Inventory of the James Oscar Atkinson Collection, 1856 - 1966 Mss.Coll.026

Inventory of the James Oscar Atkinson Collection, 1856 - 1966
Mss.Coll.026


This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.
Elon University



© 2008 Elon University. All Rights Reserved.

Contact Information:

Belk Library Archives and Special Collections
Elon University
2550 Campus Box
Elon, North Carolina
27244
336-278-6599
Email: belkarchives@elon.edu
URL: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/library/libraryinfo/archiveinfo.xhtml

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Elon University. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections
Creator: James Oscar Atkinson
Title: James Oscar Atkinson Collection, 1856 - 1966
Language of Material: Material in English
Location: The collection is located in Belk Library Archives Satellite Shelving at Elon University. Please contact the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for further details about the location.
Abstract: This diverse collection contains both papers directly from J.O. Atkinson and other papers that have been collected about him over the years. The papers in this collection pertain to many different subject areas, including the Southern Convention, Women's Conferences of the Congregational Christian Churches, missionary work, Dr. Atkinson's time at Elon College as a member of the first group of faculty, his sermons, genealogy relating to the Atkinson family, and class notes from Dr. Atkinson's time at Harvard University. The collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material into eight series, then chronologically within each series, where applicable. The series are: Audio Recordings; Books; Correspondence; Lists; Literary Productions; Minutes; Photographs; Printed Material.
Extent: 1.5 linear feet, 2 archival boxes

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


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Copyright Notice

The nature of the Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research of otherwise should be fully credited with the source.


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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James Oscar Atkinson Collection, Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC, USA.


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Gift or Purchase Note

See Mss.Coll.026, 8:11.


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Accession Information

Not applicable


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Processing Information

Processed by Katie Nash, November, 2007

Encoded by Kristin Shaffer, October, 2008


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Biographical Note



Early and Later Years and Family:
* J.O. was born in Wake County, NC on April 20, 1867 (3:13)
* His parents were George Washington Atkinson and Mary Jones Atkinson (3:13)
* J.O. had a sister-her married name was Mrs. John Davis, but J.O. referred to her as "Sister Mamie" in his letters (3:7). She was born December 30, 1873 in Apex, NC
* J.O. had a brother Moses and a brother E.B. Atkinson (3:7)
* J.O. married Emma Williamson of Driver, VA in the early 1890s (3:7, 5:3). They had four children together (3 girls and 1 boy), and Emma had been a student at Elon in the early 1890s
* J.O. had a cousin named Rev. J.E. Franks (3:7)
* J.O. had an Aunt Net Sorrell (3:7)
* J.O.'s grandfather was named Moses Atkinson (3:7)
* J.O.'s father came to North Carolina from Isle of Wight County, VA (3:7)
* J.O. died at St. Leo's hospital in Greensboro, NC at 5:15AM on July 2, 1940 from a deadly disease he had been battling (3:13, 8:7)
* Former President of Elon College, Dr. Leon Edgar Smith preached at Dr. Atkinson's funeral which was held in Whitley Auditorium on July 3, 1940 at 3pm. He was then buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Elon/Burlington, NC (8:7)
** See 8:5 for a more detailed list of Dr. Atkinson's children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
** See 5:28 for a description of J.O. Atkinson that was written by his children



Education/Career:
* J.O. graduated from Wake Forest College in 1890 (3:13)
* He received a Master of Arts from Harvard University in 1893, where he studied religion and philosophy (3:13)
* Served as editor for the Christian Sun publication from May 2, 1924-July 1, 1936 (3:13, 8:6, 8:7)
* Member of Elon College's original faculty, and taught when the school first opened in September of 1890 (3:13)
* Served on Elon College's Board of Trustees from 1914-1940 (8:7)
* Served as Dean of the faculty from 1903-1905 (8:7)
* While teaching at Elon, he taught in the departments of Latin and Greek, political economy and sociology, and psychology and ethics (5:14)



Church Affiliations:
* J.O. served as the pastor of Elon College's church from 1897-1917 (8:7)
* J.O. worked diligently for the welfare of the Afro-Christian Convention and other African American schools in Franklinton, NC (Franklinton Christian College) (8:7)
* He helped plan the merger of the Congregational and Christian Churches in 1931 (8:7)
* J.O. was ordained a minister in 1893 (5:14)
* In 1917, the Southern Christian Convention created a Secretary of Missions position in which Dr. Atkinson served until his death in 1940 (5:14)
* J.O. made it a priority to attend district gatherings, rallies, meetings, etc. of women's church organizations (5:14)
* J.O. had a close connection with African Americans-he would preach at their churches, he loved to hear them sing, and he helped them to sing on the radio (5:28)



Awards, Honors, Memberships, etc.:
* J.O. authored a book titled Preparing the Teacher...(3:13)
* Awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Elon College in 1910 (8:7)
* Served on the Board of Trustees at UNC-Chapel Hill and at the North Carolina School for the Deaf
* Member of the Mission Board of the American Christian Convention from 1918-1935 (8:7)
* Served on the American Board Conference of Foreign Missions (8:7)
* Mentioned in the book Who's Who in the Clergy (8:7)
* Member of the Home Missions board, starting in June of 1907 (end date unknown) (8:7)
* Staley-Atkinson-Newman Memorial Foundation was established in 1943 to support Christian Education at Elon College and honor three men who were dedicated servants of the Church (Dr. Atkinson being one of the three men). This Memorial Foundation was also the first effort to strengthen the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Elon College (8:9)



Biographical Sources:
Mss.Coll.#026 (Series/Folder#'s) 3:7, 3:13, 5:3, 5:14, 5:28, 8:5-8:7, 8:9


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Scope and Content Note

This diverse collection contains both papers directly from J.O. Atkinson and other papers that have been collected about him over the years. The papers in this collection pertain to many different subject areas, including the Southern Convention, Women's Conferences of the Congregational Christian Churches, missionary work, Dr. Atkinson's time at Elon College as a member of the first group of faculty, his sermons, genealogy relating to the Atkinson family, and class notes from Dr. Atkinson's time at Harvard University. The collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material into eight series, then chronologically within each series, where applicable. The series are: Audio Recordings; Books; Correspondence; Lists; Literary Productions; Minutes; Photographs; Printed Material.

Most of the smallest series in the collection contain information relating to church missionary work, Women's Conferences of the Congregational Christian Churches, the Southern Convention, and other church related events (Series 1, 4, 6). One of the small series that does not relate to the church is a book found in the second series which contains the grade book from Dr. Atkinson's time at Elon College as a member of the first group of faculty (2:1).

While many of the larger series also include information similar to that in the smaller series, there are a few exceptions. For example, there is quite a bit of genealogical information about the Atkinson family that can be found in the Correspondence series, as well as the Printed Material series (Series 3 and 8). Additionally, the Literary Production series not only contains sermons and essays by Dr. Atkinson, but it also contains all of his class notes from when he attended Harvard University in 1892-1893 (5:4-5:12). These ledgers offer detailed notes taken by Dr. Atkinson while attending classes in philosophy, theology, religion, etc.

Last but not least are the Photographs in this collection that visually showcase some of the groups that Dr. Atkinson more than likely visited while on mission trips for the church. Moreover, there are some unique postcards depicting farm scenes of where the Christian Orphanage used to stand near Elon's campus (now Elon Homes for Children) (Series 7).

Overall, this collection would be useful to anyone studying the beginning of higher education in an Ivy League school (Harvard University), the life and times of the Congregational and Christian churches during the late 1890s-early 1900s, Atkinson family genealogy, or insight into the mind and time of a member on Elon's original faculty.


Arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material into eight series, then chronologically within each series, where applicable. The series are: Audio Recordings; Books; Correspondence; Lists; Literary Productions; Minutes; Photographs; Printed Material.


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Online Catalog Headings

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs.

Afro-Christian Church Convention
Atkinson, J.O. (James Oscar), 1867-
Congregational Christian Churches -- History
Christian education directors
Clergy
Elon College -- Deans
Elon College -- Faculty
Missionaries
Southern Christian Convention
Elon University -- Archival resources

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Related Material

Please consult with the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for additional information about related materials to this collection.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Audio Recordings. 1856-1965.
2 Folders. ca. 85 Items.
This series only contains audio discs. They are very thin and a green color—the technical term is unknown at this time. While the data on these discs is unknown, it is possible that some historical information about the Southern Convention may be recorded, due to some of the handwritten labels on the discs.
Folder 1. Discs. 1856-1965.
Folder 2. Discs. 1870-1965.
2. Books. 1912-1914.
1 Folder. 1 Item.
This is one of the smallest series in the collection, containing only 1 Book. The class book belonged to J.O. Atkinson, and shows the record of student grades in various subjects during the fall of 1912 and the spring of 1913. These grades were of the students that Dr. Atkinson taught while he was a member of the faculty at Elon College (2:1).
Folder 1. Class Book. 1912-1914.
* Atkinson, J.O.
3. Correspondence. Inclusive: 1921-1966. Bulk: 1931-1947.
14 Folders. ca. 45 Items.
The Correspondence series contains primarily letters either to or from J.O. Atkinson. The content within these letters varies and covers many topics including the Mission Board of the Southern Convention; Southern Convention Woman's Conference and events; North Carolina Woman's Conference of Congregational Christian Churches; publications pertaining to the Christian faith; schedules and information about church conferences and meetings; and genealogical information about the Atkinson family in North Carolina.
Of particular interest to genealogists are a few letters pertaining to the Atkinson family in North Carolina. There are letters that Dr. Atkinson wrote to his sister about family members (3:7), as well as others writing to inquire about the Atkinson family (3:13).
Folder 1. Letters. No Date.
Folder 2. Letters. 1921.
Folder 3. Letters. 1931.
* Walker, Edith
* Dollar-a-month club
Folder 4. Letters. 1933.
* Alabama Woman's Christian Missionary Conference
Folder 5. Letters. 1936.
* Kernodle, P.J.
Folder 6. Letters. 1938.
* Kitchens, Mrs. V.E.
* Harper, Mrs. Mervin
* Woman's Conference-Southern Christian Conference
Folder 7. Letters. 1939.
* Andes, W.J.
* Hank's Chapel Church
* Western North Carolina Conference
* Boone, W.H.
* Carter, Mrs. E.M.
* Davis, Mrs. John (J.O. Atkinson's sister)
* Atkinson, E.B.
* Johnson, Ruth
* Atkinson, Florence (Mrs. A.W. Boswell)
Folder 8. Letters. 1941-1942.
Folder 9. Letters. 1942.
* Wisseman, Graham R.
* Mitchell, Mrs. D.E.
* Wright, Mrs. C.G.
* North Carolina Woman's Conference-Congregational Christian Churches
* Parker, Mattie Cox
Folder 10. Letters. 1946.
* Medlicott, Sally
* Missions Council of the Congregational Christian Churches
Folder 11. Letters. 1947.
* Missions Council of the Congregational Christian Churches
* Medlicott, Sally
Folder 12. Letters. 1964.
* Lobingier, John Leslie
* Scott, William T.
* Atkinson, James Oscar
* Southern Convention
Folder 13. Letters. 1965.
* Truitt, John G.
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Lobingier, John Leslie
* Scott, William T.
* Faculty of Elon College
Folder 14. Letters. 1966.
* Scott, William T.
* Pilgrims and Pioneers in the Congregational Christian Tradition
4. Lists. 1941-1942.
3 Folders. ca. 4 Items.
Another small series in this collection contains Lists of various conference members. Specifically, there is a List of the members of the Eastern Virginia Woman's Conference and of the Valley Virginia Woman's Conference (4:1, 4:3). The only other List in this series appears to be a listing of particular churches in various counties in North Carolina and Virginia, as well as representatives from each church (4:2). There is no information on these Lists that explains what the content represents (4:2).
Folder 1. Eastern Virginia Woman's Conference. 1941-1942.
Folder 2. Miscellaneous. 1941-1942.
Folder 3. Valley Virginia Woman's Conference. 1941-1942.
5. Literary Productions. Inclusive: 1892-1966. Bulk: 1920s-1930s.
43 Folders. ca. 115 Items.
The Literary Production series is by far the largest in the collection, containing a variety of informational materials. The items that take up most of the space in this series are J.O. Atkinson's class notes from when he attended Harvard University in 1892 and 1893 (5:4-5:12). Within these notebooks are handwritten notes taken by Dr. Atkinson while studying theology, philosophy, and religion at Harvard. The notes represent the structure of how classes were taught in the early 1890s, as well as the content that was taught by professors at a prestigious school.
There are three items that may be of particular interest to Elon College. One is a dedication speech, in which the Board of Trustees of the Christian Orphanage (also known as Elon Homes for Children) dedicated a bronze tablet that was to be placed on the side of the Johnston Hall building. The bronze tablet honored Charles Johnston, who served as the Orphanage's superintendent for many years (5:2). Also of interest is a sermon that Dr. Atkinson gave at Elon College in 1933 (5:40). Dr. Atkinson made a note on his sermon papers that states "large congregation: white and colored" (5:40). Additionally, Dr. Atkinson gave an informal speech at commencement in 1900 and a copy of the speech is included in this series (5:1.1).
This series also contains essays written by J.O. Atkinson that pertain to the importance of mission work at home and abroad (5:14, 5:15, 5:18, 5:19). Moreover, another large part of this series contains sermons written by J.O. Atkinson that were given at various churches, conferences, and/or meetings (5:30-5:41).
Folder 1. Addresses. No Date.
Folder 1.1. Addresses. 1900.
* Commencement-Elon College
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 2. Addresses. 1928.
* Johnston Hall
* Johnston, Charles David
* Christian Orphanage
Folder 3. Book Review. 1966.
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Lobingier, John L.
* Pilgrims and Pioneers in the Congregational Christian Tradition
Folder 4. Class Notes. Comparative Religion and Theology. 1892.
* Harvard University
Folder 5. Class Notes. Comparative Religion. 1893.
* Harvard University
Folder 6. Class Notes. Cosmology. 1893.
* Harvard University
Folder 7. Class Notes. Philosophy. No Date (1892 or 1893).
* Harvard University
Folder 8. Class Notes. Philosophy. 1892.
* Harvard University
Folder 9. Class Notes. Philosophy and Theology. 1892.
* Harvard University
Folder 10. Class Notes. Philosophy and Theology. 1893.
* Harvard University
Folder 11. Class Notes. Philosophy and Theology. 1893. #2.
* Harvard University
Folder 12. Class Notes. Philosophy and Theology. 1893. #3.
* Harvard University
Folder 13. Devotional Programs. No Date.
* Rowland, Mrs. C.H.
* Southern Convention
* Rush, Mrs. Charles F.
* Foster, Mrs. J.R.
* Eldredge, Lucy
* Paris, Mrs. O.H.
* Truitt, Mrs. John G.
Folder 14. Essays. No Date. #1.
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Southern Christian Convention
* Southern Christian Convention Missions
* Home Missionary Work-Christian Church
Folder 15. Essays. No Date. #2.
* Missionary Work
Folder 16. Essays. No Date. #3.
* Christian Church
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Kiwin's Club
Folder 17. Essays. No Date. #4.
* Missionary Work
* Christian Sun publication
* Foreign Mission movement
Folder 18. Essays. 1923.
* Stewardship of Money
* While the Evil Days come not
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Christian Missionary
Folder 19. Essays. 1924.
* Making the home task easier
* Christian Missionary
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 20. Essays. 1925.
* Christian Missionary
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Our church's opportunity
Folder 21. Essays. 1928.
* Kiwin's club
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 22. Essays. 1937.
* Chapel Service-Elon College
Folder 23. Essays. 1938.
* Board of Superannuation
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 24. Journals (Personal). ca. 1915-1916.
Folder 25. Poetry. No Date.
* Adams, Carrie B.
Folder 26. Reminiscences. 1924.
* Duff, Alexander
* Moody, D.L.
Folder 27. Reminiscences. 1939.
* Atkinson, Alie
* Atkinson, George Washington
Folder 28. Reminiscences. 1965.
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Scott, William T.
Folder 29. Research Notes. No Date.
* Missionary Motive
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 30. Sermons. No Date. #1.
Folder 31. Sermons. No Date. #2.
Folder 32. Sermons. No Date. #3.
Folder 33. Sermons. No Date. #4.
Folder 34. Sermons. No Date. #5.
Folder 35. Sermons. 1914.
Folder 36. Sermons. 1915.
Folder 37. Sermons. 1924.
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 38. Sermons. 1926.
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Missionary Education Conference
* Blue Ridge Association
* Blue Ridge Voice
Folder 39. Sermons. 1929.
Folder 40. Sermons. 1933.
* Elon College
Folder 41. Sermons. 1936.
Folder 42. Speeches. 1927.
* Old Lebanon Memorial
* Surry County, VA
* Atkinson, J.O.
6. Minutes. 1942.
1 Folder. 2 Items.
This series only includes Minutes from the Board Meeting of the Woman's Board of the Southern Convention of Congregational Christian Churches that met in the Suffolk Christian Church (Suffolk, VA) on August 27, 1942 (6:1).
Folder 1. Woman's Board of the Southern Convention of Congregational Christian Churches. 1942.
7. Photographs. No Date (ca. 1920s).
10 Folders. 33 Items.
The items in this series include Photographs, negatives, and postcards. Many of the Photographs are black and white, and show multiple churches and unidentified buildings (7:1-7:6). The groups of pictures that offer the most information primarily include people from various churches, missionary groups, and conventions (7:7). Almost all of the pictures within this folder are identified (7:7). Of particular interest to Elon are four postcards depicting scenes from where the Christian Orphanage used to stand (7:9). Some of the pictures include the orphans, while others include the dairy farm and surrounding landscape (7:9).
Folder 1. Buildings. Miscellaneous.
* Woodworth Home
Folder 2. Elks Spur Church.
Folder 3. Elks Spur Parsonage.
Folder 4. Negatives. Elks Spur Church.
Folder 5. Negatives. Elks Spur Parsonage.
Folder 6. Negatives. Rocky Ford Church.
Folder 7. People. Miscellaneous.
* Holland Vacation Bible School
* Lightbourne, J.H.
* Everett, Missie
* Mt. Carvel (?) Church-Eastern VA
* Johnson, Essie
* Suffolk Christian Church
* Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico
* Ojeda, Rev.
* Holy Neck Vacation Bible School
* Jay, William
* Christian Endeavor Society
* Banner School of the V.A.V.C.S.S. and C.E. Convention
* Christian Temple
* Valley of Va. S.S. Convention
* Larrick, Mrs. R.A.
* Foster, J.E.
* Wampler, W.C.
* Larrick, R.A.
* Deavers, B.C.
* Liskey, A.L.
* Hosaflook, R. Roy
Folder 8. Postcards. Bethlehem College (Wadley, AL). 1924.
Folder 9. Postcards. Elon Homes For Children.
Folder 10. Rocky Ford Church.
8. Printed Material. Inclusive: 1917-1963. Bulk: 1940s.
16 Folders. ca. 30 Items.
The Printed Material series contains a diversity of materials. Primarily, this series includes brochures, bulletins, and programs relating to missionary work and the North Carolina Woman's Conference of Congregational Christian Churches (8:1-8:3, 8:13, 8:15). Specifically relating to J.O. Atkinson are newspaper clippings that offer rich biographical information (8:6-8:8, 8:11). Additionally, there is a family tree that was constructed which directly pertains to the Atkinson family in North Carolina, as well as J.O. Atkinson (8:5).
Folder 1. Brochures. No Date.
* Observing Mission Month
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 2. Brochures. 1942.
* Missionary Education
* Latin America
* Missionary Education Movement
Folder 3. Bulletins. 1917.
* Elon College News Bulletin
Folder 4. Bulletins. 1942.
* North Carolina Woman's Conference of Congregational Christian Churches
* Strader, Jessie
Folder 5. Family Tree. 1963.
* Atkinson family
Folder 6. Newspaper Clippings. 1936.
* Christian Sun
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 7. Newspaper Clippings. 1940.
* Christian Sun
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Afro-Christian Convention
* Franklinton Christian College
* Southern Convention
* Missionary work
Folder 8. Newspaper Clippings. 1941.
* Christian Sun
* Missionary work
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Atkinson, J.O.-Honor Fund
Folder 9. Newspaper Clippings. 1947.
* Staley-Atkinson-Newman Memorial foundation
* Christian education at Elon College
Folder 10. Newspaper Clippings. 1956.
* Christian Sun
* Scott, William T.
* Development of the Superintendency, The
* Atkinson, J.O.
Folder 11. Newspaper Clippings. 1972.
* Atkinson, J.O.
* Papers of Dr. Atkinson are placed in Archives
Folder 12. Pamphlets. No Date.
Folder 13. Programs. No Date.
* Missionary Program
Folder 14. Programs. 1941.
Folder 15. Programs. 1942.
* North Carolina Woman's Conference of Congregational Christian Churches
Folder 16. Questionnaires. No Date.