ARCHIVES OF THE SUSQUEHANNA CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Preserving and Celebrating Our United Methodist Heritage in Central and Northeast Pennsylvania
archives are located in Williamsport, PA on the third floor of the Lycoming
College library. The archives are open Mondays 9 am to 8 pm - this includes all
Monday holidays. The following paragraphs give general information. For
special messages, see the weekly update at the end of this website.
NOTE: These are the archives for Central and Northeast Pennsylvania. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Western Pennsylvania Conference have their own archives. The denominational archives website of the General Commission on Archives and History is gcah.org and gives contact information for the entire country; there is a link at the bottom of this page.
United Methodist Archives
Lycoming College Library
700 College Place
Williamsport, PA 17701
Dr. Milton Loyer
917 Emily Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
The archivist lives 100 miles from the archives and makes weekly visits to manage the site. Unless indicated otherwise in the special message at the end of this website, the archives are always open Mondays (including holidays) 9 am to 8 pm. In addition, the archivist is usually on site Sunday evenings from 10 pm to midnight. During the summer and breaks between semesters, at times when the library is not open, you may have to call into the archives room (570-321-4088) for the archivist to come and admit you. The telephone at the archives is answered only when the archivist is present. Mail and e-mail are answered weekly. If you are planning a visit to the archives or wish to speak with someone Tuesday through Saturday, please contact the archivist at his home.
What We Have
The United Methodist Church includes three distinct predecessor denominations: The Evangelical Church (including the Evangelical Association and the United Evangelical Church), The Methodist Church (including the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church) and the United Brethren Church. The Evangelical and United Brethren denominations united in 1946 to form the Evangelical United Brethren (or EUB) Church. The archives maintain an historical file on each active church and each known former church within these traditions. The archives have complete sets of local conference journals and many denominational materials from each of these traditions.
What We Don't Have
In the United Methodist Church, each congregation is responsible for maintaining its own records of membership, baptisms, marriages, etc. The archives do not attempt to gather information of this nature from individual congregations. The archives will, however, attempt to put individuals seeking such information in contact with the proper local congregation.
The Susquehanna Conference archives seek to be an active research facility. We have extensive collections of artifacts, disciplines, yearbooks, histories, hymnals, books, periodicals and other publications from each of our predecessor denominations. The following collections are representative:
* Major gospel songbook collection (which we are in the
process of indexing)
* Secular historical material for the 33 counties within our conference
* Biographical materials on local clergy and nationally prominent religious figures
* A collection of Wesleyana
* Three large museum-type display cases -- one Evangelical, one United Brethren, one Methodist -- of artifacts suitable for viewing by confirmation classes or interested individuals
On Line Data Bases
1. PASTORS: These
files give basic information (birth, death, spouse, appointments, obituary
reference, notes and other
relevant references) as described below.
a. Central Pennsylvania Evangelical Pastors [in progress] includes every person known to have (1) been licensed or
ordained by the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Evangelical [and Evangelical Association and United
Evangelical] Church or (2) served an appointment in that Conference 1839-1964.
b. Central Pennsylvania Methodist Pastors includes every person known to have (1) been licensed or ordained in the East
Baltimore (1856-1868) or Central Pennsylvania (1868-1970) Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal [and Methodist]
Church or (2) served an appointment in those conferences 1856-1970.
c. Central Pennsylvania Methodist Protestant Pastors [in progress] includes every Central Pennsylvania person known to
have (1) been licensed or ordained by the Baltimore, Eastern, New York, or Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist
Protestant [and 1878-1883 Methodist] Church or (2) served a Central Pennsylvania appointment in one of those
d. Pennsylvania UB Pastors includes every person known to have (1) been licensed or ordained in Pennsylvania by the
Pennsylvania, East Pennsylvania or Allegheny Conferences of the United Brethren [and EUB] Church or (2) served an
appointment in one of those Conferences.
e. Wyoming Conference Pastors [in progress].
f. Susquehanna Conference Pastors [in progress] includes every person known to have been licensed or ordained in the
Susquehanna (1964-70), Central Pennsylvania (1970-2010), or Susquehanna (2010 onward) Conferences within United
Methodism. Persons who served an appointment in one of those Conferences but who were originally licensed or
ordained in Conferences included in sections a-e above are listed with those Conferences in sections a-e and are not
duplicated in the Susquehanna Conference list.
The following are works in progress. The goal is to have two links, one to closed churches and one to present churches,
that will give information arranged by county about every United Methodist (and predecessor denomination) church
building known to have existed within the boundaries of the present Susquehanna Conference.
a. closed churches. Closed Churches
b. present churches. Open Churches
Central Pennsylvania Conference United Methodist Memoirs gives an alphabetic list of all obituaries appearing in the
journals of the Central Pennsylvania Conference (1970-2010) for pastors, spouses of pastors, and missionaries.
Susquehanna Conference United Methodist Memoirs gives an alphabetic list of all obituaries appearing in the journals of
the [new] Susquehanna Conference (2011 onward) for pastors, spouses of pastors, and missionaries.
4. CONFERENCE HISTORICAL
a. The Chronicle. The Historical Society has produced a quality scholarly yet readable journal every year beginning in
1990. Some back issues are available, and several libraries and other facilities have complete sets, but the volumes and
the information they contain are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. All the back issues (some with minor
corrections to the original printed versions) are now on line.
b. James M. Black and Friends, Contributions of Williamsport PA to American Gospel Music.
c. Autobiography of John Fohl
5. ARCHIVAL SHELF HOLDINGS LIST
AND FINDING AIDS: [IN PROGRESS]
The shelved material in the main archives is arranged in three collections. Major sections within each collection are identified with a 3-letter code. Following are the explanations for each collection/section and a link to a complete listing for each. The spine label for each item contains 2 or 3 lines: the first line gives the 3-letter identifying code for the particular section, with the remaining line(s) as explained within each collection.
5.1 GENERAL COLLECTION
ACP - Central Pennsylvania authors, in alphabetical order by author. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the author's surname. This collection includes published general theological material, by authors with a direct connection to Central Pennsylvania United Methodism
ANM - non-Methodist authors, in alphabetical order by author. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the author's surname. This collection includes published general theological material by prominent persons not in the United Methodist Church or its predecessor denominations.
AUM - United Methodist authors, in alphabetical order by author. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the author's surname. This collection includes published general theological material by persons in the United Methodist Church or its predecessor denomination.
BIO - biographies, in alphabetical order by subject of the biography. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the subject's surname. Group biographies are filed at the end, the second line of the spine label being ZZ followed by the first letter of the compiler. This link an indexed list of the persons in the group biographies.
DEN – materials related to denominations not included in the United Methodist Church. The second line of the spine label is a three-letter code for the particular denomination. The materials is filed alphabetically by denomination, and organized appropriately within each denomination.
M – manuscript collection. The second line of the spine label gives the county of origin, and the third line gives the first letter of the city/church/circuit of origin. A comment line in the list tells the nature of the material and the years it covers.
MET - materials relating to the nature and organization of Methodism, in alphabetical order by author. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the author's surname.
MUS - hymnals and gospel songs and related material, in alphabetical order by title. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the title. This collection includes several hundred gospel songbooks from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Books about hymns and hymn-writers are filed at the end, the second line of the spine label being ZZ followed by the first letter of the title.
MIN – General Minutes of the Methodist Episcopal/Methodist/United Methodist Church, giving the yearly appointments for every conference in the denomination.
PAC - Pennsylvania counties, in alphabetical order by county. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the Central Pennsylvania County. The collection includes secular county/community histories and published books on local churches. Pennsylvania material for counties outside Central Pennsylvania and/or for the entire state are filed at the end, the second line of the spine label being ZZ followed by E (for Eastern PA), P (for Pennsylvania in general) or W (for Western Pennsylvania).
SPE - special collection of rare and/or fragile early publications, arranged in alphabetical order by author. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters of the author's surname.
SSL – Sunday School library books of the 1800’s, arranged by source. The third letter on the first line of the spine label identifies the source, as explained in the list. The second line of the spine label gives the first three letters (or the number, in the case of a numbered series) of the title. SSM is the first line for all books printed from 200 Mulberry Street in NYC and attributed to the ME Sunday School Union. SSV is the first for all the various miscellaneous sources. SSX is the first line for adult reference books. SSY is the first line for lesson materials. SSZ is the first line for later materials, not in the style and format of the mid-1800’s.
TOP – Materials organized alphabetically by topic (e.g., Alcohol, Baptism). The second line of the spine label is a three-letter code for the particular topic. Material within each topic is arranged alphabetically by author. This section is intended to preserve historical perspectives, especially perspectives within United Methodism, on the various topics.
USS - United States state material, in alphabetical order by state. The second line of the spine label gives the two-letter state postal abbreviation. This collection includes published United Methodist materials (mostly conference histories) from sates other than Pennsylvania. Such materials from outside the United States are filed at the end, the second line of the spine label being ZZ followed by C (for Canada), E (for Europe).
WES - Wesleyana, arranged in three separate sub-sections. The spine labels in this section have three lines, the second line identifying the sub-collection. JOH - materials about John Wesley, in alphabetical order by author, with the third line of the spine label giving the first three letters of the author's surname. CHA - materials about Charles Wesley, in alphabetical order by author, with the third line of the spine label giving the first three letters of the author's surname. WOR - works of John Wesley, in alphabetical order by title, with the third line of the spine label giving the first three letters of the title.
5.2 SUSQUEHANNA COLLECTION. Each denominational section listed below includes the following items: journals and other materials from the major local conference of that denomination, disciplines, histories, hymnals, general conference, materials, annual almanacs and handbooks, special collections,
EUB – the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968) and the Susquehanna Conference (1964-1969)
EVC – the Evangelical Church (1800-1946: including the Evangelical Association and the United Evangelical Church) and the Central Pennsylvania Conference (1800-1964)
MEC – the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1968: including the Methodist Church) and the Central Pennsylvania Conference (1958-1969: including the East Baltimore Conference).
MES – the Methodist Episcopal Church South (1844-1939) and the Baltimore Conference (1844-1939)
MPC – the Methodist Protestant Church (1830-1939) and the Pennsylvania Conference (1830-1939: including the Eastern Conference)
UBC – the United Brethren Church (1800-1968) and the Pennsylvania Conference (1800-1964)
UMC – the United Methodist Church (1968 – present) and the Central Pennsylvania (1970-2010) and Susquehanna (2010 – present) Conferences.
UMX – journals from the adjacent conferences within United Methodism to which the Susquehanna Conference has contributed congregations and pastors: Baltimore-Washington (1970-), Eastern Pennsylvania (1970-), Upstate New York (2011-), Western Pennsylvania (1970-).
UMY – journals from the adjacent conferences within United Methodism that have contributed congregations and pastors to the Susquehanna Conference: 24 “feeder” conferences as listed in the link.
5.3 PERIODICALS COLLECTION
6. VERTICAL FILES and ITEM COLLECTIONS
a. Biographical File - a list of surnames for which there is a biographical file.
b. Postcard Collection – a list (with image) by county of the items in the United Methodist postcard collection.
7. ARCHIVAL BOXED COLLECTIONS:
This includes materials from closed churches and from Conference boards and agencies. [In progress]
8. OTHER ITEMS:
a. Susquehanna Facts gives in Word format a brief article on some matter of current interest related to the history of the
Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church and its predecessors.
b. World’s Funniest Photograph is an amazing, unedited picture that appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot News. It shows
the reactions of children sitting through adult presentations on watershed awareness. I wonder if it might as well be
titled: “Listening to a Talk on Church History and Genealogy.”
RELEVANT and/or INTERESTING LINKS
General Commission on Archives and History
This is the website of the denominational archives of the United Methodist Church, located on the campus of Drew University in Madison NJ. There is an explanation of what is available, instructions for making contact and asking questions, and contact information for every individual United Methodist Conference in the United States – as well as directions for determining which conference you should be contacting.
This is the website of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church, the parent body of these archives. The site contains information about and links to congregations, personnel, districts, and agencies of the conference. There is also (fairly) current news, announcements of special events, job listings, etc.
This is the current issue of the NEJ Bulletin, issued quarterly by the Commission on Archives and History of the Northeastern Jurisdiction.
Sunday Bulletin Inserts
Heritage Sunday 2013
Heritage Sunday is celebrated each year in the United Methodist Church on Aldersgate Day, May 24, or the Sunday preceding Aldersgate Day. This year that date is May 19, and the theme is “The Power of Place: The Contemporary Mission of Heritage Landmarks and Historic Sites.” The theme intends to remind us that our denomination has 46 Heritage Landmarks and almost 500 Historic Sites and to help us understand how sacred spaces can inform efforts for evangelism, mission and social transformation today.
The Conference Commission on Archives and History has again prepared four bulletin inserts for use in the local church. Those inserts relate the denominational theme to the Susquehanna Annual Conference and may be found by following the link/title of this article. Some congregations incorporate the information from all four inserts into their bulletin or newsletter. Other congregations have found it effective to randomly place one of the inserts into each Heritage Sunday bulletin and encourage their members to compare and share the information in their bulletins with each other. Still other congregations report they choose the one (or two, printing double-sided) insert deemed most relevant for their members. This year the four inserts are
1. Rock Chapel, Adams County
2. Old Stone Church Columbia County
3. Forty Fort Meeting House, Luzerne County
4. Old Burlington Church, Bradford County
Each of these sites may be visited by individuals, confirmation classes, or others interested in local heritage. Admission to the interior of the buildings may be arranged, but typically requires advanced notice.
More information on the theme, resources at the denominational level, and a special Heritage Sunday Powerpoint presentation “The Power of Place: Sacred Times in Sacred Spaces” are available at the gcah.org website of the General Commission on Archives and History.
Weekly Update: last modified 5/17/2013.
MEETINGS/COMMITMENTS for the next few weeks.
Sun 5/19 –10:30, worship at Good Shepherd UMC in Tyrone.
Sun 5/26 – 9 & 10:30, worship services at Red Mount & Grace on the Wellsville UMC charge.