The first five volumes of a 19th century publication detailing the work of the Church of the Brethren have been digitized and made available for free viewing on the Internet by Bridgewater College and the Brethren Digital Archives Project.
The mission of the project is to digitize Church of the Brethren periodicals produced from 1851 to 2000 by each of the Brethren bodies who trace their origin to the baptism near Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708.
The publication, “The Brethren at Work,” is one of several titles from Bridgewater College Special Collections that have been lent to the Brethren Digital Archives Project. The periodical was published from 1875-1883 and served as a weekly magazine describing doctrinal policy and practice within the church.
The volumes have been posted, and may be viewed, at
According to Andrew Pearson, director of Bridgewater College’s Alexander Mack Memorial Library, the digital Internet format allows easy access and searchability by researchers and scholars, who have the extended flexibility of magnification in a one- or two-page view, along with the option of having the text read aloud while highlighting the location of the text that is being read.
“When historical texts go digital and are completely accessible over the Internet, the barrier between us and previous generations is lifted,” Pearson said. “We can now enjoy their conversations, giving new life to a forgotten past.”
He added that researchers in Brethren history may locate the names of people, places, events and discussions that have long been confined to the vaults of special collections.
“Texts like ‘Brethren at Work’ remind us that we are not the first generation to struggle with current events and their affect on the world we know or think we know,” he said.
Pearson said additional titles to follow include “The Inglenook,” “The Gospel Visitor,” “The Monthly Gospel-Visitor” and the “Missionary Visitor.”
More information on the Brethren Digital Archives Project is available at http://www.brethrendigitalarchives.org.