Missouri United Methodist Archives
Located in Smiley Memorial Library at Central Methodist University, the Missouri United Methodist Archives houses the collection of historical materials concerning Methodism in Missouri. This includes Minutes of the Annual Conferences, Disciplines, hymnals dating back into the 18th century, and books on Methodist history.
Ancestral denominations of Methodism include:
- Evangelical United Brethren
- German Methodist Church
- Methodist Episcopal Church
- Methodist Protestant Church
- Methodist Episcopal Church, South
- United Brethren Church
Methodism in Missouri began with a sermon in the summer of 1798 by John Clark. In 1806 John Travis was assigned to the "Missourie" circuit. Thus, the history of Methodism in Missouri began.
The Missouri United Methodist Archives owns many of the handwritten Annual Conference minutes dating back to the first meetings of the Missouri Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church which was formed in 1816. In 1844 when the Methodist Episcopal Church separated into the MEC and the MEC, South, Missouri officially went South. Both churches operated in Missouri, many times side-by-side in the same town until 1939 when they were reunited.
In or about 1972 a project was begun. The goal was to compile a database of all persons who have preached in the state of Missouri for all branches of the United Methodist Church. Search the United Methodist Ministers Database.
After the year 2000, the General Commission on Archives and History asked all archives to "inventory" the materials in their collections. Both collections of Missouri information (at Central Methodist University Library and the historical MO East collection at the State Historical Society in Columbia, Missouri) were inventoried. That information is searchable via the web at the General Commission Website. You can search that survey at the United Methodist Archives Connection.
The Missouri West Conference Commission and the Missouri East Conference Commission created the Missouri United Methodist Historical Society in 1984.
Several persons in the history of Methodism of Missouri have donated their records and/or papers to the Missouri United Methodist Archives. In addition to these records, there are files of church histories, many dating back to the beginning of a "Sunday School."
A comprehensive and the most often used element of the collection is a "Minister's File." This is an on-going venture to catalog and confirm the professional and personal information of virtually every minister who has ever been assigned to a charge or circuit in the state. This encompasses the very initiation of Missouri Methodism and continues to present day. Search this database in its present form.
The St. Louis Christian Advocate was a publication of the MEC, South. The most comprehensive collection of this publication anywhere is housed in the archives. Microfilm copies are available for family research since obituaries and marriages were recorded here.
A recent acquisition is the gift of papers and correspondence from Bishop Eugene M. Frank, bishop of Missouri during the uniting conference of 1968. Among other accomplishments, Bishop Frank was instrumental in founding St. Paul's School of Theology in Kansas City. This collection is a marvelous, untapped resource for a researcher.
Other persons whose papers are already included in the collection consist of Frank C. Tucker, and Theodore Wolff among others.
Church History Project
The Missouri United Methodist Archives and the Missouri West Commission on Archives & History are encouraging all congregations to write a history of their church. Not only will this enterprise remind current members of the faith and determination it took to remain "faithful followers of Jesus Christ" during earlier times in history, but it will also prompt them to remember the faith and determination which is required of them into the present and on into the future.
As each congregation finishes their history, one copy is requested to go on permanent loan to the archives for the church's file.
Researchers are welcome during library hours. Special appointments or library hour verifications can be made by calling 660-248-6271.
Commission on Archives and History
Missouri Conference: Rev. Robert Gail Woods, Chair
To contact the Missouri United Methodist Archives by Email, contact MUMA@centralmethodist.edu Requests should contain as much as possible to help the researcher locate what you are seeking. Requests for family information should be accompanied by a $10/research hour donation, (snail mail a check). An email request to verify if information exists will be answered without donation. It is rare that local church membership information is available through the archives. You should contact the local church for membership information.