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

This Just In: David Lipscomb Cooper’s Messianic Series

In the course of research several weeks ago I ran across the work of David Lipscomb Cooper.  I knew the name, but never really explored his life and work beyond a passing acquaintance.  Cooper is probably best known for his articulation of pretribulationalist dispensational premillennialism.  Born in Nashville and educated at Nashville Bible School under his namesake, David Lipscomb.  He then studied at University of Louisville and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville,KY). Cooper taught at Harper College (Harper, KS) before taking a post as head of the department of ancient languages at Abilene Christian College.

David Lipscomb Cooper, Abilene Christian College, Optimist September 21, 1922, page 1.

His study of Jewish missions at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL) drew upon his interest in Israel, Zionism, Messianic Judaism, apologetics and missions. Fused with premillennialism, these commitments informed his urgent and zealous writing and speaking ministry.  After studying at Moody he went west to Bible Institute of Los Angeles, where he taught until the Depression forced his lay off.  He then established Biblical Research Society, a teaching ministry he led until his death in 1965.  He devoted the remainder of his life and career to writing, teaching, conducting conferences and travel.

Thanks to the kind generosity of BiblicalResearch.info and Ariel Ministries we now have a nice matched-set of Cooper’s seven-volume Messianic SeriesThis set is upstairs in technical services now and when cataloging is complete, it will be shelved in the Center for Restoration Studies and will be available for research.

David Lipscomb Cooper, Messianic Series

 

 

This Just In: The William Douglass and Charline F. Gunselman Papers Now Open for Research

Brady Cox is a graduate student who is completing an MA in church history. He has worked in Special Collections since January 2016. He joins us today to talk about a collection he recently processed.

We have recently organized and completed a finding aid for the William Douglass & Charline F. Gunselman Papers. This collection represents the activities of the Gunselman family while they served as missionaries in Manila, Philippines (1964-1972). This collection includes Gunselman’s correspondence with American churches and financial supporters, Filipino church leaders, and other missionaries in the Philippines and Southeast Asia (1962-1972). There are meeting minutes, financial information, and student records from the Philippine Bible College in Quezon City (1965-1972). The collection additionally includes surveys, research, and edited drafts of materials for Gunselman’s Ed.D. dissertation, “Status of the Ten Evangelical Bible Colleges in the Philippines with a Proposed Program for their Improvement,” which he received from Manuel L. Quezon University (1971).

Before becoming a missionary, William Douglass Gunselman taught in Florida and Pennsylvania and worked with churches in Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. While in the Philippines, Gunselman was instrumental in leading the educational efforts of the Churches of Christ in Manila. He started the Philippine Bible College of Quezon City and served as its director from 1965-1971. The school sought to train Filipino preachers and church leaders. The Gunselman’s efforts to train Filipino preachers occurred during the peak of postwar missionary activity among Churches of Christ. While their efforts with the school were not particularly unique among other Churches of Christ missionary endeavors, this collection provides archival evidence of a phenomenon (i.e., the creation and use of schools to train ministers) that occurred among Churches of Christ missionary efforts which has been noted, but has not been thoroughly researched.

Student leading singing while Gunselman (right) observes. William Douglass & Charline F. Gunselman Papers, 1942-2009, MS #389, Box 6, Folder 21, Center for Restoration Studies, Abilene Christian University.

There are also materials related to the Churches of Christ in Florida from when the Gunselmans lived in Florida before moving to the Philippines. Gunselman was involved with the Central Florida Bible Camp and he worked at the Christian Home and Bible School (Mount Dora, Florida). He compiled information for and produced a directory of the Churches of Christ in Florida in 1962. The directory includes a list of churches and a list of preachers, and this master copy includes Gunselman’s notes. The Gunselmans received much of their financial support from churches in Florida (including Concord Street Church of Christ and Sanford Church of Christ), and Gunselman often corresponded with friends and church leaders in Florida. Therefore, there is a significant amount of correspondence with church leaders in Florida.

This collection provides unique insight into Churches of Christ mission work in the Philippines following World War II, offers Filipino perspectives and voices through letters sent to Gunselman by church leaders and students, and includes research concerning Protestant Bible colleges in the Philippines. The Florida materials are intriguing as well, and provide a look into the context of the Florida churches during the 1960s and early 1970s.

For more information, please contact Special Collections Librarian and Archivist, Mac Ice, at mac.ice@acu.edu.