Southern Methodist University

Collection on George Whitefield

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Bridwell Library
Title: Collection on George Whitefield
Inclusive Dates: 1736-1783
Abstract: Bridwell Library’s collection on George Whitefield consists of fourteen pieces of incoming and outgoing correspondence, a hymn text composed by, a receipt signed by, and two printed images of Whitefield. Anglican clergyman George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a popular evangelical preacher in England, Wales, and in the British North American colonies.
Accession No: BridArch 303.63
Extent: 1 box (.5 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

George Whitefield was born in Gloucester, England on December 16, 1714, the youngest son of innkeepers Thomas and Elizabeth Edwards Whitefield. He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he met Charles Wesley and joined the Oxford Holy Club. An Anglican deeply influenced by Puritan writings, Moravian Pietism, and his own spiritual re-birth experience, Whitefield was ordained a deacon in June of 1736. Rev. Whitefield ministered in England in 1737 and in the British North American colony of Georgia in 1738. After returning to England, he was ordained a priest in January of 1739 under the patronage of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon.

In response to finding many Church of England pulpits closed to him, Whitefield adopted field preaching as a way of conveying the message of Christianity to the public. Over the next three decades his dramatic style of preaching, evangelical new-birth message, and constant public appearances made Whitefield one of the most popular preachers in Great Britain and British North America during the First Great Awakening. He died in Newburyport, Massachusetts on September 30, 1770 while on a preaching tour.

Though they were colleagues in ministry early on, Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley parted ways over theological differences. The Wesleys championed Arminian Methodism while Whitefield supported the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Conference, Lady Huntingdon’s (Calvinistic Methodist) Connexion, and the cause of mass evangelism.


Henry, Stuart Clark. George Whitefield: Wayfaring Witness. New York: Abingdon Press, 1957.

Rack, H. “Whitfield, George.” Encyclopedia of World Methodism. Nashville: Methodist Publishing House, 1974.

Rogal, Samuel J. A Biographical Dictionary of 18th Century Methodism Vol IX, W. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

TThe documents in this collection record evidence of the personal life and ministerial career of a leading eighteenth-century English missionary and field-preaching evangelist.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into three series:
Series 1: Incoming Correspondence, 1741-1769
Series 2: Outgoing Correspondence, 1736- circa 1770
Series 3: Other Documents, circa 1740-1783


Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgement of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.

Index Terms

Whitefield, George, 1714-1770.
Evangelists -- England.
Calvinistic Methodists -- England -- 18th century.
Methodist Church -- England -- 18th century.
Letters -- England -- 18th century.

Related Materials

Digital reproductions of the Collection on George Whitefield are available electronically at

Collection on Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Letters of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon,Bridwell Library Digital Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Letters of John Wesley, Bridwell Library Digital Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Collection on Thomas Haweis,Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Thomas Haweis Collection,Bridwell Library Digital Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

George Whitefield Collection, Methodist Collection - Drew University, Madison, New Jersey.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Collection on George Whitefield, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired, 1957-ongoing. The core of this collection was a gift of Bishop Frederick DeLand Leete as part of the Methodist Historical Library.

Processing Information

Processed by Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2013.

Finding aid written by

Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2013.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2013

Detailed Description of the Collection

Incoming Correspondence, 1741-1769

The first series comprises two folders of letters written to George Whitefield. The first folder contains a triple letter written in 1741-1742. The second folder contains a single letter written in 1769 just prior to Whitefield’s final voyage to North America. Folder titles in this finding aid are hyperlinked directly to metadata-rich digital images of individual documents.
Box Folder
303.74.04 11 Triple letter to George Whitefield from William McCulloh, 1741 December 9; W. Hammond, 1741 December 13; and Thomas Gladman, 1742 January 2
Box Folder
303.63.01 01 S. Brewer letter to George Whitefield,1768 August 23

Outgoing Correspondence, 1736- circa 1770

The second series consists of nine folders containing eight single letters and a double letter written by George Whitefield between 1736 and 1764.
Box Folder
303.63.01 02 George Whitefield letter to the Honourable Sir John Philips, 1736 September 27
03 George Whitefield letter to The Honourable Sir John Philips, London, 1736 November 13
04 George Whitefield letter to Mr. Ebenezer Blackwell,London, 1739 November 8
05 George Whitefield double letter to Gilbert Tennent, New-Boston, 1740 November 25, and to "My Dr Brother Rogers,” not dated, circa 1740
06 George Whitefield letter to Mr. Savage, London, 1748 September 11
07 George Whitefield letter to Mr. Stennet, 1754 February 14
08 George Whitefield letter to Charles Wesley, Bristol, 1763 March 17
09 George Whitefield letter to Moses Little, 1764 May 1
10 George Whitefield letter to Mrs. Leighton, London, not dated, circa 1740-1770

Other Documents, circa 1740-1783

The third and final series holds four documents that are not letters: a receipt for payment for a family grave, a copy of a hymn text that George Whitefield wrote for his own funeral, and two prints.
Box Folder
303.63.01 11 Receipt signed by George Whitefieldfor funds received from Mr. Royse for a family grave in Tottenham-Court Chapel, February 27 [year not recorded], circa 1740-1770
12 Hymn text "Ah! Lovely appearance of Death" attributed to George Whitefield, 1764 May 1. MS copy in an unidentified hand, 1764-1770
13 Print “Georgius Whitefield”" by J. E. Haid after a painting by Jenkin, 1783
14 Print “The Reverend Mr. George Whitefield A.B.”by Miller after a painting by M. Jenkin, 1751