: The Minutes of the Conference published (Volume 10)
In addition to the four originating universities, the following sponsoring bodies have been added since the project's 1960 inception: Boston University School of Theology, the Conference of the Methodist Church of Great Britain, The General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church, The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and the World Methodist Council.
- Acquisition Information:
- The Wesley Works archive was received by the Rubenstein Library as a gift from the late 1980s-2019.
- Processing information:
Processed by Michael Shumate, Keith Page, and Chloe Rockow, March 2011
Encoded by Michael Shumate, Keith Page, and Paula Jeannet, March 2013
The Wesley Works archive was received as parts of various accessions of the Frank Baker Papers and the Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism, mainly accessions 1996-053, 1999-0155, and portions of 1996-052, 2003-0201, and other accessions. All three collections were processed simultaneously, with papers of the Wesley Works Editorial Project being identified, separated, and merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.
Addition 2016-0279 processed by Katrina Martin, November 2016. Addition 2017-0106 processed by Alice Poffinberger, August 2017. Addition 2019-0065 processed by Alice Poffinberger and Jasmine Alexander-Greene, September 2019.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Related Material:
The Wesley Works Archive forms part of a larger group of collections gathered by Baker during his long career as a collector and scholar. These collections, plus others housed in both the Rubenstein Library and the Duke Divinity School Library, contain extensive related materials used by Baker and other scholars in preparing the Bicentennial Edition. Rubenstein Library collections are listed first, followed by Divinity School collections.
- Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism (printed materials division). Holds hundreds of editions of John Wesley's sermons, hymns, journals, and editorial works, plus such organizational materials as minutes of the Methodist Conferences. These materials can be searched in the online catalog by individual title, by genre, or by using the full name of the collection in the author field: Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism.
- Frank Baker Collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism, 1632-1996 and undated (manuscripts division). Most directly related to the Letters Series of the WWA. The Wesley Family Series holds a number of John Wesley's autograph letters; numerous incoming letters can also be found here and in certain subseries of the Correspondence Series. Most of these letters date after 1755 and thus have not appeared in the two volumes of letters published to date.
- Wesley holograph letters also appear in two small sub-collections of the Wesleyana manuscripts, the Sarah Crosby Papers, 1760-1804 and the Perronet Family Papers, 1752-1855
- Frank Baker Papers, 1641-2002 and undated. Contains Baker's individual scholarship, as distinct from his work in the WWEP. Although in theory an entirely separate collection from the WWA, in practice there are numerous overlaps between the collections. The Libraries and Archives Series documents much of Baker's correspondence with and visits to libraries around the world, mainly in the 1960s and 1970s, in the effort to document and gather as many Wesley archival and printed materials as possible. The Correspondence Series contains Baker's letters to and from many of same correspondents and colleagues who appear in the Wesley Works Archive. And the enormous Subject Files are rich in materials related to the project, especially the numerous indexes of Wesley's letters and other writings to be found in the Card Files Subseries.
- JW autograph letters are also contained in two small non-Baker collections in the Rubenstein Library, the Wesley Family Papers, 1726-1889[catalog record ; finding aid , in progress] and the G. (George) Story Papers, 1738-1818
- The Frank Baker Microfilm Collection (Divinity Library) houses hundreds of microfilms from archives all over the world, collected at Baker's request from the 1960s-1980s. These microfilm thousands of images of Wesley manuscripts and printed materials used by the WWEP to gather as many as possible of the approximately 4000 editions of Wesley's publications to appear during his lifetime. Inquire at the Divinity Library Reference Desk.
- The Frank Baker Photocopies Collection (Divinity Library) contains photocopies of several hundred of the rare monographs housed in the Rubenstein Library. These were often Baker's working copies of books he had already sold or given to the library, and are similar though not identical to the many photocopies in the WWA.
- Duke Divinity School: Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition . Contains numerous original and digitized texts on Wesleyan and Methodist studies, as well as links to many other archival sources on the Web. A sub-page of this site serves as the online home of the Wesley Works Editorial Project.
- In addition to this general list, other related materials in the Duke Libraries are cited in certain series notes. Inquire at the Divinity Library Reference Desk.
Research example: "Awake, Thou That Sleepest". Navigating the richness and complexity of the inter-related Frank Baker collections at Duke may be more clearly demonstrated with a specific example. The sermon "Awake, Thou That Sleepest" has been chosen for several reasons: its complex publishing history, its ties to several Baker collections, and the important fact that it sheds light on researching both John and Charles Wesley. As researchers in this field would already know, although the sermon was repeatedly collected and published by John, it was originally given by Charles, and that original delivery also accounts for the other title by which it is well-known, "A Sermon Preach'd on Sunday, April 4, 1742, Before the University of Oxford." A thorough search of the Baker collections would retrieve all of the following resources on this sermon (i.e., in addition to the text and notes as published in Works, Vol. 1):
- In the WWA, Sermons Series, Stemmata Subseries, photocopies of over fifty editions from libraries around the world.
- In the WWA, Bibliography Series, Typescripts Subseries, Baker's essay on this sermon's publishing history. A rough draft and further notes appear in the Stemmata and Text Subseries of this same series.
- In the Frank Baker Microfilm Collection, at least a dozen editions from various archives around the world, including one edition in Welsh (N.b.: because different archives record the titles in widely varying ways on their microfilm, the sermon should also be searched using simply the year, 1742).
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
Theology -- Early works to 1800
Transmission of texts
Scholars -- Correspondence
Religious thought -- England -- 18th century
Methodism -- History -- 18th century
Editors -- United States -- Correspondence
Dissenters, Religious -- England
Methodist Church -- Great Britain -- History
Methodist Church -- England -- Clergy
Church of England -- History -- 18th century
Wesleyan Methodist Church
Wesley Works Editorial Project
Methodist Church -- Great Britain -- Sermons
Baker, Frank, 1910-1999
Wesley, John, 1703-1791 -- Criticism and interpretation
Wesley, John, 1703-1791
Wesley, John, 1703-1791 -- Bibliography
- England -- Church history -- 18th century
Using These Materials
Collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
- BEFORE YOU VISIT:
- Please consult our up-to-date information for visitors page, as our services and guidelines periodically change.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], Wesley Works archive, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.