Posted by William Nunnelley on 2012-07-05

The Special Collection department of Samford University's Harwell G. Davis Library has received the Davis C. Woolley Award for Outstanding Achievement in Assessing and Preserving Baptist History from the Baptist History and Heritage Society.

Elizabeth C. Wells (right), chair of the Special Collection department, accepted the award at the annual Baptist History and Heritage Society meeting in Raleigh, N.C., in June.

The award is named for the former executive secretary-treasurer of the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.  It encourages creativity and excellence in state Baptist history programs, including all organizations involved in assessing and preserving Baptist history.

Woolley, a 1930 Samford graduate, led the Historical Commission from 1959 until 1971.  Prior to that, he was director of Samford's Extension Division for Christian Training for six years.

"How wonderful it was that the Special Collection received the award named for Davis C. Woolley, who left Samford to become the director of the Historical Commission," said Wells.  "I was privileged to accept the award on behalf of the Collection and the Library."

The Special Collection serves as the historical repository for the Alabama Baptist State Convention.  Its holdings include church records, association records, oral histories, copies of The Alabama Baptist newspaper, manuscript collections and papers of Alabama Baptist leaders.

The Special Collection also includes strong holdings in Alabama history and Samford history, other newspaper collections, genealogical holdings including a collection of Irish genealogy, literary collections of Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Ruskin, John Masefield and Lafcadio Hearn and other collections.

Wells has been a member of the library staff for 36 years and has served as head of the Special Collection since 1980.  She holds a bachelor of arts in history from Judson College, master's in history from Auburn University and master's in library science from the University of Alabama.



Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.