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.


The historical records owned by Bridwell Library comprise three closely-related archives: the Perkins School of Theology Archive, the Bridwell Library Archive, and the Methodist Studies Archive. Additionally, four United Methodist bodies lodge their archival materials at Bridwell Library in order to enhance both preservation and access. The archivists of the South Central Jurisdiction, the North Texas Annual Conference, the Rio Grande Annual Conference, and the Texas United Methodist Historical Society work closely with the archivist of Bridwell Library to manage the most extensive set of Methodist-related primary resources in the Southwestern United States.

The archival program at Bridwell Library serves the historical research community by collecting, preserving, arranging, and describing historical records; promoting awareness and facilitating use of the archival collections; assisting researchers in person and remotely; curating exhibitions; and making presentations to university classes and outside groups. This exhibition explores the diversity of archival records held by and hosted by Bridwell Library.

View exhibitions at Bridwell Library.

Opportunities for Study

Each year Bridwell Library of the Perkins School of Theology offers fellowships promoting independent study via on site access to the library’s rich collection of resources. Decisions on fellowships is suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions and construction in the library. See more information here.

  • Bridwell Library Visiting Scholar’s Fellowships promote and facilitate scholarship requiring use of the library’s rare books, manuscripts, or archives collections;
  • Bridwell Library Center for Methodist Studies Fellowships promote and facilitate scholarship in Wesleyan traditions;
  • The Bridwell Library Visiting Minister’s Fellowship promotes and facilitates reflective study for active clergy persons.

Bridwell Library holds over 400,000 volumes on religion, theology, and related fields and offers access to more than one million Methodist-related archival documents, photographs, and recordings.

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.

In addition, Bridwell Library holds a copy of John Wesley's Instructions for Christians, printed in Bristol by W. Pine in Wine-street, 1772. A pdf of the book is available here


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 Arvid Nelsen or Rebecca Howdeshell. For reference assistance, please contact Jane Elder.