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Church History

Guide to Church History resources provided by the Rolfing Library


Today in Church History


Online Catalogs

Search for books, ebooks, media, and journal titles (but not specific articles) at Rolfing Library, books at other I-Share libraries, and books at libraries around the world.

On-line Collections of Books

Further resources


History Databases

These databases will be most helpful for Church History research. Journal articles, book reviews, and essays (book chapters) can be found searching these databases.

Other Helpful Databases

More databases for in-depth research. For a complete list of our databases, click here.


Finding a specific journal article

If you have a citation to a specific journal  search  Rolfing Search for the journal title. Be sure to search the journal title, not the article title. On the results page, check the location of the journal. If it says "Deerfield Periodical Collection" it is in print in the library.  The Periodical Collection is arranged alphabetically on either side of the stairs. If it says "Electronic Journal" it is available online. Check the dates to make sure the year you want is available. If it is not in Rolfing Search, you can request the article through WorldShare.  

Articles versus Essays?

Q. What's the difference between articles and essays?

A. They are in essence the same. The difference is where they are published. Articles are published in journals while essays are individually authored chapters of edited books. In ATLA they are distinguished by looking at publication type, either article or essay. For an article the source will be a journal title whereas the source for an essay will be a book title. ATLA has many full text articles, but no full text essays. You will need to search Rolfing Search or I-Share to find a copy of the book in which the essay is published.


Microfilm / Microfiche Reader/Scanner

The Rolfing Library has a new (2015) microfilm / fiche reader and scanner.  You can scan with computer software that allows you to manipulate the image and save it a number of different ways.  So if you are using our collections, or getting something through Interlibrary Loan, there is now an up-to-date way of viewing and saving microfilm images.

Microfilm Collections

Church History microfilm

Early English Books

From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare (ending in 1700), this collection contains over 100,000 titles covering many subject areas including: theology, history, English literature,  philosophy, linguistics, music, fine arts, education, mathematics, and science.

Guide to using Early English Books


Eighteenth Century Microfilm

This collection contains religion and philosophy titles printed in Great Britain and its colonies or printed in English elsewhere between 1701 and 1800.

Using Early English Books

A Guide to Using Early English Books

Using the Early English Books Microfilm Collection

Early English Books 1475-1640 (STC I)

First consult Pollard and Redgrave's A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad 1475-1640. This two volume set is shelved just beside the microfilm collection.  For instance, if we wanted to find Thomas Adams'The Happiness of the Church, we would look in Pollard and Redgrave under Adams, Thomas and find his works listed on page 6. We see that a variant title of The Happiness of the Church is assigned a STC (Short-Title Catalogue) number of 121. 

Second, we consult the Early English Books Cross Index to Reels 1-1885, also shelved with the microfilm collection. Looking on page 1 we see that STC no. 121 is on the Early English Books reel 1783. We would then pull that reel from the drawers. 

Third, to find the position of The Happiness of the Church on reel 1783 we would consult the Early English Books A Guide to Units 53-61 of the Microfilm Collection, Reels 1783-1979, also shelved with the microfilm collection. Looking on page 1 we find that The Happiness of the Church is the third publication on Reel 1783.


Early English Books 1641-1700 (STC II)

To search the Early English Books 1641-1700, simply consult either the subject, author, or title indexes shelved with the microfilm collection. For instance, in the author index we look up Ager, Thomas and see his A Paraphrase on the canticles, or Song of Solomon is on reel 372 and is the ninth publication on that reel.