This collection is divided into eight series: Biographical, Writings, Advance, Lincoln, Correspondence, Photographs, Genealogical, and Helen Crocker. Arrangement within each series is largely chronological except where noted.
William E. Barton attended Berea College from 1880 to 1885 (B.S.) and married Esther Treat Bushnell—a Berea elementary teacher—upon graduation from college. Barton was a circuit pastor in Robbins, Tennessee, until 1887. From 1887 through 1890 Barton was a pastor in Litchfield, Ohio, while taking courses at Oberlin Theological School. Upon graduation from Oberlin (M.A.), Barton pastored at Wellington, Ohio, and Boston’s Shawmut Congregational Church. From 1899 until 1924, Barton was the pastor at Chicago’s First Congregational Church in Oak Park.
From 1904-1917 Barton was the editor of The Advance, a Congregationalist magazine. Among many Congregationalist activities Barton was a delegate to the National Council from 1893 to1930, and moderator of that body from 1921 to 1923. For thirty years Barton was a Berea College trustee during which time he advised Berea College on the Day Law legal suit (1904-1908). Barton also spent much time researching the life of Abraham Lincoln’s and became a foremost authority in the field.
In 1925, Barton began a trip around the world, unfortunately cut short by his wife’s sudden illness and death later the same year. In 1928 Barton founded Collegeside Church where he served as pastor until his until his death in 1930 at the age of 69.
Although large portions of the material in this collection are primary sources collected from the Barton family, a significant portion in this collection are copies from other research and archival institutions. The originals of these copied materials remain at those various institutions. The bulk of this collection originated with Helen Crocker, a professor at Western Kentucky University. Her research (1980-1986) gathered material from the Barton family and archival institutions, and was intended for a biography of William E. Barton, though that book was never written. The material was then given to Marion Lucas, another professor at Western Kentucky University researching John G. Fee. In August of 2000, Marion Lucas gave the collection to Berea College. The small portion of the collection not inherited from Helen Crocker and Marion Lucas has been collected by Berea College librarians.
Restrictions: Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.
Series 4 contains four rolls of microfilm from the University of Chicago Library. The microfilm contains Barton’s Lincoln research correspondence (1920-1922), research notes (including affidavits and maps), and few Lincoln manuscripts and addresses. RESTRICTION: Microfilm or information from microfilm may not be reproduced without permission of the Director of the University of Chicago Library.
Federal copyright regulations apply to all other works within the collection. All works must be cited.
Berea College Records RG 9.03: Bruce Barton Collection
Preferred Citation: [Object identification], William Barton Papers, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, KY.
Scope and Contents: This collection reflects W. E. Barton’s life and work as a Berea College graduate and trustee, as a Congregationalist pastor and author, and, in a limited way, as a Lincoln scholar.