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Isaac Backus papers

Call Number: RG 280
Scope and Contents
The Isaac Backus Papers, 1660-1806, consist of two major components: personal papers and collected papers. The Personal Papers (1746-1806) of Series I document the professional work of Backus and are arranged according to the following categories: diaries, travel journals, autobiographical statements, ordination booklet, sermons, publications, unpublished manuscripts, and extracts from readings. A card index, prepared by Brown University personnel, provides main entry access to the diary. The diary and index are published: William G. McLaughlin, ed., The Diary of Isaac Backus, 3 vols. (Providence: Brown University Press, 1979)

The Collected Papers (1660-1806) of Series II are primarily correspondence and narratives chronicling the Separate Baptist struggle for religious freedom, gathered by Backus. This section also includes all correspondence of Backus and extant records of the Warren Baptist Association. A card index, prepared by Brown University personnel, provides main entry access to the Collected Papers. The index is divided into three general categories: Baptist History, Letters, Warren Association. The following usage notes may be helpful in working with individual indexes: 1) Baptist History --The scope of the index is self-explanatory. IB references include letters of IB to others and IB as the subject of a specific document. 2) Letters -- The index includes letters of others to IB. 3)Warren Association -- The index includes annual letters of individual churches to the association and correspondence dealing with business related to the annual meeting. The index also provides subject access to the unpublished manuscript, "History of the Warren Association.”

The third series includes additional documents, fragile originals, and a set of lantern slides related to Backus. These materials are not described in detail in the finding aid that was received with the collection from Andover Newton Theological School. The lantern slides are stored onsite with restricted oversize material due to their fragile nature. Series IV consists of microfilm of the Backus collection, reels 804-818, which were received from Andover Newton Theological School when the papers were transferred to the Divinity Library. These microfilm reflect the order of the original Backus finding aid.

The original PDF finding aid created by Andover Newton Theological School staff, which contains more detailed description of the collection, is linked to from
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
From the Andover Newton Theological School collection, transferred in 2017
The papers are arranged in four series:
Series I.
Personal Papers
Series II.
Collected Papers
Series III.
Addendum and Fragile Originals
Series IV.
Microfilm of Backus Papers
1660 - 1806
8 Linear Feet (20 boxes)
Related Names
Andover Newton Theological School
Backus, Isaac, 1724-1806
Language of Materials