Scope and arrangement
The Reverend Isaac Reed Berry Papers contain documents from Berry's career as a minister. The main body of the collection consists of undated sermons, the majority of which are handwritten and offer little evidence of when and where they were delivered. The sermons are listed by title, or by a partial title where damage to a particular manuscript has made it impossible to determine a full title. The sole dated document is a Fourth of July oration Berry delivered in 1931. The Berry Papers would be of interest to scholars, church historians, and theologians concerned with learning what was said from the pulpit of African American churches in the small towns and cities of the upper South. The Fourth of July sermon and others deal with topical and political, as well as spiritual, concerns, and Berry's response to those concerns may be of use to students of African American and Southern history interested in learning more about the social history of the African American church in the South. For example, the sermon Retributive Justice addresses directly Berry's thoughts on how his congregation and the African American community generally should respond to a lynching that had apparently just occurred in the vicinity of Berry's pastorate.
The Isaac Reed Berry papers are arranged in two series: