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Gale Introduces New Digital Archive on Religions of America

Traces the History of Religious Developments and Movements Unique to America

ACRL 2019 Conference, CLEVELAND – April 10, 2019 – Gale, a Cengage company, is introducing a new digital archive that explores the history and unique character of the American religious experience. Religions of America provides scholars and researchers access to the largest resource of its kind that follows the development of religions and religious movements born in and significantly reshaped by the United States from 1820 to 1990. This never-before-digitized collection contains thousands of rare resources that opens a window for scholars and researchers onto the contemporary religious condition and its impact on modern American society and politics. Read Gale’s blog about this new archive: http://bit.ly/2FYgbsH.

Religions of America pays close attention to America’s unique role as a birthplace for new religious movements, particularly after World War II. It provides distinctive coverage of the expression of and reaction to various religious movements from Pentecostalism and Mormonism to modern Judeo-Christian organizations and non-Christian movements. It also offers robust coverage of alternative, lesser-known, but culturally important religious traditions, including New Age, Neopagan, Wicca, neo-Christianity and Christian Identity, and independent fundamentalist movements.

The archive’s wide variety of periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, pamphlets, newsletters, ephemera and visual materials lets scholars examine America’s religious life through the lens of politics, sociology, economics, psychology, women’s studies and other disciplinary perspectives. It draws on a variety of collections, including the largest multi-denominational religious collection of its kind, assembled by J. Gordon Melton, the premiere scholar of 20th-century American and Canadian religious life.

Cross searchable with other Gale Primary Sources, Religions of America comprises five unique collections:

• The American Religions Collection: Includes materials from Hebrew Christians and Pentecostal groups to Baptist organizations and Grace Gospel organizations. It features serials on neo-Pagan and occult religious traditions as well as important subject files on LGBTQ churches, church-and-state controversies, women and female spirituality and political extremism.

• The Shaker Collection: Documents the life and history of Shakers from several communities during the 18th through the early 20th centuries. Content includes correspondence, diaries, journals, photographs, community laws, church covenants, hymnals, spiritual communications, inspirational writings and drawings, lectures and speeches, as well as writings by and about members.

• The FBI Files on Jonestown, Moorish Science Temple of America, and the Branch Davidians: Explores the events surrounding the Free Peoples Temple in Jonestown; the activities of the early Black-Moslem Moorish Science Temple of America and, through reproduced negotiation transcripts, the beliefs and practices of David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers.

• The Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda: From Brown University presents more than 30,000 pages of rare materials on Christian identity movements from its founding in the late 1940s until the 1990s.

• Utah and the Mormons: Includes periodicals, doctrinal and controversial works covering Mormon thought and history, pro- and anti-Mormon writings, and newspapers from Mormon communities.

“Religions of America allows researchers to study the unique American religious experience,” said Seth Cayley, vice president of Gale Primary Sources. “By providing a diverse range of materials on both major religious traditions and less mainstream belief systems, this remarkable archive allows researchers to explore the evolution of American religions and examine how its changed and impacted social attitudes over time.”

To provide a better research experience, Religions of America has been integrated into the Gale Digital Scholar Lab. This integration allows researchers to apply natural language processing tools to raw text data (OCR) from the collections or Gale Primary Sources archives and perform textual analysis on large corpora of historical texts. Now researchers can analyze and explore historical text more interactively, generating new research insights and content sets not previously possible.

Religions of America offers:

• access to more than half a million pages of unique and rare content, making it the largest and most comprehensive resource of its kind for the study of religions and religious movements in America.

• Thousands of research files and rare serial publications covering a variety of religious movements from Pentecostalism and Mormonism to such lesser-known religious traditions as Wicca and Neopagan.

• Cross-searching and textual analysis with Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab and Gale Primary Sources, opening new research opportunities.

Gale will showcase the Religions of America at the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference, April 10-13 in Cleveland at the Gale booth #311.

To request a trial, visit the Religions of America webpage: http://bit.ly/2G7ihaN.

About Cengage and Gale
Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit www.gale.com.

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