Southern Methodist University

Collection on George Whitefield

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Bridwell Library
Title: Collection on George Whitefield
Inclusive Dates: 1736-1770
Abstract: Bridwell Library’s collection on George Whitefield consists of fourteen pieces of incoming and outgoing correspondence, a hymn text composed by, and a receipt signed by 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

The documents authored by, sent to, or signed by George Whitefield 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 1740-1770


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.

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

Related Material

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

Collection on the Charles Wesley family,Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Collection on John Wesley, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Collection on Thomas Haweis,Bridwell Library, 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

Digital images of all the items in this collection are available for viewing at Folder titles in this finding aid are hyperlinked directly to metadata-rich digital images of individual documents.


Series 1:
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.
Box Folder
01 01 Triple letter: from William McCulloh, December 9, 1741; W. Hammond, December 13, 1741; and Thomas Gladman, January 2, 1742
02 Letter from S. Brewer, August 23, 1769


Series 2:
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
01 03 Letter to the Honourable Sir John Philips, September 27, 1736
04 Letter to The Honourable Sir John Philips, London, November 13, 1736
05 Letter to Mr. Ebenezer Blackwell,London, November 8, 1739
06 Double letter to Gilbert Tennent, New-Boston, November 25, 1740, and to "My Dr Brother Rogers,” not dated, circa 1740-1770
07 Letter to Mr. Savage, London, September 11, 1748
08 Letter to Mr. Stennet, February 14, 1754
09 Letter to Charles Wesley, Bristol, March 17, 1763
10 Letter to Moses Little, May 1, 1764
11 Letter to Mrs. Leighton, London, not dated, circa 1740-1770


Series 3:
Other Documents, circa 1740-1770

The third and final series holds two documents that are not letters: a receipt for payment of a family grave and a copy of a hymn text that George Whitefield wrote for his own funeral.
Box Folder
01 12 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
13 Hymn "Ah! Lovely appearance of Death," composed by George Whitefield, May 1, 1764. MS copy in an unidentified hand, 1764-1770