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|Size||14.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 15700 items)|
|Abstract||Samuel Lewis Morgan was a Baptist minister, writer, and commentator of the North Carolina piedmont. The collection includes correspondence and writings of Samuel Lewis Morgan. The correspondence consists chiefly of copies of Morgan's letters to friends, family members, Baptist ministers, editors, and readers of his writings, written during the 1950s and 1960s when Morgan was in his eighties and nineties. Most letters are of a personal nature, relating to Morgan's family, his ministerial activities, and his reading and writings. Scattered letters to businessmen, senators, and presidents concern requests for information, reponses to published articles, and calls for action on various social issues from "immoral movie houses" in the 1920s to civil rights in the 1960s. Major correspondents include William Louis Poteat, John Morgan, James I. Miller, William W. Finlator, Edwin McNeill Poteat Jr., Willis Richard Cullom, John W. Kincheloe, Charles E. Maddry, J. Marse Grant, Samuel Talmadge Ragan, Charles Bennett Deane, Thomas J. Lassiter Jr., Eugene Norfleet Gardner, Hubert P. Warden, Rexford Squires, and LaReine Warden Clayton. Most of the remaining papers are writings of some type, including a fifty-year, twenty-five-hundred-page "journalistic" diary, nearly two thousand clippings of articles, several hundred sermons and other addresses, and other items. The topics of Morgan's writings include pastoral ministry, Scripture, Baptist doctrine, women's roles, death and dying, stories of inspiration, and men and women whom Morgan had known and admired.|
|Creator||Morgan, S. L. (Samuel Lewis), 1871-1972.|
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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Samuel Lewis Morgan
1871 Born, 23 September, Sperryville, Virginia
1899 Received B.A., Richmond College, Richmond, Virginia
1902 Received B.D. (equivalent), Crozer Seminary, Chester, Pennsylvania
1902-1904 Called to ministry by Palatine Baptist Church, Fairmont, West Virginia; served for two years
1904-1907 Pastor, Littleton Baptist Church, Littleton, North Carolina
1907-1909 Pastor of Baptist churches in Red Springs-Maxton, North Carolina
1909-Married, 14 October, Isabelle Robeson of Red Springs, North Carolina
1909-1912 Pastor of First Baptist Church, Burlington, North Carolina
1911 S. Lewis Morgan Jr., born, 3 August
1912-1922 Pastor of First Baptist Church, Henderson, North Carolina
1913 Isabel Morgan born, 11 June
1917 David Robeson Morgan born, 23 January
1922-1923 Pastor of Baptist churches in Ramseur and Franklinville, North Carolina
1923-1924 Began as correspondent for Smithfield Herald and Raleigh News and Observer (wrote "The Baptist Column" for the Smithfield Herald, 1923-1931)
1923-1931 Pastor of First Baptist Church, Smithfield, North Carolina
1924 Neil Bowen Morgan born, 27 February
1931-1934 Morgan family moved to Raleigh; SLM had part-time pastorates in Caraleigh, Lillington, Samaria, and Ephesus, North Carolina
1933 Assisted Wake Forest President William Louis Poteat in organizing United Dry Forces
1934-1939 Pastor of Creedmoor Baptist Church, Creedmoor. Part-time pastorates at Rock Spring, Dexter, and Bay Leaf, North Carolina, began in this period.
1940 Ended active pastorate; moved to Wake Forest, North Carolina
1961 Death of Isabelle Morgan, 14 September
1964 Moved to Baptist Home, Hamilton, North Carolina
1972 Died, 8 August, Winston-Salem, North CarolinaBack to Top
The SAMUEL LEWIS MORGAN PAPERS constitute a detailed record of the day-to-day life of a Southern Baptist minister in piedmont North Carolina from the turn of the century through the 1960s. Well over half of the papers are correspondence--chiefly copies of Morgan's own letters to friends, family members, Baptist ministers, editors, and readers of his writings, most of them written during the 1950s and 1960s when Morgan was in his eighties and nineties. Most of the remaining papers are writings of some type--a fifty-year, twenty-five-hundred-page "journalistic" diary, nearly two thousand clippings of articles, several hundred sermons and other addresses, etc. Taken as a whole, after a few scattered earlier items, Morgan's papers date from his first pastorate in 1904 to his last year in the Hamilton (N.C.) Baptist Home (1970).
Most of the letters are of a personal nature, relating largely to Morgan's family, his ministerial activities, and his reading and writings. Scattered letters of a professional nature to businessmen, senators, and presidents, concern requests for information, responses to published articles, and calls for action on various social issues (from "immoral movie houses" in the 1920s to civil rights in the 1960s). Major correspondents include William Louis Poteat, John Morgan, James I. Miller, William W. Finlator, Edwin McNeill Poteat Jr., Willis Richard Cullom, John W. Kincheloe, Charles E. Maddry, J. Marse Grant, Samuel Talmadge Ragan, Charles Bennett Deane, Thomas J. Lassiter Jr., Eugene Norfleet Gardner, Hubert P. Warden, Rexford Squires, and LaReine Warden Clayton.
The topics of Morgan's addresses and writings, from sermons to newspaper stories to book-length manuscripts, include pastoral ministry, Scripture, Baptist doctrine, women's roles, death and dying, stories of inspiration, and men and women whom Morgan had known and admired.Back to Top
S.L. Morgan was a prolific correspondent, especially in his later years. He wrote anyone and everyone--from poor men to presidents--but did concentrate on certain groups throughout his life: immediate family members and other relatives, pastors and Baptist leaders, friends and former parishioners, newspaper and magazine editors. Morgan's letters, most of them written in the half century after 1915, reveal not so much his inner story as the day-to-day social and religious struggles of a country preacher and his people.
Morgan is almost without exception the writer or recipient of these items, two-thirds being carbons of letters written by him. The series can be divided for purposes of description into six periods.
1895-1923. About 55 items.
Chiefly letters written by Morgan to relatives and Baptist ministers in the state while he was serving in Henderson, North Carolina. Topics include family concerns, the war in Europe, and doctrinal matters.
1924-1931. About 250 items.
S.L. Morgan's correspondence during his Smithfield years expanded to include new correspondents (among them his children) and new concerns, such as Baptist missions, youth training, women in the church, the responsibilities of deacons, and, after 1929, financial matters. His long affiliation with the Biblical Recorder began in these years as well. Other items of interest include brief exchanges with columnist Dorothy Dix on the role of women in Baptist affairs (June 1927), and with UNC President Harry W. Chase, about a visit to Chapel Hill by philosopher Bertrand Russell.
1932-1940. About 2100 items.
Many problems and issues are discussed: finding temporary pastorates; education of the children; articles submitted to journals; the United Dry Forces and Prohibition (circa 1933); world peace; and other matters. In these years, the correspondence becomes less concerned with Baptist affairs and more personal. Also in this period Morgan began to receive reactions to articles that he had published. Letters for the last two years deal in large part with troubles facing the family.
1941-1951. About 1300 items.
In the 1940s when S.L. Morgan had retired from active ministry, family matters continued to be predominant subjects. The correspondence for these years includes more communication with men and women from his former pastorates, and with editors and publishers about book length manuscripts written by Morgan. Of particular interest are numerous letters relating to son David Morgan's decision to apply for conscientious objector status in 1940, and about his subsequent trial and imprisonment.
1952-1964. About 7000 items.
Chiefly carbon copies of letters by SLM. A large number of these letters relate to the strains caused by the deteriorating health of his wife, Isabelle (who died in 1961). Other letters, to and from friends, former parishioners, and admirers, deal with various opinions and advice given by Morgan and with other general topics. Among these is a lengthy correspondence with Mrs. Catherine Marshall ( A Man Called Peter), as well as a smaller exchange with I. Beverly Lake Jr., concerning Lake's stand on the race issue. A final set consists of carbon copies of Morgan's "letters to the editor" and the responses he received. Topics include integration, the elderly, and the high cost of health care and funerals. Prominent correspondents include editors J. Marse Grant of the Biblical Recorder and Sam Ragan of the News and Observer.
1965-1985. About 6,000 items.
The correspondence during Morgan's last years changes little, save for the greater number of incoming letters as Morgan's health fails. Frequent correspondents during the late sixties include LaReine Warden Clayton, William Finlator, Charles B. Deane, and Thomas J. Lassiter Jr.
Principally typed copies of sermons delivered by S.L. Morgan in North Carolina Baptist churches over a period of about fifty years. While pastor in Henderson, North Carolina, Morgan composed many of his sermons, which typically consist of full prose text with attached outline. Most sermons develop a theme from a brief passage or passages from scripture, using other biblical texts and various religious and popular quotations to draw the whole together. Topics include Christian doctrines, biblical truth, sin, salvation, prayer, suffering, "team work," women, the home, and morality. There are a few sermons concerning politics, local government, and world events, such as the death of Woodrow Wilson. Morgan's sermons are filed alphabetically, and dated according to the date first delivered. The envelopes which originally contained them are interfiled with the material, as they include information on the dates and places that the sermons were given.
About thirty speeches given by Morgan on various occasions, mostly during the twenties and thirties while pastor of Henderson and Smithfield Baptist churches. The material consists of talks to deacons and deaconesses, school groups, youth groups, parent-teacher associations, and local Baptist conferences, as well as addresses given at commencements, installation services, funerals, and other such functions.
Articles and similar types of writings by Morgan, usually five to fifteen pages in length, on subjects such as pastoral care, ministry, church administration, the Bible, etc. A longer piece, "Excerpts from History of Baptist Homes by Reverend S.L. Morgan," is also included, as well as a few drafts of articles that were later published.
Principally typescripts of lengthy works by Morgan intended for publication. Nearly all were written during the Wake Forest years with the hope of helping Baptists understand modern approaches to scripture, ministry, church organization, and the like. The first three manuscripts, all written in 1951, are essentially different versions of The Shepherd and His Teammates, a discussion of democratic organization in a Baptist church. Similarly, the next three manuscripts are slightly different essays dealing with the concept of the Bible as a "progressive revelation."
S.L. Morgan's reminiscences take three forms: (1) an untitled group of reminiscences covering Morgan's memories from earliest childhood through his last years in Creedmoor, North Carolina, (2) a shorter, more topical summary of his reflections, entitled "Lights and Shadows of the Gospel Minister," and (3) various miscellaneous reminiscences. (1) and (2) are in the form of a number of short chapters based on information contained in the Morgan diaries.
The first collection of chapters is earlier and longer than the other, dating from about 1960, and totalling 214 pages, from a chapter on "My Mother" to Chapter XXV, "Creedmoor to Wake Forest." (Chapter I is missing from these papers.) Each chapter takes the form of a chronological report on incidents memorable to Morgan. Morgan often undertakes an examination of himself from the perspective of many years later, a perspective influenced by the principles of psychology he learned in later life. While similar to the diaries in many ways, these chapters are distinguished by assessments of his pastorates, reflections on relationships with family and friends, watersheds in his spiritual development, observations on the Southern Baptist ministry, summaries of articles published, descriptions of respected and beloved figures in his life, and the stories of both his greatest and his saddest moments as a minister.
The second collection of chapters, "Lights and Shadows of the Gospel Minister," is a later (1964), shorter, more topical and "incidental" recollection of the "bewildering array of lights and shadows" in Morgan's life. In it, Morgan provides an overview of the major periods in his life (i.e., childhood, college, spiritual struggles, etc.) as the earlier set of chapters does, but from a more pronounced psychological perspective. Chapters I through XV span the period from childhood to the Smithfield pastorate. (Chapter II is missing, and Chapter XV is incomplete.)
Miscellaneous reminiscences largely consist of short pieces written on various topics during the retirement years. Some of these writings briefly survey a portion of Morgan's life ("Notes on Earliest History of S.L. Morgan Family and the Earliest Public Schools, Recalled"), others deal with favorite people ("Two Great Alumni"), still others aim to teach a lesson ("Make Sorrow Your Stepping Stone"), and another group contains recollections chosen for a certain occasion ("Gourdvine's 175th Anniversary, August 7, 1966"). Most are undated, but seem to have been written in Morgan's nineties.
A group of prayers written by Morgan for various occasions--dedications, commencements, holidays, funerals, and other special events. Most were composed during and just after World War II.
Chiefly typescript "notes taken on books read"--short synopses of nearly one hundred works on Christianity, the Bible, and religion, and biographies and novels read during the early 1950s. A list of titles is included. Also included are a few notes written for sermons, speeches, and deacons' meetings.
Various brief pieces, titled and untitled, mostly written in the 1960s as news items for religious publications and newspapers in central and eastern North Carolina. These writings often take the form of remembrances, inspirational stories, or travel accounts, recounting "unforgettable people and incidents." Topics include aging, death and dying, funeral costs, women and motherhood, and Christmastime, as well as some social issues of the day such as civil rights. A "Statement of Doctrine" (1902) is also included, as is a reminiscence, "David R. Morgan, C.O.-Father's Statement" (1966). (Note that some pages have separate writings on each side.)
Morgan preserved a vast number of clippings of his published writings which span the period from his first pastorate in North Carolina to his last years. These articles and "letters to the editor" fall into several categories, depending upon the method in which the clippings are preserved and the nature of items collected.
A number of Morgan's earliest articles and printed letters (c.1904-1922) were placed by Morgan in a small scrapbook volume (38 pp). Written for the Baptist Biblical Recorder and newspapers in Littleton, Burlington, and Henderson, North Carolina, Morgan's articles report on Baptist affairs in the state, enthusiastically predict the development of the New South (c. 1910), and, around 1920, urge civic leaders to adopt some of the reforms of the social gospel movement, including some basic social services for mill workers.
A large number of unbound clippings (1929-1969) chronicle the interests and issues in Morgan's life as a minister. Appearing in such newspapers as the Smithfield Herald and in the journals of various denominations (e.g., the Biblical Recorder, Christian Frontiers, Cumberland Presbyterian, Wesleyan Methodist), particularly in the 1950s and early 1960s, the topics of Morgan's articles and editorial comments address a range of topics from inspirational ("The Loneliness of Childhood and Age") to pastoral ("My Tragic Pulpit Failures"). His thoughts on social issues of the day (prohibition, school integration, lunch counter sit-ins) are included, as well as a large number of writings on other topics such as marriage, old age, death and dying, children, North Carolina Baptists, Christmastime, his family's achievements, and former pastorates.
A similar group of clippings (c. 1908-1953), at one time bound by Morgan, have been preserved as individual pages. Arranged in chronological order, this group generally covers an earlier period than the loose clippings and contains many more articles from North Carolina newspapers and journals, particularly the Smithfield Herald (which carried Morgan's "The Baptist Column") and the Biblical Recorder. The many "letters to the editor" and news stories focus on the churches and towns in which Morgan worked during his "active" years, then become more numerous and wide-ranging during the years after Morgan left Smithfield. In addition, Morgan's articles become more pastoral and inspirational in nature by the mid-1950s. Pictures of S.L. Morgan and clippings concerning the Morgan and Robeson families are scattered through-out, and a small number of the minister's "choice poems" are included at the end of this set.
Small groups of clippings about Morgan in his nineties and about other members of the Morgan family, as well as some columns written by Neil Morgan. There also are various other topics, including the civil-rights movement, aging, and the elections of 1960.
A few newsletters and reprints; bulletins of Smithfield and Creedmoor Baptist Churches; several brief histories of churches that Morgan served; minutes describing Morgan's first official church call; and other miscellaneous items.
A certificate of Morgan's call to the ministry; a promissory note to John Morgan (1933); a copy of Isabelle Morgan's hospital bill in 1960-1961; and about thirty-five typed and handwritten miscellaneous writings by members of S.L. Morgan's family and by others.
Volumes 1-11 are diaries by Morgan covering the years 1902-1970, from his acceptance of a pastorate in Fairmont, West Virginia, to his retirement years in the North Carolina Baptist Home, Hamilton, North Carolina. Generally a concise, reflective chronicle of Morgan's activities and of those events which interested and had an impact on his life, entries were made by Morgan at intervals of ten days or more (though Morgan's reflections became more frequent during the retirement years).
While "spiritual matters" occupied his thoughts throughout the nearly seventy years of his writings, Morgan's diaries are much more a series of bi-weekly reports than a serial spiritual autobiography. Often built around the day's events or a week's schedule, Morgan reported on his family, his congregation, his community, and himself. Many of the entries cover the calls he made and the visitors he received, his correspondence (particularly voluminous in later years), and his observations on the weather and other local conditions. Other recurring topics in the eleven volumes include Sunday preachings, current reading, travels, Baptist ministers' conferences and state conventions, activities of his churches, deacons, articles written for newspapers and magazines, and comments on friends and leading figures. Current events, politics, social concerns, reform movements, and Southern Baptist issues were also discussed.
Note that the description below is by pastorate rather than strictly by volume.
Vol. 1, pp. 1-202; Volume 2, pp. 1-26: Fairmont, West Virginia (29 June 1902-31 July 1904).
Covers Morgan's years in his first pastorate, as well as the days immediately before it and after it. Volume 1, the most spiritual and most introspective of all the volumes, consists of daily entries. Significant topics and events include S.L.'s arrival in Fairmont, the composition of sermons, weekly preachings and prayer meetings, daily calls upon his congregation, theological works read, his ordination, courtships in Fairmont, proselytizing, and his trip to the Northern Baptist Anniversaries in Cleveland, Ohio (May 1904).
Vol. 2, pp. 26-152: Littleton and Red Springs-Maxton, N.C. (July 1907-June 1909) Morgan's entries become less frequent during his second pastorate (Littleton Church, August 1, 1904 - July 9, 1907), and shift to a far greater concern with family matters and the affairs of his congregation, including such topics as assistance to nearby churches and affairs in Littleton, and events such as union meetings, temperance rallies, and the final sickness and ultimate death of his mother. Far different are S.L. Morgan's entries during his two years in Red Springs and Maxton, North Carolina (July 9, 1907 - June 15, 1909), which relate first to his efforts to become established in the area, and then to his courtship and engagement to Isabelle Robeson of Red Springs.
Vol. 2, pp. 144-214: Burlington, North Carolina (June 1909-December 1912)
Morgan's own new family was the focus of attention for these years at Burlington's First Baptist Church. After Morgan's marriage (October 14, 1909), his entries concern such matters as Isabelle Robeson Morgan's health, the couple's efforts to begin a home in Burlington, and, after August 1911, the birth and very early life of Samuel Lewis Morgan Jr. Other items of interest during the Burlington years included efforts to reform North Carolina Baptists (especially in Burlington), articles written for local newspapers and Baptist journals, Morgan's mission activities in the state, and, finally, his intense interest in various social and political reforms and reform movements, especially the social gospel.
Vol. 2, pp. 214-301; Vol. 3, pp. 1-230: Henderson and Ramseur-Franklinville, N.C. (1912-June 1922) "The Henderson years" constitute S.L. Morgan's longest pastorate, as well as, in many ways, his most active service as a minister. The Henderson entries are less frequent than in any of the other volumes, with Morgan stopping to reflect and write only every three weeks or so. Morgan continued to concern himself in these years with reforms such as women's suffrage, improvements in sanitation and health, union organizing, and prison reform. Other matters mentioned include his worries about the coming of war, the great influenza epidemic in Henderson, his eventual support for the war as a "four minute man," the treatment of Negroes in Henderson, and his speculation in the stock market, as well as his meetings with figures such as Billy Sunday and Walter Rauschenbusch. Family affairs continued to occupy much of Morgan's writings in the Henderson years, including the early childhood years of Isabel, David, and Lewis Morgan.
S.L. Morgan's brief pastorate in Ramseur and Franklinville, Randolph County, North Carolina (June 1922-October 1923), came at a difficult time, after a painful departure from Henderson. Most of Morgan's entries discuss his disappointment in reforming various "moral ills" in the two towns (especially Ramseur), but also mention efforts in rural missions, the children's activities, local trips, and friend W. L. Poteat's victory in the evolution controversy.
Vol. 3, pp. 230-294; Vol. 4, pp. 1-141: Smithfield, North Carolina (October 1923-June 1931).
Entries for this period suggest that during the 1920s Morgan became less concerned with social issues and began to devote more time to his family. The accounts written during the Smithfield years not only report on such matters as the children's activities and various educational trips made by the family but also occasionally on the success of his marriage and family life. In terms of his ministry, Morgan mentions more preachings and more revivals, though his diaries continue to focus on such topics as Baptist meetings and conferences, mission activities, and church deacons. Other topics (especially in the later Smithfield years) include Morgan's stock investments, reports of local bank failures, general hard times for the family, and pieces for local and church newspapers.
Vol. 4, pp. 141-238: Part-time pastorates in the area of Raleigh, North Carolina (June 1, 1931-May 17, 1934)
Much of the material in the Morgan diaries for the early years of the Depression relate to his long search for a new church. Hard times were, in his words, "squeezing out old pastors," leaving the Morgans to subsist on a series of part-time pastorates: Caraleigh, Lillington, Samaria, and Ephesus. Not surprisingly, the entries for these years deal with financial difficulties. Other topics of note in these years include notable places and people encountered during his travels, the collegiate experiences of Lewis and Isabel, and the involvement of S.L. and Isabelle in efforts against the repeal of Prohibition. [Note: The Morgan family moved to Raleigh in August, 1931].
Vol. 4, pp. 238-285; Vol. 5, pp. 1-193; Vol. 6, pp. 1-177: Creedmoor, North Carolina, and other area part-time pastorates (May 18, 1934-December 21, 1940).
These volumes treat Morgan's last major pastorate at the Creedmoor Baptist Church (May 1934-December 1940), as well as part-time pastorates at Rock Spring (1934-1939), Bay Leaf (1937-1938), Dexter (1938-1939), and again, at Ephesus. Morgan's entries became more frequent during these years, at first bi-weekly, then weekly in 1936, as he became more involved in local and national affairs once again--association meetings, revivals, lectures, and various activities in support of Prohibition and other "moral reforms." Family matters occupied much of his thoughts: Lewis's travels in Europe and his ordination in 1937, Isabel's education and marriage (1939), David's years at Wake Forest College and subsequent travels in the United States, and the rearing of Neil Morgan. Other prominent items include Morgan's articles written for the Raleigh News and Observer, the family's move to Wake Forest, North Carolina (1939), and the illnesses and eventual deaths of Morgan's brother John and of John's wife, Alma.
Vol. 6, pp. 177-194; Vol. 7-10; Vol. 11, pp. 1-316 Wake Forest (Dec. 23, 1940-June 30, 1964).
Although Morgan's active pastorate ended in 1940 (as he neared his seventieth birthday), his diaries during the retirement years show little diminution of activity--the only change being the way in which he was active. The pace diminished and the Morgans travelled less, but, as before, Morgan continued to reflect on events of the week, on visits made and letters received in his weekly (later, almost daily) summaries during the twenty-five years he spent in Wake Forest with his wife Isabelle (until she moved to the North Carolina State Hospital in 1956). The diaries for the Wake Forest years also frequently note various writings by Morgan--articles, books, letters-to-the-editor--relating inspirational stories and his own reminiscences, or discussing such varied topics as aging, death, preaching, pastoral care, and catechesis.
Other prominent topics in the thirty years until his death were the lives of his children and their families (especially David's long illness after the war, and Neil Morgan's life on the West Coast), and his efforts of many years to cope with Isabelle's failing health (volumes nine through eleven particularly) until her death in 1961. Morgan also wrote about his occasional preachings, trips and visits with the children, state and national politics, and beginning in the 1940s, the race issue.
Vol. 11, pp. 316-472: Hamilton (July 1, 1964-1970) and Winston-Salem, North Carolina (1970-Aug. 8, 1972).
Topics are much the same as in the last years in Wake Forest, concentrating more on correspondence with family and friends and on day to day life in the Hamilton Home for North Carolina Baptists.
Various small note and record books kept by Morgan over the years, including a few "pastor's pocket notebooks" for the Henderson years, several volumes containing notes on conferences, books, reviews, and favorite quotations, and various memo books containing addresses and other information collected during the early retirement years.
Almost altogether photographs of S.L. Morgan and members of his family. An item list follows.
Processed by: Lynn Roundtree with assistance from Kathy Jett, Peggy Cleary, and Tim West, May 1985; Mark Beasley, February 1987
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