Directory of the Churches of Christ Colored (1942), G. P. Bowser

In 1942 George Philip Bowser published Directory of the Churches of Christ Colored.  A stapled pamphlet of 40 pages, it contains the names of 307 congregations (comprising 17,349 members) and 342 preachers from California to New York and from Michigan to Florida.  For each congregation Bowser sought an accurate membership count, the number added during 1942, the value of church property and a contact name.  He noted that since some information was lacking, an “approximate record” was given.

1942 Directory of the Churches of Christ Colored, cover

Preston Gray, Jr. says this in his Forewords, “We are happy to look out over the vast harvest field of the Lord’s and behold the rapid progress; that is being made among us; although the reapers are few the pace that you have gained thus far is indeed encouraging.  Let us, therefore, press on with a greater determination.  “FORWARD,” is our motto.  Phil 3:13-14.”

As a snapshot of the African-American Churches of Christ at mid-century, it discloses information unavailable elsewhere.  There is no indication in this document that it updates or supplements earlier publications.  While Leslie Grier Thomas’ New Directory of the Churches of Christ in the United States (Cincinnati: F. L. Rowe, 1939) notes “colored” congregations, it omits many of the congregations on Bowser’s list.  Thomas does not list preachers.  However Thomas, with George Henry Pryor Showalter, shortly thereafter issued Church Directory and List of Preachers of Churches of Christ (Austin: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1943).  Here appear white preachers and song leaders, “Colored” preachers and song leaders, “Mexican” preachers and “Foreign” preachers and song leaders.  In order to identify African-American congregations in this 1943 booklet, it will be necessary to check each entry, something I have not attempted.  A similar situation obtains for John P. Fogarty and Olan L. Hicks, 1946-47 Yearbook Churches of Christ (Abilene: Hicks Printing Company, 1947).

Not until Annie C. Tuggle, Our Ministers and Song Leaders of the Church of Christ (Detroit: Annie C. Tuggle, 1945), do some of the names in Bowser’s list find faces and stories through biographical sketches with accompanying photographs.  Acknowledging that some did not send in photographs, and thus were omitted, she anticipated their inclusion in a projected second volume.  Tuggle lists 134 preachers, 13 song leaders, plus 12 “under age preachers” (among whom is Fred D. Gray) and 3 “under age song leaders.”  One will need to search page by page through the various volumes of Preachers of Today and New Testament Churches of Today to locate, where possible…perhaps, additional information beyond what Bowser provides.

Bowser’s list, therefore, appears to be the earliest and most complete of its kind for its time.  I spent three evenings working through the lists of congregations and preachers.  I do not claim to be a statistician; however, I trust the various data arrangements and charts below will be helpful.  Whatever I have done, it is no substitute for reading the actual document.  I realize this is no easy task as it is held in only two libraries, Abilene Christian University and Freed-Hardeman University.  Should anyone have a copy of this in a personal collection, please consider making it more widely available if only by mailing a photocopy of it to your nearest university or research library.

I welcome additional information, clarification or correction.  I should note that I have worked from a copy held in Abilene Christian University’s Center for Restoration Studies, which lacks pages 26-27.

Summary of congregations by state:

15 states (AZ, CO, NY, NM, NJ, NC, PA, KS, LA, CA, OH, IN, MI, MO and GA) have 1-9 congregations each

5 states (IL, KY, TX, OK and FL) have 10-19 congregations each

2 states (AR and MS) have 20-29 congregations each

No state has between 30-39 congregations

2 states (AL and TN) have above 40 congregations each

Number of congregations by state:

1 each: Arizona, Colorado and New York

2 each: New Mexico, New Jersey and North Carolina

3: Pennsylvania

4 each: Kansas and Louisiana

5: California

6: Ohio

7 each: Indiana and Michigan

8: Missouri

9: Georgia

10: Illinois

14: Kentucky

15: Texas

17: Oklahoma

18: Florida

27: Arkansas and Mississippi

46: Alabama

71: Tennessee

Number of congregations by city:

6: Nashville

4 each: Detroit MI and Memphis TN

3 each: Los Angeles CA and Houston TX

2 each: Chicago IL, Indianapolis and Terre Haute IN, Louisville KY, Senatobia MS, Kilgore TX

All other cities have one congregation each

The Nashville congregations are:

Jefferson Street, 500 members, value of church property $4000, R. E. Campbell, 1404 Jefferson

South Hill, 57 members, value of church property $500, Joe Dewee, 90 Wharf Ave.

Horton Street, 35 members, value of church property $1000, Ollie Anderson, 1300 15th Avenue

Jackson Street, 142 members, value of church property $5000, Robt. Cato, 1912 Morene Street

Green Street, 98 members, value of church property $2500, P. H. Black, 1039 21st Avenue

East Nashville, 6th Street, 84 members, value of church property $2000, Jas. Reese, 618 N. Ninth Street

To present the data in a different form, I color coded two US maps, one according to number of congregations, the other by number of preachers. 

1942 Directory of Churches of Christ Colored, key to maps


1942 Directory of Churches of Christ Colored, congregations


1942 Directory of Churches of Christ Colored, Preachers

Summary of preachers by state:

14 states (NC, NM, WV, VA, AZ, LA, KS, MO, PA, OH, IN, MI, KY and CA) have 1-9 preachers each

3 states (IL, GA and OK) have 10-19 preachers each

2 states (MS and AR) have 20-29 preachers each

2 states (AL and FL) have 30-39 preachers each

2 states (TN and TX) have above 40 preachers each

Number of preachers by state:

1 each: North Carolina, New Mexico and West Virginia

2 each: Virginia and Arizona

4 each: Louisiana and Kansas

5: Missouri

6: Pennsylvania

7 each: Ohio and Indiana

8: Michigan (it may be that Fred Cowan refers to Fred D. Cowin, a white preacher)

9 each: Kentucky and California

10: Illinois

13: Georgia

19: Oklahoma

20: Mississippi

26: Arkansas

30: Alabama

36: Florida

57: Tennessee

63: Texas

Two are unaccounted for inasmuch their address did not list a state.  Ten names were duplicated.

Largest congregations:

The top 12 congregations, of 200 or more members each, number 4588 total members:

Valdosta, Georgia: 740

Bradenton, Florida: 586

Atlanta, Georgia: 535

Jefferson Street, Nashville, Tennessee: 500

Muskogee, Oklahoma: 425

Montgomery, Alabama: 400

Oklahoma City: 299

Quitman, Georgia: 287

Cameron, Detroit, Michigan: 213

Chattanooga, Tennessee: 203

Lawton, Oklahoma: 200

Ensley, Alabama: 200

These 17 congregations, from 84 to 178 members each, number 2229 total members:

Tampa, Florida: 178

Thyatira, Mississippi: 176

Lebanon, Tennessee: 175

Okmulgee, Oklahoma: 160

McMinnville, Tennessee: 160

Huntsville, Alabama: 149

Center Point, Arkansas: 147 (listed as Enter Point, which I take to be a typographical error)

Jackson Street, Nashville, Tennessee: 142

Conway, Arkansas: 130

Halls Chapel, Alabama: 120

Statesville, North Carolina: 109

Kileton, Mississippi: 107

Compton, California: 102

Mobile, Alabama, 100

Oak Grove, Tennessee: 98 (in West Tennessee?)

Murfreesboro, Tennessee: 92

East Nashville, Tennessee: 84

Number of congregations, members and preachers alphabetically by state:

State Congregations Members Preachers
Alabama 46 2587 30
Arizona 1 50 2
Arkansas 27 1100 26
California 5 269 9
Colorado 1 22 0
Florida 18 1509 36
Georgia 9 1755 13
Illinois 10 234 10
Indiana 7 227 7
Kansas 4 142 4
Kentucky 14 360 9
Louisiana 4 186 4
Michigan 7 400 8
Mississippi 27 878 20
Missouri 8 220 5
New Mexico 2 42 1
New Jersey 2 55 0
New York 1 40 0
North Carolina 2 115 1
Ohio 6 153 7
Oklahoma 17 1500 19
Pennsylvania 3 161 6
Tennessee 71 4358 57
Texas 15 986 63
Virginia 0 0 2
West Virginia 0 0 1
Unknown * * 2

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   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

J. W. Monser, The Literature of the Disciples (1906) available online

Tolle lege!


Here we have an early, if not the earliest, attempt at bibliography among Disciples.  DeGroot and Dowling build on Monser, add to his work and supersede him in 1933. In 1946 Claude Spencer wholly surpassed them all.

Understanding Non-Sunday School Churches of Christ: Some Suggestions for First Reads

This installment includes just five suggestions for first-reads about one sub-set of acapella Churches of Christ.  Navigate the ‘First Reads Series‘ link in my Categories list to find earlier installments.  This brief list is in response to a request made in the comments on a February 2010 post, ‘The Situation in Tennessee.’

1. Thomas A. Langford, “N. L. Clark: Early Firm Foundation Editor and College President” in The Christian Academic: Exercising Faith in the University Setting. Ketch Publishing: Bloomington, Indiana, 2007.

2. Larry Hart, “Brief History of a Minor Restorationist Group,” Restoration Quarterly 22 (1979), pages 212-232.

3. Thomas A. Langford, “An Insider’s View of Non-Sunday School Churches,” Restoration Quarterly 45 (2003), pages 181-192.

4. [Roy Deaver and Lester Hathaway] Debate on the Bible Class Question and Women Teachers in Some of Those Classes. Chronicle Publishing Company, Inc.: Abilene, 1952.

5. [L. W. Hayhurst, Alva Johnson, Logan Buchanan and Van Bonneau] Debate on the Bible Class Question J. R. Chisolm and Jimmy Wood: Brownfield, TX, 1950.

Comments and additions to this list are earnestly solicited.

Explorations in Stone-Campbell Bibliography, # 11: First Reads in Bibliography

I scheduled a draft version of this post to post automatically on 27 December.  It snuck up on me and there were a few incorrect details and a good chunk lacking.  I have corrected those errors.  I shouldn’t schedule things to post in the future…


No bibliography of Stone-Campbell material exists.

The closest thing is the combined card catalogs and online databases at several schools and institutions: DCHS, ACU’s Center for Restoration Studies and the Churches of Christ Heritage Center at Pepperdine, Harding University Graduate School of Religion Library, Christian Theological Seminary, Lipscomb University, Emmanuel School of Religion, Disciples Seminary Foundation, Bethany College Special Collections and Lexington Theological Seminary.  There are no doubt many Stone-Campbell items in other locations, but a combined catalog of the above will capture the majority of the stuff.

The first Curator of Disciples of Christ Historical Society, Claude Spencer (rest his soul), attempted to compile one.  His Author Catalog (1946) was built from the card catalog of the Henry Barton Robison Collection at Culver-Stockton College Library.  In other words, he started with what he had on the shelf…which wasn’t much at all.  From there he accomplished a monumental feat.  What he did with 3×5 cards and a sharp pencil, and a lot of miles traveled, can now be done with a few clicks of a mouse from your desktop.   He says this in the introduction:

This catalog grew out of necessity.  In 1924 the Library of Culver-Stockton College started a project to collect the literature produced by the religious groups which grew out of the reformation and restoration movements in the American religious scene in the early nineteenth century.  The project was handicapped from the start because of a lack of bibliographical tools which gave knowledge concerning the books and pamphlets that had been published.  The Literature of the Disciples of Christ, a study by J. W. Monser, 1906, and The Literature of the Disciples of Christ, by W. E. Garrison, 1922, were available but were far from comprehensive in scope and lacked the details necessary for use as a collecting and cataloguing guides. 

For several years the compiler worked on a want list, adding new titles as he found items in catalogs and periodicals; always making as complete an entry as possible for each title.  This want list combined with the catalog of books in the college library became the nucleus of An Author Catalog of Disciples of Christ and Related Religious Groups.  At first there was no intention to publish this listing as it was compiled  solely for use in the Henry Barton Robison Collection, the name by which the collectin of Disciples literature at Culver-Stockton was known.

The following libraries were visited during the preparation of the catalog: Bethany College, Butler University School of Religion, Christian Board of Publication, College of the Bible, The Disciples Divinity House, Drake University College of the Bible, The Gospel Advocate Company, The Kentucky Female Orphan Home, The Shepherd Library, The Standard Publishing Company, The United Christian Missionary Society, and The University of Chicago.

He arranged it alphabetically by author, giving place and date of birth and death where known.  He located the author with ‘c’ for Christian Church/Disciples and ‘cc’ for Churches of Christ so as to give us a basic orientation to the orbit in which the author moved.  For each author he listed “Separate titles, Analytics, Introductions, Joint works, Books edited and compiled, Joint editors and Books about” and followed standard library cataloging practice where his information allowed.

Spencer envisioned this project, which contains above 10,000 entries in 366 8.5 by 11 pages, to be the first step in a larger project…a union catalog of all known Stone-Campbell material.  Spencer envisioned all the material fully catalogued and cross-referenced according to the library or institution holding copies.  What Spencer was trying to do was to build a bibliographical skeleton upon which hundreds of years of research could be conducted with unprecedented ease and simplicity.  In the 1930’s much of what is now in libraries and archives was still in attics, basements and private collections.  And much of what is now known (thanks to Spencer) was then unknown.  If a name turns up in your reading you can ‘go to Spencer’ to see what, if anything, this person published…and there you go down a little research by-way.  Now you can go to WorldCat, but even so, I keep his Author Catalog within reach of my desk.  Spencer was a visionary with a heart for the researchers and scholars. 

But Spencer’s final check-list hasn’t materialized, and given this digital age we’re in, probably won’t and might not even be worth it to publish (I’d buy it, though!).  When Spencer passed in 1979 we lost the person who probably knew our literature the best.  Folks tell me Don Meredith and Don Haymes know Churches of Christ material like Claude knew the old Disciples stuff.  I’ve met both Don’s in person and we have corresponded by email.  They are indeed experts and their expertise has come, I’m sure, by spending years immersed in the material…handling it, reading it, cataloging it, noting variant printings and editions, and learing where such treasure comes to be stashed.  In this way they carry on in fine Spencerian tradition.

For the rest of us, we have to have some help in wading through the books.  Here’s my first attempt to bring together some of the places worth starting if you’re interested in Restoration literature.

Claude E. Spencer, An Author Catalog of Disciples of Christ and Related Religious Groups. Canton, MO: Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1946.

Leslie R. Galbraith and Heather F. Day, The Disciples and American Culture, A Bibliography of Works by Disciples of Christ Members 1866-1984. ATLA Bibliography Series No. 26. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990.

There are a number of helpful resources for dissertations and periodicals which I will save for future posts.

These three surveys have helpful bibliographies:

Henry E. Webb, In Search of Christian Unity, A History of the Restoration Movement. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1990.

M. Eugene Boring, Disciples and the Bible, A History of Disciples Biblical Interpretation in North America.  St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1997.

D. Duane Cummins, The Disciples, A Struggle for Reformation. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2009.

As always, comments, suggestions and corrections earnestly solicited and eagerly received.

Explorations in Stone-Campbell Bibliography: Commentaries

I have in mind a series of reflections on commentaries in the Restoration Movement.  This genre is only beginning to be explored, so I think a short series is in order.  As I continue to look into it, consider three broad time frames:

–19th century: this list will be rather short

–20th century to 1950 or DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls, discovery of the scrolls brought new light to bear on biblical studies).  Dividing the 20th century right down the middle at 1950 doesn’t necessarily entail that the post-1950 commentaries take into account the impact of the scrolls, but it is a handy dividing point.

–20th century 1950-to present

If you have comments or suggestions, please chime in.