Carlyle Marney papers, 1899-1979

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Marney, Carlyle, 1916-1978
58 Linear Feet
Approx. 45,000 Items
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The papers of Carlyle Marney span the years 1899-1979, although the bulk of the collection begins in the late 1950s. Included are correspondence, drafts of writings and sermons, press releases, leaflets, pamphlets, bulletins, financial records, clippings, newsletters, calendars, reports, course materials, minutes, printed material, notes, pictures, tapes, and films. Reflected in the papers is information on rural poverty, the American Baptist Convention, the Baptist Church, especially in Texas and North Carolina, Christian writings, Abingdon Press, which published many of Marney's books, and racial prejudice. Concerning prejudice see in particular the Writings and Speeches Series: Marney (Structures of Prejudice) and the Correspondence Series (Church and Race Conference).

The principal focus of the collection is Marney's professional career as a Baptist clergyman, serving two lengthy pastorates at First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas (1948-1958), and at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina (1958-1967), and as Founder-Director of Interpreters' House, an ecumenical center of study and work at Lake Junaluska, N.C. (1967-1978). He divided his duties to eventually develop a tripartite profession as a pastor, author, and speaker. He transcended his Southern roots to attain a national reputation as a speaker and theologian. The collection illuminates Marney as an independent and controversial figure within the Southern Baptist Church. One of the hallmarks of his ministry, which separated him from most Southern Baptists, was his ecumenical focus. According to his biographer, John J. Carey, "Marney sought to be a force for Baptist renewal and to broaden the ecclesiastical and theological bases of the Southern Baptists."ยน

The Correspondence Series, Writings and Speeches Series, and Engagements Series form the major groups in the collection. The Correspondence Series, which comprises almost one-third of the bulk of the collection, consists chiefly of professional correspondence, but there is also a group of folders for Marney family members. Prominent correspondents include James T. Cleland, William Sloan Coffin, Pope A. Duncan, Findley Edge, Harry Golden, William J. Kilgore, Martin Luther King, Jr., Karl Menninger, Bill Moyers, Guy Ranson, and Elton Trueblood. Abingdon Press and the American Baptist Convention also have major files in this series. The Association of Southern Baptists for Scouting, Christian Century Foundation, and the Myers Park Baptist Church are other organizations represented in this series. The above-named topics also appear under appropriate topical headings in the Subject Files Series. There are also files in the Correspondence Series for the Church and Race Conference (Charlotte, N. C., 1965) and the God is Dead movement.

Both published and unpublished works appear in the Writings and Speeches Series. Marney was the author of twelve books and contributed articles to various theological journals; other single sermons appear in various anthologies. Most of his books were published by Abingdon Press, a Methodist publisher. There is also a copy of the book published in 1953, These Things Remain, as well as television programs, 1954, under the same title. Included in this series are the texts of unpublished books, such as City of Light/City of Wilderness,Great Encounter,Recovery of the Church, and Tragic Man/Tragic House.

In the files of writings of other persons are works of Karl Menninger and Guy Ranson, who also appear in Marney's correspondence. Other writers appearing in this section are Rufus Carrollton Harris, William Jackson Kilgore, Franklin Hamlin Littell, John David Maguire, Orval Hobart Mowrer, H. Richard Niebuhr, Schubert Miles Ogden, Clyde Penrose St. Amant, and John Egnar Skoglund.

The Engagements Series, 1958-1978, primarily reflects the latter portion of Marney's career, during his tenure at Myers Park Baptist Church and at Interpreters' House. Both this series and the Calendars Series testify to Marney's busy schedule of speaking appointments, especially during the Myers Park pastorate. In fact, the church hired a full-time administrator to aid in managing the daily activities of the church. Marney preached at major colleges, universities, and seminaries across the United States, including Harvard University, Yale University, and Duke University. He accepted a variety of speaking engagements including the Chautauqua Institute in New York; the Massanetta Center in Virginia; worship services; conferences and symposia; religious organizations, such as Temple Beth El Sisterhood; retreats; and the North Carolina Council of Churches. In addition, Marney spoke at military installations, the Southern Textile Association, and various secular organizations and clubs, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Sertoma Club, and YMCA.

Two major topics in the Subject Series are the Christian Century Foundation, of which Marney was a trustee, and the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board of the American Baptist Convention. These two topics overlap with files in the Correspondence Series. Other files of interest include Abingdon Press, the Boy Scouts of America, the Committee on Religion in Appalachia, First Baptist Church (Austin), Myers Park Baptist Church, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. There is also a mimeographed copy of a diary (prepared from tapes), 1954, Sept.-Nov., that Marney wrote on a trip to Korea and Japan, as part of a preaching mission for the Army and Air Force in the Far East.

The President's National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty Series contains reports on aspects of rural poverty, such as economics, education, conservation and development of natural resources, health and medical care, government, housing, and farming.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Series includes notes on such topics as Christian missions, church history, theology, and Old and New Testament studies. An early volume, 1899-1902, contains notes for a class by W. O. Carver on Christian missions.

The Notes Series contains notes Marney made from the works of various theologians and other authors, such as F.S.C. Northrop, Hans Reichenbach, A. C. Reid, Paul Tillich, Harold H. Titus, Arnold J. Toynbee, and Alfred North Whitehead.

In the Audiovisual Series features sermons, lectures, and books in the following formats: cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, and motion picture films. Of particular interest are the series of reel-to-reel tapes of Laymen's Hour recordings and the Massanetta Springs Recordings made by Marney. The Laymen's Hour was a radio broadcast; most of the recordings in this series are in 1965, with one in 1962. Massanetta Springs, Inc. is the Conference Center of the Synod of Virginia, Presbyterian Church, U. S., located near Harrisonburg, Va. These recordings, 1957-1974, were a series of annual lectures at Bible conferences at the center. Originals are closed to use, but listening copies are available for many of the recordings; otherwise staff need to arrange to have use copies made. Please consult with Research Services staff before coming to use this collection.

1. John J. Carey, Carlyle Marney: A Pilgrim's Progress(Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1980), p. 36.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
1916, July 8
Born, Harriman, Tennessee.
A.B., Carson Newman College.
1940, June 20
Married Rita Elizabeth Christopher.
Ordained to ministry of Baptist Church.
Th.M., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Th.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastor of First Baptist Church, Austin, Texas.
Visiting Professor in Homiletics, Austin Presbyterian Seminary
Professor of Christian Ethics, Austin Presbyterian Seminary.
Pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte, N. C.
Litt.D., Wake Forest College.
D.D., Johnson C. Smith University.
Member, President's National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty.
D.D., Kalamazoo College
Vice President, National Council of Churches.
Founder and Director of Interpreters' House, Lake Junaluska, N. C.
Adjunct Professor at Duke Divinity School.
Trustee, The Christian Century Foundation.
D.D., University of Glasgow, Scotland.
Conquest Chair in Humanities, Virginia Military Institute
1978, July 3
Died, Lake Junaluska, N. C.
Acquisition information:
The papers of Carlyle Marney (1916-1978), clergyman and author, were purchased by the Rubenstein Library in 1979. Addition 2015-0140 was transferred from the Duke Divinity Library. Addition 2021-0013 was a gift from Bruce Johnson.
Processing information:

Processed by: Sharon Knapp, completed Feb. 5, 1988

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.

Audiovisual originals are closed to use. Use copies may be available in the collection - see individual listings. Otherwise, Technical Services staff need to produce use copies before contents can be accessed.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

Terms of access:

Duke University acquired no copyright through the purchase of the Marney Papers. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Rubenstein Library.

Individuals have a legally enforceable right to privacy and right to suppress release of information obtained through a pastor-parishioner relationship. Use of names of living individuals involved in personal or pastoral counseling is prohibited without their consent.

Because of the nature of Marney's associations and interests, these papers (in particular, the correspondence) may contain sensitive materials pertaining to various individuals. Release of certain information contained in them may give rise to liability (e.g. for defamation or invasion of privacy). Duke University assumes no responsibility for infringement of literary property rights and copyrights, or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], The Papers of Carlyle Marney, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University