A collection of several hundred items of correspondence illustrating the educational work of Theophilus Brown Larimore is now available online.
This online collection contains scans (and in many cases transcriptions) of the full contents of the Theophilus Brown Larimore Papers, Center for Restoration Studies Manuscripts #6 consisting of personal and business correspondence of T. B. Larimore and B. R. Colson relating to the establishment of Dixieland College in Gainesville, Florida.
This is our first attempt at launching a full-scale online presentation of an entire manuscripts collection in DigitalCommons. Leveraging remote-work arrangements, courtesy of COVID-19, Amanda Dietz worked from scans prepared several years ago to generate transcriptions of many items of handwritten correspondence. She then uploaded the entire set with metadata description. All told, there are over 400 items in this collection.
It is a significant set of materials relating to a proposed-but-never-instituted Christian school in Gainesville Florida. Scholars interested in higher education among Churches of Christ will find this collection particularly useful, as will anyone interested in Larimore’s life and work. He was among the most widely-known and successful evangelists among Disciples and Churches of Christ from the latter decades of the nineteenth century until his death in 1929. Larimore established his reputation as an educator through his first school at Florence, Alabama (Mars Hill College) in the 1880s through which he trained several prominent evangelists. He also served Freed-Hardeman College in a brief stint. Dixieland College was one of many efforts by leaders among Churches of Christ to establish high schools and colleges throughout the Untied States. Larimore’s second wife, Emma Page Larimore, was involved also in the planning of this school. His influence extended widely through his students and his writings, the collecting and editing of which Emma played a critical role. This set of materials reveals the web of relationships among church periodicals and those who edited them, leading evangelists and writers, educators, and Christian business leaders and local professionals. The materials give a scarce behind-the-scenes view, in remarkable definition, of the shared efforts requisite to sustaining Christian educational institutions in the early 20th century.
Larimore’s partner in the Dixieland venture was Barney R. Colson. Colson maintained an active correspondence with local constituents as well as leading figures among Churches of Christ, such as H. C. Shoulders, J. B. Nelson, J. W. Grant, J. G. Malphurs, John T. Hinds, J. M. McCaleb, W. S. Long, G. A. Dunn, and J. W. Dunn. Larimore also received letters form several preachers and teachers interested in the work, such as W. W. Slater and Isaac E. Tackett.
Another significant letter held in this collection is one J. N. Armstrong, former President of Harding College, drafted to the United States government concerning the general position of Churches of Christ regarding the propriety of a Christian participating in war. Armstrong send Colson a copy of that letter.
Manuscripts #6 is the largest set of Larimore-related items we hold. The other significant collection is from his sister, Mary Larimore Meeks (CRS Manuscripts #264).
Three volumes of Larimore’s sermons, a hymnal, and one slim monograph entitled ‘What Must I Do To Be Saved, are available online;