How I Spent My Summer Vacation--Know Your Archives, Part IV
University of Washington (I know, not exactly a bastion of fundy/evangelical truthiness): nice research room; great archivists (thank you tax-payers); and student assistants who make things interesting by not always putting the correct collection/box/folder numbers on your copies.
Biola University: No research room, but a friendly archivist who does her best to accommodate researchers while simultaneously attending to one of her hundreds of other library assignments.
Gordon-Conwell: it ain’t Boston, but the Puritans still live nearby. One of the best collections of early-to-mid twentieth century Christian magazines anywhere. You can stay on campus on the cheap if you want to re-live your college glory days of shared bathrooms, no TV, and sleeping on a cot.
Bob Jones University: despite my dress shirts, khakis, and short hair, everyone, and I mean everyone, knew that I was an outsider on the compound. BJU security knows when you come, when you go, and what you do. Greenville must be a more dangerous place than I realized because the campus is entirely surrounded by a gate, much of the faculty live on campus, and there are K-12th classes on campus so that faculty and their kids never have to leave. Eating is done communally in the cafeteria--the library shuts down from 5-6 so everyone can eat together. The archivist at BJU is incredibly accommodating and will go to great lengths to help researchers. He also lets you eat donuts and drink coffee (in my case Pepsi) in the archives room--so take that Turner.
American Baptist Archives (Atlanta): $10 a day to do research; $.50/copy; and two and a half months later, I am still waiting for my copies to arrive. Enuf said.
Fuller Seminary: Beautiful research room with no windows or doors. O.K., I guess there was one door. I got in somehow. Staring down at you is a giant portrait of the late Wilbur Smith (of “The Atomic Bomb and the Word of God” fame.) It is a little eerie to read his papers while he watches.
Wheaton/Billy Graham Center Archives: still the best, most comfortable place to work on evangelicalism. Professional, smart archivists, plenty of room to work, friendly policies, and they even have trains going by outside all day, which make for a nice distraction perfectly suited for a three-year-old or the father of a three-year-old. And that is how I spent my summer vacation.