The Archives Research Center, located on the third floor of the Mack Library, is the hub of historical research and documentation regarding the history of BJU.
Gathering its resources both from the various departments across campus as well as from private contributions of artifacts and documents, the Archives is the perfect place for students, faculty and local residents to gain a more informed appreciation for the rich heritage of BJU.
A large portion of the collection housed in the Archives is memorabilia from BJU’s history, from the early days of Bob Jones College in Bay County, Fla., to its 15 years in Cleveland, Tenn., to its present location in Greenville. Many of the artifacts in the Archives, such as the recently discovered handwritten notes of R.K. Johnson, the early financial officer of Bob Jones College, and correspondences of Bob Jones Sr. and Jr., come from private collection donations, which the Archives gladly welcomes.
But the Archives doesn’t just store documents pertaining to BJU’s history; it also houses artifacts from student-led organizations and associations, and societies are encouraged to store artifacts and scrapbooks in the Archives for preservation.
An entire section of the Archives library is devoted to society scrapbooks, containing photos and artifacts from the founding of the first literary societies in 1927.
Copies of university publications, such as BJU Magazine, Vintage, and The Collegian, are also stored in the Archives.
The Archives’ unique photograph collection, which documents the University’s history in detail, is often accessed by students and faculty conducting research.
Mack Library archivist Jennifer Walton is largely responsible for the maintenance, research and cataloguing of the hundreds of historical documents, photographs and artifacts in the Archives.
In addition to these responsibilities, Walton is currently working on the large-scale task of completely digitizing all of the Archives’ documents. Presently, more than half of the collection can be found online at the Mack Library Web page on the intranet, but in her two months since assuming supervision of the Archives, Walton has made significant progress toward completing the digitization process.
Typically, faculty and students who were conducting research or working on projects and who have needed to access the Archives would either call or visit the Archives library in person to find the information they needed, but now anyone can access this expansive database with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a simple Web search via the Archives Web page.
“I want to encourage students [and faculty] to be aware of the fact that anything that they want to know about the history of the college is available online 24/7,” Walton said.
While the Archives may not always be front-page news here at BJU, it performs an absolutely vital role behind the scenes.
Walton is passionate about her role in keeping students, faculty and visitors aware of the history and heritage of BJU.
“[The archives] serve to hold us to the memory both of what the University has accomplished and to show us the direction we have ahead of us,” Walton said.