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About the Archives

Our mission is to document and preserve the history of Lutheranism in the South and Caribbean; function as a depository of historic records for its partners; offer archival, educational and interpretive services; and to provide a central source of collection inventories for the synods, congregations, agencies and institutions of Region 9 of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

We are located on the campus of LTSS-LRU in Columbia, South Carolina. Please contact us to arrange a visit. 

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The Crumley Archives is named for the notable and much beloved Lutheran leader, the late Rev. Dr. James R. Crumley, Jr.  His service to the Lutheran church and dedication to the public continue to inspire our mission. ​A graduate of Roanoke College and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Pastor Crumley was ordained in 1951.  He served parishes in Tennessee and Georgia, but is perhaps best remembered for his service to the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) as the national secretary, president, and bishop until the realization of the ELCA in 1987. This archives was dedicated to his name in 1994, and seeks to promote his legacy through record keeping and the sharing of Lutheran history. We began our mission in 1991 and are governed by a Board of Trustees with representatives from the Evangelica Lutheran Church in America's Southern and Caribbean synods, the Region 9 office, Lutheridge+Lutherock Ministries Inc., & Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) at Lenoir Rhyne University (LRU).


The James R. Crumley Jr. Archives was created in response to the 1988 ELCA founding constitution, which called for the establishment of regional archives and the maintenance of congregation archives for each ELCA region. We serve Region 9, consisting of The Southeast and Caribbean. We are a non-profit organization, mandated by - but not funded by - the ELCA. We rely on funding from the churches and synods who safeguard their materials here, donations from individuals, research fees, and grant monies. Your donation to the Crumley Archives is vital to the upkeep of thousands of irreplaceable records dating to the 1800's and earlier. We thank you for your generosity

Acquistion Policy

The Crumley Archives has responsibility to acquire the permanently valuable records of the ELCA organizations of Region 9, and the obligation to care for them indefinitely and to commit resources to their continuing care. The Archives has the right to administer the collections as it sees fit, which includes the right to deaccession or dispose of material deemed non-archival in character. Deaccession will occur if the material does not meet the criteria of the acquisitions policy, imperils the well-being of the collection, duplicates material already present in a collection, or is irrelevant to the mission of the Archives. All records brought into archival custody shall be arranged and described according to archival principles to the extent necessary to make them available for research. This includes registration of MARC (machine readable catalog) records for the major series in the collection with the National Manuscripts Collection of the Library of Congress, maintenance of an in house Archives catalog database, and production of written finding aids. Records are inventoried and placed in usable physical order. Collections are separated by provenance.

Collection Development Policy

DOCUMENTS: Documents shall be consistent with the purposes of the Archives, possess potential research or exhibition purposes, be in good condition, and fit within the storage space capabilities of the Archives. Ideally, only two copies of the same material will be retained due to space limitations. Loans to and from the Archives will be discouraged. It is the Archives' objective to maintain permanent physical custody of these materials. DIGITAL MATERIALS: Though we primarily handle and prefer physical material, the Archives recognizes that an increasing number of documents are born-digital or digitized for access and other uses. The preferred archival format for storing documents in this Archives is on acid-free paper, or secondarily, on microfilm. Reasonable efforts will be made to transfer digital documents to paper format and to encourage the creators of documents in our collection to make paper copies prior to transferring materials to us. Where feasible, digital formats will also be saved. Some digital formats without paper versions are also preserved in our collections, until such time as they are needed or when resources become available to migrate them to more permanent media. Generally, digital documents are stored with non-digital documents in the same series, creator and provenance; only microfilm and larger photographic collections are stored separately in housing appropriate to them. ARTIFACTS: Artifacts such as portraits, statues, plaques, etc., are kept in our Archives. Because our space is limited, we must be extremely selective when it comes to accepting items that might be better maintained in a museum. Depending upon the significance and quality of the item in question, the Archives will make a value judgment.

Artifacts Policy

The James R. Crumley Archives will accept certain artifacts, including, but not limited to:


  • Artwork, pertaining specifically to a congregation (e.g. a painting of a church) not to exceed specified dimensions

  • Banners - no more than two per congregation

  • Commemorative plates and ornaments

  • Other items after consultation with the Archivist.


Frequently Saved Documents

The Archives is an excellent location for housing duplicate or backup copies of parish registers in microfilm, paper, or digital format. The Archives will accept small outright donations of congregation records as well as other southern Lutheran archives at any time to add to the collection. Congregation files are kept on each active and disbanded Lutheran congregation in the region. Donated copies or photocopies of the following materials are especially welcome. Here are some examples of frequently saved documents. •Parish registers – especially pages about officers, pastors, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials and church historical events •Histories of the church •Anniversary booklets and memorabilia •Council minutes (before 1900; samples of succeeding years) •Annual reports or yearbooks of the congregation (sample years) •Bulletins of celebratory services •Cemetery plot listing •Clergy biographies, call letters and photographs •Major news stories and clippings about the congregation •Organizational charter and list of charter members •Materials related to mission startup •Selected photographs of facilities, important events and membership activities (dated and identified) •Other records and items unique or important to the congregation •Fragile records requiring special care

Staff & Board of Trustees


Archivist: Shannon Smith
Office Manager: Trudy Bouknight
Archives Aide: Ashley Ragland 
Assistant Archivist: Timothy Scott Reeves

Board of Trustees 

At Large: Rev. Dr. Wayne Kannaday, Dr. Harvey Huntley, Jr., Rev. Dr. Mark Scott (Vice-President), Mrs. Virginia Herlong (Treasurer)

Caribbean Synod - Ms. Othelia Dewindt

Florida-Bahamas Synod - Ms. Mary Flekke (Secretary), Dn. Jerry Johnson

LTSS-LRU - Dr. Susan Wilds McArver (President)

Novus Way - Mr. Terrance Clever​

North Carolina Synod​​ - Mr. Kenneth Marks, Rev. John Pearson

Region 9 - Rev. Phil Tonneson

South Carolina Synod - Mr. Henry Fulmer, Mr. Edward Woodward, Jr., Esq.

Southeastern Synod - Ms. Susan Clark, Bishop Kevin Strickland

Virginia Synod - Rev. Jean Bozeman, Ms. Becky Walls

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