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The Frederic Lawrence and Kenaston Twitchell Oxford Group Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 238

Scope and Content

The Oxford Group Manuscript Collection consists of clippings, reprints, pamphlets, leaflets, newsletters, invitations, magazines, letters, some handwritten notes, drafts, and books. The collection comprises 2.5 linear feet (6 boxes) with records dating from 1924-1983 (bulk: 1928-1938). The records document the early years of the Oxford Group. They were collected by Frederic C. Lawrence and by Kenaston Twitchell. There are three series in this collection.

Series I was given to the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, Special Collections, in 1982 by Bishop Frederic C. Lawrence (1899-1989). Lawrence's papers consist mainly of clippings and documents published between 1920 and 1936. He pre-sorted the pamphlets, articles, and books into folders. The original order of his papers was retained.

Series II was donated to the seminary library by long-time Princeton resident and friend of the seminary Kenaston Twitchell in the early 1980s. His donation consists mainly of clippings, pamphlets, programs, magazines, some notes, and three books about the Oxford Group.

Series III consists of three books pertaining to the Oxford Group. They were collected by Kenaston Twitchell.

The collection documents the beginnings of the Oxford Group, which goes back to Frank Buchman. Buchman worked at Penn State College and later at Hartford Theological Seminary, when he became active in forming Christian groups at Princeton, Harvard, and Oxford University. He had travelled to China, England, Europe, South Africa, and USA. The collection includes records pertaining to Buchman as well as records that refer to the nature and principles of the group, such as the publications Soul Surgery by Howard Walter, Realizing Religion by Samuel Shoemaker and various articles.


  • 1924-1983

Language of Materials

English, French, Danish


There are no special restrictions to access of this collection. It may be examined by library patrons under the normal rules and conditions of Special Collections.

Biographical Information

The Oxford Group was an organization in the early 20th century in the United States with ties to Oxford in England, concerned with changing individual lives and fostering world peace by morally re-arming individuals with principles of Christian beliefs. While they were not a religion or church, members saw themselves as missionaries. The movement was started by Frank Buchman. Frederic C. Lawrence and Kenaston Twitchell were members of the emerging Oxford Group.

Frederic C. Lawrence (1899-1989) met the initiator of the Oxford Group Frank Buchman while he was a student at Cambridge, England, in the 1920s. He was active with the group until about 1936. In 1937 he earned a Doctor of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Lawrence later worked as suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts until his retirement in 1968.

Kenaston Twitchell (1903-1988) attended Lawrenceville School and graduated from Princeton University in 1924. He completed a Master's Degree in Oxford, where he met Frank Buchman and became actively involved with the Oxford Group. In 1938, he became the executive director of Moral Re-armament, an international moral and spiritual movement that developed out of the Oxford Group. He worked for the movement until 1973 and died in 1988 in Princeton, N.J.

Another follower of Buchman was Samuel Shoemaker, a Princeton graduate and Secretary of the Philadelphian Society in Princeton. Several of his writings are contained in the present collection. Shoemaker founded "Faith at Work" in 1926. Yet another group that developed out of the Oxford Group is Alcoholics Anonymous.


2.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)


There are three series in this collection.

Series I contains papers collected by Frederic C. Lawrence in a total 4 boxes. Boxes 1-3 consist of 14 folders following Frederic Lawrence's original arrangement. Box 4 of the first series includes 15 folders numbered 4:1-4:15. Documents from folders 4:9-4:15 had originally been kept in one large folder entitled "The Oxford Group Sweep of the Week. Canada. USA. 1933-1934." Lawrence's geographical arrangement is represented at the end of the item description in the new folders reflecting his original indications: New York, Western Canada, Washington, California.

Series II comprises papers collected by Kenaston Twitchell in 11 folders in boxes 5 (folders 1-10) and 6 (folder 6:1). The materials include clippings, pamphlets, magazines, reprints, programs and notes. Boxes 5 and 6 each start a new numbering.

Series III comprises three published books collected by Kenaston Twitchell.

Related Material

See also the following materials:

Moral Re-armament records, 1812-1991 at Library of Congress

Princeton University Student Christian Association Records 1855-1967 at Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Princeton University Archives

Papers of Samuel Moor Shoemaker - Collection 269 at Wheaton College, Billy Graham Center Archives

Processing Information

Final processing of the collection, including the writing and publishing of a finding aid, was completed by Juliette L Appold, November 2014.

The Frederic Lawrence and Kenaston Twitchell Oxford Group Manuscript Collection
Juliette L. Appold
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Special Collections Repository

Princeton Theological Seminary
Wright Library
25 Library Place
Princeton NJ 08540 USA