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!


William Roy “W. R.” Smith Papers, 1951-1969, MS#446 [Revised Finding Aid]
William Roy “W. R.” Smith was born September 22, 1893 in Nacogdoches, Texas. He was married to Mayme Christian Rice Smith. The couple had two children. In 1933 W. R. Smith founded Lee Junior College in Baytown, Texas. He served as president at Lee Junior College until 1936 when he began working at Abilene Christian College. He was vice president of ACC from 1940-1962. The Smiths traveled extensively teaching Bible classes throughout the United States and Canada. Mayme passed away on November 18, 1975 and W. R. passed away on April 29, 1976. This collection includes correspondence regarding the McGarvey Fellowship Program, W. R. Smith Graduate Fund, and Restoration Quarterly.

Dawn Leslie Callaway Papers, 1991-2016, MS#459 [Revised Finding Aid]
Dawn Leslie Callaway (she also went by ‘Lori J. Lee’ and ‘Rebel Yell’) hitchhiked and lived on the streets most of her life. She published “Hitchhiker’s Dream” in 1992, a verse record of her travels through the South under her pen name ‘Rebel Yell.’ Callaway connected with the Aspen Grove Christian Church (Franklin, TN) where the members helped her secure a job and find a place to live. Her journals provide insight into topics including women’s issues, poverty, justice, and homelesness. This collection includes 29 journals of poetry and notes, and a folder of personal information about Callaway.

Hitchhiker’s Dream by Rebel Yell, Dawn Leslie Callaway Papers, 1991-2016. Center for Restoration Studies MS #459. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

James Durward Willeford Papers, 1928-1967, MS#468 [Revised Finding Aid]
James Durward Willeford was born in Grayson County, Texas, on April 13, 1916. His father died when he was nine, and his mother died when he was twelve. Willeford went to live in the Boles Orphan Home (Quinlan, Texas) until he graduated from high school. He attended college at West Texas State Teachers College (Canyon, Texas), Freed-Hardeman College (Henderson, Tennessee), Pennsylvania State College (State College, Pennsylvania), Abilene Christian College (Abilene, Texas), and the University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin). Willeford married Alice Marguerite Perkins on July 25, 1937. They had three children, and adopted one child. Willeford preached in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin. While preaching in Madison, Wisconsin, Willeford began producing a daily radio program. He later teamed up with James Walter Nichols and the 5th and Highland Church of Christ (Abilene, Texas) and began producing the Herald of Truth radio program. He preached for the Herald of Truth in its early years. When he died on August 3, 1992, he was an elder at the 5th and Grape Street Church of Christ (Abilene, TX). This collection includes transcripts and notes for Willeford’s sermons (1952-1960), and a small folder of materials from other authors and/or preachers.

Sermon, James Durward Willeford Papers, 1928-1967. Center for Restoration Studies MS #468. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

Hubert Connor “Con” Sweet, Jr. Collection, 1927-1928, MS#480 [Revised Finding Aid]
Hubert Connor ‘Con’ Sweet, Jr. was born 12 August 1942 in Leadville, Colorado. From 1959-1963 he served in the U.S. Navy before moving to Austin, Texas and working as a truck driver. His interests included trains and photography, among others. He was a member of West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas, and was active in a prison Bible correspondence ministry. He passed away on 13 August 2012 in Tyler, Texas. The Hubert Connor ‘Con’ Sweet, Jr. Collection contains one negative and six photographic prints of various scenes in the Abilene, Texas region.

J. Hermon Taylor Papers, circa 1915-1930, MS#512 [New Finding Aid]
According to Logan Key, great-great nephew of J. Hermon Taylor, family oral tradition holds that J. Hermon Taylor left home in Alabama around 1916 to attend a music school and died at a young age. These papers include a partial hymnal and some handwritten musical compositions by J. Hermon Taylor.


Stay tuned for more installments of Finding Aid Round Ups!

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!

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.