Frequently Asked Questions

About our services

About our collections and exhibits

About Andrews

About our services

Who may use the Center for Adventist Research?
Our primary constituency is the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Andrews University, however we welcome all researchers and visitors.

I’ve never done research in Special Collections before. What should I expect?
Our web page has some policies and other information that will give you an idea of what to expect when you come to our Center.  You may also find the Society of American Archivists’ published guide helpful as well: Using Archives: An Effective Guide to Research by Laura Schmidt. This online publication outlines the functions and procedures of using archives, and is designed both for first-time archives users and scholars who have already conducted research in archives.

How can I search the collections?
You can consult James White Libraries’ online catalog. Also, you can browse our finding aids.  Most of our resources can be found in the library catalog.

How do I get materials and how long does it take?
All of our materials are located in closed stacks within our facility. Thus, you can not browse materials and must request them by call number. Center staff will locate material for you. This usually takes less than ten minutes. You may request materials in advance of your visit or at the time of your arrival. Once materials are retrieved and given to you they are used exclusively in our Reading Room, meaning they do not leave for any reason. We ask that you complete a Patron Sign-In and Log Sheet and leave your photo ID with the Reference Specialist before using your requested materials.  You will generally be allowed to have up to four items at a time with you in the Reading Room.

How can I get reproductions of your materials? How much does it cost? How long does it take?
Requests may be made in person, by phone, or by email. The turnaround time varies based on size of order, format and condition of the originals. For more information on reproductions, please see our webpage on Researcher Policies.

Do I need an appointment?
An appointment to conduct research in Center for Adventist Research is not needed.  However, if you are coming some distance you should make contact with the Center to verify our public hours during the time you plan to visit.

Why do I need to fill out a Patron Sign-In and Log Sheet?
Because of the rarity and value of our materials, all patrons are required bring a current government or university issued photo I.D. and fill out a Patron Sign-In and Log Sheet before they can begin to work in our Reading Room. This registration occurs at the Reference Specialist desk in the Center for Adventist Research. The registration process happens in person.

What materials can I take into the reading room?
We allow single sheets of paper, a pencil, and a laptop in the Reading Room. To learn about our policies for using the Reading Room, click here.

If I travel to Andrews University to do research, where can I stay? Park?
Information on traveling to Andrews can be found on the Visiting Andrews page.

I can’t travel to Andrews University. Can someone do my research for me?
Our Reference Specialists are happy to answer questions to the best of their ability, and if they don’t know the answer to seek additional help.  However, the staff of the Center cannot perform research for patrons. We are happy to refer you to University students (not affiliated with our Department) who may be willing to use their talents to do limited research for you when possible.

How do I search for a thesis and/or dissertation? Can I get a copy?
Please consult the ProQuest database on using and duplicating these resources.

How do I obtain permission to use an image or a quote from your collections in a publication?
Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder.  Often times, Andrews University and the Center for Adventist Research is the property rights holder, but not the intellectual rights holder. Please see our permissions page for more information.

How do I cite the items from your collections that I am using?
Please cite: [Identification of item], [Collection Name] (Collection Number), Center for Adventist Research, James White Library, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.  For example:  John N. Andrews, MD, diary entry February 8, 1928, Andrews-Spicer Collection (collection 250), Center for Adventist Research, James White Library, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI.  Adjust to conform to the bibliographic style manual you are using.

I have an old book or manuscript. Can you tell me how much it’s worth?
The Center for Adventist Research does not appraise items. The Rare Books and Manuscripts section of the American Library Association maintains an excellent site called, Your Old Books, with many answers about what kinds of books are valuable. The easiest way to find an antiquarian bookseller is to visit the website of their main professional organization, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA).

About our collections and exhibits

How big are your collections? How many items do you have?
The Center for Adventist Research manuscript collections currently exceed some 325 individual collections of varying size.  Some are less than 5 inches of paper while others are 40 feet or more.  and nearly 60,000 books (antiquarian and contemporary) plus thousands of smaller publications, microforms, and audio-visuals.

How does the Center for Adventist Research acquire materials?
The Center for Adventist Research acquires materials through a two pronged approach.  Most of our recent or current-year materials are purchased via funds made available by Andrews University as part of its Library support budget.  We also purchase certain rare or unusual older items using endowed funds and donations from alumni and friends of the University.  We also receive a large number of materials as gifts from individuals and organizations.  Gifts or gifts-in-kind are vital to allowing the Center to continue growing.  Our budget is not adequate to pay for everything, so the generosity of donors is vital and greatly appreciated.

All materials that come into the Center for Adventist Research are first appraised/reviewed by an informed curator/archivist or bibliographer and are “selected” for the collections (which is to say that we cannot and do not accept all gift offers) based on the item’s relevance to the Center’s Collection Development Policy.

Our collections contain materials in many languages and come from all over world. Additionally, our materials come in many formats: books, manuscripts, photographs, and audio/video/film recordings. Some are “born digital” and come to us as digital files from a variety of sources.

Who curates exhibits?
The Center for Adventist Research has a Special Projects Manager who works with the Director to review exhibition proposals and develop plans for what to include in our exhibit space.  We currently have a variegated plan with some exhibits on a short-term rotation and other more complex exhibits planed years in advance so that there is enough time for research, writing, materials and exhibition case preparation, installation, etc. These exhibits will be on display for a longer period of time. If you have an exhibit idea please contact us.

Can I volunteer for the Center for Adventist Research?
If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Center and set up an interview with Center administration.

You have modern books that don’t appear to be rare or valuable. Why are they here?
Materials can be included in a special collection like ours for many reasons.

  • Some items are here due to their provenance [where they came from]
  • Others because they are very rare [scarce or very limited production]. The Center does serve as the holder of the Rare Materials Collection for the Andrews University James White Library
  • Some have been acquired because of unique publishing characteristics or publishing history
  • Some items are here because they have marginalia from an important person or that is otherwise important
  • Others are here because they form an important part of a larger collection
  • Many of the works are here simply because the Center is an archive of all that is published by or about the Seventh-day Adventist Church and related groups.  This reason alone causes us to collect much of what we have here.

In all cases, it is important to note that materials found in the Center for Adventist Research are important to the research and teaching programs of Andrews University, and for understanding Adventist history. Please see our Collection Development Policy for more details.


About Andrews

My ancestor attended Andrews. How can I get a copy of his/her transcript?
Transcripts and other student records are maintained by the University Registrar. All transcript requests should be directed to that office.

How many students attended Andrews in [year]? How many faculty members were there?

Please contact the University Archivist with questions pertaining to University statistical data.

Who was the first president of Andrews?

Sidney Brownsberger was chosen to serve as Andrews’s first president. It was actually known as Battle Creek College in those days, back in 1874.  See also this page for more Presidential History.

I’m a former student. Are you interested in my Andrews memorabilia? Photographs? Diaries?

The Center for Adventist Research regularly accepts gifts of memorabilia, photographs, diaries, and other materials from former students. More information is available here.