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Virginia Methodism Collection

image of Old Ebenezer Academy in Brunswick County, VA, the oldest Methodist school in America

Copyright, Flavia Reed Owen Special Collections & Archives, McGraw-Page Library, Randolph-Macon College


This historic archive of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church documents the history and growth of the Church in Virginia starting in the colonial period through the present. Until the 1950s, Methodism was the dominant Protestant denomination in both Virginia and the U.S., and this collection documents its early spread throughout the American south. The collection includes books, documents, papers, publications, diaries, maps, photographs, paintings, church silver, filmstrips and projectors, and numerous other types of objects and artifacts. Among the items in this collection are: the handwritten minutes of the Virginia Conference from 1800-1840, the only known record; 3-inch long shoes collected by missionaries to document Chinese foot-binding practices; Magic Lantern slide projectors and filmstrips used in Sunday School lessons during the first half of the twentieth century; saddlebags and bibles used by circuit riders; a scrapbook, letter, and an episcopal collar belonging to Bishop John Early; and the only extant print copies of the Virginia Conference Sentinel newspaper from 1836-1837. Materials date from 1700s to present.