Tennessee Commission on Archives and History (CAH)
The CAH is responsible for assuring the preservation of the heritage of the conference through the conservation and preservation of the historical records, documents, publications, artifacts, historic sites, and other items of present or future historical value, as well as promoting that history and heritage as a ministry of the church. The current president of the Commission on Archives and History is Rev. Leland Carden.
The Conference Historian is appointed by the Commission on Archives and History. This individual is generally responsible for researching and presenting history of the conference, connected bodies, Methodism, and the church in general, as well as assisting in authoritative representation of these histories by others. His duties are defined by the CAH. The current Conference Historian is Rev. Von Unruh.
The CAH has other members serving as directed by the Tennessee Annual Conference, as well as professional resource people, such as additional archivists, who serve in support of the commission. The Historical Society executive board currently meets with the CAH.
Tennessee Conference Historical Society
The Historical Society is a separate body, organized by the CAH, that works with the commission, providing an avenue for the programs and activities that carry out the history ministry of the church, and particularly providing an opportunity for people not serving on the officially constituted Commission on Archives and History to participate in such ministry. The current president of the Historical Society is David Martin.
The Archival Depository and Historical Library
Located in Nashville, TN, the depository serves as the home of records, written works, and objects of lasting historic value, that relate to the history of the Tennessee and Memphis Annual Conferences and any antecedents. Because of the role the conference played as a center for publishing, base for church agencies, and its original size (encompassing most lands west of the Appalachians), there are materials that are associated with many people and geographical areas outside the present boundaries of the conferences.
Initially established as archives for the Tennessee Annual Conference, it now is also home to the records of the Memphis Annual Conference.
The archives is generally open for research weekdays 8:00-2:00, but researchers should always call for an appointment as the hours may vary on occasion.
Tennessee Conference Archives & History Depository and Library
520 Commerce Street, Suite 205
Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: 8 am- 2 pm
(615) 946-5277 (new number 2/5/18)
Von Unruh, Archivist
Call To Make An Appointment!
A Very Brief Timeline of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences
- Initially formed as the Western Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1800, the Tennessee Conference consisted of all lands west of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
- The Western Conference was divided in 1812 into the Ohio (the territory north of the Ohio River) and Tennessee (lands south of the Ohio River) Conferences.
- The rapid growth of Methodism on the frontier, combined with the westward movement of an increasingly mobile nation, led to multiple sub-divisions of the Tennessee Conference—Illinois (1816), Indiana (1816), Arkansas (1816), Missouri (1816), Louisiana (1816), Mississippi (1816), Kentucky (1820), Holston (1824), Memphis (1840), and North Alabama (1870).
History of the Tennessee Conference