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R. A. (Revels Alcorn) Adams papers

 Collection
Call Number: JWJ MSS 48

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of writings, sheet music, scrapbooks, photographs, and other papers, stemming from R. A. Adams's activities as an evangelistic minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and as a writer, lecturer, and publisher of pamphlets on topics relating to race, religion, contraception, interpersonal relations, and socioeconomics. The collection documents aspects of African American religion and culture, especially in the South, in the early 20th century, and in particular the evangelistic, educational, and literary activities of one African American Methodist minister.

Writings by Adams comprise the bulk of the collection and include typescripts, some of which are corrected, and manuscripts of addresses, sermons, and critical essays, as well as typescripts and manuscripts of creative works such as poetry, novels, and a play. Also included are typescripts of writings by others, on which Adams collaborated or which he seems to have published as president of The Progress Publishing Co.; as well as typescripts of musical programs and sheet music for songs by Adams; scrapbooks containing correspondence, letters of introduction, resolutions, testimonials, and clippings, documenting Adams's evangelistic activities from 1910 to 1921; photographs of Adams and his family; and printed material and other loose papers.

Dates

  • 1902 - 1945

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The R. A. (Revels Alcorn) Adams Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from William Reese Co. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund and Serendipity Books on the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of Negro Arts & Letters Fund, 2008.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into four subseries: I. Writings, 1902-1944. II. Writings by Others, 1930s. III. Music, undated. IV. Other Papers, 1911-1945.

Extent

6.35 Linear Feet (14 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.adams

Overview

The collection consists of writings, sheet music, scrapbooks, photographs, and other papers, stemming from R. A. Adams's activities as an evangelistic minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and as a writer, lecturer, and publisher of pamphlets on topics relating to race, religion, contraception, interpersonal relations, and socioeconomics. The collection documents aspects of African American religion and culture, especially in the South, in the early 20th century, and in particular the evangelistic, educational, and literary activities of one African American Methodist minister.

R. A. (Revels Alcorn) Adams (b. 1869)

R. A. Adams was born on 28 February 1869 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He attended Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio, and served as a Methodist minister in Clarksdale, Brookhaven, Jackson, and Natchez, Mississippi. According to his own biographical statement, Adams entered the ministry, presumably of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, on 23 August 1891 and worked in the pastorate until 1910, after which time he traveled around the South and parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions as an evangelist and lecturer. He wrote and lectured on the topics of religion, theology, philosophy, race, eugenics, prophylactics, and social behavior. As president and presumably founder of The Progress Publishing Co. in Wichita, Kansas, he collaborated on and published pamphlets on the same topics, including his own Highlights of Negro History, Psychoanalysis and Racial Affinity, and Syphilis, The Black Plague.

In addition to sermons and lectures, Adams also wrote novels, critical essays, poetry, and music, most, if not all, of which were never published. His novels include Babylon, described by Adams as "Religious - Sociological - Interracial - Stresses Gospel as Panacea for all Social Ills", Deacon Simpson, "Story of Negro Church Life - Contrasting Old, Unlettered Ministers with Modern Products - Evolution in Negro Church Life", and The Great Cathedral, "Exposure of Graft, Corruption, Autocracy, and Ecclesiastical Misfeasance - Predicting Revolution and Reformation of the Negro Church". His critical essays likewise explore the Negro Church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in addition to other topics, and include works such as "The Negro and His Church" and "The Negro Church - What Ails It?".

Processing Information

The two acquisitions comprising this collection were received by the library within six months of each other. Even though the two acquisitions were purchased from different vendors, the original source of the material was the same. Therefore the decisions was made to interfile material from both acquisitions. Along with interfiling, material in this collection was rehoused and organized as a whole. This work was carried out as part of basic processing shortly after receipt of the material in 2008.
Title
Guide to the R. A. (Revels Alcorn) Adams Papers
Author
by Tina Evans and Jennifer Meehan
Date
2009
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-02-10: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.

Repository Details

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977