Digital collection of Stone-Campbell books now features over 300 items

The Stone-Campbell and associated movements from their beginning harnessed the power of the printing press to advocate for religious freedom and theological reform. James O’Kelly in Virginia and North Carolina, Abner Jones and Elias Smith in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, Barton W. Stone in Kentucky and Tennessee, and Thomas and Alexander Campbell with Walter Scott across the Ohio Valley and the Western Reserve employed a steady stream of published tracts, periodicals and books to advance their causes.  Center for Restoration Studies holds thousands of such items.

Total Depravity, a Review of S. A. Paine’s Book, by W. T. Kidwill. Published by Firm Foundation in Austin, Texas, 1909. Worldcat shows only one other known copy.

A few weeks ago we passed a small milestone for our growing online digital collection of Stone-Campbell Movement books, tracts and pamphlets.  Housed at, the collection now holds 329 published items by, from or about these movements, their leaders, shapers, adherents, principles, and values. Each item is available in full-text PDF download and the site is searchable in a number of ways.

The quantity, though, is relatively a minor milestone.  When celebrating a milestone, we gravitate towards numbers like 100, 500 or 1000…not 300.  But reaching this point gives me an opportunity to stress the qualities of this collection rather than celebrate a quantity (be it 300 or 30,000) for its own sake.

We launched this series realizing many Stone-Campbell books are already available on the web, particularly through, and Google books.  So we knew right off the bat it was unwise to steward our resources by scanning items that already exist digitally elsewhere.  Instead, I set these goals to guide selection of items for digitization: we want to curate items that 1) are relevant for historical inquiry into the thought and activity of the movement worldwide; 2) unavailable elsewhere online; 3) are held in hard copy by only a few institutions (at least so far as can be known through; and 4) reflect a wide representation of the movement.

Our goal is to serve scholarship (whether conducted in the academy or for the sake of the church) by preserving and providing excellent sources.  Hosting these materials online, for free, for any and all users, is one way to fulfill this mission.

Here are the most recent additions:

“Directory of Churches of Christ in the Northeast” (1969) 

C. A. Norred, The Bible Teacher: A Training Course For Bible Teachers” 

W.T. Kidwill, Total Depravity by W.T. Kidwill: A Review of S.A. Paine’s Book” 

H. T. Morrison,Twelve Reasons Why I Stand Identified With The People Known As Disciples Of Christ” 

Charles H. Roberson,Spiritual Depression”  

J. Harvey Dykes,The Kingdoms of the World”  

Guy N. Woods,The Menace of the Movies” 

Elbridge B. Linn, The Gods of “Christianity

Elbridge B. Linn,The Obedience of Faith” 

Elbridge B. Linn,The One Faith and The Creeds of Christendom” 

H. Leo Boles, The Second Coming of Christ and “The Millennium

Norman Davidson, A Christian Business Man Writes His Brethren” 



Dearest Little Friends: a 1919 letter from a faculty member comes back to Abilene

I never know what the mail will bring.  Last week we received a kind donation from an eagle-eyed antiquer who spotted this letter from 1919.  Written by S. Vernon McCasland, faculty member in the Science Department, it reveals a charming friendship with two of his former pupils.

We do not have a file for McCasland.  From a quick internet search I see his stint at ACC was brief.  He taught science and served as the school’s first football coach.  After leaving ACC to pursue graduate study, McCasland went on to a distinguished career in biblical and theological studies, teaching many years at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

Letter, S. Vernon McCasland to Claude and Laude Tyson, May 25, 1919, p. 1

Letter, S. Vernon McCasland to Claude and Maude Tyson, May 25, 1919, p. 1

May 25, 1919

Mr. Claude + Miss Maude Tyson;
Goldsboro, Texas.
Dearest Little Friends;-
You don’t know how much pleasure it was to receive a letter from two of the finest little people that ever have come to school to me.  Your letters were so nicely written, too.  I remember so well how small and young you were when you first came to school to me.  And also how good you were and how much you learned.

I can never forget the people of Midway and the Winter [page 2] that I stayed there.  I would like very much to have your pictures.  You are doubtless much larger now than you were then, and will soon be really grown up.

I still remember putting Claude up on the table before the school.  It wasn’t very funny, was it Claude?  But that was just a sign that you were a real boy.  I am teaching in college now, where I have lots of big boys to manage.  Sometimes I go to town at night and bring one home when he has slipped off.  Wouldn’t you like to be one my boys here?  I would be very glad to have “my little twins,” in college here sometime.

Would be glad to hear from you again whenever you want to write.

Give my best regards to your parents and Mamie and [illegible] also to all of my friends there.

With love,

S. Vernon McCasland

Letter, S. Vernon McCasland to Claude and Laude Tyson, May 25, 1919, p. 2

Letter, S. Vernon McCasland to Claude and Maude Tyson, May 25, 1919, p. 2


Letter, S. Vernon McCasland to Claude and Laude Tyson, May 25, 1919, envelope

Letter, S. Vernon McCasland to Claude and Maude Tyson, May 25, 1919, envelope

PS: The letter was sent to us from New Mexico. How a letter from a beloved teacher was preserved all these years, and how it trekked from Abilene, to Goldsboro Texas to New Mexico and back again, must surely be a fascinating story.

Acceptance and Rejection: Paul Rogers reflects on forty years of preaching


While processing gift books this morning I came to These 40 Years, The Best of Four Decades in One Pulpit, written by long-time Middle Tennessee minister Paul Rogers.

This brief comment (p. 13) caught my eye:

Acceptance and Rejection

Over these forty years, I have been loved by most, loathed by some, helped by most, heckled by some, acquainted both with bouquets and brickbats.  I have been compared to Billy Graham, Batsell Barrett Baxter, and Beelzebub!  I have had one person to insist she could listen to me forever and another to say she had rather hear a dog bark!  I have been encouraged and discouraged, glad and sad, up and down and all around…