Since 1998, the Society has published an annual Journal that features scholarly and well-researched Florida Baptist-oriented articles on various people, churches, associations, State Convention cooperating ministries, and related historically significant aspects of Florida Baptist history.
The Convention Press was begun in 1955 by the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, which formalized a process begun at the beginning of the twentieth century, to produce teacher training and laity resources for Southern Baptist church members. In response the Sunday School Board subsequently developed the Study Course movement that sought to provide religious education for every member of the local church. The program consisted of a graded study course series of books that provided general knowledge built around ten subjects: the Principles and Methods; the Christian life; Christian home-making; the church; the denomination; the social order; the Bible; Christian witnessing; stewardship; and missions. The Florida Baptist Historical Society’s “Convention Press Collection” is comprised of Baptist-related books published by Convention Press, as well as study course books produced respectively by the Southern Baptist Convention-related entities, including the Home Mission Board, the Baptist Sunday School Board, Broadman Press and the Women’s Missionary Union. The Society’s collection includes nearly 2,500 volumes of which over 1,300 are individual titles. The unique Convention Press group consists of 913 titles. The Florida Baptist Historical Society is believed to be the only Southern Baptist entity with a Convention Press collection this large.
This collection contains biographical information and photographs of select Florida Baptist pastors and significant laity leaders. These files consist of information gleaned from actual biographical sketches prepared by the respective individual to information gleaned from back issues of the Florida Baptist Witness and other publications or documented sources. These biographical files, which number nearly 2,500 records, have become an invaluable source of information for use in historical research and to respond to inquiries from churches and individuals. Additionally a brief summary of each individual’s biographical narrative is accessible through the Society’s website.
The Society is the beneficiary of a collection of nearly 6,000 church postcards of Southern Baptist churches located in the 14 states south of the Mason-Dixon Line, plus one western state. These states – where Southern Baptist churches were once prominent – include: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The historic significance of these postcards is that they provide, in many cases, the only historic and present day visual image of the churches in the collection. It also provides an architectural history of church buildings from the early 1900s to about 1970 when postcards fell into disuse. The Florida Baptist Postcard Collection is the only unique collection of its kind that is available on line. The collection contains nearly 6,000 cards, representing 1,720 cities, over 2,200 churches and 160 state Baptist convention agencies and institutions.
This saga of Florida’s Missionary Baptist movement was published by the Florida Baptist Historical Society in 2013. The Society is sponsoring the development of a volume two, to cover the years 1940 to 2015, is currently being researched and written by Donald S. Hepburn, who was the principal writer of volume one.