Doing the Word

Southern Baptists’ Carver School of Church Social Work and Its Predecessors, 1907-1997

  • Author(s): Scales, T. Laine and Melody Maxwell
  • Series: America's Baptists
  • Imprint: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2019-11-15
  • Status: Active
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In the pantheon of publications related to women’s educational history, there is little research concerning women’s education in the context of the Baptist church. In Doing the Word: Southern Baptists’ Carver School of Church Social Work and Its Predecessors, 1907–1997, T. Laine Scales and Melody Maxwell provide a complete history of this unique institution. By exploring the dynamic evolution of women’s education through the lens of the women’s training program for missions and social work at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the authors show how the institution both expanded women’s education and leadership and also came into tension with changes in the Southern Baptist Convention, ultimately resulting in its closing in 1997. A touchstone for women’s studies and church history alike, Doing the Word reopens a lost chapter in the evolution of women’s leadership during the twentieth century—a tumultuous period in which the Carver School, under significant pressure to reverse course, sought to expand the roles of women in leading the church.


LAINE SCALES is a professor of social work at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She is editor or author of over thirty articles and chapters and ten books including Christian Faith and University Life: Stewards of the Academy and “All that Fits a Woman”: Training Southern Baptist Women for Charity and Mission, 1907-1926.

MELODY MAXWELL is an associate professor of church history at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her works have appeared in multiple journals of religious studies, including Perspective Religious Studies, Baptist History and Heritage, and Tennessee Baptist History. She is the author of The Woman I Am: Southern Baptist Women’s Writings, 1906-2006.