Finding Aids

Barcus, James Samuel Papers

Manuscript Collection Number:
Samuel J. Barcus [1865-1948] & family
James Samuel Barcus Papers
Data Span:
1.25 Linear Feet

Processed by: Baker, Sarah
Date Processed: 1998

  • James Samuel Barcus was born in Tulip, Arkansas on December 5, 1865. His father was a teacher/Methodist minister and his mother was a teacher who moved to Texas in the 1870’s. His family remains prominent in the history of Southwestern University: J.S. Barcus’ mother was a member of the “Thousand Dollar Club” and ten of eleven of J.S. Barcus’ siblings graduated from Southwestern, including J.S. Barcus who graduated in 1890. He continued postgraduate work at Vanderbilt University and like his father and two of his brothers, J. S. Barcus became a Methodist minister. In 1893 J.S. married Ms. Minnie Williams. They had three children: Joseph Garland, Annie Edwards, and James Samuel Junior (Jim). Barcus and his family became instrumental in the expansion of Methodism in Texas.

    J.S. Barcus maintained a close affiliation with Southwestern University throughout his life. As chair of his department, he taught Bible classes for four years (1905-1909) and was the first faculty member to live in Mood Hall as an administrator*. J. S. Barcus returned to ministry after this interlude of teaching. However, he preserved his ties to Southwestern when in 1917 he joined Southwestern’s Board of Trustees.

    J. S. Barcus’ most significant contribution to Southwestern University was as President of the University from 1924-1928, becoming the first alumnus to achieve that appointment. Because at the time he came to office Southwestern was in dire financial problems and enrollment was down, J. S. Barcus initiated “The Greater Southwestern Movement.” This movement had a goal of raising $500,000 by 1925 and proved successful but in 1925 the Women’s Building Annex burned down and the money raised by the Greater Southwestern Movement had to be used to build a new women’s dormitory (later known as Laura Kuykendall Hall).

    Equally notable was the role J.S. Barcus played in 1928 to keep Southwestern located in Georgetown. The board had proposed that due to Southwestern’s lack of endorsements, the university should be moved to San Antonio and joined with Westmoorland College. However, Barcus was able to depress the agitation

    Barcus’ presidency also stood out in terms of the academic integrity to which he adhered. In 1922 both he, as president, and another professor refused to sign a paper with other Texas Methodist university Presidents and Theology Professors. This paper was in support of doctrines set down by the Northwest Texas Conference and would establish guidelines for Biblical teaching in Texas Methodist universities. The following year the professor who had refused to sign was charged with heresy at the conference. Barcus presented a paper defending the professor and maintained that scholarship should not be endorsed by majority vote. He successfully halted the incursion of Conferences into establishing approved collegiate curricula.

    Barcus remained strongly committed to his ministry and vacated his position in 1928 to return to that profession. He remained in contact to the school through his children, two of which graduated from Southwestern University as well as through countless relatives who continued to enter into enrollment until his death in 1948.

    Much of the above biographical information was taken from Southwestern University: 1860-1961. Jones, Ralph Wood. Austin: Jenkins Publishing Co., 1973.

  • Papers of J. Samuel Barcus (1865-1948), President of Southwestern University from 1924 to 1928, and other members of his family. Barcus was a Methodist minister as well as a teacher at Southwestern University. J. Samuel Barcus created most of the papers, including memoirs, correspondence, sermon notes, daily journals, and brief histories of Texas Methodist churches. Other materials, mostly created by his family members, include family photographs, Southwestern University memorabilia and publications, and scrapbooks.

    Memoirs: 1865-1940 
    The memoirs series is J.S. Barcus’ 188 page handwritten autobiography of his life from his birth in 1865 until about 1940, supplemented with a separate 35 page file on his preaching appointments in Denton and McKinney, Texas. Events of interest include his presidency at Southwestern University (SU) from 1924-1928, his active promotion to keep SU located in Georgetown during his presidency, his description of SU and Georgetown life during his position as theology professor, and his various placements as a minister.

    Correspondence: 1885-1944 
    Throughout his life, J.S. Barcus corresponded with many people and stayed in close contact with his family. Most of the correspondence in this collection are between him and members of his family. The earliest letters are from his older brother J.M. Barcus, dating from 1885. Letters written by Barcus to his family are through 1944, while letters from his family end in 1941 with a happy 75th birthday greeting from his daughter Annie. The other correspondence is from past or present members of his congregation and old collegiate friends who had also become Methodist ministers. These letters range from 1895-1921. The most notable non-family letters were written in 1913. These are written by fellow pastors in positive response to J.S. Barcus’ article “The Appointing Power of the Episcopacy.”

    Sermon Notes, Church Histories, and Other Papers: n.d., 1893, 1932-1937 
    This series includes a collection of sermon notes that Rev. Barcus kept in a file folder. The series is organized by Biblical book. For example, the first comes from Genesis and the last one comes from Revelations. The collection is further broken down into “New” and “Old” Testament folders. Almost all of the notes were handwritten by Barcus. There are a few that are typed, either his own personal notes or in some cases newspaper clippings which featured his Sunday sermons. Also found here are notes regarding the histories of area churches and other miscellaneous papers and documents concerning his family and the church.

    Daily Journals: 1935, 1938, 1940, and 1947 
    The 1935 journal records J. S. Barcus’ daily events. The 1938 journal is primarily a collection of other people’s inspirational poetry interspersed with anecdotes and sermon notes J.S. Barcus wrote in every Sunday entry. The 1940 journal comments on the Second World War in Europe and America’s involvement , and describes J. S. Barcus’ church work and parishioners. The 1947 journal was kept by J. S. Barcus’ wife, Minnie, as noted at the end of the journal, because J. S. Barcus was unable to write. This journal records the visitors at the Barcus’ household that year in addition to daily weather notes.

    Photographs, Post Cards: n.d.; c.1915-1957 
    Subjects are primarily relatives of the Barcus family. Items of interest include: a c. 1915 copy of a photograph of J. S. Barcus and his immediate family, a 1947 photograph of son Jim Barcus’ Sunday School class, and photographs of J. Sam Barcus’s daughter, Annie Edward, as an infant.

    Southwestern University Memorabilia: n.d.; 1908-1958 
    This series is a collection of SU memorabilia primarily from J. S. Barcus’s tenure as president of SU from 1924 to 1928. Sub-series include items retained by his wife, Minnie Williams Barcus, and his daughter, Annie Edward Barcus Minga. Items of interest include the “Book of Southwestern: 1873-1923, Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of SU;” “Bulletin of Southwestern University,” Series 24, 25, and 27; “A Dedication to Action,” a brochure publicizing the fundraising effort to build the Laura Kuykendall residential building; and a 1922 program for the “SU May Fete.”

    Scrapbooks: n.d.;1913-1964 
    Scrapbooks total eleven in all, kept by various people. The majority of them were kept by J.S. Barcus’ son J.S. (Jim) Barcus Jr. and contain clippings from the Georgetown and SU papers. They are principally composed of articles about the Barcus family, SU news, marriage announcements, obituaries, and Texas Methodist news of preachers and parishes. Local news articles include information about Archer City, Clarksville, Georgetown, McKinney, and Sulfur Springs. One scrapbook was kept by Ruth Horner, a 1914 graduate of SU, during her senior year and contains SU and graduation memorabilia.

  • Memoirs 1864-1940
    1.1 Memoir (188 pages)
    Handwritten autobiography from 1865-c.1940; SU presidency from 1924-1928; involvement against SU relocation movement; description of SU, Georgetown life; SU theology professor; typed transcript [gift of J. S. Dubose grandson of John Barcus, J. Sam’s brother] the typed transcript has been compared to the handwritten typed script, they are essentially the same with small discrepancies in typing; e-mail from Bill Jones with information re: Barcus family

    1.2 Memoir (copy of above)
    Handwritten autobiography from 1865-c.1940; SU presidency from 1924-1928; involvement against SU relocation movement; description of SU, Georgetown life; SU theology professor

    1.3 Pastorates (Denton, McKinney, TX)
    35 pg. memoir on Denton, McKinney pastorates 

    1.4 Pastorates (copy of above)
    35 pg. memoir on Denton, McKinney pastorates

    Correspondence 1885-1944
    1.5 Family: 1885-1940 – Incoming
    From bro. John, 1885-1889; daughter, Annie Edward

    1.6 Non-family: 1895-1921 – Incoming
    Responses to Barcus 1913 article “Appointing Power of the Episcopacy”

    1.7 Family: 1922-1944 - Outgoing

    Sermon Notes, Church Histories, and Other Papers n.d.; 1893, 1932-1937
    1.8 Old Testament
    Organized by Biblical book; notes without Biblical reference on top

    1.9 New Testament
    Organized by Biblical book; 1893 sermon dealing with the book of John

    1.10 [Methodist Church, History of—Georgetown and other Texas Methodist Churches]

    1.11 [Miscellaneous family and church]
    Includes papers regarding family funerals, prayers and memoirs written by family members

    Daily Journals 1935-1947
    2.1 1935 and 1938 Journals
    Record of daily events, others’ poetry and quotes, sermon notes

    2.2 1940 and 1947 Journals
    1940 collection sermon notes, others’ poetry, stories; 1947 kept by wife Minnie, records daily visitors

    Photographs n.d.; c.1915-1957
    2.3 Photographs and postcards – Originals
    Barcus family, relatives; 1915(?) reproduction Barcus family photo; 1947 photo of J. S. Barcus Jr. Sunday school class; photo of daughter, Annie Edward, as an infant; Georgetown; Southwestern; Nettleton, Mississippi

    2.4 Copies
    Barcus family, relatives; 1915(?) reproduction Barcus family photo; 1947 photo of J. S. Barcus Jr. Sunday school class; photo of daughter, Annie Edward, as an infant; Georgetown; Southwestern; Nettleton, Mississippi

    S.U. Memorabilia n.d.; 1908-1958
    2.5 Southwestern University publications.
    Georgetown souvenir photo album with photos of Southwestern; Southwestern calendars 1925, 1927; Southwestern “Bulletin” Sept. 1924, Aug. 1925; Feb., July 1927, March 1928; “Southwestern University” 1908-1909; “A Dedication to Action” (rebuild Ladies’ Annex and other buildings); Southwestern “Texas Pastors’ School”, 1928; “The Book of Southwestern…1873-1923”, 1923

    2.6 SU memorabilia - Annie Edward
    Programs-May Fete, 1922, etc.; Southwestern University “Bulletins” [1930 or later]; “Ex-Student Magazine”, April 1959; Fleming inauguration, 1962

    2.7 SU memorabilia - Minnie Barcus
    Daughter Annie Edward’s grade reports and SU memorabilia; Pi Kappa Delta membership card

    Scrapbooks n.d., 1913-1964