This article raises awareness of unique archival missions-related collections held in the Center for Restoration Studies at Abilene Christian University. These collections reflect a long heritage of missionary activity in the Stone-Campbell Movement (SCM) especially among Churches of Christ in the twentieth century. Historians, missiologists, and theologians will find these collections of primary source material of interest as they seek to flesh out the historical record of past mission efforts and the global scale of the SCM. The collections preserve evidence of mission strategy and method including rationale, implementation, and outcomes. This article summarizes the content of forty-eight sets of personal papers and institutional and organizational records reflecting mission activity on every inhabited continent (c. 1880s–present).
Communicating the gospel to the world has been a core theme of the Stone-Campbell Movement since its inception. The Global History underscored this theme and for the first time, in many cases, brought before the reading public a clearer “understanding of the international scope of the Stone-Campbell Movement.” At the same time, the literature and bibliography concerning Stone-Campbell missions is broad and deep. Locating, reading, and synthesizing these monographs and published reports in periodicals is no easy task. Historians have traditionally relied heavily upon such materials, in large measure due to the fact that they are relatively easy to locate and utilize. Archival materials, on the other hand, are unique by their very nature and, for reasons of access, are often overlooked or neglected by historians and researchers. However, they are a rich source of information: correspondence, photographs, diaries and journals, and other such materials were produced in the moment and reflect the immediacy of mission work as it was undertaken. These archival sources provide a granular scale of information that historical surveys may note or cite, if they are aware of them at all, but can rarely explore in depth or detail.
The authors of the Global History explain, “Though many [of the global manifestations of the Stone-Campbell Movement] are the outgrowth of missionary work and remain relatively small, the missiological and ecclesiological dynamics of these communities and their unique developments of Stone-Campbell identity constitute a whole new field of exploration.” If the Global History opens a door to further research into Stone-Campbell missions history, researchers who follow its lead will need to have a wide array of sources at their disposal. Preceding availability and access, however, is awareness.
This annotated guide, therefore, seeks to raise awareness of the missions-related holdings at Abilene Christian University in the Center for Restoration Studies and Callie Faye Milliken Special Collections. This guide describes forty-eight sets of personal papers and organizational or institutional records. In the aggregate, they document to varying degrees and in varying ways missionary activity among Churches of Christ on every continent throughout most of the last century. For reasons explained below we list them in manuscript number order using the full name of the collection which includes the span dates for the materials held in the respective collection. Annotations include notes concerning form (e.g., diaries, correspondence, photographs, newsletters, etc.) and geography (e.g., continent, country, or city) as well as chronology, which is estimated in a few cases, but as accurate as we can determine. Several collections pertain to multiple mission efforts and therefore defy simple classification by country or region. Likewise, some contain several decades worth of materials making classification by date difficult.
This annotated list complements the traditional finding aid as a tool of discovery for these archival collections. Researchers interested in in-depth exploration in any collection should consult that collection’s finding aid. Finding aids of varying levels of specificity for these collections are available online at .
Four collections are not completely processed and therefore are not fully available for research at this time. Access to unprocessed archival collections is, as a rule, carefully limited if not prohibited in order to preserve the as-created original order of the materials until processing tasks are complete. However, due to the high research value of these materials, we want to call attention to their existence. Researchers should contact Mac Ice () to discuss research needs in unprocessed collections.
All of these sets of papers, with one exception (MARK Program Records), are housed in the Center for Restoration Studies. MARK records are kept in University Archives. Users desiring to conduct research in these collections need only to refer to them by name or manuscript number. All materials are located in Milliken Special Collections, lower level of Brown Library, Abilene Christian University, and are available for research in-person Mondays–Fridays, 9am–5pm (major holidays or campus closures excepted). Contact Mac Ice to arrange a research visit.
Center for Restoration Studies
MS #14 – James Lacy Lovell Papers, 1928–1990
This collection contains Lovell’s correspondence (1929–1983), specifically correspondence with missionaries in China (1928–1929), and an extensive amount of correspondence with missionaries all over the world (the bulk of which is between 1960–1980). There are many photographs, 35mm slides, and reports from missionaries. Additionally, there are copies of West Coast Christian (1938–1948) and materials related to Action and World Bible School.
MS #17 – Edward Washington McMillan Papers, 1863–1986
This collection contains correspondence and financial information regarding postwar mission work in Japan, the creation of Ibaraki Christian College, and McMillan’s work with the school (1947–1978). There is correspondence, board meeting minutes, and financial reports regarding the the Ibaraki Christian Foundation (1947–1970), as well as photographs and a scrapbook.
MS #18 – Sarah Martha Murphree Papers, 1958–2003
This collection contains correspondence to and from friends and family in the US and other Church of Christ missionaries in Germany and France during Murphree’s time as a missionary in Salzburg, Austria with Robert and Donna Skelton (1960–1962). These materials are in both English and German.
MS #19 – Thomas H. Olbricht Papers, 1934–1982
This collection contains the data from a survey regarding missionary support from US Churches of Christ designed and directed by Thomas Olbricht, George Gurganus, and Phil Elkins in 1966. The surveys and collected data provide insight into missionary support during the mid-1960s.
MS #27 – William Newton Short, Jr. Papers, 1995–1997
This collection includes Short’s narratival reflections on his time growing up in the 1940s–1950s at the Namwianga Mission in modern-day Zambia as the child of missionaries W. N. and Delia Short. The reflections include descriptions of the mission work and of the other missionaries involved in the work.
MS #47 – Howard Patrick Horton Papers, 1947–2000
Horton’s papers contain materials reflecting his wide ranging activities, especially his work in Japan, Nigeria, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The collection includes a presentation on the history of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (1956), correspondence regarding mission work in Japan, Nigeria, and Vietnam (1967–1989), and correspondence and newsletters regarding his work with orphanages in Vietnam (1967–1968). There are sets of correspondence concerning the 34th Asian Missions forum in Japan (1994–1995), a series of presentations on the Holy Spirit in the Philippines (1995), and the Fourth National Chinese Christian Conference (1986). Additionally, there is a folder of handwritten and typed sermons Horton preached in Japan, cassette tapes of Horton speaking with a Japanese interpreter, and tapes from the 16th Annual World Missions Workshop.
MS #55 – Bob Hunter Collection, 1938–1972
This collection includes photographs collected by ACU administrator Bob Hunter from an antique store in Austin, TX. The photographs were salvaged from a dumpster following the departure of the Firm Foundation Publishing House from Austin, TX. The collection includes photographs documenting mission work in Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, and other countries.
MS #60 – Claude Adrian Guild Papers, 1936–2001
Guild served as a missionary in Australia. The collections includes Guild’s sermon outlines, bound notes from graduate school, scrapbooks, and cassette tapes.
MS #67 – John F. Wolfe Papers, 1939–2001
This collection includes correspondence with Mexican preachers in both English and Spanish (1939–1984) and correspondence with other missionaries and financial supporters (1940–1983). Additionally, there are copies of Latin American Christian (1940–1941), Reports of the Mexican Mission (1944–1979), and approximately 650 photographs.
MS #79 – Mac Lynn Collection, 1980–2005
This collection includes two and a half boxes of correspondence, newsletters, and newspaper clippings regarding mission work in over one hundred countries (1980–2000). Additionally, there are files on churches in the US, some of which contain information related to mission work (e.g., financial support). Lynn collected these materials in the course of preparing Churches of Christ around the World: Exclusive of the United States and Her Territories (1990 and 2003 editions).
MS #81 – George S. Benson Papers, 1972–1978
This collection contains correspondence between Benson, financial supporters of the mission work, and those working at Namwianga Christian Secondary School. Additionally, there are a few drafts of the Kalomo Reporter and information from the 1977 Zambia Board meeting.
MS #90 – Jacob Vincent Papers, 1959–1996
This collection includes correspondence among the missionaries regarding preparation for their work in Argentina beginning in 1972. There are team meeting minutes (1973–1987), reports (1973–1985), and copies of the Vincents’ newsletters (1973–1986), the Maynards’ newsletters (1978–1979), La Hermandad (1975–1978), Boletin Cristiano (1978–1986), and Focus on Buenos Aires (1991–1996). The collection also includes materials related to the history of the Churches of Christ in Argentina before 1972, information concerning the Tucuman Mission (1981–1985), and Bible class teaching notes and handouts in Spanish.
MS #91 – Global Campaigns (Abilene, TX) Records, 1981–1994
This collection includes the financial records of Global Campaigns, a precursor to ACU’s current World Wide Witness Program. Global Campaigns focused on short-term mission work, mainly in South America, and the financial support was overseen by the elders of Minter Lane Church of Christ (Abilene, TX).
MS #95 – Douglas LeCroy Papers, 1908–1990
Most of this collection is composed of materials related to LeCroy’s teaching in the US following his mission work in the Philippines. However, there is one folder related to Philippine mission work. The folder includes lessons taught by LeCroy (1962), legal documents registering the “CHURCH OF CHRIST (New Testament) IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC.” with the Philippine government (1966), a pamphlet from the Philippine Annual Lectureship of the Churches of Christ (1976), a list of all of the Church of Christ missionaries that had served in the Philippines as of 1979, and a couple of newsletters and bulletins from 1981. Additionally, there is a copy of “Neo-Conservatism in Australia” by David Roper (Macquarie School of Preaching, 1975).
MS #123 – Charlie Marler Papers, 1963-2013
This collection includes correspondence (1966–1967), newsletters (1966–1967), photos, pamphlets, newspaper and periodical clippings, and preparation and project proposals related to the Megalopolis project. The project was a joint effort of the Newark Church of Christ (Newark, DE) and the College Church of Christ (Abilene, TX). The goal of this exodus effort was to advance the Church of Christ by moving families to Newark, DE. Additionally, the collection includes correspondence, elders’ meeting minutes, and budgets regarding University Church of Christ (Abilene, TX) mission work (2001–2013).
MS #125 – Stephen Shaffer Collection, 1965–2003
This collection is the result of Shaffer’s research concerning the Exodus/Rochester mission effort. It includes copies of correspondence (1966–1967), newsletters (1966–1967), meeting minutes, and Southside Church (Rochester, NY) newsletters (1967–1969). Additionally, the collection includes Shaffer’s correspondence and an email interview with W. David Young (2003), other correspondence, and Shaffer’s research notes.
MS #154 – Clyde Neal Austin Papers, 1962–2007
This collection includes Austin’s notes and files on missionary training, mentorship, missionary team building, evaluation, furloughs, conflict resolution, culture shock, acculturation, cross-cultural communication, mental health, stress, missionary kids, familial relationships, and re-entry care for missionaries. These files include journal articles, surveys, reports, research, and workshop materials. Additionally, the last box contains interviews, newsletters, and other materials related to the Megalopolis/Exodus Movement (1962–1967; 2007).
MS #164 – Otis Gatewood Papers, 1900–1999
This collection contains Gatewood’s correspondence (1939–1999), financial reports (1947–1988), copies of Irene Johnson Gatewood’s newsletters (1966–1989), and copies of newsletters from over 25 countries. Correspondence, drafts and edited articles, legal documents, and photos reflect Gatewood’s work as editor of Contact (1954–1988). There is also correspondence, financial information, reports concerning the Iron Curtain Nations Mission Program (1963–1969), reports on mission efforts in the Soviet Union and Russia (1957–1997), and correspondence related to mission work in India (1966–1969). Additionally, there is correspondence, faculty meeting minutes, class information, financial information, advertising, and brochures related to European Christian College (1978–1999).
MS #169 – University Church of Christ (Abilene, TX) Records, 1903–1987
This collection contains correspondence and newsletters from missionaries in Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Australia, and various locations in the US (1949–1965), and from missionaries in Mexico and Guatemala (1971–1974). There are meeting minutes from the University Church of Christ Missions Committee (1964–1974), the World Evangelism Committee (1981–1982), the Argentina Subcommittee (1984–1987), and a Missions Committee self study (1974). Additionally, there are Argentina Mission Team meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, and financial information (1970–1989), and a 35mm slide presentation on Argentina (1979).
MS #180 – Fred Asare Collection, 1959–2011
This collection includes a scanned copy of a 24-page document that describes the early Church of Christ mission efforts in Ghana to plant churches and train native evangelists. The document also includes reports from Nigerian evangelists, lists of contacts, and copies of letters to Wendell Broom and Sewell Hall. Additionally, there are scanned copies of Celebrating Four Decades of Restoration of New Testament Christianity in Ghana, and The Church of Christ in Ghana: Where Did We Come From and Where Are We Going? Both of these texts provide information about the history of Church of Christ mission work in Ghana.
MS #211 – West Islip Church of Christ (Long Island, NY) Records, 1962–2002
West Islip Church of Christ began due to the efforts of the Exodus/Bayshore movement. This collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, financial information, Bible class materials, materials related to Faith Corps, and materials used in preparation for moving to New York (1962–1971). There are Exodus Milestones Bulletins (1963–1967), and twenty-four 16mm audio reels. Additionally, there is a body of historical research, in the form of email interviews, conducted by Richard Goode documenting the history of the West Islip congregation (1998–2002).
MS #221 – Douglas A. Foster Papers, 2004–2014
This collection contains materials regarding production of The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement and The Stone-Campbell Movement: A Global History. Both of these works discuss and describe aspects of Stone-Campbell missionary history and methods. Therefore, the background materials used for these works may prove to be helpful or insightful for those interested in writing about Stone-Campbell missionary work. Some portions of this set of materials is restricted. Scholars wishing to research in them should contact Special Collections staff and Dr. Foster for permission to access these documents.
MS #224 – Joe L. Cannon Papers, 1941–2012
This collection includes the Cannons’ newsletters from Papua New Guinea (1971–1979) and newsletters from a number of other missionaries in Papua New Guinea (1980–1997). There are Papua New Guinea coordination meeting minutes (1971–1977), information about the Papua New Guinea Forum (1980–1996), correspondence regarding Papua New Guinea (1984–1997), and lessons and songs in the native languages. The collection also includes financial records from Japan (1968–1970), newsletters (1991–1999), and information about Ibaraki Christian College. Additionally, there are newsletters, photos, correspondence, applications, teaching materials, and meeting minutes from the Mission/1000 program (1983–1999), and correspondence and newsletter from students trained at Mission/1000.
MS #230 – James Walton Shepherd Papers, 1881–2002
This collection includes some of the earliest extant primary-source materials generated by missionaries among those congregations who did not work through missionary societies or employ instrumental music in worship. Shepherd’s journals document his mission to Australia and New Zealand (1889–1891).
MS #239 – William Reeves Papers, 1960–1970
This collection includes some correspondence between Reeves and J. C. Choate before Reeves entered the mission field, and correspondence with others while in Hong Kong (1963–1970). Additionally, there are copies of Hong Kong Kall (1964–1970) and Hong Kong News (1966).
MS #252 – Donelson Church of Christ (Nashville, TN) Records, 1981–2007
Box 9 of this collection contains material related to Haitian minister Wesner Pierre. The Donelson Missions Committee had to make a decision regarding Pierre’s financial support after they found out that he was a supporter of the Duvalier dictatorship. The documents in the collection include an annual financial statement (December 31, 1981), a scanned copy of an analysis of whether or not to support Pierre financially, a review of Pierre’s mission work, and two letters from Pierre (August 12, 1995; June 10, 1997).
MS #261 – Richard F. Baggett Papers, 1952
This collection contains two typed reports from Baggett describing gospel meetings, Baggett’s first Japanese sermon without an interpreter, classes at Ibaraki Christian College, questions from Communists, and accusations of premillennialism.
MS #267 – Ellen Kramar Banks Papers, 1971–1983
This collection includes correspondence, term papers, journal articles, bibliographies, and notes regarding preparation for medical mission work. Additionally, there is information regarding the history of medical mission work among Churches of Christ, specifically in Bangladesh (1974–1980), and in Argentina, Cameroon, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
MS #268 – Shawn & Linda Tyler Papers, 1991–2003
This collection includes reports, letters, and copies of emails regarding the Tylers’ mission work in Uganda, and a few copies of Mbale Messenger (1995–2005). Additionally, there are copies of newsletters including Kalomo Reporter (1996–2001), Focus on Buenos Aires (1993–1997), and The Nealeigh’s Newsletter from Curitiba, Brasil (1991–2003).
MS #271 – Thomas W. Rogers Papers, 1962–1985
This collection includes correspondence, newsletters, and financial information related to mission work in Korea (1962–1968) sponsored by the Otter Creek Church of Christ (Nashville, TN). The materials remain in the order in which Rogers organized them.
MS #284 – Ted Presley Papers, 1971–1986
This collection includes detailed information regarding the preparation of the 1972 Argentina Team. Additionally, there are 1972 Argentina Team meeting minutes (1972–1977; 1981–1982), and newsletters regarding Church of Christ mission work in Argentina, including Abel-Vincent Report, Christ for Cordoba, Mitchell Family Report, and Pata’s Report from Argentina.
MS #299 – Slavic World for Christ (Abilene, TX) Records, 1974–2004
This collection is composed of financial information, including ledger printouts, bank statements, and tax documents. Additionally, there are VHS tapes, audio cassettes of sermons by Epifanius Stephan Bilak, and 35mm slides.
MS #302 – Epifanius Stephan Bilak Papers, 1974–1991
This collection contains about two hundred cassettes, and thirty-four 16mm audio reels of the “Messenger of Truth” and other recordings related to biblical topics in English, Ukrainian, and Russian. Bilak broadcasted these radio programs from Lausanne, Switzerland.
MS #305 – Herald of Truth (Abilene, TX) Records, 1948–2014
Material in this collection related to Church of Christ mission work includes correspondence with Juan Monroy in English and Spanish (1968–1999) and correspondence regarding radio programs in various international settings. There are materials related to radio evangelism workshops and radio and television programs in Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. Additionally, there is material concerning the La Busqueda program in Spanish and English, including drafts, final manuscripts, and correspondence (1971–1973), and photographs from mission trips (e.g., medical mission trips and disaster relief trips) associated with the Herald of Truth (1990–2012).
MS #319 – Jerry Hill Papers, 1959–2014
This collection contains correspondence between Hill, supporting churches, and other missionaries. There are materials related to missionary preparation and leadership training by extension. The collection also includes typed lectures, class notes, and handouts related to Bible correspondence courses. Additionally, there are newsletters related to mission work in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay. These materials are in both English and Spanish.
MS #322 – Kent & Amber Brantly Papers, 2010–2016
This collection contains the journal that Kent Brantly used until he learned that he contracted Ebola during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Additionally, this collection includes a number of awards and letters received by the Brantlys during and following Kent’s recovery from Ebola, magazines featuring interviews with Kent and Amber, and photographs of the Brantlys.
MS #330 – D. Dewayne & Ella Jane Davenport Papers, 1955–2005
This collection contains materials related to the Davenports’ mission work in Ghana and Tanzania. These materials include correspondence, financial information, The Ghana Report (1961–1967), information concerning Ghana Bible College, radio log books, and photographs and 35mm slides. Additionally, there is material related to Davenport’s editorial and publishing work with Mission Studies Quarterly.
MS #347 – William James & Clara Bishop Papers, 1901–1969
This collection includes correspondence between Clara Bishop, Clarence G. Vincent, and John Moody McCaleb following William’s death in 1913. The collection also includes excerpts from letters written by William Bishop (1901–1913), which have been edited by his daughter, Mary Bishop Arledge, copies of Japan Missionary (1904–1906), and clippings from periodicals regarding the Japanese mission work. Lastly, there is a copy of Yunosuke Hiratsuka’s History of the Church in Japan (May 20, 1952), and photos of the missionaries and church members.
MS #374 – European Christian College / International Christian University (Vienna, Austria / Abilene, TX) Records, 1987–1996
This collection contains President’s Reports, bulletins, board of trustees meeting reports, and records related to those who financially supported the school. Additionally, there are lists and materials related to Callie Faye Milliken’s efforts to assist in developing the school’s library.
MS #376 – Don & Audrey Gardner Papers, 1993–1995
This collection contains two journals written by the Gardners during their travels to Japan and Austria. The first journal recounts their travels in Japan and interest in recruiting Japanese students to Cascade College (Portland, OR). The second journal describes their visit to the International Christian College in Vienna, Austria, and to the school’s work in Prague, Czech Republic, and Kiev, Ukraine.
MS #389 – William Douglass & Charline Gunselman Papers, 1943–2009
The Gunselmans were instrumental in creating and directing the Philippine Bible College of Quezon City. This collection contains correspondence with family, students, other missionaries, and financial supporters (1960–1972), school and student records, (1965–1971), and the Gunselman Philippine Mission News (1964–1971). Additionally, there are research materials related to Gunselman’s EdD dissertation, “Status of the Ten Evangelical Bible Colleges in the Philippines with a Proposed Program for their Improvement” (1971), which he completed at Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila.
MS #436 – David R. Mickey Papers, 1959–2001
This collection includes team planning and preparation materials, including collections of articles, papers, outlines, and studies on mission methods, denominations, and Roman Catholicism. There are 1972 Argentina Team steering committee meeting minutes (1961–1968), São Paulo News Samplings (1969–1977), and a number of evangelistic articles authored by members of the mission team published in Portuguese in local newspapers (1962–1963). Additionally, there are bound copies of periodicals including Mulher Cristã (Christian Woman) in Portuguese (1966–1972), South American Soldier (1957–1958), Brazilian Evangelist (1959–1971), and Inside Brazil (1972–1979). Mickey maintained lists of baptisms, information on supporting churches and people who visited, and Bible correspondence courses conducted in Portuguese.
MS #450 – Burl Edward Davis Papers, 1954–1989
This collection includes Religious Research Reports prepared on behalf of Abilene Christian University’s Communication Research Center. Many of these reports are related to the use of media in mission work and the effectiveness of the Herald of Truth broadcasting. A few concern the use of Telugu Bible translations in India. The collection also includes meeting minutes, correspondence, and financial information regarding World Christian Broadcasting Corporation (1977–1986). Additionally, there are many Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty Reports.
Center for Restoration Studies — Unprocessed
The following collections are currently unprocessed or partially processed and therefore are generally restricted from research use. Please direct inquiries regarding use of these collections to Mac Ice ().
MS #222 – Kathryn Lucile Patton Papers, ca. 1940s–1950s
Patton served as a secretary to Otis Gatewood in Germany (1947–1958).
MS #236 – Wendell Broom Papers, ca. 1950s–1990s
This collection contains correspondence, 35mm slides, photographs, and financial information concerning Broom’s mission work in Africa.
MS #454 – L. Haven Miller Papers, ca. 1930s–1980s
This collection includes correspondence in English and Spanish and many photographs related to Miller’s mission work in Mexico and Central America.
MS #455 – Gailyn Van Rheenen Papers, ca. 1970s–2010s
This collection includes sermons, artifacts, and other materials from Van Rheenen’s mission work in Africa.
U 2010.030 – MARK Program Records, 1976–1994
The Missionary Apprenticeship Resource Korps (MARK) trained and oriented students sent by local congregations to assist long-term missionaries on the field. This collection includes application forms and photos of applicants for the MARK Program. Additionally, there is correspondence from MARK apprentices to Wendell Broom and Gaston D. Tarbet, newsletters and financial information regarding the apprentices’ mission work, and evaluations of the apprentices who participated in the MARK Program. Personality and vocation tests, health records, and other personal information are restricted and unavailable for research.
Brady Kal Cox is a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, and he works as the Processing Supervisor in the Center for Restoration Studies. His main research interests include twentieth-century Stone-Campbell mission work and the development of preaching schools and missionary training programs within the Stone-Campbell Movement.
McGarvey Ice has served in Stone-Campbell archives for over ten years, first as Director of Research Services at Disciples of Christ Historical Society (Nashville, TN) from 2006 to 2010 and since 2013 at Abilene Christian University. Among his research interests in SCM history are its hymnody, theological bibliography, history of biblical studies, and its congregations in Nashville, TN. He has published in Christian History, Restoration Quarterly, and Tennessee Baptist History, and has presented papers and workshops on SCM history, archival studies, and local history and genealogy. He is Associate Editor of Restoration Quarterly.