Special Collections

Center for Methodist Studies

Center for Methodist Studies Crest

The Center for Methodist Studies at Bridwell Library was established in 1984 to encourage research, study, and reflection upon the Methodist movement, including the sources that influenced its origin, the forces that shaped its development, and the features that determine its character and influence. To foster these goals, the Center sponsors and supports a variety of programs, publications, and exhibitions.


Francis Asbury, the “Father of American Methodism,” was born in Staffordshire, England in 1745. At the age of twenty-one, Asbury became an itinerant lay preacher in the Methodist movement. Five years later, in 1771, he accepted John Wesley’s call for volunteers to cross the Atlantic and minister in British North America.

During his forty-five year ministry in North America, Asbury rode an estimated one hundred thirty thousand miles, preaching more than ten thousand sermons and ordaining an estimated seven hundred clergy. Under Bishop Asbury’s leadership, Methodism in North America grew from less than one thousand members in 1771 to over two hundred thousand in 1816.

Opportunities for Study

Bridwell Library offers two different opportunities for researchers desiring to have a concentrated research study experience:

Bridwell Fellowships
Two-week fellowships with $2,000 stipend

Bridwell Library Scholar in Residence
An opportunity to utilize an on-campus studio apartment and private library study carrel for one to four weeks (dependent upon availability).

For additional information, please contact Bridwell Administration (214-768-3483).

Featured Collections

Bridwell Library offers a wealth of resources for the study of Methodism and the convergence of religious, intellectual, and cultural traditions that gave rise to and emanate from this historic movement. Bridwell Library Digital Collections are drawn from these resources including extensive holdings of Wesleyana and Methodistica. The most prominent collection of these holdings is of 139 letters written by John Wesley (1703–1791) who, with his brother Charles Wesley (1707–1788) and fellow cleric George Whitefield (1714–1788), are credited with the foundation of the evangelical movement known as Methodism. The letters of John and Charles Wesley include large format scans and searchable transcriptions of each letter.


The Methodist Materials page on Bridwell Library's website provides access to an array of primary and secondary sources on the background, rise, development, and present state of Methodism. A new resource is the latest edition of United Methodist Studies: Basic Bibliographies (6th edition).  Additional Methodist Exhibitions may be accessed here.

For assistance with Special Collections and Archives, contact Timothy Binkley (Archivist). For reference assistance, please contact Jane Elder or David Schmersal.