In April 1908, A.T. Robertson, chair of New Testament at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., wrote to Southwestern Seminary President B.H. Carroll. Robertson, a biblical scholar whose work focused on New Testament research, continued a prior discussion as to whether Peter was with Mark when he wrote his Gospel.

This letter is among other historical treasures at Southwestern Seminary that are being transcribed into digital text, to appear alongside the original handwritten documents already on display in Southwestern Seminary’s online archives. This project is part of the Southwestern library’s ongoing efforts to make resources available to students so that they will be adequately prepared for ministry.

“I’m passionate about trying to find methods of giving content, information and greater knowledge to our students to make them the best-prepared men and women for ministry,” says Dean of Libraries Craig Kubic. “That’s my repeated theme: how to make our students prepared.”

The library staff launched the transcription program a year and a half ago with doctoral students transcribing documents, such as handwritten correspondence by Carroll, L.R. Scarborough, and George W. Truett. Thousands of documents remain to be transcribed, and the library staff hopes to enlist more volunteers to aid in this project.

Each transcribed document will be posted online in searchable document format and will accompany the scanned original. The items in the digital archives cover a broad time span, ranging in date from the late 1800s to the late 20th century, including items related to the Conservative Resurgence.

“In this digital era, researchers and historians find value in transcriptions matched with photo images of original documents,” Kubic says. “Through access to transcriptions, researchers may quickly skim and assess the relevance of each document. Transcription volunteers will contribute significantly in helping the library/archives enhance of our mission to teach and preserve Baptist heritage for future generations.”

Those interested in participating in this project can go to swbts.edu/libraries and fill out a transcription form, located on the right-hand side of the website.