Gordon in the News: last updated 06/10/2009

History's Treasures: Gordon College Archives House Unique Collections, Gain New Web Attention

June 16, 2009

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

Wenham, MA--This past spring, history major Dan Hayner ’09 scoured through old documents, photographs, books and artifacts in the Gordon College archives, each reflecting a part of Gordon’s history as well as New England, religion and media histories. Hayner categorized the collections and wrote brief summaries of each for a new archives page on the Gordon College public web site, which is now available at www.gordon.edu/archives.

The archives--housed on the second floor of Jenks Learning Resource Center--contain artifacts, rare books, correspondence, newspapers, magazines and other writings as well as photographs, films, audio recordings and school records from the past two centuries. They include valuable materials for researchers, writers, scholars, authors and filmmakers interested in subjects such as 19th century evangelical revivals in Boston, New England newspapers, Billy Graham’s young ministry, 18th, 19th- and 20th- century funeral sermons, Clarendon Street Baptist Church (Gordon’s first ‘campus’), British abolitionist William Wilberforce, and a large collection of William Shakespeare materials, among others.    

Besides the A. J. Gordon Heritage Project, which College archivist John Beauregard has been working on for the past three years, Hayner’s work is the first effort to transfer archives materials and subject matters into web summaries. With support from the Gordon family, Beauregard has focused on transcribing and transferring A. J. Gordon’s original sermons, hymns, and correspondence into alternative web formats. Though the other archives have not been transferred into digitized format, the collection summaries provide scholars the introductory information they’ll need for research visits.

Beauregard helped direct Hayner in the project, recommending specific individuals and collections to study and categorize for the web project. Beauregard served as Gordon College library director for 34 years before working for a brief time at Endicott College. He later returned to Gordon to work as archivist. Most of Hayner’s work involved writing abstracts of the archive’s different collections, many of which are comprised of four or five boxes of material.

“There is so much material here that we are hoping to bring to light for the good of all writers and researchers,” said Beauregard. “Dan’s help in noting these categories is just the beginning. We’d like to be able to do so much more with these important collections if we could.”

Hayner also wrote profile stories based on information from the archives. Most recently, he wrote profile stories on Martha Dodge Frost, an early donor to the College, and Maria Hale Gordon, wife of College founder, A. J. Gordon, in celebration of Women’s History Month in March. Hayner pieced together their stories using materials like letters, journals, and Board of Trustee’s minutes.

“An interesting part of the job has been discovering materials to tell the stories of significant individuals in the history and life of the College,” Hayner said. “I learned so much more about Gordon and people connected to the college than I’d known before. This is a rich and layered history.”

Though this is the first time that a web page has been developed for the archives, many researchers have used Gordon’s archives in recent years. Local documentarian and filmmaker, Chris Gilbert, used photographs and other information from the archives for his 18-minute documentary, A School of Christ (2008). And Kevin Belmonte, William Wilberforce scholar and lead historical consultant for the 2007 film Amazing Grace, worked in the archives while serving as director of the William Wilberforce project. The book that came out of that project, Hero For Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce, was released in 2002. Gordon’s archives also include recent technology-related donations from Tom Phillips/Raytheon Company as well as Ken Olsen/Digital Equipment Company.

The archives page can be accessed through the library web page or by visiting www.gordon.edu/archives.  For more information, please contact the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4752.


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.