The Virginia Baptist Historical Society was founded in 1876 by individuals who wanted to preserve Baptist history and by the Baptist General Association of Virginia . The Historical Society became a major resource to clergy, historians, and students researching Baptist history. The facility contains Baptist congregational records, historical documents, photographs, artifacts, and oil portraits that chronicle Baptist history in Virginia . The heart of the collection is the church records repository that preserves over 3,500 original church record books from 500 congregations, making one of the largest congregational archives. The collection also includes all of the annual reports from the district association. The most frequently used resource is the Religious Herald , which has been in circulation since 1828. The Herald’s first fifty years have been indexed. The Historical Society also houses personal papers that include diaries, journals and sermons.
The Virginia Baptist Historical Society describes it mission as follows: “to discover, procure, and preserve whatever may relate to the history of Christianity and to the Baptist denomination of Virginia in particular.“ The Historical Society annually publishes a scholarly journal, Virginia Baptist Register . For example, a recent issue includes articles examining hymns written by one of the most renowned church musicians; a manual on Baptist church policies that date to the 1790s; and letters exchanged between two Baptists, Jeremiah Bell Jeter and Daniel Witt, over a forty year period during the nineteenth century. The Historical Society’s Heritage Gallery has numerous visitations annually. Church groups and individuals who have pre-arranged tours walk through the gallery and hear the stories behind the photographs and artifacts that they observe. The Gallery also has a 36-panel mural on Virginia Baptist History by artist Sidney E. King.
The Virginia Baptist Historical Society
P.O. Box 34
University of Richmond
Richmond , VA. 23173
Profile prepared by Felicia Wynn