HSTY 7300 History and Theology of the Covenant Church

Introduction to the Archives

The word "archives" has several different definitions. This introduction will use definitions from the Society of American Archivists to explore what an archives is and what it does.

An Archives is an organization dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of a particular group: a city, a province or state, a business, a university, or a community.

The F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections exist to document the following communities:

  • North Park University
  • Evangelical Covenant Church
  • Swedish-American Immigrants in Chicago.

The primary way that the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections serves those communities is by collecting records of lasting historical value. Records come in a wide variety of formats and include:

  • Textual material including agendas, reports, correspondence, journals, diaries;
  • Published materials like books and magazines;
  • Photographs, slides, artwork;
  • Audiovisual records including films and audio recordings.

These records are the documentary evidence of past events. They are the facts we use to interpret and understand history.

History of the Covenant Archives and Historical Library

The Covenant Archives and Historical Library is the official repository for the records of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) and North Park University (NPU). Created in 1935 with the founding of the Evangelical Covenant Church's Commission on Covenant History, the archives was first housed in the Covenant administrative offices. In 1958 it was moved to the North Park campus where it occupied the room that in Nyvall Hall that is now called N25.

In 2001 the Brandel Library was built and the Covenant Archives and Historical Library was moved to the lower level of the library. The reading room and climate controlled closed stacks area was funded in part by the family of F. M. Johnson.