Ouachita Riley-Hickingbotham Library¹s Special Collections earns national award

The Arkansas Baptist History Collection of Ouachita Baptist University’s Riley-Hickingbotham Library Archives and Special Collections has been honored with the Baptist History and Heritage Society’s 2017 Davis C. Woolley Award for Outstanding Achievement in Assessing and Preserving Baptist History.

The national award honors the work of Dr. Wendy Richter, Ouachita professor and archivist, and her staff who coordinated the Special Collections project. The award was announced recently at the annual conference of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, hosted by First Baptist Church of Augusta, Ga., in partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia.

“It is indeed an honor to be recognized at the national level for our work to preserve and make available this part of our Arkansas Baptist heritage,” Dr. Richter noted.

“The award provides external professional confirmation of what we have long known internally about Dr. Richter: that she is exceptionally capable of conceiving, planning, executing and taking full advantage of significant projects,” said Dr. Ray Granade, director of library services and professor of history at Ouachita.

Citing the ongoing partnership of Ouachita and Riley-Hickingbotham Library with Arkansas Baptists, Dr. Granade said the recognition confirms “our longstanding efforts to support the convention, its churches and its membership in maintaining awareness of and information to explain their history.”

According to Dr. Taffey Hall, director and archivist of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, “Of special note were Ouachita’s projects to digitize and make available the pre-1920 association annuals and the Arkansas Baptist State Convention annuals, 1848-1900.” Dr. Hall said the awards committee affirmed that “these projects are rich resources for students of Arkansas Baptist history.”
Davis C. Woolley served as the second executive secretary-treasurer of the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1959 to 1971. In his honor, the Historical Commission established the Davis C. Woolley Award in 1991. The purpose of the award is to encourage creativity and excellence in state Baptist history programs, including all organizations involved in assessing and preserving Baptist history.

Presented during the annual meeting of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, the award is given to an individual or a state program that demonstrated significant progress and achievements during the preceding year.

Noting that the award “also affirms the efficacy of the new Public History program at Ouachita,” Dr. Granade added, “The award recognizes one aspect of that program and the kind of educational experience to which our students can look forward.”