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Religion in Tennessee (Special Collections): Presbyterians

This guide includes materials from several religious denominations in Tennessee, as well as early hymnbooks.


Abingdon Presbytery Extract of Minutes Regarding Reverend Andrew S. Morrison, 1822 (MS.1788)
This extract from the Abingdon Presbytery's minutes indicates that the Reverend Andrew S. Morrison presented an extract from the Union Presbytery's minutes recording his dismissal from that organization and his instructions to attach himself to the Abingdon Presbytery. Upon presenting the document, Morrison was received as a member in good standing and invited to take his seat.

The Baptism of Infants, undated (MS.0709)
In this sermon, Charles Coffin argues that because infants have a sinful nature through the instrumentality of their fallen parents and because God desires infants to be saved, a visible or manifest interest in the covenant entitles infants not less than adults to a regular membership [in the visible church] properly sealed [i.e. by baptism]. Coffin further asserts that if an infant's parents are church members, the child is a member as well because in all public covenant transaction with men God has uniformly included children in their parents, as branches in their stock or root; and admitted them to the same covenant seals and privileges as far as their capacity would allow.

Concord Sabbath School Ledger, 1850-1858 (MS.1222)
This ledger records the names of the teachers and students who participated in the classes offered through the Concord Sabbath School in 1838, 1857, and 1858.

The Good Shepherd, 1905 (MS.0710)
In this sermon, Rev. James Park argues that although the shepherd is often considered to fill a humble position, protecting and caring for the flock is an extremely important task that often places its occupant in contact with very powerful individuals. He further contends that because of this combination of responsibility and power, the shepherd is an excellent metaphor for Christ. The sermon's cover lists the Biblical text that it is based on (John 10:11, which reads I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep), the Biblical text to be studied that day (John 10:1-18), and the hymns to be sung.

 Black and white photograph of the First Presbyterian Church, in Knoxville, with a cemetery out front.
First Presbyterian Church, Knoxville

Historical Sketch of the First Presbyterian Church of Knoxville, 1901 (MS.0144)
In this synopsis, Rev. James Park describes the history of Knoxville's First Presbyterian Church. He begins with its founding in 1796, mentions the development of the church's buildings from 1812 to 1852, and ends by noting that the church's first pastor, Samuel Carrick, died on August 6, 1809 of apoplexy. This item is a transcript of the original prepared by John S. Van Gilder on November 11, 1935.

Nashville First Presbyterian Church Women’s Guild Minutes, 1901-1922 (MS.1442)
This collection contains the minutes taken from Nashville's First Presbyterian Church's Woman's Guild from 1901-1922.

Rare Books

The Calvinistic Magazine. 1827-1850 (BX8901 .C32)
Centennial of Holston Presbytery Celebrated in the Jonesboro Presbyterian Church. 1926 (BX8968.H6 J6)
A Defence against Attacks in a Letter. 1839 (BX9225.L9 A3)
A Discourse, Delivered at the Request of the Young Men of the Second Presbyterian Church of Knoxville. 1843 (BJ1671 .M25)
Historical Sermon: Preached by the Pastor, Rev. Robert L. Bachman, D.D., in the Second Presbyterian Church.1906 (BX9178 .B3)
A History of Concord Presbyterian Church, Concord, Tennessee. 1963 (BX8949.C65 H3)
Miscellaneous Sermons, Reviews, and Essays. 1875 (BX9178.B3 M5)
The Story of a Vineyard: The Work of the Presbyterian Church U.S. in the Synod of Tennessee. 1927 (BX8947 .T2 D4 1927)

Special Collections Contact Information

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Special Collections
1015 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-4480

We are open Monday-Friday: 9AM-5PM. Go to Visiting Special Collections for more information on how to request materials.