Tucked away on the second floor of Beaman Library is an array of documents, tapes, photographs and other relics that each contribute to the overarching story of Lipscomb University. These treasures are kept in the vaults of the Beaman Library Archives and Special Collections which, thanks to a federal grant, are protected by temperature and light regulation. Special Collections Librarian Elizabeth Rivera and Archives Specialist Pat Price oversee the collections and are passionate about the lessons to be derived from each piece.
Rivera describes archives as “relics that we store, protect and promote.” They remain a separate entity from other library collections and provide an access point to learn how to study and investigate.
To Rivera, an archive is personal; it's not simply something to use but something to contribute to. She challenges students with the question, “What value can you bring to the source because of the individual that you are?”
One example of the treasures found in Beaman Library is the Restoration Collection, a complete accumulation of relics regarding the Stone Campbell Movement in the 19th century.
This movement was crucial to the development of the Church of Christ, making its history important to Lipscomb University. The archive also contains information on the other churches formed from this development such as, Disciples of Christ, Christian Churches and even the Mormon Church, to keep the overarching story intact.
“Everything stays together,” said Rivera, “to maintain the integrity of the collection.”
Further collections include the remnants of David Lipscomb’s personal library, history of the school’s past -- including its time as Nashville Bible School, David Lipscomb College and David Lipscomb Campus Schools -- Tennessee history dubbed “Tennesseana,” a large collection of hymnals and first-edition signed books, among other unique works.
Despite being stored in vaults, these artifacts were not meant to be stowed away. The collections are open to everyone, whether Lipscomb affiliated or not, said Rivera.
For access to archival material, schedule an appointment with Rivera at firstname.lastname@example.org. She requests a notice of at least two weeks when scheduling to allow time for material protection and preservation.
“My job is to disprove the myths about archives,” said Rivera who encourages investigators to go about research differently.
“Don’t just search for one answer, but be open minded to what you can learn.”