On the Shelf: New items added to Center for Restoration Studies collections, April 2021

In April our colleagues in Technical Services and Cataloging added 766 items to the rare books, University Archives, and Center for Restoration Studies collections.  All but a handful of them supplemented the books, periodicals (bound and unbound), and A/V subsets within the Restoration collection.  The University Archive, ACU Authors and Taylor Hymnal collections also received a few new items.  Some of the additions are newly published, others are new-to-us, and still others represent a second copy or a new-to-us edition or printing.  You’ll notice this is quite a bit more items compared to recent months.  For the past several weeks our student workers and I worked through a backlog of gift books.  At about the same time Technical Services had some additional availability after closing out a few projects of their own.  And, with the academic and fiscal year winding down, book purchasing for the circulating collection paused.  All that means some additional time became available to tackle our backlog.  Even with 700+ items now shelved from April, we still have a full queue that will last us through the summer.  The short version is the quality and scope of the collection will grow in some significant areas over the summer.

Abilene Christian College. Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian College, 1952, yearbook, 1952; Abilene, Texas. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.

Our goal is to build a comprehensive research-level collection of print materials by, for, and about the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement.  But beyond assembly and preservation, a collection should be discoverable by those who need the information.  Collecting and preserving is only part of our task; those objects must be described and made available.  Thanks to the close and careful work of our colleagues upstairs, who describe our holdings, these materials are now discoverable. By discoverable I mean a patron can utilize our online catalog (such as by searching by author, or title, or subject) to find these materials.

766 new items…cataloged, shelved, and ready for research:  Continue reading

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!


George Dallas Smith Papers, 1895-1921, MS#28 [Revised Finding Aid]
George Dallas Smith was born 17 March 1870 in Union City, Tennessee. He attended Dickson Normal College and Georgie Robertson Christian College, both in Tennessee. In 1896 he began preaching throughout the southern United States. In addition to traveling speaking engagements, he also worked with churches in Texas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He authored multiple books and pamphlets which emphasized the importance of Bible study, among other things. He passed away on 7 November 1920 in Cleburne, Texas following a very brief illness. This collection includes sermons written by George Dallas Smith and by John Thomas Smith. It also includes articles for Christian journals written by George Dallas Smith.

Sermon sheet, George Dallas Smith Papers, CRS MS#28. Center for Restoration Studies, Abilene Christian University.

Morris Solon May Papers, 1956-1995, MS#429 [Revised Finding Aid]
Morris Solon May was born July 10, 1926 in Winfield, Alabama. He served in the Navy during World War II as a typist in the Pacific. He married Helen “Maxine” Ehl on April 5, 1947. The couple had four children. He preached at the Church of Christ in Yakima, Washington for many years and also worked as a millwright in Richland, Washington. He retired in College Station, Texas, and died February 25, 2016. This collection contains a large set of sermon outlines, along with notes, lessons, correspondence, church bulletins, printed charts and articles, and several sermon manuscripts.

Ray and Nancy Hansen Papers, 1943-1944, MS469 [Revised Finding Aid]
Nancy Hansen was born April 7, 1931 in Grand Saline, Texas. She attended Abilene Christian University and majored in Home Economics. Ray and Nancy Hansen were married January 23, 1954. Ray worked for Exxon Oil and the two lived in many places throughout his career and had three children: Kathy, Tim, and Ted. Nancy passed away November 28, 2016. This collection contains World War 2 ration books belonging to Nancy Hansen and her family members. There are six books inside a green book cover.

Commerce Church of Christ (Commerce, TX) Records, 1963-2011, MS496 [Revised Finding Aid]
This record group includes one box of Commerce Church of Christ history and bulletins. Commerce Church of Christ is located in Commerce, Texas.

“Some Days and Years in the Life of the Church of Christ at Commerce, Texas–An Unfinished Notebook,” Box 1, Folder 1. Commerce Church of Christ Records (Commerce, TX), MS #496. Center for Restoration Studies, Abilene Christian University.

David Henry Bobo Papers, 1960s, MS519 [New Finding Aid]
David Henry Bobo was born in 1910 in Alabama. He attended David Lipscomb College from 1929-1933. He then worked with Churches of Christ throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Indiana. He married Madolin Davis (1915-1985) and the two had a daughter in 1938. He began working with the Fountain Square Church of Christ in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1950 where he served until his death in 1985. This collection consists of two boxes of magnetic tape reels of sermons at Fountain Square Church of Christ in Indianapolis, Indiana, from the 1960s. Bobo is likely the speaker on most if not all of the reels. Some reels retain the handwritten labels with sermon titles and dates.


Stay tuned for more installments of Finding Aid Round Ups!

On the Shelf: 2020 Year in Review

Each month I have checked in here to provide updates about the growth and development of our print collections.  We steward several print collections of books, periodicals (both bound and loose issues), tracts, and pamphlets.  We also catalog audio, video, and digital materials in several formats which were/are published or otherwise widely distributed; nearly all of them are either produced by the University or are Stone-Campbell-related.  These are discoverable through the online library catalog.  As an aside, we have tens of thousands of A/V items (reels and cassettes, mostly) in our archival collections.  These items are usually not published or mass-produced, such as sermons delivered at congregations.  These are discoverable, in varying degrees, through the finding aids we create for each collection.

‘New Library Quarters’ from The Optimist, February 25, 1937. Available at: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101341/m1/3/

In nearly every case, when we add items to print collections, the new catalog records are also pushed over to Worldcat so they are globally discoverable.  Many of the Stone-Campbell items we preserve have never been cataloged before, so each month in my blog posts I call attention to how original cataloging is a tremendous contribution to knowledge about information resources from and about the Stone-Campbell Movement.  Additionally, I am always looking out for variant editions and printings of Stone-Campbell items so our collection represents the full breadth of our publishing activities.  These variations are also noted in the catalog records.

As we begin 2021, with great thanks to our colleagues and student workers in Technical Services, we can reflect on the addition of 2,749 items* to our print collections. Thank you to Gary Oliver for his work with original cataloging, to Shan Martinez who creates multiple hundreds of records and supervises several students, and volunteer Linda Foster who has faithfully created records for thousands of tracts (with thousands more to go).  Shan’s work in 2020 is especially significant in that she cataloged almost 400 boxes worth of unbound periodicals this past year.

*Some of these ‘items’ in my monthly lists are in reality only the titles of items which in the case of loose periodical issues represent many, many (many) more ‘items’ than might be readily apparent.  Unbound periodical issues present a storage and cataloging challenge.  We store them in boxes (often multiple titles in a single box when we only have a few issues of a title), number the boxes, and when the box contents are cataloged, these box numbers function like a call number.  The boxes vary in size (about 10 x 13 x 4 in thick) to bankers boxes and a few larger boxes here and there.  The cataloging work involves collation of issues, arrangement, storage, and description, so there is quite a bit more work to cataloging these than you might realize.  Mac and student workers accomplished much of this, but Shan’s work at the point of cataloging is an added layer of verification.  In 2020 we began at box 404 and now are filling box 790 for the cataloged titles.  Also in early 2020 we completed a pre-sort and arrangement of an additional 200 bankers boxes of loose uncataloged periodicals and church bulletins that we will catalog.  By the way. some bulletins (single issues especially) are not cataloged but are filed in the Congregational Vertical File.  At this rate, it is entirely possible that the remaining 200 bankers boxes of loose unbound periodicals will be finished in 2021. Of course, we hope to acquire more and are perfectly content knowing the work will never truly be ‘finished.’

Here are the breakdowns of the number of items added by month in 2020.  If you’d like to see the titles and authors, browse these lists.

January: 185

February: 212

March: 404

April: 391

May: 230

June: 362

July: 139

August: 185

September: 181

October: 167

November: 135

December: 58

In order to prepare new items for our colleagues in Technical Services, I determine whether the item is within our collecting scope.  If not it goes to our colleagues for evaluation for possible addition to the circulating collection.  But if it is in scope, a student worker (I do this often, too) verifies whether we have the item already cataloged.  If not, we add it to the workflow to be cataloged.  If we already have a copy I compare its condition against the one on the shelf.  I also look for variant editions, printings, bindings, or other features (such as an author’s signature or gift inscription) that merit inclusion or a special note.   If the new book is in better condition that the shelved copy, I replace the worn copy.  If it is in comparable condition, it might go in the queue for scanning or digitization, or I offer it for the circulating collection, or trade to another library.  We then take the items upstairs to Technical Services along with instructions for catalogers: where it should be cataloged (into the CRS collection or another sub-collection within rare books), who the donor is, and whether cataloging should make special note of any edition or printing or provenance.  When the catalogers finish, our student workers lead the way in making sure items are shelved, and I or Amanda assist when needed.

Not only do these 2,749 new (and new-to-us) titles represent the fine cataloging work of our colleagues and their staff, they represent dozens of donors who wanted to see the collection grow in scope, utility, breadth, and depth.  We do not yet know how students and researchers will utilize these materials, but we look forward to the contribution they will make to our history.  And we look forward to what 2021 will bring to the shelves.