Explorations in Stone-Campbell Bibliography #12: Propaganda Novels

I posted installment #11 two years ago.  It is time to resume.

A sub-set of my interest in RM bibliography is propaganda novels.  (See this earlier post about the Sommer edition of Mr. World and Miss Church-Member)  The basic thrust is that honest truth-seeker eventually finds enlightenment and along with it…if not coterminous to it…the essence of the ‘Restoration Plea’ (or comes to enlightenment on some social evil or moral problem).   Variations within this theme include temperance issues and virtue in general.  Clad in novel form, they advance Restoration principles before the reading public in a manner distinct from, but in content similar to, formal debates, doctrinal monographs or theological treatises.  Rather than employ deliberation or formal logic, they persuade by narrative, characterization, empathy.  One striking similiarity across the field is how the agonist’s name often serves as title of the book.  This personalizes the main issue…you read it and become absorbed in the character’s quest.  The agonist’s experience is a vehicle for argument: as the character finds her way, so too can the reader.  Hopefully, this personalization results in conviction and just as you have read the book, you ‘go and do likewise.’

My interest stems from my small assemblage of these novels, pictured here:

Propaganda Novels

Through a few minutes’ research I see there are many more and they have been on the bibliographers’ radar for a century.  In 1906 John Waterhaus Monser issued The Literature of the Disciples, A Study (St. Louis, Christian Publishing Company).  “Literature was never an art with us,” he said.  “The statement of the religious idea or fact was our chief concern.  To embellish it was secondary, if at all.  Many of us seem to care little for balance of sentences, perspective, climax and things like these” (pp. 24-25).  In his chapter on the classification of Disciples’ literature Monser editorialized almost constantly.  In spite of his effort at fairness (“In classifying our leading works I have decided not to discriminate.   The above caution is deemed sufficient [I omitted it since it is not entirely relevant for this post, MI].  Writers will be found representing the conservative and progressive element” p. 32) the governing criteria for his list of entries is plainly subjective:

“In the work before me, then,” he goes on, “my chief question is this: Is there ability enough in a pamphlet or book to justify its mention?  If so, I shall mention it, allowing the reader of it to decide as to its value to him.  True, I give a hint, here and there, but rarely, if ever, is it derogatory.  Our Benjmain Franklin once said, “You do not have to gnaw into the bone of a ham to learn whether or not it is tainted.” So say I, and, so, to business” (p. 33).

Monser’s classification is neither scientific nor comprehensive, but for our purposes in this little essay it is helpful.  Another quote from p. 33:

The prominent elements in religious literature are Life, Deeds, Stress, Biblical Thought, Instruction, Appeal, Narration and Meditation.  Corresponding to these are Biography, History, Controversry, Exegesis, Didactics, Sermons and Addresses, Narrative and Fiction, Devotional.  Under these heads we hope to embrace such literature as may present itself.

Here are Monser’s comments and entries under Narration, pp. 57-60:

NARRATION.  Under this head I have decided to group two classes, that of narrative and romance.  Let us begin with such writers as Durban, Willlis, Power, Bagby and Tyler.  Nor must we overlook Z. T. Sweeney’s TRAVELS ROUND THE WORLD.  He is interesting, even in a “Report on Fish.”  Here are men who delight themselves and others by furnishing us racy letters, touched by the finger of fancy, but always well ballasted with incident.  Of this sort of literatrure W. E. Garrison is quite capable, as witness his WHEELING THROUGH EUROPE.  Champ Clark has a gift for personalities–biting, but bracing.  Willett has given us the benefit of his visions abroad.  The Editor’s Easy Chair never rocks one to sleep.  F. M. Green’s articles were always read with avidity–why [58] not now?  W. F. Richardson, in his conversations, is full of good material for the pen.  John S. Sweeney must be rich in reminiscence, if, at time, somewhat imaginative.  It has occurred to me he might do well on a piece of fiction.  But could he equal D. R. Dungan or D. R. Lucas?  Just a word here as to our utility of fiction in reaching the undecided mind.  Who will ever know all the good done by such works as ON THE ROCK, CHANG FOO, OR ROSA GRAY?  Or, take D. R. Lucas’ PAUL DARST.  J. H. Stark has gained quite a reputation with his MARY ARDMORE and HUGH CARLIN.   One is written to describe the test of faith; the other the triumph of truth.  John Augustus Williams has produced a story of the lodge, the church and the school in ROSE EMERSON.  Many of the incident in this fine work were real, and can be recalled by elderly people, who dwelt in that section of Kentucky.   True, as I have said elsewhere, these books are not remarkable for artistic finish.  But who cares?  They are written in good, plain English, and–they have a nub to them.  Judge Schofield, in his ALTAR STAIRS, shows and ability to mass [59] his thought and still delineate character. . . . But here come the ladies, in a troop, urging their claims.  First, there is Mrs. Marie Butler, with her RIVERSIDE; then Margaret Frances, with ROSE CARLETON’S REWARD; Fannie Christopher, with DUKE CHRISTOPHER and BARTOLET MILON.  Mrs. M. M. B. Goodwin, who was busy year after year as a pioneer in this department, producing stories, sermons for children, poems, etc., etc.  Then there was Helen A. Rains, of sainted memory, and last Mrs. Jessie Brown Pounds, hymnist, poet and story-teller.  In the QUEEN’S GARDENS, a serial published in THE CHRISTIAN-EVANGELIST in November, 1902, Mrs. W. W. Wharton shows unusual strength, grace and outreach of thought.  We should hear more from such writers.  I have reserved for the last the children’s popular writer, J. Breckenridge Ellis, who, to my thinking, is developing more wonderfully and inexhaustibly than any of our romance writers.  There are good signs about.  Many young writers aree coming to the front, but who shall get there and stay?  All can not hope even to be read.  Frederick Harrison [60] well says, “To organize our knowledge, to systematize our reading, to save, out of the relentless cataract of ink, the immortal thoughts of the greatest–this is a necessity, unless the produtve ingenuity of man is to lead us at last to a measureless and pathless chaos.”  I should counsel, then, not to write until you have something worth saying.  Obtaining this point, say it–clearly, comprehensively, classically.  Then rest and feed the mind.  Don’t hurry into a new venture.  Fill the cask and you will have no trouble in empyting it through the bunghole.  This is so much wiser than beating on an empty barrel.

Next comes Winifred Ernest Garrison, “The Literature of the Disciples of Christ” Bulletin of the Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago April 1923. In what he acknowledged was an imperfect attempt, Dean Garrison provided the first scientific Disciples’ bibliography.  Absent of any editorialization, Garrison’s borrowed Monser’s categories, expanded them in some cases, and included a classified periodical list.  Garrison published the list knowing there were gaps (he “intentionally omitted: Sunday school lesson books, books distinctly for childrten, tracts, and pamphlets.   Hymn books are not included, but should be included in a revised list.”), sought advice for improvement not only in terms of content, but also arrangement.  In form he listed author, title and some publication data, noting where appropriate [*] those items held by Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago.  Also, he solicited gifts (what bibliographer wouldn’t?): “The library will be glad to receive copies especially of works which are out of print, and bound or unbound files of any of the early periodicals.”

Under “Religious Fiction” he listed these [pp. 13-14]:

D. R. Dungan: Chang Foo, a Chinaman in Search After Religious Truth (S., 1885). [Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati]

D. R. Dungan: On The Rock (1872. 33rd ed., S., 1900).

D. R. Dungan: Rosa Gray (S.).

D. R. Lucas: Paul Darst (C. P. Co.). [Christian Publishing Company, St. Louis]

W. T. Hacker: Hot for the Pastor (C. P. Co.).

J. B. Ellis: In the Days of Jehu (C. P. Co.).

J. B. Ellis: Shem, a Story of the Captivity (C. P. Co.).

Jessie B. Pounds: Young Man From Middlefield (C. P. Co.).

Jessie B. Pounds: Rachel Sylvester (S.).

Jessie B. Pounds: Norman McDonald (S.).

Jessie B. Pounds: The Iron-Clad Pledge (S.).

Jessie B. Pounds: A Popular Idol (S.).

C. J. Scofield: Alter Staris (C. P. Co.).

A. F. Smith: Ernest Leighton (C. B. Pub.) [Christian Board of Publication, St. Louis; successor to C.P.Co.]

J. H. Stark: Hugh Carlin (C. B. Pub.).

Mrs. M. N. Vanderwoort: Across the Gulf (C. B. Pub.).

J. A. Williams: Rosa Emerson (C. P. Co.).

B. A. Jenkins: The Princess Salome (Lippincott, 1921).

Hattie Cooley: An Honest Doubter (S.).


Hattie Cooley: As an Earthling (S.).

Mary A. Bayne: Blue Grass and Wattle (S.).

Mary A. Bayne: Crestland, a Centennial Story of Cane Ridge (S.).

M. A. Boteler: The Conversion of Brian O’Dillon (S.).

Abe Corey: Think Peace (S.).

Abe Corey: The Trail to the Hearts of Men (S.).

Edgar D. Jones: Fairhope, the Annals of a Country Church (Macmillan, 1917).

J. M. Rudy: Our Nation’s Peril (Chicago, 1918).*

A decade later Alfred Thomas DeGroot and Enos Everett Dowling published The Literature of the Disciples. Advance, Indiana: Hustler Print, 1933, a paperback volume of 78 pages based on, and an improvement upon, Garrison’s 1923 Bulletin and Degroot’s 1927 Butler tUniversity M.A. thesis title A Study in the Literature of the Disciples of Christ, available here.  They listed [pp. 54-55]:

Bayne, M. A. Crestland, A Centennial Story of Cane Ridge, 271, S. 1907

Boteler, M. M. The Conversion of Brian O’Dillon, 253, S. 1896

Boteler, M. M. Like as We Are, 225, S. 1903

Brown, J. T. *Bruce Norman, 215, Lou. 1901

Brown, W. H. The Call of Service, S. 1913

Burleigh, W. G. Uncle Tom’s Mansion, Grand Rapids, Mich. 1931

Cooley, H. As an Earthling, S. 1899

Cooley, H. An Honest Doubter, S. 1906

Cory, A. Think Peace, S. 1917

Cory, A. The Trail to the Hearets of Men, Revell

Dungan, D. R. *On the Rock, 340, S. 1872

Dungan, D. R. Chang Foo, S. 1885

Dungan, D. R. Rosa Gray, S. 1904

Ellis, J. B. King Saul, 281, C. P. Co. 1898

Ellis, J. B. Shem, a Story of the Captivity, 299, C. P. Co. 1900

Ellis, J. B. Adnah, 308, Phila. 1902

Ellis, Fran, Bobbs-Merrill 1912

Ellis, J. B.  The Woodneys New York 1914

Hacker, W. T. Hot for the Pastor, C. P. Co.

Hanes, A. *The Peril of Hunkey Hollow, 173, Parkersburg, W.Va. 1926

Jenkins, B. A. The Princess Salome, Phila. 1921

Jones, E. D. Fairhope, the Annals of a Country Church, Macmillan 1917

Kershner, B. L. The Head Hunter, 106, Macmillan 1917

Lucas, D. R. *Paul Darst, 206, Burns

Moody, R. N. Eunice Loyd

Pounds, J. B. Norman McDonald, S. 1887

Pounds, J. B. The Iron Clad Pledge, S. 1890

Pounds, J. B. A Popular Idol, S. 1890

Pounds, J. B. The Young Man from Middlefield, 257, C. P. Co. 1901

Pounds, J. B. Rachel Sylvester, S. 1905

Rudy, J. M. Our Nation’s Peril, Chicago 1918

Scofield, C. J. Altar Stairs, 320, C. C. 1903


Smith, A. F. Ernest Leighton, 336, C. P. Co. 1881

Stark, J. H. *Hugh Carlin, 185, C. B. Pub. 1986

Stark, J. H. *Mary Ardmore, 328, C. P. Co. 1898

Stark, J. H. Equally Yoked

Stark, J. H. Fair Maud

Stark, J. H. Baptism of Suffering

Vanderwoort, M. N. Across the Gulf, 268, C. P. Co. 1898

Williams, J. A. Rosa Emerson, C. P. Co.

Wright, H. B. That Printer of udell’s, Chicago 1903

Wright, H. B. The Calling of Dan Matthews, Chicago 1909

A little over decade later Claude Elbert Spencer completed his monumental An Author Catalog of Disciples of Christ and Related Religious Groups. Canton, Missouri: Disciples of Christ historical Society, 1946.  Spencer, a trained professional librarian, invested over twenty years to improve the form and content of all his predecessors.  He improved it to such a degree (his entries are listed alphabetically by author and contain as full a publication account as his sources–whatever they were–afforded) that only a page-by-page search might uncover more items, and even so, without the item at hand, there is only so much that Spencer can do for us when one is searching for any particular genre.

The items I list below belong in the Monser-DeGroot-Dowling taxonomy, but are not listed above.  They, too, are Restoration propaganda novels:

Ashley S. Johnson, The Great Controversy. A Biblical and Historical Search After the True Basis of Christian Union. Ogden Bros. & Co.: Knoxville, 1894.

Ashley S. Johnson, The Great Controversy. rev ed. M. D. Baumer. F. L. Rowe: Cincinnati, 1939.

John Allen Hudson, Peter Finwick. F. L. Rowe: Cincinnati, 1929.

Daniel Sommer, Rachel Reasoner: Or, A Scriptural Daughter, Wife and Mother. Daniel Sommer: Indianpapolis, 1900.

R. N. Moody, Eunice Loyd, Or the Struggle and Triumph of an Honest Heart. F. L. Rowe: Cincinnati, 1909.

E. M. Borden, The Foot of Mount Nebo. [Firm Foundation Publishing House: Austin?; see 1936 List of Preachers, p. 174]

E. M. Borden, The Crimson Trail

E. M. Borden, John’s Troubles

E. M. Borden, Tom’s Call to Preach


J. M. Sallee, Mabel Clement. The National Baptist Publishing House: Fulton, KY, 1903.  An anti-Campbellite propaganda novel!

I welcome additions, corrections and suggestions.

Mr. World and Miss Church Member: Katherine Sommer’s edition

A sub-set of my interest in RM bibliography is propaganda novels.  I admit it is down the list of my interests, but the whole genre is terrifically obscure…therefore the attraction.  Speaking of obscure, should any double-major in English and Theology feel up for the task, I think there is a thesis or dissertation here somewhere.  The basic plot line follows the honest truth-seeker who eventually finds enlightenment and along with it…if not coterminous to it…the essence of the ‘Restoration Plea’ (or some sort of moral lesson).  Clad in novel form, such documents advance Restoration principles before the reading public in a manner distinct from, but in content similar to, formal debates, doctrinal monographs or theological treatises.  The argument comes through the agonist’s experience: as the character finds her way, so too can the reader.  I’m working on a short list of RM propaganda novels, to be posted to this site on the 27th.

Mr. World and Miss Church Member is an interesting variation on this theme.  One, it is an allegory, and two, W. S. Harris has no Stone-Campbell ties.  William Shuler Harris appears to have been quite the character, and modestly prolific at that, as this entry on TomFolio details.  Henry Hain, the entry’s author, knows of three editions of Mr. World and Miss Church Member; this one, published by Katherine Way Sommer, is a new one for the list (hers is a printing of the 1902 Holzaphel 3rd edition).  If you’d like your own copy, go here to archive.org.   So why all this for an allegory whose author appears to have no Stone-Campbell connection?  The Sommer family published an edition of it.  Katherine Way Sommer, known to her readers as K. W. Sommer, published a major periodical voice among Churches of Christ in its day, Octographic Review, edited by her husband Daniel Sommer.  The Sommer family not only published but authored a propaganda novel or two themselves.  K. C. Ice more often than not inscribed his books with a signature and date of acquisition.  Alas, in this one he did not follow custom.  Included is a fly-away clipping from the 19 May 1903 Octographic Review containing praise for Mr. World by one John Harris from Indian Territory.

Mr. World and Miss Church-member front cover

Mr. World and Miss Church Member, K. W. Sommer edition title page

Mr. World and Miss Church Member, OR May 19, 1903 clipping 1

Mr. World and Miss Church Member, OR May 19, 1903 clipping 2

Mr. World and Miss Church Member, OR May 19, 1903 clipping 2 reverse