This just in: Congregational directories from Altus, Oklahoma

A donor sent us a box of directories from the Elm & Hudson and the Thomas Street Churches of Christ, both in Altus, Oklahoma.  A few are pictured here.  Congregational directories are valuable resources for genealogists and local historians and can serve much larger research projects.  Often they include historical information and sometimes information about the ministries of the congregation.  Usually the information they contain is unavailable elsewhere. We are always glad to see new directories come into the collection.

I have an old directory. How can I know if you need it? Great question. Chances are good we do not already have it.  But we’ll be glad to check.  The first thing you can do is  look up your congregation in this finding aid to determine if we have an existing file.  Our vertical files could contain a wide array of paper items.  There might be a few bulletins, or a historical sketch, or a photograph or flyer or other kind of ephemera in the file.  If your congregation is not listed in that finding aid, we do not have a file for it and therefore anything we receive will be a great new addition!  We are always getting new items in, like these directories from Altus, and would be delighted to hear from you about similar items.  Contact me at or 325-2144 if I can assist further.



This Just In: A congregational history of Western Hills Church of Christ, Temple, Texas, 1908-2022

Dr. Matthew Stephen put together a very nice congregational history for Western Hills Church of Christ in Temple, Texas.  To complement the book, he built this website to showcase photographs and to host the book in PDF form.  It is a well-done history published in an accessible form, freely available to any who are interested.

Cover page, A History of Western Hills Church of Christ, by Matthew Stephen

One of the pitfalls of writing congregational history is the conundrum of printing the fruits of research.  Often the print run needs to be small because the interest is localized; however, small print runs can be expensive and even if monetized, or subsidized the congregation, the costs can still be prohibitive.  Publishing online is the perfect solution.

I predict Matt will have a global readership.  Those who are interested in the subject matter or location will certainly be interested, but any who are engaged in congregational history will find his work a worthy model.  I like to browse congregational histories because, on the technical side, each one has some kind of approach or feature I find useful.  On the historical side, it is fascinating to see how principles and practice intersect on the ground in a local context.  Congregational history is a critical discipline…I’m a big fan (and wrote some about it here and Erma Jean Loveland wrote a helpful guide which we published here).

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen and Western Hills Church for saving the paper and telling their story!


Finding Aid Round Up

We’ve been busy writing finding aids for recent acquisitions and revising finding aids for sets of papers already in our holdings. You can browse all of our collections on DigitalCommons. See something below that piques your interest or could be useful for your research? Get in touch and let us know what you’re thinking about; we’d love to help!

Edwin Harold “Ed” Enzor, Jr. Papers, 1950-2015, MS#443 [Revised Finding Aid]
This collection includes materials created by Edwin Harold “Ed” Enzor, Jr. including documents, tapes, negatives, and binders.

James Orville Wilburn Papers, 1927-1970, MS#451 [Revised Finding Aid] 
James Orville Wilburn was born March 9, 1905 in Grove County, Kansas. He passed away on September 7, 1970 in Lubbock, Texas. He was a preacher in the Church of Christ and participated in multiple debates, including with Russellites and Jehovah’s Witnesses. He married Frances Mae on September 1, 1930. The couple worked in ministry throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, California, and Kansas. These papers include a set of sermon notes, clippings, study notes and ephemera collected by James Orville Wilburn over the course of his ministerial career.

From the James Orville Wilburn Papers, 1927-1970. Center for Restoration Studies MS#451.

Noble Festus Patterson, Jr. Papers, 1938-2013, MS#465 [Revised Finding Aid]
Noble Festus Paterson, Jr. was the editor of the Christian Journal. Terry J. Gardner and Patterson edited Foy E. Wallace, Jr.: Soldier of the Cross. This collection includes Patterson’s correspondence, topical files, church materials (e.g., bulletins, directories, etc.), sermons, photographs, 35mm slides, and cassettes. Notably, the first box includes correspondence about Foy E. Wallace, Jr. following his death, and correspondence and photos concerning Patterson’s edited work on Wallace: Foy E. Wallace, Jr.: Soldier of the Cross.

Ewell Prather Papers, 1767-1978, MS#478 [Revised Finding Aid]
Ewell Prather served as Director of Security at Abilene Christian University. The Ewell Prather Papers includes Prather family genealogical and historical information.

Hermitage Church of Christ (Nashville, TN) Records, 1967-2017, MS#499 [New Finding Aid]
Hermitage Church of Christ (Nashville, TN) was established in 1967 (formerly known as Berryville Church of Christ) and closed in 2018 (renamed New Garden Church). Two cubic foot boxes of directories, ministry information, correspondence, financial statements, audio materials on cassette, and photographs and audio materials on CDs and DVDs.

From the Hermitage Church of Christ (Nashville, TN) Records, 1967-2017. Center for Restoration Studies MS#499.

Stay tuned for more installments of Finding Aid Round Ups!