Spanning more than 80 years and dozens of unique topics, the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies Research File collection contains 1,488 items related to the relationship between government and religious institutions in the United States and abroad. With a special emphasis on the evolution of Baptist institutions, the collection provides insight into the often contentious struggle to find a balance between church positions and the workings of local, state, and national government.
The items in this collection were collected by the faculty of the Baylor University Institute of Church-State Studies, initially by Dr. James E. Wood, Jr., a long-time professor and former executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs. Dr. Wood was actively engaged in the ongoing conversation between America’s religious institutions and the workings of government on all levels. After his retirement, the institute donated the items in the research file to the Electronic Library for inclusion in the Digital Collections of Baylor University.
The Institute of Church-State Studies collection includes items related to such topics as abortion, anti-Catholicism, the Bible in public schools, and a wide range of Baptist-related issues. Many objects are drafts of presentations, articles, and legal memoranda; other items include pamphlets, tracts, and brochures, some of which contain graphic and controversial language or imagery. Regardless of the source material, the Electronic Library has determined these materials to be particularly relevant to the ever-shifting landscape of church-state relations at home and abroad.
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This collection is considered an active collection. Items will be added periodically as they are acquired by Baylor University and processed through the Digitization and Digital Collection Preservation Services group.