The special collections department of the Brown Library received 80 boxes of archived material from Herald of Truth, a Churches of Christ media ministry headquartered in Abilene.
Herald of Truth, overseen by the elders of Highland Church of Christ, aired its first official radio broadcast on Feb. 10, 1952. It was the first nationally broadcast network radio and television program sponsored by the Churches of Christ. The program’s visibility provided credibility to the blossoming religious movement and was an integral model for mass media evangelism over several decades.
Herald of Truth empowered and continues to enable the ACU library to archive their mass media work, catalog their intimate workings and store their ample supply of correspondences and clerical documents, said Dr. Carisse Berryhill, associate dean for digital initiatives, special collections and university archives.
The library received the most recent shipment from Herald of Truth at the beginning of the semester.
The shipment included audio tapes, photos, correspondences, official publications and office documents from the ministry group. The special collections department is preparing to begin an intensive archival and cataloging process.
The special collections department plans to create a digital list of the Herald of Truth archives and hopes to publicly offer an initial version of the list by the end of this summer, said Mac Ice, digital archives specialist at the library.
The searchable list of archived material is intended to aid researchers, provide opportunities for historical inquiries and facilitate learning opportunities for scholars and students.
In the future, special collections would like to make the material digitally available online, Berryhill said.
“It would give us the ability to not only offer a list of everything, but say you can watch it, listen to it, download it or study it,” Ice said.
The breadth and variety of the material from Herald of Truth will prolong the digitization process. Despite the painstaking archival process ahead, special collections is thrilled Herald of Truth continues to share their history.
“It’s a pretty bold move to say ‘here is our history,'” Ice said. “For good or ill, this is what we’ve done and who we’ve been.”