An archivist with more than a decade of experience researching Baptist history has been named the new director of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (SBHLA), the Council of Seminary Presidents has announced.
Taffey Hall, previously the library’s archivist, will replace Bill Sumners as SBHLA director when he retires in July.
“I’m very glad Dr. Taffey Hall will become the director of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “She brings to this role a wonderful background as an experienced archivist and a strong advocate for historical studies among Southern Baptists. Dr. Hall has vast experience, having served many years on the staff of the Historical Library and Archives. She is also a certified archivist, bringing an excellent academic background and pedigree to this new responsibility.”
Mohler noted, “The election of Dr. Taffey Hall ensures a very smooth transition for one of Southern Baptists’ most prized institutions. She combines Christian commitment, an excellent academic preparation, wonderful relationships with historians and researchers, and a commitment to serve Southern Baptists through preserving our history and maintaining our heritage.”
According to its website, the SBHLA was established in 1938 as a part of the Southern Baptist Historical Society to serve as a research center on Baptist history, and as a central depository and archives of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) records.
Their records include thousands of books, Baptist associations’ and state conventions’ annuals, Baptist newspapers, histories of Baptist churches, archival records, and many other Baptist history resources in the SBC Building in Nashville, Tenn.
The Council of Seminary Presidents (CSP) has governed the SBHLA since the reorganization of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1997. The six SBC seminary presidents make up the CSP with Mohler as its president.
Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and chairman of the Council of Seminary Presidents, described Hall as “a gifted archivist with a passionate interest in the amazing story of Southern Baptist churches, ministries and ministers.”
“That is a perfect combination of gifts and skills for the leader of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, which is the largest collection of Southern Baptists materials in the nation,” Kelley said. “Dr. Bill Sumners has done a marvelous job bringing us to this point. Dr. Taffey Hall is well suited for taking us further still in preserving all aspects of the Southern Baptist story and keeping it accessible to those who want to learn who we are and what we have done.”
Hall replaces Sumners, who is retiring after nearly 30 years as the library’s director. When he announced his retirement in December, Sumners said the SBHLA’s collection was “modest” in 1983 but has grown to become the “largest, most diverse and most accessible collection of Baptist material in the world.”
“My heart feels grateful and happy,” Hall said about her promotion. “I feel blessed for the opportunity to serve the SBHLA and Southern Baptists in this new capacity. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities this responsibility will present.”
Before serving as the archivist for SBHLA, Hall held a variety of research positions in Tennessee.
Hall earned her Doctor of Education from Tennessee State University, Master of Arts from Middle Tennessee State University, and Bachelor of Arts from Tennessee Wesleyan College. She has been a member of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood since 2005.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Abby Davis writes for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.)