Name Authority for Nashville, Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations, 5th edition, now available

Name Authority for Nashville Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations, 5th edition, revised and enlarged. April 18, 2020.  This list comprises 440 variations of time, place and character names for 247 known congregations of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee from 1812 to March 2020.


Vacation Bible School. Eastview Church of Christ, Nashville, Tennessee, early 1950s

With Quiet Diligence: How Claude Elbert Spencer Formed an Archival Tradition in the ­Stone-Campbell Movement

I published a chapter in The Faithful Librarian: Essays on Christianity in the Profession. (McFarland and Company, 2019) in which I provide for the first time a critical, source based account of Claude Spencer’s career and contribution to archival sensitivity in the Stone-Campbell Movement.  Below are the opening and closing paragraphs of the chapter:

As the pioneering archivist of the Restoration Movement or Stone-Campbell Movement, comprising the Christian Churches, Churches of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Claude Elbert Spencer (1898-1979) came onto the scene during the emergence and professionalization of library study and the concomitant higher expectation of library work in the academy; he possessed a native impulse and a unique vocational imperative to collect history; and finally he owned a theological subjunctive to embrace the breadth of Stone-Campbell material in a single archive.  This essay narrates the contours of his life’s story and work as it relates to the formation of the archive he conceived.  Further, it attends to the values and virtues that compelled his collecting and guided his service.  Spencer’s bibliographic work was exemplary and his archival work was peerless in his denomination. The story behind this work and the values that undergird it invite contemplation by those who would serve as archivists in denominational settings.


It is remarkable that a boy who learned to read at age nine would five years later become de facto librarian of his high school, and five years after that lead the library at his college in exchange for tuition, room and board.  It is remarkable that librarian who wouldn’t have known a Disciple book if it hit him in the head would compile a bibliography so authoritative it remains unsurpassed after seventy years.  It is remarkable that he formed a collegial society to serve the academy and the congregation, the graduate seminar and the Sunday school roundtable.  It is remarkable that he maintained an unrelenting commitment to charity and equal representation in collecting scope in the face of bitter intramural disputes over bureaucracy the very existence of which fractured the ecclesial fellowship he loved and served the entirety of his career.  It is remarkable that he recognized the need for, and advocated for needed research topics that were years ahead of their time.  It is remarkable that though he held no degree beyond the ars baccalaureus in education, no less than 84 master’s theses and doctoral dissertations credit his advice, counsel, and assistance.*  It is remarkable that he attained expertise with minimal formal coursework and professional training, but so mastered ‘library economy’ and was so productive in keeping up a demanding schedule, that the upon his retirement he was replaced by two and one-half full-time equivalents with graduate degrees in history, library science, and theology.

Spencer’s legacy survives in the several bibliographic works he authored, in the catalog records he generated, in the finding aids he assembled, and in the indexes he compiled.  His legacy survives among the holdings of Disciples of Christ Historical Society, of which he was visionary and architect.  His legacy endures in the community of librarians, archivists, historians, students and independent scholars he formed.  His legacy endures in the scholarship he facilitated by virtue of his quiet diligence in collecting, organizing, describing, preserving, and advocacy for print and archival materials of the Stone-Campbell heritage, consisting of the Christian Churches, the Churches of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and related groups.

The chapter was a sheer pleasure to research and write.  Stone-Campbell historical scholarship came into its own because of Claude Spencer.  First he raised awareness of its need, articulated that vision in plain terms, and then set about sourcing everything a scholar would need to write.  Look at the footnotes of the historical works published by or about anything Stone-Campbell since World War 2.  Look hard enough, and follow the references long enough, and you will find precious few that do not cite materials he gathered, inspired others to gather, or quote those who deal with those primary sources.  I think he surpasses all historians as the most significant single figure who has contributed to ‘Restoration history.’

*– I have since located two additional theses, for a total of 86.

Nashville Christian Churches, 1904

John T. Brown published in 1904 an encyclopedic pictorial and summative account of the Christian Churches.  Churches of Christ however was not exhaustive and underrepresented those writers, evangelists, congregations and publications opposing instrumental music in worship and Christian missionary work through agencies or societies other than a local congregation.

He provides on pp. 357ff a large and beautiful photograph of the Vine Street Christian Church along with its board of elders and a brief narrative sketch.   He concludes with a list of the other congregations in Nashville.

“There are seventeen other congregations in the city.  The following is a list:

1. South College Street [South Nashville]

2. Woodland Street

3. Tenth Street

4. Lockeland Church

5. Fourth Street [Grandview Church is first listed in the 1905 City Directory]

6. Foster Street [North Edgefield]

7. Highland Avenue

8. West Nashville

9. Carroll Street

10. Line Street [Jo Johnston]

11. Waverly Place

12. Beuna Vista [not listed in the City Directory for 1904 or 1905]

13. Nashville Bible School

Three of the eighteen are colored churches:

14. Lee Avenue

15. Gay Street [Second Church]

16. Jackson Street” [listed in the 1905 directory with the white congregations]

I compared Brown’s list to the 1904 and 1905 Nashville City Directories*.  In the list above, in square brackets, I add the names of the congregations as they appear in the City Directories.  The Directories have these additional congregations: Cherokee Park, Davis Hill, Green Street, North Spruce Street, Scovel Street and Willow Street.

I point this out only to say that both sources illuminate each other; at the same time both are incomplete and even when merged do not tell the whole story.  For example, in 1904-1905 the little mission on 12th Avenue North in North Nashville (launched from the North Spruce Street Church) was underway but it was too new for Brown and so far under the radar, it seems, as to escape notice of the Directory compilers.  There was also an African-American congregation/mission in East Nashville that no one seems to have noticed.

Also, Brown and the City Directories speak of the same congregations using different names:  Line Street and Jo Johnston are the same congregation; same for North Edgefield and Foster Street; Fourth Street is probably a reference to the mission that became the Grandview Church, first listed in the 1905 Directory; South Nashville is the same as South College Street; and Vine Street is also known as First Christian Church.

Such is the nature of the sources.

All of this to say that compiling a Name Authority for the Nashville Christian Churches and Churches of Christ requires relentless sleuthing, sifting, comparing and hypothesizing.  It has been not only enjoyable but satisfying.  Five years between revisions is long enough.  One of my 2018 goals for this blog is to publish a third revised and corrected edition of the Name Authority.

*Nashville City Directory 1904. Nashville: Marshall and Bruce Company, 1904, p. 62 and Nashville City Directory 1905. Nashville: Marshall, Bruce, Polk Company, 1905, p. 35.



eScriptorium 2017 Year In Review

One of my goals for 2017 was to resume blogging.  My move to Abilene in early 2013 slowed posting; my family’s arrival in late July that year began a series of transitions that all but stopped my blogging.  We spent all our emotional energy and much of our time the remainder of 2013 settling into all things new: new home, new city, new jobs, new friends, new church, new routines, and a new son in April 2014.  That fall I went back to graduate school and completed a library degree in August 2016.

While I managed to generate a few posts in 2015-2016, the output really stagnated.  The numbers, though, did not.  I managed through regular posting in 2011 and 2012 to build a readership that topped 17,000 hits per year in both 2012 and 2013, up dramatically from about 6500-8000 per year in 2009-2010 and 3400 in 2008.  Overall, page views  moderated to about 10,000 per year (from about 4500 discrete users) in 2014-2016.  This was a decline, but a net gain of some 2000 page views more per year than the previous two years, with virtually no additional posts.  Yes, the number of hits dropped off, but much to my surprise they did not tank.  In fact, many posts about various Nashville Churches of Christ (congregations, persons, subjects, issues, etc.) kept generating hit after hit through Google searches.  I take it to mean that the material I blog about is of interest.  Ain’t none of this viral, but it seems folks are already looking for it, and they find it here.  In 2006-2007 when I began blogging more and more about Nashville Churches of Christ history I would not have predicted my readership map a decade later (after almost three years of inactivity) would look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.27.09 PM.png

Obviously the bulk of my readership is located in the US, but these countries are represented in 2017:

United States” 9242
Brazil 58
Canada 29
Philippines 28
India 27
United Kingdom 22
Norway 22
Australia 22
Singapore 20
Germany 19
South Africa 19
New Zealand 11
Japan 10
European Union 8
France 7
South Korea 7
Trinidad & Tobago 6
Italy 5
Mexico 5
Malaysia 4
Netherlands 4
Nigeria 4
Moldova 3
Ghana 3
Ireland 3
Belarus 3
Belgium 3
Ecuador 2
Malawi 2
Honduras 2
Thailand 2
Zambia 2
Vietnam 1
Lebanon 1
Turkey 1
Bulgaria 1
Dominican Republic 1
Indonesia 1
Haiti 1
Bahamas 1
Bhutan 1
Spain 1
Albania 1
Morocco 1
Romania 1
Hong Kong SAR China 1
Finland 1

Top Ten posts (with page views) for 2017 are:

1. Understanding Non-Institutional Churches of Christ: 350

2. Understanding Non-Sunday School Churches of Christ: 276

3. David Lipscomb: A Bibliography: 209

4. South Harpeth Church of Christ, Davidson County, Tennessee: 195

5. Nashville, The City of David (Lipscomb): Three Issues of Gospel Advocate Remember Lipscomb and His Legacy: 192

6. About: 145

7. Helpful Lectio Divina Quotes: 116

8. Facts Concerning the New Testament Church, a tract by P. H. Welshimer: 103

9. The Spoken Word: 93

10. Mack Wayne Craig visitor follow-up letter, Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ, Nashville, TN, 1958-59: 83

10. The Written Word: 83

The top spot goes again to Chris Cotten, whose guest post about noninstitutional first reads has proven to be the most enduringly popular post on my blog.  He has had the top spot each year for almost a decade now.  I can only surmise I should post less and garner more traffic, or simply redirect to his blog.  Congratulations again Chris!  In all seriousness, over the years I have made overtures to a few people for guest posts like Chris’ and no one has taken me up on the offer.

The remainder of the top ten list suggests I should spend more time in these areas:

  1. Assemble resources readers might find useful
  2. Add resources to my About Me, Spoken Word and Written Word pages
  3. Continue Nashville history including the oddball artifact, ephemera, or document

The most popular tags and categories are also revealing (also with page views or clicks):

  1. Nashville Churches of Christ: 221
  2. David Lipscomb: 209
  3. Nashville Bible School and Gospel Advocate: 208 each
  4. Nashville history: 207
  5. James A. Harding: 206
  6. Nashville Stone-Campbell sites: 204
  7. Joe McPherson, State and Local History, and David Lipscomb College: 196 each

Perhaps the most symbolic statistic reached this year is that in 2017 discrete visitors topped 25,000 (as of now 25,468 viewers) and total page views reached 101,196.

If you are brand new, welcome, take a look around.  If you are a regular, thank you for reading, even if my pace has been a bit off these last four years. I make no promises for 2018.  I would like to blog more regularly, and I think I will have a wider margin that can allow for it.  I even have some concrete ideas.  So let’s try to resume.  I invite you to read along with me this year.

A Charles Reign Scoville Precis

I thought this postcard sent by the Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company in 1913 would make an interesting holiday-themed post. I set about to compose a paragraph or two accompany it.


Postcard, Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, 1913, obverse


Postcard, Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, 1913, reverse

An afternoon later I had as an exhaustive bibliography as I could manage and almost three pages of biographical notes.  I would like to consult a few articles in Christian Standard and Christian-Evangelist before I publish the full biographical sketch.  That will have to wait until January when I am back in the office.  In the mean time here are a few scans of Scovilleiana and the bibliography.


Photograph of Charles Reign Scoville, obverse.  This card was likely mass-produced, ca. late 1910s.  It appears in Peters’ book.


Photograph of Charles Reign Scoville, reverse, bearing Scoville’s autograph.  This card was likely mass-produced, ca. late 1910s.

Scoville was active as an evangelist throughout his career. These scans are of ephemera from his 1906 Atchison, Kansas revivals.  The leaflet on baptism is from the middle-to-late 1910s and possibly circulated in response to criticism that his meetings downplayed baptism.


Invitation card, “Scoville Meetings”, Atchison Kansas, 1906, obverse


Invitation card, “Scoville Meetings”, Atchison Kansas, 1906, reverse


The Evangel, July 14, 1906, from First Christian Church, Atchison, Kansas advertising a Scoville Meeting, p. 1


The Evangel, July 14, 1906, from First Christian Church, Atchison, Kansas advertising a Scoville Meeting, p. 2


The Evangel, July 14, 1906, from First Christian Church, Atchison, Kansas advertising a Scoville Meeting, p. 3


The Evangel, July 14, 1906, from First Christian Church, Atchison, Kansas advertising a Scoville Meeting, p. 4


Invitation card, side 1, for “Women Only”, Atchison Kansas, 1906


Invitation card, side 2, for “Men Only”, Atchison Kansas, 1906


Leaflet on baptism used at Scoville meetings, ca. 1910s, obverse


Leaflet on baptism used at Scoville meetings, ca. 1910s, reverse

In 1906 he left congregational ministry in Chicago to devote his full time to evangelistic services. By 1909 he was regarded as one of the foremost national evangelists among the Disciples and exercised a leading role in the Pittsburg Centennial.


Prospectus of the 1909 Centennial Convention Report, front cover


Prospectus of the 1909 Centennial Convention Report, showing description of the climactic ‘Day of Evangelists’ moderated by Charles Reign Scoville.

From 1906-1921 he was heavily involved in hymnal publishing through the Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, which he sold to Standard Publishing Company in 1922. His publishing interests also included the ‘Cross-Reference Bible’ which he co-edited with Harold Monser and others.  First published in 1910, it was reprinted by Baker Book House as late as the 1970s.


Advertising prospectus, Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, Chicago, ca. 1912, front cover


Advertising prospectus, Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, Chicago, ca. 1912, title page.


Advertising prospectus, Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, Chicago, ca. 1912, rear cover


Advertising prospectus, Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, Chicago, ca. 1912, song specimen page, Scoville’s arrangement of Knowles Shaw’s ‘Bringing in the Sheaves’


Crowns of Rejoicing, hymnal compiled by Charles Reign Scoville, front cover.


Advertisement for Cross-Reference Bible, 1918 Yearbook of Churches of Christ (Disciples), Yearbook issue of American Home Missionary, p. 399.


Advertisement for ‘The King of Glory’ hymnal from Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, 1918 Yearbook of Churches of Christ (Disciples), Yearbook issue of American Home Missionary, p. 365.

When H. H. Peters published this ‘authorized biography’ Scoville was at the zenith of his influence and activity among the Disciples. He meetings regularly drew immense crowds, his preaching was in constant demand, and his activity in parachurch affairs was broad. W. T. Moore included him as one of a new generation of preachers featured in his New Living Pulpit in 1918.


W. T. Moore’s biographical sketch of Charles Reign Scoville, The New Living Pulpit of the Christian Church, 1918, p. 181


W. T. Moore’s biographical sketch of Charles Reign Scoville, The New Living Pulpit of the Christian Church, 1918, p. 182


H. H. Peters, Charles Reign Scoville: The Man and His Message, front cover


H. H. Peters, Charles Reign Scoville: The Man and His Message, title page


H. H. Peters, Charles Reign Scoville: The Man and His Message, illustration placing Scoville among “the four great evangelists” with Walter Scott, Knowles Shaw, and J. V. Updike


Portion of a long photograph (18″ long) from H. H. Peters, Charles Reign Scoville: The Man and His Message, showing the Melbourne Australia meeting.  Scoville standing at pulpit.


Photograph showing a Scoville Meeting.  Titled “Dr. Scoville Speaking to Men,” this card was likely mass-produced ca. late 1910s.   It appears, without the caption, in Peters’ book.



Acts of Apostles.

Parents: Please Read This Copy of a Letter Written by Dr. Scoville to Mr. and Mrs. Joslyn. [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], [19–/]. 1 folded sheet ([3] pages).


Instructions for Workers in Gospel Meetings Conducted by Charles Reign Scoville. Jacksonville: Printed for the author from the Press of Henderson & DePew [1899]. 32p.

Compiled with Gabriel Charles H., J. E. Hawes, and W. E. M. Hackleman, Twentieth Century Songs, Part One, A Collection of New and Popular Sngs with Standard Hymns for Church, Sunday School, Young People’s Societies, and Special Services. Indianapolis: Hackleman Music Company, and Ada, Oklahoma: J. E. Hawes. 1900. 192p.

Evangelistic Sermons Delivered During the Great Meetings at Pittsburg and Des Moines Des Moines: Christian Union Publishing Company, 1902. 298p.

Gospel and Revival Sermons. 1904? 300p.

Calvary’s Praises, for Church, Sunday School and Gospel Meetings. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, n.d. [ca. 1906] 256p.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: Paul, Ephesians iv, 5. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1906. 52p.

Compiled with Smith, DeLoss, Songs of the King. Chicago: Scoville & Smith, 1906. 247 hymns.

The Gospel of the Helping Hand: An Address Delivered as the New Orleans Convention, 1908. St. Louis: National Benevolent Association [1908]. 15p.

Every Christian An Evangelist. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, [ca. 1906]; reprinted [?] as Centennial Leaflet no. 2. [1908-1909?] 8p.

Edited with Excell, E. O., Christian Gospel Hymns, for Church, Sunday School, and Evangelistic Meetings, Contains the Cream of All the Old Songs and the Very Best of the New. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1909. 224p.

Edited with Monser, H. E., J. W. Monser and D. R. Dungan. Cross-Reference Digest of Bible References, A Topical Index of the American Standard Edition of the Revised Bible. New York: Cross-Reference Bible Company, 1910. 681p. Various printings through 1910s. Reprint Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960 and 1979 under title Monser’s Topical Index and Digest of the Bible.

Compiled with Excell, E. O., Crowns of Rejoicing, for Church, Sunday School, Evangelistic and Young People’s Meetings. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1912. 224p.

Front Rank Songs, A Very Choice Collections of the Best Standard Hymns and Gospel Songs, for Sunday-School and All Religious Services. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1913.

Sermon to Railroad Men: Also a Thesis on Hebrew Poetry. Chicago: [Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company?], [ca. 1914]. 13p.

Scoville’s Sacred Solos: Solos, Duets, and Quartettes. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, [ca. 1915?]. 61 hymns.

Crown Hymns for Church, Sunday School, Revival and Chorus Choirs. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, 1916. 36p.

Songs of Beulah. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1920.

Edited with Towner, D. B., King of Glory, Choice Gospel Hymns for the Church, Sunday School, and Evangelistic Meetings. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1923.

Compiled with Hackleman, W. E. M., et al., Wonder Hymns of Faith, A New General Purpose Song-Book Compiled by Charles Reign Scoville, W. E. M. Hackleman, J. E. Sturgis, orchestration by J. C. Blaker, Responsive Readings Selected by E. E. Violette. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, n.d. [ca. 1924]. 282 hymns.

Nineteenth Hundredth Anniversary of Pentecost. [ca. 1932-1933?] folder. 10p.


“Introduction,” in Coombs, J. V., Christian Evangelism. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1908, v-vii.

“Preaching of the Cross—the Power of God” in Moore, W. T., ed. The New Living Pulpit of the Christian Church. St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1918, pp. 181-191. Includes portrait and biographical sketch.


Archival materials are held at Disciples of Christ Historical Society, Bethany, West Virginia. See note in Discipliana 25:5 (November 1965), 78, describing “six well-filled note books containing sermons, sermon notes, sermon outlines and clippings—all having to do with his evangelistic ministry….and a book in Dr. Scoville’s own hand in which he has alphabetized his sermon topics.”


Brown, L. E. Europe and the Orient: As We Saw It. Frankfort, IN: News-Banner Press, 1901. 96p.

Nichols, James Thomas. Story of the Des Moines Campaign in the Year Nineteen Hundred and Nine: With a Brief History of Our Churches in Des Moines. Des Moines: [publisher not identified], [1909?]. 78p.

Scoville Gospel Meetings: A Great Man-Making Community Uplifting, Soul-Winning Campaign, First Christian Church. Marion, IL: Republican-Leader, [1923]. 1 folded sheet ([4] pages), portraits

Peters, H. H. Charles Reign Scoville, The Man and His Message. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1924. 401p. Illustrations.

Thornton, E. W., ed. Who’s Who in Churches of Christ, Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Ministers and Other Leaders, John T. Brown. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1929. Brief biographical sketch, with photograph, on p. 239.

Charles Reign Scoville, In Memoriam, October 14, 1869—January 23, 1938. 32p.

Horton, Roy. Visitation Evangelism. [United States] : [publisher not identified], [19–]. 96, 7 p. illustrations. Related to Scoville’s estate ‘Inspiration Point’ near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Horton, Roy F. Inspiration Point and Its Personalities. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1961. 96p.

Brewer, Robert Sidney, The Preaching of Charles Reign Scoville in His Evangelistic Campaign in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1912. MA Thesis. Louisiana State University, 1966. vi, 173 leaves with illustrations and facsimiles.

Shaw, Wayne E., “Charles Reign Scoville: Awakening in Anderson,” in Krause, Mark S. Essays on the Restoration Plea In Honor of Dr. Harold W. Ford. Edmonds, WA: PSCC Litho, 1986.

Gresham, Charles and Keith P. Keeran, eds. Evangelistic Preaching. Joplin: College Press Publishing Company, 1991. 367p.

McAllister, Lester G. “Just As I Lived It,” Discipliana 53:4 (Winter 1993), 128, in which McAllister remembers a Scoville meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas 1923-1924.

Nashville, The City of David (Lipscomb): Three issues of Gospel Advocate remember Lipscomb and his legacy

The December 6, 1917 issue of Gospel Advocate was devoted to the memory of the recently-deceased David Lipscomb.  It is a rich treasure of memories and tributes. To my knowledge this issue was the first to carry Lipscomb’s photograph on the cover. Similar covers followed in 1931 (the July 11 Davidson County Special Number) and 1939 (the December 7 special issue about the history of the Nashville congregations).

These three issues are of significant historical value. As primary sources they provide information unavailable elsewhere. As interpretive reflections they are a beginning point for how Lipscomb was remembered and how congregational history was recorded and carried forward. The 1917 issue, other than newspaper obituaries and Price Billingsley’s diary, is the first secondary source about the life and impact of David Lipscomb. The Billingsley diary (housed at Center for Restoration Studies, Abilene Christian University) contains a description of the funeral along with its author’s candid thoughts and impressions. It was not intended, at the time, for public reading.

The issue of the Advocate, however, is a product of the McQuiddy Printing Company and is most certainly intended to capture the mood and ethos in the air just after Lipscomb’s death and by way of the mails deliver it to subscribers wherever they may be. In point of time, it is the first published sustained historical reflection on Lipscomb’s life and ministry. The 1931 and 1939 special issues focus on Lipscomb’s activity on the ground among the citizens of Nashville’s neighborhoods. Here his legacy is as a church planter: an indefatigable, patient, faithful steward. He plants, he teaches, he preaches, he organizes. He observes shifting residential patterns and responds with congregational leadership development. To meet the needs of the emerging streetcar suburbs, he urges elders to take charge of teaching responsibilities, engage evangelists and establish congregations through peaceful migrations and church plants. The 1931 and 1939 issues are testimonies to the effects of this approach. Along the way they preserve details and photographic evidence that is simply unavailable elsewhere.

All three are available for download below.




Click here to download the December 6, 1917 David Lipscomb Memorial Number.

Click here to download the historical sections from the July 11, 1931 special issue about the history of the Nashville Churches of Christ

Click here to download the December 7, 1939 special issue about the history of the Nashville Churches of Christ.

New Shops Church rescinds Cave’s and McKissick’s invitation, West Nashville, 1907

In 1907 R. Lin Cave and J. T. McKissick, minsters at Nashville’s Vine Street and 17th Street Christian Churches (respectively) engaged in a evangelistic tent meeting in near-west Nashville around the vicinity of New Shops Church of Christ.  This note from the July 18, 1907 Gospel Advocate clarifies that by 1907 the rift between local Christian Churches and Churches of Christ was deep and widening.  In 1907 the New Shops Church of Christ, also known as Winston Avenue Christian Church, was a young congregation in a growing working-class neighborhood.  I blogged about this congregation several years ago.  This item from the 1907 Advocate sheds light on the character of the congregation in its earliest years.  I am still in search of any scrap of information about this congregation: photographs, directories, bulletins, paper or ephemera of any kind.


W. J. Cullum, “A Statement,” Gospel Advocate, July 18, 1907, p. 16.

The Library as a Place to Stand

A couple weeks ago I spoke at the 2017 board meeting of the Friends of the Abilene Public Library.  Tasked with a making a speech of 20 minutes (or less) on a topic of my choosing, I decided to preach to the choir.

This group is already committed to libraries.  They donate thousands of hours on behalf of our city library in the form of facility and program development, publicity, fundraising, and advocacy.  Their work is largely unheralded because so much of its behind the scenes.  But all of it is vital work.

So, what to say?  Good question.  I decided to articulate why their support is so important and motivate them for continued shared work on behalf of our libraries.  It is an inductive speech: it builds a case to ask a question.  Throughout the speech I repeat refrains like ‘this is what we know.’ I want to underscore what I think are our shared values and having articulated them, use them to ask a question to move us forward.  Again, I’m preaching to the choir, but I want the choir to keep at it.

Here is the full speech: The Library as a Place to Stand.  It is also available on the Spoken Word page.




The Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Stone-Campbell Movement

One distinctive contribution Nashville made (and still makes) to the world of choral music, particularly Negro spirituals, is through the long history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

A fine early source of information about the group is The Story of the Jubilee Singers; With Their Songs. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1875.  Authored by J. B. T. Marsh, it went through several editions and printings.  My copy is a second edition (likely a second printing).  Later editions vary and there are a few editions online.  The quote below indicates an intersection of the Stone-Campbell movement with this world-famous group:

“Every member of the company is a professing Christian, one or two having been converted in connection with the religious influences that have be God’s lessing ever attended the work.  The unsectarian feature of the work at Fisk could not, perhaps, be better illustrated than by the fact that the singers represent in their church-membership five different denominations–the Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and “Christian.”  Whenever the exigencies of hotel life or railway travel do not prevent, family worship is held each morning–a novelty to hotel servants usually, and a season of spiritual refreshment with friends who are occasionally present always refer to afterward with peculiar interest…” p. 89

In particular, the intersection centered on one of the founding group members, Georgia Gordon.  This short notice was published in James T. Haley’s Afro-American Encyclopaedia (1895) p. 222:

Marsh included this longer sketch in his book, pp. 100-101.  later editions shortened and deleted some detail.:

In 1897 James T. Haley produced another book and featured Georgia again.  This sketch appeared on pages 75-76 of Sparkling Gems of Race Knowledge Worth Reading:

To read more, here are a few links:

Mark Lowe blogged about Georgia and Preston, providing greater detail. Emma Bragg compiled a helpful short biographical sketch.  Taneya Kalonji has a nice short blog as well.