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.

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*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.

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.

Mission Journal (1967-1988) now available online

We are pleased to announce Mission Journal is now available online for full-text browsing, searching, and download. From 1967 to 1988, Mission Journal was a forum for theological reflection on issues such as race, gender, war and peace-making, the place of the church in urban society, the nature and implications of Restorationism and critical Biblical and historical scholarship.  It was one of the most controversial periodicals among Churches of Christ in the decades of the late 1960s-mid 1980s.

Bob Turner, in his preface to this oral history project, describes Mission’s character as “unique—sort of Sojourners meets Village Voice meets MAD Magazine. It was smart enough to provoke a theologian but accessible enough to put on your coffee table; classic enough to attract intellectuals in the 1960s but avante garde enough to get picked up by a college kid a generation later. It was unquestionably the literary counterculture of Church of Christ periodicals for two decades.”

Turner’s oral history compiles reflections from some of the key persons involved in Mission from its founding to its closure in 1988: Dwain Evans, Don Haymes, Richard Hughes, Victor Hunter, Warren Lewis, and Thomas Olbricht.

Olbricht provides in this essay, New Journals for the Sixties: Restoration Quarterly and Mission, an extended reflection and assessment of the impact of these journals. Drawing from his deep insider involvement in Mission and from Abe Malherbe’s in Restoration Quarterly, Olbricht situates them within the journalistic, editorial, theological and historical contexts of the 1950s-1970s Churches of Christ.

Greg McKinzie conducted an interview session at the 2017 Christian Scholars’ Conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, dedicated to recording the stories of Dwain Evans, Vic Hunter, and Richard Hughes in the production of Mission Journal. Participants reflected on the motivations, hardships, and successes of publishing thoughtful, courageous content during a tumultuous time for the country and for Churches of Christ. What were the personal costs? How did the journal evolve and why? What would they do differently if they had it to do over? And what is the legacy of Mission for today? Listen here:

With the completion of the digitization project, fully searchable and downloadable PDFs of every issue are available at http://digitalcommons.acu.edu/missionjournal.  Mission on ACU DigitalCommons contains the full run of the journal, from volume 1, number 1 (July 1967) to the final issue, volume 21, numbers 5-6 (December 1987-January 1988). This digital archive will ensure Mission is widely and easily available for historical research and continued reflection on the issues it raised and discussed.

The digitization initiative was led by Mac Ice, Director of Archives and Special Collections. Student workers Julia Teel and Cayla Savari accomplished much of the digitization work, from scanning to page proofing.  Archivist Amanda Dietz worked with BePress to fine tune the public display details and ensure each issue was uploaded and working properly.  We are grateful for the partnership with Greg McKinzie, Executive Editor of Missio Dei Journal, Bob Turner, Librarian at Harding School of Theology and Thomas Olbricht for their fine work in contextualizing Mission’s voice amid the editorial landscape of late 20th century Churches of Christ.