Laskey Research Library and Archives

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Laskey Library &

The half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge.

Library social buttons
Scarritt College Rural Center

Following the Depression, Scarritt College considered the needs of rural churches and missionaries in rural settings. In 1942, it opened a training center in Cumberland County that offered short-term training programs and operated a demonstration farm. The rural education center closed in 1950, and transferred the real estate to the local church conference. The Nashville campus took over the rural mission work primarily through the College's new Anthropology Department.

In the brochure for Scarritt College Rural Center (pictured left), the Center's goal was listed as follows, "Rural reconstruction aims at the comprehensive development of rural people everywhere toward a more abundant life."

Deaconness Prudencia L. Fabro

Prudencia L. Fabro (1910-1996) was a Filipino Methodist deaconess. Fabro came to the United States as a Crusade Scholar to study at Drew University, earning a Master of Arts Degree in Rural Sociology. In 1948, before she returned to the Philippines to teach at Harris School, Fabro attended a session at the Scarritt Rural Center.

Fabro "was one of the most outstanding woman leaders in the Methodist-related institutions whose major contribution was the training, molding and forming of young women who answered the call to serve as deaconesses in the Methodist Church" (

Fabro later became the first Filipino President of Harris Memorial College.

More information about Scarritt College Rural Center can be found in the Laskey Research Library's archival collection.

A Library on Women's Leadership
in Missions and Social Justice
A Library on Women's Leadership in Missions and Social Justice
About the Library
An open book in the Laskey Library
Virginia Davis Laskey
Research Library

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)

We are not a lending library, but we do invite researchers to use the collections on-site. Our visiting hours are weekdays, 9:00am–4:00pm, by appointment only. Click here to schedule your visit.

Library History
Items in a glass case at the Laskey Research Library
The History of Laskey Research Library

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. Mrs. Laskey devoted her whole life to the United Methodist church. She taught Sunday school for over 25 years, was a member of the Board of the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and the MacDonnel United Methodist Children’s Service. 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.

Search the Catalogue
Catalogue boxes in the Laskey Library
Searching the Laskey
Research Library Catalogue

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.

Search Tips

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

Content Warning

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 Archives of Scarritt College
for Christian Workers
About the Archives
Items in the Archives
About the Archives

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.


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.


Weekdays, 9:00am–4:00pm, by appointment only. Click here to schedule your visit.

How to Use an Archive
Archival box on a shelf
How to Use an Archive

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.

Click here to view our 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.

Laskey Research Library & Archives

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.

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The Laskey Research Library and Archives is an initiative of Scarritt Bennett Center, a nonprofit conference, retreat, and education center in Nashville, TN.