ATLA Web Site


Grants Awarded for Phase Two

Supported by a three-year grant from the Luce Foundation, the ATLA/ATS Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative (CDRI) is developing a freely available, web-searchable, central repository of digital resources contributed by participating ATLA member libraries. Phase One of the Initiative focused on visual materials, including digital images of woodcuts, photographs, slides, papyri, coins, maps, and manuscripts. It is expected that these materials will be available on-line by May 2003.

CDRI Phase Two (January-December 2003) focuses on both visual and textual materials. The ATLA/ATS Digital Standards and Project Committee reviewed a number of interesting proposals submitted for the second phase of the Initiative and awarded grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 to nine projects representing eleven libraries. In making these awards the Committee sought to add to the broad base of CDRI resources covering a range of formats, subjects, and time periods. Phase Two projects will provide digital access to early manuscripts and publications, Thanksgiving Day sermons, shape-note tune books, coins, scarab seals, oil lamps, papyri, scenes from the Holy Land, church sites in Italy and France, and portraits of church leaders. These images will support teaching and research in the areas of biblical studies, church history, hymnology, and denominational history.

Recipients of Phase Two awards are:


Andover-Harvard Library (Harvard Divinity School), Pitts Theology Library (Emory University), Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries ($10,000)
Thanksgiving Day Sermons

This joint project will digitize 500 American Thanksgiving Day sermons printed between 1801 and 1900 and issued as individual publications. Thanksgiving Day sermons are of particular interest for scholars in the fields of homiletics, rhetoric, the history of biblical interpretation, and systematic theology. The sermons selected for this project will also shed light on the development of church-state relations in an especially formative period in the history of the United States. This digital corpus is expected to find use among theologians, historians, and others interested in what Robert Bellah has called "civil religion."


United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities ($8,000)
Slides of the Holy Land

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities will digitize a collection of 700+ slides chosen to support teaching biblical studies. Dr. Arthur L. Merrill, Emeritus Harry C. Piper Professor of Biblical Interpretation, took the slides during numerous trips to the Holy Land and surrounding areas from 1962 to 1996. Professor Merrill's collection includes photographs of the land, archaeological sites and tells, artifacts, maps, holy sites, and modern cultural, political, and religious scenes from Israel and Palestine. The artifacts and archaeological sites that Merrill has captured date from 10,000 BCE to modern times, with a focus on the biblical era.


Kathryn Sullivan Bowld Music Library, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ($7,500)
Shape-note tune books

The tune books selected for this digitizing project come from the Robert S. Douglass Treasure Room of Bowld Music Library, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and include psalm and hymn tunes, fuging tunes, songs for Sunday schools, public schools, and homes, as well as music of the Lowell Mason school, children's songs, folk hymns, anthems, and music with secular texts. Most of the tune books selected are in four-shape notation with oblong format, while a few selections are in seven-shape notation. Conversion of seven tune books, a total of almost 2,000 images, into electronic format will allow access to these important materials by users, including students, teachers, professors, historians, researchers, and those interested in the fields of religion, musicology, folklore, and hymn study.


Concordia Seminary Library ($5,000)
Selected manuscripts

The manuscript codices in the library of Concordia Seminary are an eclectic grouping of documents (theological, historical, medical, musical, artistic) of potential interest to mediaevalists, theologians, and art historians. Digitizing will begin with the following three items:

  • Hausbuch. Germany, ca. 1429. Profusely illustrated in water colors with signs of the Zodiac and miniature paintings showing activities of the seasons and other scenes of daily life. A layman's "medical manual"—one of seven of the genre known to remain, the only one in the United States.

  • Thomas a Kempis. Libellus consolatorius . . . De Imitatione Christi, 1484. Ms copy stamped with the seal of the Agnietenberg monastery, where Thomas lived, and possibly copied from the original.

  • Passio Domini. Netherlands, ca. 1500-1520. A collection of 24 miniature paintings of the Passion of Christ, with facing-page text in gold and red ink.


Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ($5,000)
Ancient coins, artifacts, and scarab seals

This project will digitize materials from the Morton Collection of Biblical Artifacts, which contains over 1,000 coins, seals, oil lamps, and ceramic pieces. Dr. William H. Morton, professor of biblical archaeology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1958-1984), assembled most of the artifacts during the '40s and '50s. The digital sample from the Morton Collection will represent the following:

  • 100 coins (largely Jewish coins from the Holy Land)

  • 10-15 lamps (Including Herodian and Maccabean)

  • 47 Seals from Jericho with glyptic art carving. The seals were used to validate ancient documents.

  • 10-15 ceramic artifacts (Including juglets, pots, and cultic figurines)


Vanderbilt Divinity School ($3,000)
Images of religious and theological iconography

Utilizing born-digital images taken at historic sites and museums by Vanderbilt Divinity School faculty members Patout Burns and Dale Johnson and librarian Anne Womack, this project will analyze and describe a total of 300 images:

  • 50 ivory carvings of early Christian iconography from Prof. Burns

  • 50 modern European Christianity images from Prof. Johnson

  • 200 biblically and theologically inspired works of French medieval painting and sculpture from Ms. Womack.

Each of these images will be fully described by theological concept, personage, or biblical passage.


Mercer University (McAfee School of Theology) ($2,500)
Portraits of Baptist leaders

This project will digitize portraits of prominent Baptist leaders who lived from 1600 to 1900. The portraits will be selected from works in the Special Collections of the Monroe F. Swilley, Jr. Library and the Jack Tarver Library of Mercer University. Students and researchers of church history and Baptist heritage will benefit from the use of the portraits in classroom lectures and presentations. The portraits and associated biographical information will also be of interest for Christian education in churches and for the broader public.


Reeves Library, Moravian College and Theological Seminary ($2,500)
Early Moravian text

This project will digitize, transcribe, and translate into English the 1757 edition of a German work, whose title in English is Short and faithful report of the Church known under the name of the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren, stemming from the Unitas Fratrum, [including their] teaching, outward and inner Church order and customs, derived from true documents and accounts from one of their Christian, unbiased, friends, and illustrated with sixteen copper images. Scholars are very interested in the copper plates in this work that illustrate rites and ceremonies; however, the German text (fraktur) is difficult to translate and therefore limits the understanding of the illustrations. By providing a digital reproduction of the source documents with a German transcription and English translation, access and understanding will be greatly enhanced for scholars exploring the history of religious practices, 18th-century German American culture, as well as the history of emotions.

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American Theological Library Association
Last Updated: July 21, 2003