The American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS) now has a digital records platform up on the World Wide Web — American Baptist Historical Society Digital Collections.
Materials held in the ABHS archival collections include:
- African-American Baptist association minutes as early as 1829
- Correspondence of home and overseas missionaries
- Local church records
- Official denominational minutes and publications
- Personal papers of Baptist leaders
- Records of the Baptist World Alliance
What is currently available online is only a very small and limited amount, but it is new and growing. In Primary Source (April-June 2023, p. 3), Jenny Manasco reports, “Photos, documents, and audio files will be accessible via the internet. However, what is accessible is but an infinitesimal proportion of what we hold in the archives. We calculate that it would take a full-time employee about 100 years of scanning to digitize what we have. Since we don’t have anyone dedicated full-time to scanning the materials, it may take a little longer than that.”
The site’s url is: https://abhs.access.preservica.com/
One interesting addition available is the diary of William Shadrach, added 12 April 2023. I am not very familiar with Shadrach. Born in Wales, William Shadrach came to America around 1820. He was ordained in 1828 and early on was an active pastor in the Pittsburgh Baptist Association. Shadrach was one of the founders of the University at Lewisburg, and served as Corresponding Secretary of the American Baptist Publication Society, 1853-1856. The following is an excerpt from his diary.
26 Preached at home enjoyed a refreshing season none baptized. The trial of John Holmes no doubt has thrown a stumblingblock in the way of some. O Lord remove any barrier to the progress of the cause of Christ.
Sketch of the Life of Rev. William Shadrach, D. D., by John Thomas Griffith (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, for the American Baptist Historical Society, 1915) is available online at HathiTrust.