Disciples of Christ Historical Society is the guardian of the Stone-Campbell tradition’s spiritual memory as well as the institutional memory of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The books and archival documents in its collection cover more than two centuries, documenting the origins and evolution of the Stone-Campbell movement and the history of churches in all three streams of the Stone-Campbell heritage. Every item requires very careful handling and storage, both to prevent deterioration and to preserve it for future generations. Researchers have the opportunity to hold and study materials that are unique. Both you as researcher and Disciples of Christ Historical Society as keeper of the historic record, play essential roles in their preservation and security.
We serve the informational needs of anyone who is interested in the content of the collections housed in the library and archives, and who agree to abide by the guidelines set out for proper handling of the materials.
Research assistance is available to paying members of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, student members, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations researching their congregational history, and Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The amount of research time available is determined by membership level. See "Research Time" below.
In 1968, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) officially became a denomination – in a process generally known as Restructure – and all decisions and actions documented in the records since that date stem from that momentous transition.
As of January 1, 2014, access to the official records of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1968-present, will require the written permission and signature of the President that oversees that ministry (Office of General Minister and President, President of the General Ministry, President of the Region) whose records are requested, as well as the President of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society.
The purpose of the access policy for the Archives of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is to ensure the protection of personal and organizational information. As record-keepers we are called to safeguard the juxtaposition of privacy rights, property law, and copyright.
- Campbell League and Student Members receive one hour of research assistance each year.
- Stone Guild Members receive two hours of research assistance each year.
- Lexington Council, Millennial Group, Unity Circle, and President's Cabinet Members receive three hours of research assistance each year.
- Polar Star Members receive four hours of research assistance each year.
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations receive two hours of research each year at no charge. This research assistance is limited to the congregation's own history.
- Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) receive two hours of research each year at no charge.
- Additional hours of research are $25.00 per hour.
- Photocopying, other forms of reproduction, and shipping costs are additional.
Submitting A Research Request
Researchers must submit either:
- an In-Person Research Request if they wish to conduct their research on-site at the Disciples of Christ Historical Society in Bethany, WV. An in-person research request must be submitted at least two weeks in advance.
- a Remote Research Request for research services conducted via email.
Please submit only one research request at a time. Research inquiries are processed as they are received (whether received by mail, email, telephone or fax).
If the request is more complex than can be answered in 2 hours of research, researchers must visit in person to complete their research. In some cases, the Society’s staff may be able to locate an independent researcher for people who are not able to make an on-site visit.
Researchers should bear in mind the restrictions on photocopying and publication imposed by the Copyright Act of 2003. It is the researcher’s responsibility to determine the copyright status and obtain the necessary permission before publication of material from the Society’s collections. (Please see copyright information.)
If you need your research completed in less than 4 weeks, a one-time rush fee of $50.00 will be charged.
NOTE: The research does not guarantee a result.
The preferred citation for any document or photograph published by the researcher is:
[Name of File or Collection], Disciples of Christ Historical Society, Bethany, WV.
Members may borrow any book of which the Society has multiple copies. The member will be billed for postage and handling and will pay return postage. Non-members may borrow a second copy of a book through the Interlibrary Loan department at their local library for a charge of $5.00 per book (plus postage & handling) which must be paid in advance to Disciples of Christ Historical Society. The loan period is 1 month, with one renewal permitted.