The library on Mercer University’s Atlanta campus was dedicated in 1983 in honor of Dr. Monroe F. Swilley, Jr. who was the guiding force in establishing the Atlanta Baptist College in 1968. Then pastor of Atlanta’s Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, he resigned to serve as the College’s first and only president. In 1972, Mercer University and the College merged creating Mercer University in Atlanta.
Today, Swilley Library serves the faculty, staff, and students of six graduate and professional programs. These include the Tift College of Education, the Stetson School of Business and Economics, and the College of Health Professions, (comprised of programs in physical therapy, public health and physician assistants). The McAfee School of Theology was established on this campus in 1996. The Southern School of Pharmacy, begun in 1903, became part of Mercer in 1991. Likewise, the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, created in 1902, joined Mercer in 2001.
Swilley Library is part of the Mercer University Library which also includes the Jack Tarver Library in Macon, GA and the Regional Academic Center Libraries in Henry and Douglas counties. Additionally, the Law Library and the Medical Library are located on Mercer’s Macon campus.
Also housed on the Atlanta campus is the American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS), which is the archive and historical interpreter of the American Baptist Churches USA. ABHS collects documents from different Baptist denominations in North America and around the world. Founded in 1853, ABHS has an extensive and diverse collection of Baptist historical material. Holdings include personal papers of Baptist leaders such as Walter Rauschenbusch; an original printing of the London Confession of 1644 (the first statement of Baptist principles); and manuscript letters written by missionary pioneers Adoniram Judson, Ann Judson, Sarah Judson, and Emily Judson as well as their children.
Baptists from Myanmar looking at photographs and documents related to early American Baptist missions to the Chin and Karen ethnic groups in Burma. Photo courtesy of ABHS.
Written by Beth Perry, Swilley Library, Mercer University