Distinguished historian Dr. David Edwin Harrell, Jr. was honored as the ACU Library’s Friend of the Year for 2017 on September 18 for the gift of his personal papers to the Center for Restoration Studies. Library Dean, Dr. John Weaver, presented the award to Harrell and announced that the Harrell Collection of Global Religious History is available for research. The archival collection includes academic works, manuscripts, missionary materials, and religious publications, as well as interviews and correspondence with the subjects of Harrell’s research on American religion, including his biographies of Pentecostal leaders Oral Roberts and Pat Robertson.
Harrell pioneered using sociological analysis to study American religion, especially in the South. His studies on the social history of the Disciples of Christ were watershed works in the academic analysis of the Stone-Campbell Movement. In addition to his distinguished career in research, authorship, and teaching at universities in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama, he preached frequently in churches around the globe, with special interest in Churches of Christ in India.
Harrell was introduced by Dr. Doug Foster of the Center for Restoration Studies, and by Russ and Liz Roberts, his son-in-law and daughter. Harrell’s speech at the luncheon, “A Singular Journey Through Four Distinct Communities,” reflected on his body of work, with many memories of his colleagues in his work.
Friends of ACU Library hosts an annual luncheon during Summit each year to remember and thank its Friends. This year’s event was held in the bay window area of the Library’s third floor, which overlooks the campus mall.