This Just In: Christadelphian titles added

Over the summer one of our projects was to complete cataloging for a small collection of Christadelphian titles we recently acquired.  Tracing origins to John Thomas, the Christadelphians began in the United States but emerged with vigor in England in the later 19th century.  The movement shares restorationist strategies for Biblical interpretation, and eschews traditional theological formulations of the nature of Jesus Christ, Unitarianism and the Trinity.  Thomas’ earliest controversy centered on the practice of rebaptism.   With his closest family and circle of influence, he chided Alexander Campbell for his stance toward the unimmersed. The Campbell-Thomas exchange gained notoriety through a series of letters between Alexander Campbell and “a sister from Lunenburg [Virginia].”

The theological rationale for Thomas’ positions found expression in print: monographs, periodical literature, tracts, and pamphlets.  The materials we acquired include primary sources such as Thomas’ seminal work Elpis Israel, substantial runs of periodicals such as The Christadelphian and Herald of the Kingdom and The Age to Come, and an assortment of materials by and about Thomas’ chief protege Robert Roberts.  Pictured here are the books and periodicals, fresh from cataloging, and ready for the shelf.  Still in progress are dozens of tracts and pamphlets and loose periodical issues.

The addition of these materials to our collection affords our researchers opportunity to more broadly and deeply explore the issues at play in the Stone-Campbell and related movements.  It is another step forward in building our collections to better serve our users…they are on the shelf and ready for use.



Here is a list of some of these items, just in, and ready for research:

The Apocalypse and history : the book of Revelation in its historical setting / by W.H. Boulton and W.H. Barker. Rewritten by W.H. Boulton.

Believing the Bible / by A.D. Norris.

The Christadelphian.

Christadelphian Answers on all kinds of difficulties, objections, arguments and questions … By well-known Christadelphians. Compiled …by F.G. Jannaway.

Christendom astray from the Bible.

Conviction and Conduct. The faith that works.

The Devil : a Biblical exposition of the truth concerning “that old serpent, the devil and Satan,” : and a Refutation of the beliefs obtaining in the world regarding sin and its source / [Epps?].

England’s ruin : John Smith’s answer to Mr. Blatchford’s plea for socialism as contained in the widely circulated book, Merrie England : the subject considered from a Bible point of view.

Four lectures on Armageddon / by Charles P. Wauchope.

God’s way : a restatement of the full Christian gospel / by John Carter.

The Gospel of John. An analytical study.

The gospel of Mark : a systematic comm. with contributions from the other gospels.

Prophets after the exile / by John Carter.

The protesters / Alan Eyre.

A Souvenir of a Memorable Fraternal Gathering in the Town Hall at Birmingham, Whitsuntide, 1928. [With plates.].

“Thine is the kingdom” : the message of original christianity / Peter J. Southgate.

Understanding the Bible / A.D. Norris.

The visible hand of God, or, The miracles, signs and wonders which have occurred in the past dealings of God with the nation of Israel : the nature and design of such operations and their necessity to the accomplishment of the work of God in the earth / by Robert Roberts.

The ways of providence as authentically illustrated in Bible history: with three chapters on the overthrow of the Jewish commonwealth by the Romans, and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus / by Robert Roberts.

Without the camp : being the story of why and how the Christadelphians were exempted from military service / by Frank G. Jannaway.

Wrested scriptures : a Christadelphian handbook of suggested explanations to difficult passages.

Yahweh- Elohim : a devotional study of the memorial name / by E.J. Lasius.

Traveling Preacher: The George Washington Varner Papers

George Washington Varner

George Washington Varner

Special Collections is proud to add another collection to its store of historical material. Descendants of pioneering preacher George Washington (G.W.) Varner generously donated remnants of Varner’s business and ministry career. After marrying Angela Virginia Daniel, Varner settled in Pleasant’s County, West Virginia. They successfully operated a farm in Cloverdale for many years where the Cloverdale Church of Christ was eventually planted. George and Angela Varner were both instrumental to the congregation’s organization. G.W. Varner also acted as a traveling evangelist in the Ohio River Valley.  The collection includes letters written in the back of Varner’s small ledger books.  Of special note within this collection are several letters of recommendation written by church members on his behalf endorsing him and his ministry.

These letters were used to certify the credibility of traveling preachers as good standing members of Christian communities, with well behaved families, and commendable oratorical skills. Often brief biographies were included in the letters detailing the burgeoning call to ministry seen in the preacher at a young age. They attested to his knowledge of Scripture as it was assumed that he closely studied the Bible. At the time rural preachers usually didn’t have formal education so these letters served as their means of establishing themselves in new communities. See below for two typical letters of recommendation used by George Varner, along with the transcriptions of the letters.

Letter of Recommendation for G.W. Varner written by one of the Elders of the Cloverdale congregation.

Letter of Recommendation for G.W. Varner written by one of the Elders of the Cloverdale, West Virginia congregation.

Transcription for Letter of Recommendation (1890)

Letter of Recommendation for G.W. Varner written by Elder A.W. Garrett.

Letter of Recommendation for G.W. Varner written by Elder A.W. Garrett.

Transcription for Letter of Recommendation (1892)

An interesting specimen found within this collection is a Letter of Recommendation for both George Varner and his wife, Angela Virginia Varner. When families moved from town to town they would usually transfer their membership from their previous congregation to another with the help of these letters of recommendation, written and signed by elders or deacons.This particular letter however is signed by the entire congregation, women included. It is possible that the Varners were moving to another area or that Angela traveled with G.W. at times.

Letter of Recommendation for both G.W. Varner and A.V. Varner signed by the entire congregation.

Letter of Recommendation for both G.W. Varner and A.V. Varner signed by the entire congregation.

Transcription for Letter of Recommendation (1883)

Another interest piece from this collection is a small ledger book Varner used as an all-purpose notebook. In this particular ledger one will find lists of business transactions (pages used as a check book) and payments made, letters of recommendation for Varner, and also Varner’s own scribbles. These personal notes seem to be sermon notes, devotional notes, or study notes Varner made while reading Scripture.

Small ledger book used by G.W. Varner as a check book and notebook for personal notes and letters of recommendation.

Small ledger book used by G.W. Varner as a check book and notebook for personal notes and letters of recommendation.

The Varner Papers are processed and available for research.  Please contact us to schedule an appointment to view them in person, or review the finding aid and we can arrange for electronic document delivery.

Finding aid for George Washington Varner Papers, Center for Restoration Studies Manuscript # 295, is available in PDF and MS Word formats:

PDF: ACU_FindingAid_GeorgeWashingtonVarnerPapers_MS#295

MS Word: ACU_FindingAids_GeorgeWashingtonVarnerPapers_MS#295