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This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1993.
|Size||10.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 4500 items)|
|Abstract||William Parsons McCorkle (1855-1933) was an educator and Presbyterian minister in Virginia and North Carolina. The collection includes papers of William P. McCorkle and of his father, Alexander B. McCorkle (1806-1886), Presbyterian ministers, the father primarily in Talladega, Ala., and the son in Martinsville, Va., and several towns in North Carolina, espcially Burlington. Earlier papers are family correspondence, writings, and sermons. After 1910 there are some letters and writings on theological and social problems, with W. P. McCorkle expressing his views on the University of North Carolina, particularly the humanistic ideas of Howard Odum and others; the Mormon Church; Christian Science; and the Communist Party; and church participation in political activity, particularly Prohibition. Also present are papers of the family of Lutie Andrews (Mrs. William P.) McCorkle, daughter of Ezra Harnwood Andrews, a Charlotte, N.C., dentist in Charlotte, N.C., and prisoner at Point Lookout during the Civil War. Volumes include a diary of Lucilla Agnes Gamble (Mrs. Alexander B.) McCorkle, 1846-1860, chiefly concerned with religious and domestic activities. There is a large number of sermons by both ministers.|
|Creator||McCorkle, William P. (William Parsons), 1855-1937.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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William Parsons McCorkle, clergyman and religious writer, was born in Talladega, Ala., the second son and third child of Alexander B. and Lucila Agnes Cambol McCorkle. Alexander (1806 1886) was a native of Rockbridge County, Va., and a descendant of the McCorkle and Glasgow families of that state. A Presbyterian minister, he preached widely in Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama and later helped to found a synodical college for women in Talladega (later the Presbyterian Collegiate Institute and Isabell College). Lucila Cambol McCorkle was the daughter of an Alabama minister.
William McCorkle received his early education in private schools in Alabama, and, in 1870, he entered Washington and Lee University. Although referred to as "Dr. McCorkle" later in life, he was never graduated from Washington and Lee nor did he ever receive a D.D. degree. Rather, according to a eulogizer, "this degree was conferred upon him by those who knew him and his work."
After leaving Washington and Lee, McCorkle taught briefly at private schools in Staunton, Va., and Lenoir, N.C. In 1876, he was licensed to preach by the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and five years later was ordained. In 1879, he married Sarah Tallulah (Lutie) Andrews, a Charlotte writer. From 1881 to 1884, he served as pastor to churches in Beaufort, LaGrange, and Elkin; he then was called to serve in El Paso, Tex. On his return to North Carolina in 1888, he became a minister of the Presbyterian Church and remained so until his death. After a brief pastorate in a rural church near Charlotte (1888-1889), McCorkle served churches in High Point, Jamestown, and Lexington (1889-1891), Shelby (1891-1896), Graham (1896-1901), Savannah, Ga. (1901-1907), Martinsville, Va. (1908-1919), and Burlington, N.C. (1920-1921). From 1921 until his death, he served several churches of the Orange Presbytery in the Burlington area, and, in 1927, he became pastor-at-large for the presbytery.
Although McCorkle was well known among Presbyterians for his preaching and pastoring, he became best known to the public through his many writings. His interest in the relationship of Christianity to science and the modern world led him to publish one book, Christian Science; or, the False Christ of 1866 , and a host of articles in church publications. Particularly during 1925 and 1926, he became a leader of ministerial opposition to the sociologist Howard W. Odum and the Journal of Social Forces at the University of North Carolina. McCorkle wrote frequent articles expressing his views in newspapers in Charlotte, Greensboro, and other Piedmont cities, and he produced a controversial pamphlet attacking Odum and modern science, entitled Anti Christian Sociology as Taught in the Journal of Social Forces During this time, he also was active in mustering the support of Presbyterians for the Poole bill, introduced by Representative D. Scott Poole in 1926 to prohibit the teaching of evolution in the state's schools.
McCorkle continued to preach until his death, becoming involved near the end of his life in efforts to oppose the national unification of Presbyterian, Reformed, and other Calvinist churches. He died and was buried in Burlington. He was survived by his wife; no record exists of any children.
(This biographical note was taken from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography , volume 4.)Back to Top
This collection consists primarily of sermons and related writings by William Parsons McCorkle of Virginia and North Carolina and his father Alexander B. McCorkle of Alabama. Also included are volumes, clippings and printed materials, some correspondence, other writings, and pictures.Back to Top
Correspondence includes include a letter (1846) giving a description of the Hudson River, Niagara Falls, and Quebec, which was called a very dirty, walled city with "fortifications next to Gibralter"; a letter (1861) commenting on Lincoln's "foolish steps" and on "his last act--war with Europe"; a letter (1864) giving some insight into camp life including the writers having to slept on naked board, complaints about lack of food, and the great desire to return to his family; a letter (1872) commenting on the life and customs of Hang Chow, China, and describing to some extent this city and Yokahoma, Japan; letters (1870s) that reveal experiences of a missionary in China and give insight into the character and lives of the Chinese; a number of letters (and papers in series 5) (early 1900s) pertaining to Christian Science; and a letter (1897) by Edward Everett Hale giving an account of Mary Baker Eddy's way of life and the services in her Christian Science Church in Boston.
There are also letters containing discussions of the First World War with comments on events leading up to the entrance of the United States into the conflict and descriptions of camp life and scenes from the war area.
After the war, correspondence includes letters (and papers in series 5) (circa 1924) on modernism and fundamentalism; letters concerning criticisms of the Journal of Social Forces; letters (1927 and 1929) criticizing the McNair lectures and one (1927) with information relating to John Calvin McNair; letters (and papers in series 5) (1927 and 1932) pertaining to communism, activities of radical organizations, the Sacco-Vanzetti case, and alleged atheistic teachings at the University of North Carolina; and letters (and sermons in series 2, clippings in series 4, and papers in series 5) (1909, 1930-1932, and other dates) discussing temperance, prohibition, and the participation of the Presbyterian Church in politics with particular reference to the proposed prohibition amendment and the Alabama constitutional amendment.
Sermons, notes, and addresses. Sermons are of at least two different ministers and delivered at Talladega, Ala., and vicinity, El Paso, Tex., Lexington, High Point, Shelby, and Graham, N.C., and Martinsville, Va., from 1907 through the 1920s. There are sermons (and letters in series 1, clippings in series 4, and papers in series 5) (1909, 1931-1932 and other dates) on temperance, strong drink, prohibition, and the participation of the Presbyterian Church in politics with particular reference to the proposed prohibition amendment and the Alabama constitutional amendment.
Addresses include "Christian Science, or the False Christ of 1866"; "David Livingston--the Man and his Work" (1913); "Pastor Russel and his Gospel" (1916); "A Word as to the Mecklenburg Declaration" (1917); "State Education in its Relation to the Churches"; "Ecclesiastical Censorship of the Press"; "Education and the Growth of Skepticism"; and "Education and Religion."
Among other writings are "Some War-Time Stories--General Sherman in Savannah" (1917), an account of the treatment accorded by Sherman and his army to the city of Savannah on its capitulation, and of the generosity of certain Northern cities to the poor people of the South near the close of the war; a manuscript "Cast Among Thorns" (1932), detailing McCorkle's experiences as a temperance preacher; "Walthall--A Story of Life in the New South"; "The Real John Calvin"; "The Life Work of John Calvin"; "Debt of the World to Puritanism"; "Mary Slocumb"; "Onslow Fifty Years Ago and Now"; "The Puritan Parson of New England"; and "An American Poet (Poe) Prophet of Science."
Diaries kept by Lucila Agnes (Cambol) McCorkle, mother of William Parsons McCorkle, 1846-1860 and 1901-1907. Entries, 1846-1860, are long and introspective, primarily concerning Lucila McCorkle's religious views, prayers, and meditations; she also wrote of her family, her husband's activities, church services and their Sunday school work, the activities and amusements of her children, friends, neighbors and visitors, and of the synodical college for women in Talladega, founded by her husband Alexander B. McCorkle. As political affairs became more agitated, Lucila made a few references to them, mentioning an attempted slave insurrection in Talladega that led to the arrest of some of the slaves of the town, including the McCorkles' boy Dave (he was proved innocent and freed, though a number of others were hanged). In general, however, the diary is concerned with home life and religious life. Entries, 1901-1907, are shorter and less religious in tone, with greater emphasis on mundane family matters. In all three volumes, there are gaps between entries ranging from days to months in duration. Also included (in volume 2) is the daybook of John P. Davidson & Co., a general merchandise business in Talladega, Ala., 12 January 1835-20 October 1835.
Mostly poetry (some original, by members of the McCorkle family) and some literary excerpts. The passages were presumably chosen by Mildred W. McCorkle, sister of William P. McCorkle (her name is written on the flyleaf).
Eight pocket diaries containing miscellaneous notes, including many quotations from books and magazines.
Two volumes of complete sermons, one begun at Shelby, N.C., on 3 August 1894, and the other begun at Graham, N.C., on 1 May 1896; and one volume of notes, quotations, and fragments. All three volumes were presumably written by William P. McCorkle.
One volume of notes on the grammar and vocabulary of the Greek language and one volume of notes on the Greek text of the Bible, possibly written by William. P. McCorkle.
Two writing tablets containing rough drafts of chapters for a novel ("Walthall," author unknown), and a scrapbook probably compiled by Lucila Agnes McCorkle.
Clippings and other printed material on such topics as Christian Science, temperance and prohibition, Joseph Smith and Mormonism, and other subjects of interest to McCorkle. Included are pamphlets on church, religious, temperance, and prohibition subjects: "Rowan (N.C.) Records--Early Settlers" (1914); "Should Churches Engage in Politics" (1914); "Historical Sins of Omission and Commission" (1915); "So-Called Fundamentalism" (1923); a pamphlet (1932) concerning criticisms of the University of North Carolina's admitting radical lecturers; and a pamphlet (1932) that allegedly corrects false historical records and accounts of the attitudes of Virginia leaders toward slavery and secession.
Among these papers are a copy of the will of John Calvin McNair (1857); papers pertaining to Christian Science (early 1900s); papers on modernism and fundamentalism (1924 and other dates); papers on fundamentalism and liberalism in religion; papers on communism, activities of radical organizations, the Sacco-Vanzetti case, and alleged atheistic teachings in the University of North Carolina (1927 and 1932); papers on temperance and prohibition (1909, 1930-1932, and other dates); and papers on Sidney Lanier's career.
Processed by: James Eldridge, 1936; Rebecca Hollingsworth, October 1991
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, April 2010
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1993.Back to Top