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 activities, including Bridwell fellowships, archives, resources and exhibitions.
Our Special Collections has nearly all of the printed works of John Wesley (1703-91), the founder of Methodism. Other works by Charles Wesley and other Methodist religious and historical figures are present in first and early editions. We also hold a copy of John Wesley's Instructions for Christians, printed in Bristol by W. Pine in Wine-street, 1772.
Letters and Documents
The Library has more than 4,000 holograph letters and documents by significant historical leaders including
- John Wesley
- Charles Wesley
- George Whitefield
- Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon
- Thomas Haweis
- Francis Asbury
Sixteenth- through eighteenth-century holdings that support the study of the early Methodist movement include works on English church history, theology, liturgy, hymnology, religious polemic, and philosophy. British and American nineteenth-century religious imprints document the history and development of Methodism. Additional resources include books collected by Frederick D. Leete and William C. Martin by and about Methodist bishops, a representative collection of hymnbooks published by various Methodist denominations, denominational records, and periodicals.