John Lakin Brasher papers, 1857-1993 and undated
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- Brasher, John Lakin, 1868-1971
- The John Lakin Brasher Papers, 1857-1983 and undated (bulk 1917-1970), are comprised of church-related and personal correspondence; records of the Iowa Holiness Association; records of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Alabama Conference; religious writings and speeches (including sermons, diaries and manuscripts of published works); printed material (tracts, religious brochures, serials, and hymnals); photographs (including many of camp meetings); transcriptions of tape recordings; legal papers; financial papers; and miscellanea. Most of the material concerns the religious career of John L. Brasher; the Holiness (Santification) movement in the Methodist Church, particularly in Alabama; Holiness education and the administration of the John H. Snead Seminary in Boaz, Alabama and Central Holiness University (later John Fletcher College) in University Park, Iowa; and camp meetings in the South, particularly Alabama, and the Midwest. Includes biographies of clergy and accounts of religious and family life in rural north Alabama. Among correspondents are Joseph P. Owens, F.D. Leete, John Paul, and missionaries in Eygpt, India, China, and Japan. Contains letters and printed material concerning the separation and reunification of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
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The John Lakin Brasher Papers, 1857-1993 and undated (bulk 1917-1970) are comprised of church-related and personal correspondence; records of the Iowa Holiness Association; records of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Alabama Conference; religious writings and speeches (including sermons, diaries and manuscripts of published works); printed material (tracts, religious brochures, serials, and hymnals); photographs (including many of camp meetings); transcriptions of tape recordings; legal papers; financial papers; and miscellany. Most material concerns the religious career of John L. Brasher; the Holiness (Sanctification) movement in the Methodist Church, particularly in Alabama; Holiness education and the administration of John H. Snead Seminary in Boaz, Ala.; and Central Holiness University (later John Fletcher College) in University Park, Ia.; and camp meetings in the South, particularly Alabama, and the Midwest. Includes biographies of clergy and accounts of religious and family life in rural north Alabama. Among correspondents are Joseph P. Owens, F. D. Leete, John Paul, and missionaries in Egypt, India, China, and Japan. Contains letters and printed material concerning the separation and reunification of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Brasher's activities as a minister are documented throughout the collection. The Correspondence and Transcriptions of Tape Recordings Series reveal Brasher's reflections on scripture and provide accounts of congregational reactions to his preaching. Transcripts of his sermons appear in the Writings and Speeches Series, Sermons Subseries as well as in the Transcriptions of Tape Recordings and in some of the published articles (Printed Material Series, Serials Subseries) and manuscripts of his books (Printed Material Series, The Way of Faith). His diaries and correspondence document his travels and his preaching engagements. Numerous invitations to preach and requests for guidance reflect Brasher's leadership role among ministers, missionaries, and church officials. Letters to and from converts regarding their religious experiences and responses to Brasher's preaching and writing are scattered throughout the Correspondence Series.
Brasher's administrative role in religious organizations and in church-affiliated educational facilities is well-represented in the Correspondence Series as well as in the Iowa Holiness Association Series and the Methodist Episcopal Church, Alabama Conference Series. Minutes, reports, and financial records are among the papers of these organizations, reflecting both Brasher's leadership and involvement and the activities of the organizations themselves. The Pictures Series includes some photographs of the schools with which Brasher was associated and of the attending students.
Brasher's career as an author is well-documented, not only in the Writings and Speeches Series, but throughout the collection. The Correspondence Series includes letters to and from his publishers and from editors of various religious serials to which Brasher contributed. The Printed Material Series contains many of these serials with articles by Brasher as well as tracts he wrote.
Throughout the collection, information on church history abounds. The Correspondence Series and the Methodist Episcopal Church, Alabama Conference Series in particular contain letters concerning the rivalry between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and the eventual unification of the two organizations. Conflicts between Fundamentalist and Modernist ideas also appear in the correspondence and in the Printed Material Series.
As Historian of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Brasher wrote biographies of preachers, missionaries, and church officials involved in the Holiness Movement. These biographies appear in the Writings and Speeches Series, Biographical Sketches of Colleagues Subseries. Some of these biographies were published in Glimpses: Some Personal Glimpses of Holiness Preachers I Have Known, and with Whom I Have Labored in Evangelism, Who Have Answered to Their Names in the Roll Call of the Skies. Manuscripts of some of those appearing in the published work can be found in the Glimpses Subseries. Some of the letters and questionnaires from which Brasher wrote his sketches appear in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Alabama Conference Series, Biographical Information Subseries. The letters from which his information was gleaned vary in degree of detail, with some providing only dates and places of birth, marriage, ordination, etc.; and others giving descriptions of incidents in the religious life of the subject.
Correspondence, Pictures, Transcriptions of Tape Recordings, and the Family Biography Subseries of the Writings and Speeches Series document Brasher's life with his family. Brasher's biographical writings and other works in the Family Biography Subseries, and the Transcriptions of Tape Recordings Series also provide a small but rich glimpse into the traditional lore, customs, and folkways of the rural upland South.
Details of camp meetings are documented throughout the collection. The Transcripts of Tape Recordings Series contains transcripts of camp meetings. The Printed Material Series includes promotional literature for camp meetings; descriptions of facilities; and hymnals (some shape-note) used in these services. An unusual collection of copies of photographs of camp meetings from the early 1900's through the 1940's in Ohio, Iowa, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania can be found in the Pictures Series.
- Biographical / historical:
Date Event 1868, July 20 Born at Clear Creek, Etowah County, Alabama; baptized at Alabama Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church during same year 1886 Joined Clear Creek Methodist Episcopal Church 1889 Licensed to preach 1890, Dec. 21 Married Minnie Eunice Moore in Alabama of Gallant, Alabama 1891 Joined Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1892-1896 Four years of ministry on Wedowee Circuit in Alabama 1893 Ordained deacon by Bishop Isaac W. Joyce 1895 Ordained elder by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst 1899 Graduated from U.S. Grant School of Theology in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Valedictorian 1899-1902 Served as pastor of Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church of Birmingham, Ala. 1903-1939 Secretary of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1905-1906 Served as pastor of St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church of Boaz, Ala. 1906-1911 President of John H. Snead Seminary at Boaz, Ala. 1917-1926 President of Central Holiness University (later John Fletcher College) in Oskaloosa, Iowa 1927-1929 Pastor at St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church in Boaz, Ala. 1929-1931 Editor, The Way of Faith 1940 Established Brasher Springs Camp Meeting, Gallant, Alabama 1942 Retired; continued preaching frequently at Brasher Springs Camp Meeting and in various conference churches and camp meetings throughout the country 1971, Jan. 25 Died near Attalla, Ala.
- Acquisition information:
The papers of John Lakin Brasher (1868-1971), preacher, evangelist, and leader of the Holiness movement, were donated to the Rubenstein Library by The Brasher Heritage Corporation in 1981, with later additions in 1997, 1998, 2004, and 2013.
Additions from the family were received in 2018 and 2023.
- Processing information:
Processed by: Melissa J. Delbridge, Denise Dolan, Daniel Daily, Sandra Polaski, Chad Truelove, Randy Bryant, Joanne Fairhurst
Completed September 30, 1992 and reprocessed November 14th, 2013
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller
Finding aid updated to include additions 1997-0187, 1998-0434, and 2008-0171 by Alice Poffinberger, August 3, 2009; updated to include addition 2013-0075 by Rachel Penniman, May 3, 2013; updated to include 2018-0123 addition by Meghan Lyon, 2018; updated to include 2023-0080 addition by Meghan Lyon in 2023.
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Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- Holiness churches -- Education
Preaching -- History
Evangelistic work -- History
Missionaries -- Correspondence
Holiness churches -- Alabama
Holiness churches -- Clergy -- Biography
Holiness churches -- Sermons
Shape note hymnals
Methodist Church -- Periodicals
- Central Holiness University
Iowa Holiness Association
John Fletcher College
John H. Snead Seminary
Methodist Episcopal Church -- Alabama
Methodist Episcopal Church -- Clergy -- Biography
Methodist Episcopal Church -- Sermons
Methodist Episcopal Church, South
Owens, Joseph Parkes, 1886-
Paul, John H. (John Haywood), 1877-1967
Leete, Frederick Deland, 1866-1958
- Alabama -- Social life and customs
Alabama -- Religious life and customs
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[Identification of item], John Lakin Brasher Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.