Director: Gordon Heath, BTh, MDiv (Honours), PhD
Archivist: Adam McCulloch, BTh, MA, MLIS
The Canadian Baptist Archives will be closed to visiting researchers until May 4, 2020 due to McMaster Divinity College’s response to the COVID-19 virus.
Researchers can contact the archives at that time to set up a research appointment.
Genealogical Research Policy:
Genealogical researchers have found the Canadian Baptist Archives (CBA) to be of assistance in accessing important information about family members. Genealogical researchers are always welcome to come and use the archives in person at no cost. Before researchers arrive at the archives, the archivist can provide upon request a list of material that may be relevant to their research. All other information relating to fees and services can be found on the Fees Information web page. Starting September 1, 2011, due to our limited hours of operation, the CBA will no longer perform genealogical research for patrons. Patrons that cannot come to the archives in person will need to hire a professional researcher to do this work for them.
Canadian Baptist Historical Society
For information about the Canadian Baptist Historical Society, click here.
McMaster Divinity College provides space for the Canadian Baptist Archives and administers the collection. These archives are now the largest collection of their kind in Canada. The archives and library include records of local churches, organizations and institutions, plus personal papers of prominent Baptists. A library of Baptistiana totaling 3000 volumes is maintained in support of the primary documentation.
An Overview of the Archive’s Contents
Several hundred Baptist congregations have deposited their original records in the Archives, which also contains the official records of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, Union d’Eglises Baptist Francaises au Canada, and other organizations. Special collections include documents for the Plymouth Brethren, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and British Christianity. Additional materials include theses, dissertations, pamphlets, periodicals, and personal papers and biographical material of pastors, missionaries and educators.
A Brief History
Baptists in Ontario and Quebec established an historical collection in 1865 when the Canadian Baptist Historical Society was founded. This early society actively solicited memoirs and church records for the next five years before it appears to have ceased its efforts. The mandate for the present collection of the Canadian Baptist Archives is derived directly from the constitution of that early attempt to preserve the history and the records of Canadian Baptists.
By 1912, an Historical Committee was once again seeking records of churches, associations and the BCOQ. Books and pamphlets by Baptists and or, or against, Baptists were sought for the Convention Historical Collection. After World War 2, the Historical Committee saw a need for more deliberate cataloguing of material received. Professor Gaylord P. Albaugh served as curator of the collection from 1947 to 1958. In 1961, the name of the Collection was changed to the Canadian Baptist Historical Collections, and in 1971, it acquired the current designation, Canadian Baptist Archives. Currently, the collection is supervised by the Director of the Canadian Baptist Archives as an employee of the Divinity College, and staffed with a part-time archivist and student assistants.