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The half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge.
Eva Louise Hyde (1885-1982) attended the original Scarritt Bible and Training School for Women Missionaries in Kansas City, MO. While there, Hyde trained as a missionary educator. When Hyde graduated in 1909, she was sent to Rio de Janeiro, where she taught at Colegio Bennett, a boarding and day school for girls.
After eight years, Hyde became Colegio Bennett's principal, and during her tenure as principal she helped develop the school into the first Junior College for women in Brazil.
In 1938, Hyde traveled to India to attend the International Missionary Conference in Madras. Her scrapbook from that trip is currently housed in the Laskey Research Library's archival collection, and provides a wealth of insight into her experience. The scrapbook begins with her journey to India and includes photos of many of the delegates in attendance, such as D.T. Niles and C.F. Andrews.
Most striking, however, is the portion of her scrapbook that highlights her sightseeing adventures. Hyde used her free time to visit important educational and missionary ventures—and tucked on a page among her travel photos is a photo she captured of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Virginia Davis Laskey Library houses a collection of more than 10,000 titles primarily on women’s leadership in missions and social justice around the world. While much of the collection was acquired to support the students of Scarritt College, today it serves as a resource for scholars and anyone else interested in Scarritt Bennett Center’s rich and varied history. On our shelves patrons will discover student theses, a vast reference collection of various United Methodist agencies, a wide range of cultural studies, an extensive collection of American Civil Rights Movement writings, and more.
What's in the Library: The Library's collection houses content that fall under five (5) main areas:
Women's History (current and past, including Women's Studies and Women and Global Culture)
Mission (150+ years of publications on mission theory, missions, and missionaries)
Spirituality and Spiritual Formation
Worship and the Arts (including a large collection of hymnals and resources on liturgical design)
Multiculturalism and Diversity (including historical scholarship on race relations)
The Virginia Davis Laskey Library was dedicated and opened on April 1, 1968 at Scarritt College. The library was the final building added to the Scarritt College campus and was a gift of the Women’s Division of the Methodist Church through its "call to prayer and self-denial" offering from the Women’s Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild. The Woman’s Division of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church also contributed grants. A Nashville committee under the leadership of Mrs. Henry Cannon, “Minnie Pearl” of Grand Old Opry fame, raised $50,000 for library furnishings.
The library was named to honor Virginia Davis Laskey of Ruston, Louisiana. Laskey devoted her life to the United Methodist Church. She taught Sunday school for more than 25 years, was a member of the Board of the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and the MacDonnel United Methodist Children’s Service, and served as the national president of the Women’s Division, Methodist Board of Missions from 1964 to 1968. She was one of only five women members of the World Council of Churches and was a two-time delegate to General Conference.
On March 9, 2007 the library officially became the Virginia Davis Laskey Research Library, with a focus on organized societies of lay women. The Laskey Research Library allows people today and in future generations to understand the struggle, faith, and vision of women committed to mission, justice, and peace ministries all over the world.
Most titles in the catalog are from the library of the former Scarritt College for Christian Workers or from the former Women's Division of the United Methodist Church. Titles are added to the catalog weekly.
Your first search should be a general, keyword search. Once you are in the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) you can refine your search
Searches are not case sensitive, diacritics are not recognized
Certain words or descriptions in this catalog and in the collection reflect the author's attitude and/or are reflective of the time in which the item was created, and may now be considered offensive.
The library’s archival collection, some of which is more than a century old, consists of personal papers and institutional records of faculty, alumni, and affiliates. These documents chronicle the story of Scarritt College for Christian Workers, from its early days as a place where women became deaconesses, through the Great Depression and Civil Rights movement, to its present day role as a forum for social justice work and spiritual formation.
WHAT'S IN THE ARCHIVES
The archival collections at the Laskey Library contain resources handed down from Scarritt College and Scarritt Bible and Training School. Such items include College materials (yearbooks, newsletters, calendars); student files (college applications, newsletters from missionary alumnae, birth and death announcements, photographs, news clippings); alumni/ae theses and dissertations; rare documents concerning the institution's history; personal papers of missionaries and Scarritt College faculty; and documents from National College, The Kansas City National Training School, and The Alumnae Association from 1900-1980. Recent additions also include papers from retired executives of Women’s Division and United Methodist Women.
Researchers are invited to use the collections on site at the Laskey Library. Because of the fragile nature of much of these materials, and so that we can best help you, we ask that researchers make an appointment before visiting either the library or the archives.
Archives house primary source documents—e.g. letters, memos, meeting minutes, speeches, photographs—that contain firsthand information about a topic or event. Primary source documents are often unique or rare and can add depth to your research.
Archival materials are generally arranged by provenance—that is, they are grouped according to who collected or compiled the materials. Each collection is divided into boxes, which contain folders that are arranged either topically or chronologically.
Each processed collection has a descriptive document called a finding aid. The finding aid describes the collection, including its context, its creator, and its original purpose. The finding aid is divided into sections describing the collection’s creator, the formats of materials it contains, the time period that it covers, and the subjects that it covers. It also contains a list of the folder titles that can be found in each box. Finding aids generally do not include links to digital materials; instead, they describe the materials contained in our physical collections so that you know what materials will be useful to you. About 25% of the materials in our archives currently have finding aids.
The Laskey Archives also has some unprocessed collections, which means that the materials have not yet been moved into archival-quality boxes and folders and we do not yet have detailed knowledge of what the collection contains. Most unprocessed collections are still open for research; however, navigating them will require a lot of time and patience. Ask the librarian about access to unprocessed collections.
Other Institutions Housing Materials Related to Our History
Laskey Research Library & Archives welcomes scheduled appointments on weekdays from 9:00am–4:00pm.
Staying on Campus: On-campus lodging options are available for out-of-town researchers who would like to arrange an extended visit to the Laskey Library and Archives.