Westminster Theological Seminary

Special Collections

Due to our current limited staff, we regret that we are able to provide only minimal support for your research. Please summarize your interests briefly and specifically and we'll respond as soon as we are able, with an indication of how (or whether) we may be able to assist.

Manuscript collections are produced by people, families, or entities other than a corporate entity. Acquiring manuscript collections requires the donor to sign a “deed-of-gift” form that transfers ownership from the donor to the archival institution. Once legally acquired, these collections undergo the process of arrangement and description to prepare them for scholarly use. The arrangement and descriptive process is one that involves physically arranging the records in an order that is user-friendly and is easy for researchers to understand and work with. During this process, the archivist will also develop a descriptive guide to the collection that provides information about the collection—especially what records are found in what file folders. Below are all of the guides for collections that have undergone arrangement and description.

The terms “archive” and “archives’ are normally used to refer to records of permanent administrative and historical value, produced by an institution. Any institution (government, company, corporation, college, university, seminary, historical society, non-profit institution, or anything else) that produces any sort of record (in any format) could and should have an institutional memory in the form of an archives. Archives are records produced by that institution, and it is the role of the archivist to preserve, catalog, develop some form of intellectual control, and provide descriptive summaries of those records.

Access to the archives is by appointment only

The WTS Special Collections has a large collection of photographic images that dates back to the earliest days of this seminary. The provenance of many of these photos is unknown. In later decades, photos have been transferred to the Special Collections from other WTS departments—usually the Development Department. These include portrait photos of students and faculty, campus scenes (some of which include students and other the campus buildings), and many other subjects related to the visual history of WTS.

Access to the Photographic Collections is by appointment only.

The definition of rare or antiquarian books is rather broad and loose. As far as collecting rare books at WTS is concerned, these are books that were produced no later than 1900, and have some historical significance in the history of Christianity, Calvinism, Reformed theology, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Presbyterian church denominations.

Access to the Photographic Collections is by appointment only.

Normally the archives of an organization preserves its own historically significant records. Here at WTS, we are in possession of the records of a number of other organizations, identified here as “Allied Organizations.” These are arranged and described according to standard archival practices.

Feel free to reach out for more information on our Allied Organizations collections.

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