COVINGTON - Those who want to play a part in preserving the history of Salem Camp Meeting are encouraged to bring old photos to the campground Sunday.
Staff with Pitts Theology Library from the Candler School of Theology and Emory University will be scanning these photos and using them on the library's online digital archive.
"Salem Campground is very important to the history of religion in the South, and of the Methodist Church in particular," said Dr. M. Patrick Graham, director of the Pitts Theology Library. "We want to preserve the photographic record over the years and make it available to a larger audience. We feel this event that has been held there for many years is something people need to know about. It's really important. People take it for granted."
Aware that many people won't be willing to part with their photos for long, Graham will scan the photos on site, and he's also offering to provide participants with electronic copies of their photos free of charge.
The images will be included on the library's database of digital archives, available at www.pitts.emory.edu/dia/searchform.cfm. The site includes photos from rare book collections as well as archeologic sites, and images related to the practice of religion in America.
The images may be used by professors to illustrate lectures, ministers who want to include them in Bible courses or sermons, and for viewing by the public at large.
"What often happens is families have a box or album for all these photos. The first generation keeps them and everything is A-OK, but then their kids come along and they don't know who the people are in the photos," Graham said. "If we can preserve these, this will ensure that later generations will have access to them. That's a very hard thing to guarantee."
Graham will be on hand at 2 p.m. Sunday to scan photos. He stressed that professional photos may not be acceptable because of copyright issues.
Salem Camp Meeting was founded in 1828 and is one of the oldest existing, thriving camp meetings in the nation. The 180th Salem Camp Meeting takes place Friday to July 18. The campground is located at 3940 Salem Road in Covington.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.