JJ Compton, OC Archivist:
When you think of Christian higher education connected to the Stone-Campbell tradition in the state of Oklahoma, my guess is that most people automatically think of Oklahoma Christian University which is located in Oklahoma City, or perhaps OC’s previous name and location, Central Christian College, located in Bartlesville. Most people aren’t aware that there was an earlier college, Cordell Christian College, sometimes called Oklahoma Christian College, located in Cordell, Oklahoma during the years 1907-1918 that also has strong ties to the Stone-Campbell Movement as it existed shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. Cordell Christian College was an institution with a unique and varied history, which makes it useful for researchers within the Stone-Campbell tradition, especially as many individuals connected to Cordell went on to work with other Christian private higher educational institutions like Harper’s College, Harding College, and Lipscomb College. In addition, Oklahoma was a territory and did not become a state until 1907, making Cordell one of the first colleges established post statehood, whereas the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University were both created pre-statehood by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890 just months after the Oklahoma Land Run.
The Oklahoma Christian University Special Collections houses many of the artifacts and papers related to Cordell Christian College. Oklahoma Christian University’s Special Collections is comprised of three distinct research areas: a Restoration History Collection, specifically tied to the Stone Campbell movement in Oklahoma and the surrounding areas, a University Archives, where documents and materials related to the OC History are housed, and a very small rare book collection. The Cordell collection is housed within the University Archives. Recently this collection has been utilized for multiple publications (see below). And in working with one of the recent researchers, Dr. Elizabeth Parsons from Boston University School of Theology, she felt that her personal collection of letters and Cordell memorabilia needed to be donated to the OC University Archives as a permanent place for preservation and further research. Partnership with researchers is invaluable to special collections especially when the researcher turns the tables and becomes the donor.
With that in mind, the OC University Archives would like to announce the procurement of the Sears/Armstrong Collection, which contains the letters of Lloyd Cline Sears and Pattie Hathaway (Pataway) Armstrong Sears during their courtship and early married life. The aim for this collection to be open to the public is January 2016 after processing and preservation needs are assessed and implemented during the fall 2015 semester.
For more information on the history of Cordell, Oklahoma, click on this link from The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture provided by the Oklahoma Historical Society: http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CO082
A recent article published in the Fall 2014 Oklahoma Humanities magazine which utilized the Cordell collection at Oklahoma Christian University can be found here: http://www.okhumanities.org/Websites/ohc/images/Fall_2014_Issue.pdf
Dr. Carisse Berryhill’s review of the book The Greatest Work in the World by Dr. Elizabeth Parsons can be found at the Christian Chronicle online here: http://www.christianchronicle.org/article/love-letters-teach-about-christian-education
For more information about the OC Special Collections, please contact JJ Compton, Archivist at [email protected] or Chris Rosser, Theological Librarian, at [email protected] or visit http://library.oc.edu/rh/ for Restoration History specific research information.