Pool Family papers, 1930-2000

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Pool family
The Pool Family, including James Christopher and Elizabeth Pool and their three children, were Southern Baptist missionaries based in Nigeria, Liberia, and Texas between 1935 and the late 1970s. The collection also includes materials about foster children that they sponsored. Collection includes correspondence, printed materials, administrative records, photographs, and writings documenting the life and activities of the Pool family, particularly J.C. and Elizabeth Pool, and their lives as Southern Baptist missionaries to Nigeria and Liberia in the mid-20th century. The materials are especially relevant to the history of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary and the Pools' work with the Baptist community in Nigeria.
20 Linear Feet
15000 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The collection is divided into 8 series, each listed below with detailed descriptions. The largest series in the collection is the Correspondence Series, which consists of letters sent to and by the Pool family and their relatives, friends, and colleagues. It ranges from 1928-1998 with some undated materials, and with a gap in coverage from 1963-1968. Notable events and correspondence are described in the Collection Contents, roughly divided by decade.

The Photographs and Artwork Series includes both professional photographs from the Division of Visual Education at the Foreign Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, along with personal portraits and snapshots taken by the Pools of both family and Nigerian scenes. The artwork present in this series consists of a set of watercolor prints with scenes of Liberia, created by Swedish artist Roland Svensson and published in 1969.

Family Writings includes J.C. Pool's autobiographies; J.C. Pool's sermon notes and writings, including his doctoral dissertation, addresses, historical essays, and many undated sermons; Elizabeth Pool's writings, including a draft of her book, autobiographical notes, and various poems, articles, and essays; E.C. Routh's writings; and other works collected by the Pools.

J.C. Pool's Teaching Materials include syllabi, student papers, and other materials, largely related to his career as a teacher at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary. A related series is the Missionary Materials Series, which also includes NBTS administrative and management documents, such as meeting minutes, founding documents, as well as materials from related organizations such as the Southern Baptist Convention's Foreign Missions Board.

The Family Papers Series includes the family's legal documents, financial accounts, a small amount of genealogy and family history materials, and a significant amount of memorial materials from the death of J.C. Pool in 1978. Family travel documents have been removed to the Travel Series, which also includes tickets, postcards, immigration materials, and other memorabilia from the many trips taken by the Pools.

Finally, the Printed Materials Series includes clippings, pamphlets and programs, magazines saved by the Pools, and reports about the Nigerian government and politics.

Biographical / historical:

The Pool Family Papers consist of documents collected by Baptist missionaries J.C. (James Christopher, also Christie) and Elizabeth Pool and their relatives. J.C. was born Jan. 26, 1905 and earned an undergraduate degree from Baylor University in 1929 (after having been ordained in 1928) and a graduate degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Elizabeth was born July 17, 1909, earned an undergraduate degree at the Baylor College for Women (subsequently Mary Hardin-Baylor College and the University of Mary Hardin Baylor) in 1930, and taught at the San Marcos Baptist Academy from 1930-1932. After both traveling to Nigeria as missionaries in 1934, they were engaged and married in 1935. They had three children--Frances, born 1937, Carolyn, born 1940, and James (Jim), born 1945--and adopted two Nigerian children, Gordon Buraimo Pool, born 1934, and Claribel Olubunmi Alanke Pool, born 1931.

The Pools became key figures in the Baptist missionary community of Nigeria, primarily through their work at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (where J.C. was principal) but also at the Ogbomosho Day School and the Baptist Mission Hospital, among other institutions. While in Nigeria Elizabeth published several books, including The Hill Called Moon (1944), Lucille Reagan of Africa (1954), and The Bead-Maker’s Son (1957). They were stationed in Liberia from 1971-1972 before retiring to San Angelo, Texas due to J.C.’s health problems. J.C. died Jan. 21, 1978, and Elizabeth died Nov. 13, 2000.

Notable family members include Elizabeth’s brother Ross Routh, a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army and Elizabeth’s father, Eugene Coke Routh, who served as the editor of the Baptist Messenger from 1928-1943 and the editor of the Commission (published by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention) from 1943-1948 and published a number of books on religious subjects.

In addition to these, relatives who are frequently mentioned in the Pool Family Papers include J.C.'s and Elizabeth's children and grandchildren: daughter, Frances Elizabeth Pool Haaren (also known as Frances Blinn, married Robert (Bob) H. Blinn, married John Haaren) and her children, Robert (Bobby), married Mary Beth; Keith, married Laura; Katherine, married Russ Allison; and Eugene (Gene), married Ruth. Another daughter of J.C. and Elizabeth was Carolyn Pool (also known as Carolyn Pool Bullington, married Richard Lunson Bullington, Jr.); her children were Richard, Jr., Margaret, Susan, Brenda, and Lillie. The Pools' youngest child, James (Jim) Christopher Pool, Jr., married Mary and had a son, James (Jimmy). The Pools also corresponded frequently with their two adopted children, Gordon Buraimo (who married Mary and had several children) and Claribel Olubunmi Alanke (who married Jonathan Ojeleye and had two children, Funlayo and Molara). Other relatives frequently mentioned in the Papers include J.C. Pool's mother, Mrs. U.H. (Etta) Pool; his siblings and in-laws, Albert and Josephine Pool; his aunt, Fannie Pool Lancaster; J.C. Pool's cousin, Wade Hill Pool; Elizabeth Pool's parents, E.C. and Alice Routh; her siblings and in-laws, including W.W. (Walter Wendell) and Leila K. Arnett, Clinton and Lucile Burnett, Copass and Loretta Routh, Porter and Ruth Routh, and Ross and Fay Routh; and her aunts and uncle, Katie Wrol House and B.B. and Leila Routh McKinney.

Friends and colleagues frequently mentioned in the Papers include Ruby Cooper, W.A. Criswell, Jessie Ford, Cornell Goerner, Osadolor (Osad) and Yewande Imasogie, Burton and Margaret (Margie) Lindan, Charles Maddry, Kathleen Manley (Man), Charles Martin, Hugh and Vera Peterson, Lucille Reagan, Josephine (Jo) Scaggs, William R. Tolbert, Jr., and Carl and Enid Whirley.

Acquisition information:
The Pool Family Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2011.
Processing information:

Processed by Kaley Deal, Rebecca Evans, Meghan Lyon, June 2012

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, June 2012

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2011-1028

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


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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Pool Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.