What Does Special Collections Collect?: A Brief Guide for Donors and Patrons

ACU Special Collections and Archives actively seeks materials from, by and about the Restoration Movement from its earliest days to the present.  We hold books, periodicals, ephemera, photographs, audio and video recordings, archival materials and artifacts.

Books and periodicals:  Ideally we will preserve one copy in as pristine a condition as we can locate.  Where we have two copies, one will be available to researchers as a ‘use copy’ while the other is kept as a ‘preservation copy.’  We are always looking to 1) fill in gaps in our collection; 2) to acquire better-condition copies; and 3) acquire signed or inscribed copies.  In outstanding cases we will retain additional signed or association copies.

Several first editions of the works of Alexander Campbell. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Masthead, Gospel Advance, September 1919, vol. 1 no. 1. Edited and published by Price Billingsley. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Ephemera and photographs:  Printed for the moment then cast aside, ephemeral items open a window into our history that is, regrettably, seldom preserved.  Broadsides, leaflets, posters, advertising cards, clippings and the like can help us understand moments that comprise our history.  Photographs, portraits, snapshots, and slides document the moment without using words.

Campbell Street Church of Christ, Louisville, KY. 3 June 1923. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Scrapbook, Box 1, Folder 1, Mable Fuchs Papers, 1920-1921. Center for Restoration Studies MS #445. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Audio and Video Recordings:  We estimate that we hold over 15,000 recordings in a variety of formats (from magnetic tape reels to phonograph records to cassettes to VCR tapes and DVDs).  Listen below to Lynn Anderson’s sermon Ride the Wild Horses:

Listen below to Zelma Stroop remember David and Margaret Lipscomb:

Archival material: We currently house just under 490 collections of personal papers of ministers, evangelists, professors, editors and missionaries.  Each set is as different as its creator.  Some are rich in sermons or correspondence, others in manuscript materials and some contain records from congregations or organizations.  Many have a little of everything. Congregational records include minutes books, selected bulletins, membership rosters, and directories.

Letter from Carl Ketcherside to Stanley Paregien, 11 February 1970. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Letter of Recommendation for both G.W. Varner and A.V. Varner signed by the entire congregation. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Artifacts: The iconic pulpit used by Thomas Campbell at Ahorey (Ireland) Presbyterian Church may be our most recognizable artifact.  But we have communion ware from the 19th and early 20th centuries, a pew from the Madison, TN Church of Christ and artifacts from across the world from several missionaries.  These items tell yet another side to the story.

Bed-sheet sized sermon chart on Heaven, ca. 1940s-1950s. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Brass printing plates used in the production of Great Songs of the Church. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

If you have materials like these you would like to donate, please contact Mac Ice, Director of Special Collections and Archives at mac.ice@acu.edu or (325) 674-2144.  Mac will be pleased to discuss any aspect of the holdings and work of ACU Special Collections and Archives.

Foldered & Finished: Robert Lynn Anderson Papers

The Robert Lynn Anderson Papers (1965-2019) are processed and ready for researchers. The finding aid for the papers and digitized selections are now available on DigitalCommons@ACU. These papers include 34.5 linear feet (58 boxes) of paper-based files and cassette tapes, and over 1000 digital files including 175 audio and video files.

List of plases sermon What is ‘Spirituality?’ was preached over the years. Series VI, Spirituality flash drive, Robert Lynn Anderson Papers, 1965-2019. Center for Restoration Studies MS #488. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

The following biographical sketch is adapted from the biographical note on the dust jacket of Lynn Anderson, Steps to Life, 20th Century Sermons Series Volume 10. Abilene: Biblical Research Press, 1977.

Robert Lynn Anderson was born September 22, 1936 in Saskatchewan, Canada. After graduating from high school at Western Christian College (Weyburn, Saskatchewn) he attended Freed-Hardeman College (Henderson, Tennessee) and Harding College (Searcy, Arkansas) where he received the B.A. degree in 1959. He received the M.A. degree in 1965 from Harding Graduate School of Religion (Memphis, Tennessee). In 1990, Anderson was the first Doctor of Ministry graduate at Abilene Christian University.

Click on audio player below to hear the opening of Lynn Anderson’s sermon, Ride the Wild Horses, preached at Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. Visit DigitalCommons@ACU to hear the entire sermon and explore more digitized resources: 

Anderson’s ministry experience includes the establishment of a congregation in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, where he preached from 1960-1964. In 1964-1965 he preached in Lepanto, Arkansas, and then established a congregation in Kelowna, British Columbia, where he ministered for six years. From 1971-1989 he preached at Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, Texas. From 1991-1996 he preached at Preston Road Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas. Following these congregational ministries, he devoted full-time to leadership development and coaching through Hope Network Ministries. He conducted a radio ministry consisting of brief 60-second spots heard twice daily in Kelowna and three times per day in Abilene.

Sermon Interruptions, Series VI, Wild Horses flash drive, Robert Lynn Anderson Papers, 1965-2017. Center for Restoration Studies MS #488. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

He was active in community life, serving in leadership and board positions in Kiwanis Club, Community Chest, United Appeals, Action for Education Association, and the Committee for Better Education Now. As an adjunct professor, he taught cross cultural communication, Bible, and ministry courses at Abilene Christian University.

Click on audio player below to hear part of Lynn Anderson’s sermon, How to Find Faith, which was part of a series on spirituality. Visit DigitalCommons@ACU to hear the entire sermon and explore more digitized resources: 

Series I, Sermons and Research Material (boxes 2-16) consists of folders Anderson generated in the course of preaching and teaching through the Biblical text. The processor preserved the original order which closely mirrors the Biblical canon. In many cases the folders contain sermon notes, manuscripts or outlines. Series II, Topical Files (boxes 17-34) consists of topical files Anderson generated in the course of teaching, preaching, and speaking. Included in this series are the scripts from and correspondence about Anderson’s radio ministry. Series III, Ministry Files (boxes 35-39) contains files of historic memorabilia, keepsakes, and correspondence from Anderson’s tenures at Highland Church of Christ, Preston Road Church of Christ, and Hope Network Ministries. Of particular note are the notes of appreciation and encouragement Anderson received over the course of his ministry. He kept these in folders labelled ‘Bad Day File.’ Series IV, Writings (boxes 40-42) contains articles Anderson wrote as well as drafts and correspondence about Anderson’s books. Series V, Cassette Tapes (boxes 43-58) contains recordings of Anderson’s preaching at Highland Church of Christ and Preston Road Church of Christ. In many cases these recordings correspond to foldered materials in Series I and II. Series VI consists of digital files Anderson created in the course of his writing and speaking. Contact Special Collections and Archives for access to these files.

Stay tuned additional content on DigitalCommons@ACU! 

Foldered & Finished: Claude Adrian Guild Papers

The Claude Adrian Guild Papers (1939-1992) are processed and ready for researchers. The finding aid for the papers and digitized selections are now available on DigitalCommons@ACU.

The Unity of the Spirit sermon, Box 1, Folder 9, Claude Adrian Guild Papers, 1939-1992. Center for Restoration Studies MS #60. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Claude Adrian Guild was born in Buffalo, Montana, in 1916. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Abilene Christian College in 1939 and a Master of Arts in Religion from Pepperdine University in 1978. Guild was raised as member of the Lutheran Church but later converted and began serving as an evangelist for the Churches of Christ. He was baptized by J. C. Bailey in Radville, Saskatchewan. Guild preached for a number of Churches of Christ in Texas including Springtown Church of Christ in Springtown, and Riverside Church of Christ in Fort Worth. In Oregon Guild served at Southwest Church of Christ in Tigard and also held evangelistic meeting across the Western United States and Canada. Additionally, he spent time as a missionary in Australia, and served as the Vice President of Columbia Christian College (Portland, Oregon) and as the President of Fort Worth Christian College (Fort Worth, Texas). Guild died in 1996.

The “Tas-Dil” News, 24 May 1981, Series II, Box 1, Folder 7, Claude Adrian Guild Papers, 1939-1992. Center for Restoration Studies MS #60. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

This collection includes sermons, scrapbooks, biographical information, notes from graduate studies, and a number of awards. The Australia – Bulletins and Advertisements folder and the red scrapbook provide insight into Guild’s work as a missionary in Australia. The scrapbooks provide the most biographical information and the most substantive correspondence.