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Sumners noted for SBC archives service

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Bill Sumners, director of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, Tenn., received the W.O. Carver Distinguished Service Award during the Baptist History and Heritage Society's annual meeting at Dallas Baptist University.

Sumners, who has served in his position with the official SBC archives since 1988, is the 30th recipient of the Carver award, joining a list of distinguished Baptist historians that includes Robert A. Baker (1982), J.M. Gaskin (1985), H. Leon McBeth (1989) and C. Penrose St. Amant (1991).

The Carver award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of Baptist history, said Bruce T. Gourley, executive director of the Baptist History & Heritage Society.

"Known to and greatly appreciated by Baptist historians worldwide, Bill Sumners has long played an important role in the telling of the Baptist story," Gourley said. "Sumners oversees a massive collection of Baptist historical material and makes the material accessible to historians throughout Baptist life and beyond. His influence is visible in numerous published Baptist history volumes, hundreds of dissertations and academic papers, and church history conferences in America and beyond. Baptist historians have no better friend than Bill Sumners."

The organization's website,, says recipients of the Carver award "have exhibited rare and unusual dedication to the cause of Baptist history through writing, teaching, denominational service, archival and library development, historical center and society work on national and state levels, communicating Baptist heritage, and interpreting the history of Baptists."

The program of the mid-May annual meeting focused on the subject of "Baptists and Education" and "explored the educational legacy of Baptists North and South, black and white, American and European," according to the BHHS website.


Also recognized during the meeting:

-- Dwight A. Moody, founder and executive director of the Academy of Preachers in Kentucky, who received the Norman W. Cox Award for an article, "The Conversion of J. Frank Norris: A Fresh Look at the Revival of 1910."

-- Gary Cook, president of Dallas Baptist University, who received the Carolyn Blevins Meritorious Service Award.

-- The Georgia Baptist History Depository at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., which received the Davis C. Woolley Award for outstanding achievement in assessing and preserving Baptist history.

The 73-year-old Baptist History & Heritage Society is a professional organization "of Baptist historians and other individuals and partner institutions committed to communicating the story of Baptists through the study, interpretation, publication, and advocacy of Baptist history," according to the website.

Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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