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A GUIDE TO RESEARCHING THE HISTORY OF
RELIGION IN NORTH CAROLINA

St. Mary's Church in Hillsborough, NC

Saint Mary's Episcopal Church in rural Orange County in the 1920s. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Neg. 83-304

This subject guide is designed to assist students, teachers, and researchers studying the history of religion in North Carolina utilizing the resources available at the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This guide does not describe all of the titles on religious history in the library, but is intended to provide good starting points for research. The denominations listed below are those for which there are research materials readily available in the North Carolina Collection. The North Carolina Collection is actively collecting printed materials that document the religious life of North Carolinians and welcomes suggestions of titles to add to the collection.

This guide was prepared by Sara Gault, Spring 2006.

LC Subject Headings

General Reference Works

Statistical Information

General Histories

Histories by Denomination

For Further Reading


Library of Congress Subject Headings

Listed below is a sampling of the subject headings related to this topic. These terms can be used to search both the online catalog for the North Carolina Collection, as well as the card catalog available in the reading room.  Please note that not all items in the card catalog have been added to the online catalog.

To begin your search using the library's online catalog (www.lib.unc.edu), choose "LC Subject" from the drop-down menu and type in the subject terms.

African American Baptists -- North Carolina
African American churches -- North Carolina
African American preaching -- North Carolina
African Americans -- North Carolina -- Religion
African Methodist Episcopal Church -- North Carolina
Baptist associations -- North Carolin
Baptists -- North Carolina
Buddhism -- North Carolina
Catholic Church -- North Carolina
Catholics -- North Carolina
Christian communities -- North Carolina
Christians -- North Carolina
Church buildings -- North Carolina
Church of God -- North Carolina
Church of the Brethren -- North Carolina
Churches of Christ -- North Carolina
Clergy -- North Carolina
Disciples of Christ -- North Carolina
Episcopal Church -- North Carolina
Episcopalians -- North Carolina
Gospel Music -- North Carolina
Hindus -- North Carolina
Jews -- North Carolina
Lutheran Church -- North Carolina
Lutherans -- North Carolina
Methodist Church -- North Carolina
Methodists -- North Carolina
Missions -- North Carolina
Mormon Church -- North Carolina
Muslims, black -- North Carolina
North Carolina -- Church History
North Carolina -- Religion
North Carolina -- Religious life and customs
Presbyterian Church -- North Carolina
Presbyterians -- North Carolina
Protestant Churches -- North Carolina
Quakers -- North Carolina
Rural churches -- North Carolina
Society of Friends -- North Carolina
Synagogues -- North Carolina
Temples , Buddhist -- North Carolina
Temples , Hindu -- North Carolina
United Church of Christ -- North Carolina
United Methodist Church ( U.S. ) -- North Carolina
Wesleyan Church -- North Carolina

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General Reference Works

Bibliographies

These two bibliographies are especially helpful in locating resources related to religion. North Carolina History offers time period and subject as access points, and both include an index to help in locating information within the publication by specific subject heading. Most of the resources listed in the bibliographies are available in the North Carolina Collection.

  • Jones, H. G. North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.(CR016.97 J77N)

  • Thornton, Mary Lindsay. A Bibliography of North Carolina, 1589-1956. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1958. (CR016 T51b c.3)

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

These resources include brief articles, usually one to five pages in length, offering an overview of the development of religious movements, definitions of various sects and denominations, and important religious topics. Encyclopedias can be helpful when beginning research in a specific area or in gaining a general understanding of a topic or issue.

  • Hill, Samuel S. Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. Macon, GA: Mercer, 1984. (C203 E56h)

  • McMickle, Marvin Andrew. An Encyclopedia of African American Christian Heritage. Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2002. (CBo M159e)

  • O'Brien, Robert, and Harold H. Martin. The Encyclopedia of the South. New York, NY: Smithmark Publishers, 1992. (CR903 E56o)

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Statistical Information

LC Subject Headings: Church statistics -- North Carolina

The following sources offer statistics on the number of religious bodies and the number of members of those bodies in the state of North Carolina. However, the sources can be somewhat problematic. First, the Dale Jones book has a clear Christian bias and only includes the information provided by specific groups included in the study. The US Census might be helpful for certain historical studies, but is outdated. And, finally, adherents.com offers a compilation of statistics found in a variety of sources which often conflict. However, these sources have been included as they may be helpful to specific research queries.

  • Jones, Dale E., Glenmary Research Center, and Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States 2000: An Enumeration by Region, State and County Based on Data Reported for 149 Religious Bodies. Nashville, Tenn.: Glenmary Research Center, 2002. (C203 R382j)

  • US Census of religious bodies.  1916, 1926, 1936.  (C270 U58c, C270 U58c1, C270 U58c1.1 no. 1)

  • Hunter, Preston. Adherents.com. January 28, 2006. http://www.adherents.com/

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General Histories

These sources offer a broad view of religion in North Carolina and/or offer a look at multiple religious groups within the state.

  • Johnson, Guion Griffis. Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1937. (CR917 J67a)
    Includes several chapters relevant to the study of religious history.  Available online: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/johnson/johnson.html

  • Leonard, Bill. Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism. 1st ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1999. (C270 L58c)

  • The North Carolina Historical Review. (periodical) Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources, 1924 - present.  (CR970 N87hi)
    Articles are indexed in America: History & Life online database, available to students, faculty, and staff and researchers in a UNC library. Articles can also be searched via the online catalog using the search term “North Carolina Historical Review” AND (insert keyword.)

  • Woodard, John R. "North Carolina." Religion in the Southern States: A Historical Study. Ed. Samuel S. Hill and John R. Woodard. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1983. 215-237. (C270 R38h)

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Histories by Denomination

The denominations listed below are those which are represented by a significant number of resources within the collection or those which are represented by a solid introductory resource. For each of these denominations, there are also often a number of works on specific religious communities, congregations, or buildings, as well as sermons, bulletins, and other materials, please see the For Further Reading section for instructions on how to locate this type of information.

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Baptist Church

Catholic Church

Church of God

Episcopal Church

Judaism

Lutheran Church

Methodist Church

Moravian Church

Presbyterian Church

Quaker/Society of Friends

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

African Methodist Episcopal Church

LC Subject Heading: African Methodist Episcopal Church -- North Carolina

Listed below are two general resources for the research of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Another helpful resource is "The Church in the Southern Black Community" collection of Documenting the American South, which can be accessed at http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/. This material can be found under the subject heading, African Methodist Episcopal Church.

  • Hood, J. W. One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Or, the Centennial of African Methodism. New York: A.M.E. Zion Book Concern, 1895. (C287.8 H77o)
    This resource includes a chapter entitled “North Carolina Conference” and is also available online: http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/hood100/hood.html

  • Walls, William Jacob. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: Reality of the Black Church. Charlotte, N.C.: A.M.E. Zion Pub. House, 1974. (C287.8 W21a)

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Baptist Church

LC Subject Headings: African American Baptists -- North Carolina, Baptist associations -- North Carolina, Baptists -- North Carolina

The collection includes a large number of resources related to the Baptist Church in North Carolina, including information on specific denominations, regions, churches, members, and preachers, which can be located through a search with the subject headings above and/or the name of the particular group, region, or individual. Another helpful resource is "The Church in the Southern Black Community" collection of Documenting the American South, which can be accessed at http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/. This material can be found using the subject headings, African American Baptist Church and African American Baptists.

  • Huggins, M. A. A History of North Carolina Baptists, 1727-1932. Raleigh: General Board, State Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, 1967. (C286 H89h)

  • Paschal, George Washington. History of North Carolina Baptists. 2 volumes. Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research & Archives, 1930. (C286 P279h 1990)

  • Southern Baptist Historical Society, and Southern Baptist Convention. Baptist history and heritage (1965 - present) (C286 B22h)
    This journal is published quarterly.  Each issue focused on a specific topic, for example, volume 39 no. 1 discusses Baptists and Academic Freedom.

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Catholic Church

LC Subject Headings: Catholic Church -- North Carolina, Catholics -- North Carolina

The number of resources accessible with the above subject terms is limited; however by using the following general works, it may be possible to locate dates, names, and place names, which will lead to further information within the collection.

  • Powers, William F. Tar Heel Catholics: A History of Catholicism in North Carolina. Lanham: University Press of America, 2003. (C282 P888t)

  • Worsley, Stephen C. "Catholicism in Antebellum North Carolina." The North Carolina Historical Review 60.4 (1983): 399-430.  (Cp970 N87hi v. 60 no. 4)

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Church of God

LC Subject Heading: Church of God -- North Carolina

The number of resources accessible with the above subject term is limited; however by using the following general works, it may be possible to locate dates, names, and place names, which will lead to further information within the collection.

  • Conn, Charles W. Like a Mighty Army: A History of the Church of God, 1886 -1976. Rev. ed. Cleveland, Tenn.: Pathway Press, 1977. (C289.9 C752L 1977)

  • Crews, Mickey. The Church of God: A Social History. 1st ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.(C289.9 C562c)
    Includes a lengthy bibliography divided into categories and prefaced by a five-page introduction.

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Episcopal Church

LC Subject Headings: Episcopal Church -- North Carolina, Episcopalians -- North Carolina

In addition to the resources listed below are a number of works on more specific topics, such as particular churches or leaders within the church. This type of information can be accessed by searching with the name of the congregation or individual.

  • Duncan, Norvin Cornelius. Pictorial History of the Episcopal Church in North Carolina, 1701-1964. Asheville, N.C.: S.N., 1965. (C283 D91p)
    Includes brief histories of congregations in North Carolina, which may offer a starting point for research.

  • Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Journal of the Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of North Carolina. North Carolina: The Church?, 1866 - present.  (C283 N87)

  • London, Lawrence Foushee and Sarah McCulloh Lemmon, eds. The Episcopal Church in North Carolina, 1701-1959. Raleigh: Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, 1987.  (C283 E63L)

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Judaism

LC Subject Heading: Jews -- North Carolina

Many of the resources on Judaism in North Carolina focus on the experiences of individuals of the faith in their communities. Listed below are several general resources in the collection.

  • Dinnerstein, Leonard, and Mary Dale Palsson. Jews in the South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973. (C296 D59j)
    While this resource does not focus specifically on North Carolina, it includes a bibliographic essay which details important works for researching Jews and the South within specific historical time periods.

  • Golden, Harry, and Martin Rywell. Jews in American History: Their Contribution to the United States of America. Charlotte, N.C.: H.L. Martin Co., 1950. (C296 G61)
    Includes two chapters related to Jews in North Carolina

  • Hühner, Leon. Jews in America in Colonial and Revolutionary Times: A Memorial Volume. New York: Gertz Bros., 1959. (C296 H88j1)
    Includes an article on the Jews of North Carolina prior to 1800.

  • Rogoff, Leonard. Homelands: Southern Jewish Identity in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001. (C296 R735h)

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Lutheran Church

LC Subject Headings: Lutheran Church -- North Carolina, Lutherans -- North Carolina

Resources available in the collection relate to the various synods and sects in the Lutheran Church and can be located through searches using the subject headings above. Please note, a number of the works focused on specific topics are written in German.

  • Bost, Raymond M., and Jeff L. Norris. All One Body: The Story of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod, 1803-1993. 1st ed. Salisbury, NC: Historical Committee, North Carolina Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 1994.(C284.1 B74a)
    In the preface, the author notes that this book provides a history of the North Carolina Synod and its predecessor bodies. The book includes information about other Lutheran bodies in North Carolina, such as the Tennessee and Missouri synods and the American Lutheran Church, but does not include the Wisconsin Synod, the Church of the Lutheran Confessions, the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church, and the Apostolic Lutheran Church.

  • Bernheim, G. D. History of the German Settlements and of the Lutheran Church in North and South Carolina: From the Earliest Period of the Colonization of the Dutch, German, and Swiss Settlers to the Close of the First Half of the Present Century. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1872; reprinted 1990. (C284.1 B52g3)

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Methodist Church

LC Subject Headings: Methodist Church -- North Carolina, Methodists -- North Carolina

The resources listed below offer an introduction into historical study of the Methodist Church in North Carolina; however, the collection also holds extensive resources on specific congregations and churches within the state which can be located with the subject headings above or by searches using the name of the church. A wide variety of materials is available in the collection, including videos, historical papers, church directories, and other materials.

  • Bumgarner, George William. The Methodist Episcopal Church in North Carolina, 1865- 1939. Charlotte, N.C.: Committee on Archives and History of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, 1990. (C287 B94m)

  • Clark, Elmer Talmage, and Methodist Church. Methodism in Western North Carolina. Nashville: Western North Carolina Conference, Methodist Church, 1966. (C287 C59m)
    Includes a chapter entitled, “Beginnings in the State.”

  • Grissom, W. L. History of Methodism in North Carolina: From 1772 to the Present Time. Nashville, Tenn.; Dallas, T ex.: Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South; Smith & Lamar, agents, 1905. (C287 G86m)

  • Ingram, O. Kelly, et al. Methodism Alive in North Carolina: A Volume Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Carolina Circuit. Durham, N.C.: Duke Divinity School, 1976. (C287 M59i)

  • United Methodist Church, Association of Methodist Historical Societies, and United Methodist Church. Methodist History. Lake Junaluska, N.C.: Commission on Archives and History, The United Methodist Church, 1962 - present.  (C287 M59a)

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Moravian Church

LC Subject Headings: Moravian Church -- North Carolina, Moravians -- North Carolina

A number of resources are available on the Moravian Church in North Carolina, especially in Winston-Salem, in addition to the general works listed below. A wide variety of specific information is also available, related to topics such as Wachovia, Moravian hymns, memoirs, and other materials. Please note that some of this specific information is written in German.

  • Crews, C. Daniel, and Richard W. Starbuck. With Courage for the Future: The Story of the Moravian Church, Southern Province. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, 2002. (C284.6 C927w)

  • Fries, Adelaide L., et al. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. 12 volumes, 1752-1866. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Print. Co., 1922. (C284.6 F96r)

  • Rohrer, S. Scott. Hope's Promise: Religion and Acculturation in the Southern Backcountry. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005. (C284.6 R739h)
    Includes a bibliography which may be helpful in locating further resources.

  • Thorp, Daniel B. The Moravian Community in Colonial North Carolina: Pluralism on the Southern Frontier. 1st ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989. (C284.6 T51m1)

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Presbyterian Church

LC Subject Headings: Presbyterian Church -- North Carolina, Presbyterians -- North Carolina

In addition to the resources listed below, the North Carolina Collection includes a number of works focused on specific topics, such as churches, regions, and influential members. Other works available are sermons and periodicals.

  • Rumple, Jethro. The History of Presbyterianism in North Carolina. Richmond: Library of Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1966. (C285 R93h)

  • Thompson, Ernest Trice. Presbyterians in the South. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1963. (C285 T46p)

  • Troxler, George Wesley. The Establishment of Presbyterianism in North Carolina. Thesis (M.A.) University of North Carolina, 1966 Chapel Hill, NC. (C378 UO2 1966 TROXLER, G.W.)

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Society of Friends

LC Subject Headings: Quakers -- North Carolina, Society of Friends -- North Carolina

Listed below is a small sampling of the material available on Quakers in North Carolina. Other resources include memoirs, marriage certificates, periodicals, handbooks, and other materials. These works can be located using the subject headings above.

  • Hinshaw, Seth B., North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, and North Carolina Friends Historical Society. The Carolina Quaker Experience, 1665-1985: An Interpretation. North Carolina: North Carolina Yearly Meeting, North Carolina Friends Historical Society, 1984. (C289.6 H66c1)

  • North Carolina Friends Historical Society. The Southern Friend (1979 - present). (C289.6 S72n)

  • North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, Seth B. Hinshaw, and Mary Edith Hinshaw. Carolina Quakers; our Heritage, our Hope. Tercentenary 1672-1972. Greensboro, N.C.: 1972. (C289.6 H66c)

  • Specht, Neva Jean. Mixed Blessing: Trans-Appalachian Settlement and the Society of Friends, 1780-1813., 1997. (C289.6 S741m)
    This dissertation includes a section focused on the Friends living in coastal North Carolina.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LC Subject Heading: Mormon Church -- North Carolina

The number of resources accessible via the above subject term is limited; however by using the following general work, it may be possible to locate dates, names, and place names, which will lead to further information in the collection.

  • Draughon, Wallace R. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in North Carolina: With a Detailed Record of the Church in Durham. Durham, N.C.: Durham Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1974. (C289.3 D76h)

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For Further Reading

A number of other materials are available for the study of North Carolina’s religious history.  For example, sermons, sound recordings, conference proceedings, and church bulletins are available for various congregations. This type of material can be found through a search of the online catalog or card catalog using the name of the church, congregation, or religious body.

For example: using the search term, ‘Liberty Baptist Association’ it is possible to locate the Minutes of the Liberty Baptist Association, North Carolina.

Histories of specific religious bodies and biographies of members can also be found in the North Carolina Collection by searching via the name of the organization or individual.

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