This just in: Millennial Harbinger issues owned by James Shannon

In late summer we acquired a half-dozen single issues of Millennial Harbinger owned by and addressed to James Shannon.  Three issues are from 1849, one from 1856, and two from 1857 and are in fine condition.  In 1849 Shannon was President of Bacon College in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and from 1856-1859 he was President at Christian University in Canton, Missouri.  Throughout these years he was an ardent defender of slavery and a frequent contributor to church papers such as Alexander Campbell’s Harbinger.

Each issue bears Shannon’s name at the top of the front cover. It is unlikely that Alexander Campbell was involved personally in the hand-addressing of each issue of the Harbinger.  A print shop employee probably penned the names, then bundled issues for each post office, and sent them on their way.  At their destination the postmaster split the bundle and distributed them accordingly.  At year’s end subscribers often had their issues bound to make preservation and reference easier.  Regrettably the covers were almost always stripped off in this process, thereby losing information such as news items, advertisements, or lists of agents who handled subscriptions for the paper.

Front cover, Millennial Harbinger, March 1849, owned by James Shannon

Front cover, Millennial Harbinger, May 1849, owned by James Shannon

Front cover, Millennial Harbinger, June 1849, owned by James Shannon

Back cover, Millennial Harbinger, June 1849, owned by James Shannon

Front cover, Millennial Harbinger, May 1857, owned by James Shannon

Front cover, Millennial Harbinger, July 1857, owned by James Shannon

In bookish terms, these issues are variations of ‘association copies.’ In this case, an association copy is a item owned by “someone of interest in his own right.”*  For this reason, plus the fine condition of the original covers, I sought them for our collection.  In historical terms, these items belonged to a truly significant figure in Stone-Campbell history.  Historian David Edwin Harrell described him as

“the unchallenged leader among Disciples proslavery advocates…probably no other man in the first-generation history of the Disciples came as close to rivaling Alexander Campbell in education, intellectual capacity, and sheer force of personality as Shannon…[He} was also active as a preacher and was regarded by Campbell and many other Disciples leaders as the most brilliant speaker in the brotherhood.”**

How significant it will be to interpret these issues in a museum exhibit or in a class of students.  They forcefully convey the ‘realness’ of the past and the positions Shannon advocated. The January 1856 issues carries an article describing a disturbance at Bethany College among the student body over slavery.

Front cover, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon

Article about a disturbance at Bethany College over slavery, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon

Article about a disturbance at Bethany College over slavery, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon

Article about a disturbance at Bethany College over slavery, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon

Article about a disturbance at Bethany College over slavery, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon

Back cover, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon

The January 1856 issue also bears a pencilled notation concerning the ordination of J. W. McGarvey.  There is also a faint pencil notation on the front cover (see above) calling attention to an article in the issue by C. L. Loos.  Presumably these notations are in Shannon’s hand.

Title page, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon. Notations very likely in Shannon’s hand.

Title page, Millennial Harbinger, January 1856, owned by James Shannon. Notations very likely in Shannon’s hand.

Our normal course of accessioning calls for single issues of periodicals to be foldered,  boxed, and catalogued with other issues of the same journal.  In this case I will accession them as a manuscript collection in Shannon’s name.  What sets these issues apart is Shannon’s ownership and having them in a discrete manuscripts collection will ensure their preservation and visibility to our students and faculty, to the scholarly community, and to the church.

*John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors. New York: Knopf, 1991, 25.

**David Edwin Harrell, Jr. Quest for A Christian America: The Disciples of Christ and American Society to 1866. Nashville: DIsciples of Christ Historical Society, 1966, 122.

This just in: First edition, first printing of Biography and Sermons of Marshall Keeble, Evangelist (1931)

A few weeks ago we acquired a first edition, first printing of one of the best-selling books among Churches of Christ in the twentieth century.  Biography and Sermons of Marshall Keeble, Evangelist debuted in the fall of 1931 and sold out of its first printing within weeks.

Goodpasture, B. C., ed. “Biography and Sermons of Marshall Keeble, Evangelist.” (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1931).

The new-to-us copy is in much better condition than our existing copy.  We will keep both, reserving the worn copy for use by researchers and preserving the better one.  I had been looking for a nice copy of a first edition for some time now and I’m grateful that now we have one.  Ideally we will have a copy of each of the several dozen printings…I am always looking to improve the scope and quality of the collection.

We detailed briefly the remarkable publishing history of this book in an on-site exhibit on the main level of the ACU Library.  Though the exhibit has now come down from public display, you can still see it here.

 

This Just In: Congregational Histories

A few days ago a donor sent us another box of wonderful books that will fill in many gaps in our collection. Among those books are several congregational histories. These, too, are a welcome addition. Each one is new to us and as a lot they represent a very wide ideological, chronological, and geographical spectrum. Tip O’Neill remarked ‘All politics is local.’ In a similar way, all history is local, and congregational histories document how people lived out their convictions as an assembly.  They are vital sources of information.  Intellectual and social histories of the Restoration Movement provide one kind of analysis; congregational history provide another. In congregational life and history and practice we see the general rules proved time and again; or we can see exceptions and variations. Sometimes we may see both in the same congregation. In every case, the congregational history, and the congregational historian, makes this kind of analysis possible. For this reason we want very much to preserve a robust collection of congregational histories.

We file them in a subset of our vertical files. Within the collections of Center for Restoration Studies we have a set each of biographical, congregational, missions or world churches, organizational, and subject files. We catalog books with a Dewey number and shelve them; materials that cannot be easily or safely shelved need another storage method. A vertical file is an ideal storage method for items that are small, thin, ephemeral, or for some other reason cannot or should not go on a shelf. Rather, they go in folders in a file cabinet. While a Dewey number gives us access to books (search for an item in the online catalog, find it, then locate the number and go to the shelf), a vertical file gets a finding aid. The folders are arranged in some kind of order (often alphabetical) and each one is listed in a document. That document is published or made available to the public so researchers can read or scan (or search) the document and locate the desired folder.  Then we go to the right drawer in the file cabinet and bring them just what they need.  Our congregational files are arranged in alphabetical order by state, then by city within each state, then by congregation in each city. Items in a vertical file usually are not cataloged or described at the item level. In the case of our vertical files, if a researcher can discover we have a file for a particular person, congregation, organization or subject, then that usually gets them far enough along in the discovery process.  This provides a reliable way to manage the information and get the item in the hands of the researcher.  It is also scalable: we can easily grow and expand the collection when new items like these come in.

So, thanks to a generous donor, here are the newest additions. When we update the finding aid it will be available here.

High Street Church of Christ, Akron Ohio

Church of Christ, Alice, Texas

Gatton Church of Christ, Gatton, Queensland, Australia

Alleghany Church of Christ, Christiansburg, Virginia

First Christian Church, Frankfort, Kentucky

Ninth Avenue Church of Christ, Haleyville, Alabama

Salem Church of Christ, Lauderdale County, Alabama

Highland Street Church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee

Eastside Church of Christ, Midwest City, Oklahoma

First Christian Church, Nevada, Missouri

Southgate Church of Christ, San Angelo, Texas