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American University and the Methodist Church

When American University was incorporated by an Act of Congress in 1893, the legislation specified that two thirds of the members of the Board of Trustees had to be Methodists. In 1952, the United Methodist Church recognized American University as "a national university" and approved a quadrennial grant of one hundred thousand dollars a year. Three academic programs highlight AU’s connection with the Methodist Church: The School of International Service, The Lucy Webb Hayes School of Nursing, and The Wesley Theological Seminary.

The Methodist General Conference provided AU with a million dollar grant to establish a Protestant affiliated School of International Service in 1956. Half of the funds were used to begin construction of a new building and the other half to set up an endowment for the school. Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam described the work of this new school as follows: "the School of International Service will make a fundamental contribution to religious liberty throughout the world. It will train men and women for the foreign service of government in an atmosphere of Protestant freedom and condition them favorably to the free ways of life."

In January 1944, a branch of the Cadet Nurses Corps was started at American University in collaboration with the Lucy Webb Hayes National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries. The Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Church raised an endowment for the Lucy Webb Hayes School of Nursing and AU enrolled its first class in 1965. The four year program led to a B.S. degree. The program was discontinued in 1987.

In 1956, The American University deeded 10 acres to the Westminster (MD) Theological Seminary. When it moved to the Seminary new home, it changed its name to the Wesley Theological Seminary. It was the first Protestant Seminary in the nation’s capitol and the first in America to be named after the Wesleys. The Seminary retains a separate corporate and academic identity, with its own Board of Governors. The University and the Seminary have reciprocal academic privileges. Its founding mission was and still is the preparation of dedicated ministers for the Methodist Church, and other Protestant denominations.

Scope and Content Note

This series documents the relationship between American University and the Methodist Church from 1925 until the 1980s. There are also materials relating to the history of the Methodist Church.

Related Collections

The Papers of Bishop John Fletcher Hurst

Records of the Lucy Webb Hayes School of Nursing

Box and Folder Listing

Box 1

AU and the Methodist Church
        Clippings 1956-1984
        Correspondence (University President) 1956-1975
        Finances 1925-1956
        Finances 1964-1971
        History of Relationship 1939-1997
        Methodist Corporation 1964-1973
        Nebraska Avenue Property- Clippings 1969-1976
        Nebraska Avenue Property- Correspondence 1957-1974
        Nebraska Avenue Property- Correspondence 1975-1976
        Nebraska Avenue Property- Contract 1976
        Nebraska Avenue Property- Methodist Center 1962-1974

Box 2

AU and the Methodist Church (continued)
        Nebraska Avenue Property- Parking Lot 1965-1973
        Statement to the Methodist Church 1952
        Wesley Seminary 1971-1975
        Wicke Report
Clippings: 1871-1900
        W. Christian Advocate- Letter re Jan. 25 & Apr. 5, 1871
        March 1875 “Methodism & Mission. Source: The Ladies Repository”
        Increase in Buffalo, NY Methodism 1884-94
        W. Christian Advocate- “the Allen library in London”- R. Wheatley June 23, 1886
        NW Christian Advocate- “Gone”; Daniel Stevenson, D.D.; July 23, 1896
        NW Christian Advocate- “American Methodist Historic Shrines”; Rev. WH Meredith-Nov. 4, 1896
        Baltimore Sun- “American Methodism- Historical Services Held at First Church” Nov. 25, 1896
        NW Christian Advocate- “Debuts of Unique Celebration”- Dec. 3, 1896
        NW Christian Advocate-Dec. 23, 1896
        The Pastor’s Helper- “John St or Strawbridge’s Meetinghouse - Which was First?” Jan. 1897
        The Baltimore Methodist- Jan. 14, 1897; Vol. XIX, No. 2
        NY Christian Advocate- March 4, 1897
        Epworth Herald- “Wesley’s Helpers”- Mary J. Strayer, March 20, 1897
        W. Christian Advocate- “great Grandmother’s Recollections X”; The Women’s Appeal for Admissions”- April 7, 1897
        NW Christian Advocate- “Methodist History”- June 2, 1897
        Central Christian Advocate- June 30, 1897
        Indian Witness- “Selections: Methodism in Germany. Author: Rev. E.O. Barratt, MA.” Sept. 17, 1897
        Philadelphia Methodist- Sept. 25, 1897- Article: Abel Stevens, DD, LLD
        Central Christian Advocate- Sept. 22, 1897
        Epworth Herald- “The Man Who Invented Matches”: Bishop John F. Hurst
        Baltimore American- “Bishops Mapping Out Their Work” Oct. 28, 1897
        NW Christian Advocate- “Anecdotes of Father Taylor”- Oct. 13, 1897
        NW Christian Advocate- Oct. 27, 1897
        Philadelphia Methodist- “Church Extension”- Nov. 6, 1897
        Philadelphia Methodist- Nov. 6, 1897
        William Walters- First Native American Methodist Minister- Grave Description
        Philadelphia Methodist- Church News- Jan. 8, 1898
        Philadelphia Methodist- Jan. 8, 1898
        The Christian Advocate- “Why Observe the Day of Prayer for Colleges?” CH Payne LLD- Jan. 13, 1898
        Central Christian Advocate- Jan. 19, 1898
        NW Christian Advocate- “Frances Willard”; March 2, 1898
        NW Christian Advocate- “Picture of Dr. John McClintock
        NW Christian Advocate- “Six Noble Methodist Decades”, “The Epworth League Responsible”; March 2, 1898
        Central Christian Advocate- March 9, 1898
        W. Christian Advocate- Bishop Simpson- photo: March 23, 1898
        Christian Uplook- “Dedication of Wesley’s Chapel, City Road, London,” Speech by Dean of Canterbury- Rev. F.W. Farrar, DD.
                March 24, 1898.
        W. Christian Advocate- “Greatest Need for Modern Methodism”- March 30, 1898
        Rocky Mountain Christian Advocate- “Fraternal Address of Hon. JP Dolliver; July 15, 1898
        NW Christian Advocate- “The Southern Book Concern Claim”- July 20, 1898
        Central Christian Advocate- “Bishop Newman” Aug. 3, 1898
        The British Weekly- “Dr. Parker on George Whitefield”; WFG. Oct. 27, 1898
        Epworth Herald- “The Heart of Russia”; Elizabeth Bragdon Dec. 24, 1898
        The Baltimore Methodist- April 13, 1899; Vol XIX, No. 15
        Epworth Herald- “The League at Work”- April 15, 1899
        The Christian Advocate- “Historical Preparation for Methodism”; John Alfred Faulkner- Aug. 10, 1899
        The Christian Advocate- “Historical Preparation for Methodism II”; John Alfred Faulkner- Aug. 17, 1899
        W. Christian Advocate- “Religious Life” – Oct. 4, 1899
        W. Christian Advocate- Nov. 29, 1899
        Philadelphia Methodist- “The New Administration Building”; Dec. 9, 1899
        Boston Post- “But Few of Any Sect: The Religious Faith of Army & Navy Chaplains.” Jan. 15, 1900
        The International- Oct. 1900. Subject: Unrest in China
        The Baltimore Methodist- Nov. 1, 1900; Vol. XXII, No. 44
Clippings: 1966-1982
Clippings: Undated
        Army & Navy Chaplains
        Barbara Heck
        The Brand of Deceit
        Complete File of Methodist Law. Author: JD Walsh, DD
        Conference Work Was Very Satisfactory
        To Entertain Speakers
        First Methodist Church
        Heterodoxy Charge. Source: Boston Herald- December
        Rocky Mountain Christian Advocate- “The Humiliation of Southern Methodism”
        Nov. 8-18. “Hurt by a Bishop’s Poem”
        Old First Church, Evanston
        Old Time Evangelist- Experiences of Lorenzo Dow, The Wandering Exhorter
        NW Christian Advocate- “Our Contributors: He founded a University- Clark Thomas
        Himman”- Professor Oliver Marcy PhD
        Our Hymnal, Its History and Growth. Author: Rev. JW Gunn
        Rocky Mountain Christian Advocate- “Picture of the First Methodist Church”
        Rev. Jacob Grubor- Arrested for Preaching Against Slavery, Defended by Roger B.
        Taney. Source: Northwestern? Aug. 1818
        A Roman Catholic’s Opinion of Methodism. Author: Abbott F. Martin of France
        Wesleyanism & the Church of England
        NW Christian Advocate- “Whitefield’s First Visit to Boston”; Rev. Anson Titus

Box 3
Clippings: Undated (continued)
        Why do we Elect Bishops?
        No title (7 folders)
Clippings: Asbury
        World Wide Missions “Barn in Which Asbury Preached About the Year 1814” Jan. 1898
        Epworth Herald- “Bishop Asbury’s Testament”- Bertha Gerneaux Woods
Clippings: Australia
        The Independent “Religious Intelligence: Methodist Union in Australia”; Rev, HT Burgess. May 5, 1898
        The Christian Advocate- “Echoes of Australian Methodism”; Rev. W.F. James- May 18, 1899
        The Christian Advocate- “Methodist Union in South & West Australia”; March 8, 1900
        Undated- “Something About Methodism in Australia”; Rev. FE Clark, DD
Clippings: California
        California Christian Advocate “Methodism in San Francisco”; CV Anthony:July 20, 1898
        W. Christian Advocate- Methodism in California
Clippings: Ohio
        W. Christian Advocate- Centennial for Ohio Methodism- March 30, 1898
        W. Christian Advocate- “Centennial of Ohio Methodism- Celebration at Delaware”,
        NBC Love: May 11, 1898
        W. Christian Advocate- Entire Edition, June 29, 1898- Centennial of Ohio Methodism
        Methodist Clipping: W. Christian Advocate- “George Riley, Lay Missionary to the
        Waynots” Rev NBC Love, Apr. 16, 1902
        Undated “Pioneer Methodism in NE Ohio”; John I. King, MD
        W. Christian Advocate- “Maumee Valley and Toledo” Re. NBC Love
        W. Christian Advocate- “The Introduction of Methodism in Ohio- II”; Isaac King
Clippings: Scandinavia
        NW Christian Advocate- “Methodism among the Scandinavians”; Bishop John M Walden- Dec. 21, 1898
        Undated “Swedish Methodism on the Atlantic Coast”
Clippings: Tennessee
        Baltimore Methodist Conf- Letter Nov. 23, 1833- To: Bishop Levi Scott. From: Beech Grove Church, Tennessee (Mailed from Allisona, Tenn.)
        Undated “Pioneer Methodist Church in E. Tennessee”; Same H. Thompson
Clippings: Wesley
        “Birth of Methodism- Original Copy of Wesley Riles Discovered”; Dec. 1896
        NW Christian Advocate- “Three of John Wesley’s Letters to his Wife”; Rev. Charles H.
        Kelly- Dec. 21, 1898
        Copy of Letter- 1783- To: Robert, From: J Wesley- April 26, 1783
        Undated “A Valuable Find of Wesley Documents”
        Undated Wesley’s Unhappy Marriage Revealed in Recently Discovered Documents
        Christian Advocate- “John Wesley’s Living Bequest”- May 19, 1938 (entire issue)
Clippings: West Virginia
        Epworth Herald- “A Cradle of Methodism”: MF Shawkey. Apr. 15, 1899
        Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference 1974
        General Conference
                Demographic Report 1992
        Maine Annual Conference 1945
        Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference 1960
        Presidents of Methodist Related Universities 1972
        Second Ecumenical Methodist Conference 1891
Methodist Church and Higher Education
        “Church College” Publications

Box 4
Methodist Church and Higher Education (continued)
        Commission to Study Methodist Educational Responsibility in Washington 1948-1971
        Directory of Methodists Colleges 1968-1969
        Distinguished Teachers Award 1974
        Institute of Higher Education 1969, 1992
        Methodist Board of Higher Education Reports
        “Student Unrest as a Constructive Force” 1969
Methodist Church History
        American Methodist Bicentennial 1966
        Appointments to Baltimore Conference 1833
        “Castings from the Foundry Mold” 1968
        Cokesbury Memorial Project 1958-1959
        Handbill for Prospectus Methodist Historical Pilgrimage 1894
        Letter to Bishop Hurst from Rev. A. Phoebus 1897
        Letter to Rev. T.S. Long 1924
        Letter to Thomas Gaskins from F. Asbury 1799 (2 folders)
        Letter to Thomas Tripp from A. Clarke
        Lists of Bishops 1972-1976
        Manuscript 1767
        Manuscript 1810 (?)
        Methodist Sesqui-Centennial
        Metropolitan Memorial Church 1949-1988
        Minutes from the Annual Conference
        Pilgrimage Itinerary 1924
                “The Making of Methodism”
                “Our Publishing Interests” 1896
                “The Story of England; The Story of America”

Box 5
Methodist Church History (continued)
        Report on Hispanic Ministry
        Reproduction of Wesley’s Statement 1881
        Sermon Notes of Edward Morrell Griffith
        A Service of Commemoration for Bishop Oxnam 1963
        Statement to Military Affairs Committee 1943
        Ticket to General Love Feast 1894
        Wesley Letters (background) 1957
        Collected Essays
        Faculty Forum 1960-1968
        The Historian’s Digest 1985-1988
        The Interpreter
        Issues in Our Future 1992
        Newscope 1974-1976
        Onboard 1974-1975
        Presidential Papers 1992
        Social Principles of the United Methodist Church 1972
        Study of the Ministry: Progress Report and Recommendations
University Senate of the Methodist Church
        Working Papers