The Samuel and Sarah (Sally) Wait Collection illuminates a vital segment of the life and history of Wake Forest University and North Carolina Baptists. As early as 1815, Samuel and Sally Wait's work, correspondence, and personal interactions prepared the way for progress and reform in the religious and cultural climate of the South, most particularly North Carolina. As a preacher, teacher, and institutional founder, Samuel Wait's teachings and ministry propelled North Carolina Baptists into the future with his vision for religious and educational growth. Sally Wait, working alongside Samuel, shared Samuel's strength of character and supported her husband's work and ministry both financially and emotionally. Wake Forest University and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina survive and thrive as valuable and viable institutions whose very roots were shaped by the dedication and visionary work of Samuel and Sally Wait. In the Wait Collection lies the unfolding of this monumental development in the advancement of North Carolina and denominational history.
The Wait Collection, with its vast array of correspondence, journals, artifacts, and portraits, was an excellent candidate for digitization. Seeking a grant offered by North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources via its NC-ECHO (Exploring Cultural Heritage Online) project and federal LSTA funds, the Special Collections and Technology Teams of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library wrote a successful proposal and received funding to digitize selected Wait materials. Future projects will include digitizing the Collection in its entirety for online access and availability.