Be on the lookout: Focus Magazine

Today a researcher inquired about our holdings of Focus Magazine. I was thrilled that he discovered our issues through the library online catalog…(cataloging unbound periodical issues has been a special focus lately). We have just three issues but we need a nice robust collection of this journal. Pictured here are scans of the covers of the issues we hold. Can you please help us build the collection?

Focus Magazine, February 2000, front cover

Focus Magazine, February 2000, front cover

Focus Magazine, April 2000, front cover

Focus Magazine, April 2000, front cover

Focus Magazine, May 2000, front cover

Special Collections and Archives receives Texas State Library and Archives Commission grant

The Texas State Library & Archives Commission (TSLAC) recently awarded funding to Brown Library Special Collections and Archives under its TexTreasures Grant program.  The $25,000 grant will facilitate digitization of the full print run of the Christian Chroniclea major, global newspaper serving Churches of Christ since 1943.  This project will ensure back issues of Chronicle will be available digitally by the end of summer 2021.

This project is just one of 44 made possible this year by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. “Communities in every corner of Texas will benefit from the resources that have been made available through this list of forward-thinking grant proposals,” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith.

TSLAC awards competitive grants annually, as funding allows. For the 2020 fiscal year, which runs from September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020, TSLAC has awarded approximately $1.23 million in competitive grants. The TexTreasures Grant will provide assistance and encouragement to 12 libraries to provide access to their special or unique collections and to make information about those collections available to library users across the state, including ACU Library’s project to digitize Christian Chronicle.

“We are grateful to the Texas State Library & Archives Commission for their generous support of this digitization project,” said James Wiser, ACU Dean of Library Services & Educational Technology. “The Brown Library houses one of the preeminent archives of the Stone-Campbell Movement, a faith heritage that has contributed much to the religious tapestry of Texas history. Digitizing our tradition’s most influential newspaper allows us to preserve and disseminate this history for generations to come.”

“From the first issue, The Chronicle was globally aware,” said Mac Ice, ACU Director of Special Collections and Archives. “Each issue since has carried news and information about Churches of Christ from around the world. It is rich in information like no other source.  We will be able to write better history because this material is available.”

Front page, Christian Chronicle, October 14, 1960.

Back page, Christian Chronicle, October 14, 1960.

Back page, Christian Chronicle, October 14, 1960.

The Christian Chronicle digital archive will be available on the Portal to Texas History ( and the ACU online repository (

This digital repository of The Christian Chronicle is the result of a partnership among Special Collections and Archives, Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), The Christian Chronicle, Oklahoma Christian University (Edmond, OK), Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK), and University of North Texas (Denton, TX).

South China Chimes (1937-1938) now available online

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce seven issues of a rare early twentieth-century periodical are now available online for full-text browsing and download.

Though only four pages (one sheet of paper folded once) South China Chimes is rich in information about the work of missionaries E. L. Broaddus and Ethel Mattley.  Given the circumstances of the war, there are fascinating, chilling, and poignant comments such as this note from the February-March 1938 issue:

We are continually being asked why we do not leave Hongkong and return to America until the trouble is over.  I think you would feel very different about it if you could realize the great need of proper teaching at such a time as this.  We have greater opportunities than ever to preach the gospel to the unsaved and many of them have more time to think on these things than they ever have or perhaps ever will have. To say the least the Seed must be sown and the Lord will look after the development.*

The following month Broaddus wrote this about Ethel Mattley:

After months of waiting for conditions to improve Miss Mattley decided to return to Kwongsi and go ahead with the work. She was not at all well here due to asthma and the higher altitude should relieve that and she will be able to carry on with the work among the women and children in spite of the war spirit and training of soldiers. The native workers and Christians need encouragement in such times as these and there may be an opportunity to even reach some with the gospel.**

South China Chimes, volume 11, number 3, April 1938. Center for Restoration Studies, Special Collections and Archives, Abilene Christian University.

Readers of these few issues of this scarce periodical will find several more similar comments, plus items of news and notes about happenings among Churches of Christ in China.  Historians of missions and missiology, students of intellectual and social history, and anyone interested in the history of Churches of Christ will find these issues of South China Chimes a welcome addition to their palette of source material.  We thank Dr. Stephen Crowder for making these issues available as part of our growing collection of digitized print materials pertaining to Churches of Christ, currently with over 500 books, tracts, pamphlets from across the Stone-Campbell movement available online.


*E. L. Broaddus, “Opportunities in Hongkong,” So. China Chimes, 11(2), February-March 1938, p. 1.

**E. L. Broaddus, “Miss Mattley Returns to Kwongsi,” So. China Chimes, 11(3), April 1938, p. 1.