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The Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire Manuscript Collection

 Collection
Identifier: SCM 222

Scope and Content

The Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire Manuscript Collection consists of approximately 650 linear feet of documents, photographs, audio and video recordings, and ephemera. The inclusive dates run from 1925 through 1998, with the bulk of the collection covering the peak years of McIntire's activities from 1933 to 1985. The collection is divided into 9 distinct series with associated subseries. These series are
  1. 1-McIntire Files,
  2. 2-McIntire Related Organizations,
  3. 3-Christian Beacon and 20th Century Reformation,
  4. 4-Publications and Press,
  5. 5-Properties,
  6. 6-Photographs, Recorded Media, and Ephemera,
  7. 7-Robert Mulholland Collection,
  8. 8-Materials Compiled by William O. Harris and
  9. 9-Ray Edwards Accession materials.
The collection was mostly acquired from McIntire's 20th Century Reformation headquarters building in Collingswood, New Jersey and from McIntire's personal residence. One series was collected by Robert Mulholland for a dissertation that he wrote while attending Bowling Green University, and the additional two series were collected by William O. Harris, former archivist at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Ray Edwards, longtime associate of Dr. McIntire.

Dates

  • 1925-1998

Creator

Language of Materials

English, Dutch, German, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese

Access:

Folders containing sensitive information have been indicated in this finding aid by the processing archivist. These files and subject to restriction. All other material may be examined by library patrons under the normal rules and conditions of Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary.

Chronology

1906
Born, Ypsilanti, Michigan, May 17.
1927
B.A., Park College, Parkville, Missouri.
1928-1929
Student, Princeton Theological Seminary .
1931
B.D., Westminster Theological Seminary, Ordained, Presbytery of West Jersey, Presbyterian Church USA, June 4. Marries Fairy Eunice Davis on May 27.
1931-1933
Pastor, Chelsea Presbyterian Church, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1933-1936
Pastor, Collingswood Presbyterian Church, New Jersey.
1936
Defrocked by Presbytery of West Jersey over a dispute regarding his involvement with the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions.
1936-
Organizing Pastor, Bible Presbyterian Church, Collingswood, New Jersey.
1936-
Founder and Publisher, Christian Beacon newspaper. Christian Beacon begins publication.
1937
Founder, Faith Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania.
1938
First services held in tent erected at the corner of Haddon Avenue and Cuthbert Boulevard in Collingswood, New Jersey, April 3.
1941
Original founder and the first President of the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC).
1948
Original founder and the first head of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC).
1955
First broadcast of the 20th Century Reformation Hour radio program.
1956
Splits with the original Bible Presbyterian Church and forms his own Bible Presbyterian Church organization. The original would eventually change its name to the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, and join the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
1957
The current Bible Presbyterian Church building is built and opens at the corner of Haddon Avenue and Cuthbert Boulevard in Collingswood, New Jersey.
1963
Purchases the Admiral Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, renames it The Christian Admiral, and turns it into a Bible conference center and resort. This leads to the eventual purchase of Congress Hall, the Windsor, and additional properties in Cape May.
1964-
Founder and President, Shelton College, Cape May, New Jersey.
1965
Purchases (through Faith Seminary) radio station WXUR in Media, Pennsylvania and gains FCC license for the station.
1970
Loses leadership position and splits with the ACCC over a dispute regarding leadership style and militancy.
1971
Shelton College loses its New Jersey state accreditation. McIntire acquires property in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and relocates Shelton College there.
1972-1973
Citing violations of the FCC's "Fairness Doctrine" in its programming, WXUR loses its broadcasting license and is taken off the air. McIntire purchases an old Navy ship, names it "Radio Free America," and broadcasts from it off the coast of Cape May in September, 1973.
1975
Citing disagreements in religious philosophy, McIntire is expelled and deported by the government of Kenya during the 9th Congress of the ICCC in Nairobi.
1979
20th Century Reformation Hour begins television version broadcasts on WGCB, Red Lion, Pennsylvania.
1980-1991
The buildings in Cape May fall into disrepair due to lack of contributions, tax debts, and stricter building codes. They eventually cease operations by the early 1990s and are sold in bankruptcy.
1984
McIntire splits with the Bible Presbyterian Church, forming the Bible Presbyterian Church, Collingswood Synod.
1990
The Christian Beacon Press files for bankruptcy.
1992
Wife Fairy Davis McIntire dies.
1995
Carl McIntire marries Alice Goff.
1996
Christian Beacon newspaper ceases publication.
1996
McIntire is offered a pension to retire as pastor of the Collingswood Synod, but refuses. He is removed as pastor by the congregation. McIntire threatens a lawsuit, and continues holding services in his Collingswood home.
2002
Carl McIntire dies on March 19.

Biographical Information

Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan on May 17, 1906. His father, Charles Curtis McIntire, was a 1904 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. Prevented by ill health from realizing his initial hope to serve as a missionary to China, Charles Curtis McIntire went on to serve as pastor to the Presbyterian church in Ypsilanti (1904-1907), to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City (1907-1910), and as executive secretary of the Presbyterian Laymen’s Foreign Missionary Movement for the Synod of Iowa (1911-1912). However, the elder McIntire suffered from mental health problems and a breakdown forced him to enter a hospital in 1913 when his son was 7 years old. Following his recovery he went on to serve briefly as a pastor in Vinita, Oklahoma (1920-1921) and then to an extended traveling ministry as a preacher and special lecturer at colleges, seminaries, and especially penal institutions all across the country. Based in Washington, D.C., he continued this ministry through the early 1950s and died in 1962. Carl McIntire’s mother was Hettie Hotchkin McIntire, a teacher and librarian. She returned to her native Oklahoma, was divorced from her husband in 1920, and raised her children as a single mother. Although she eventually became dean of women at Southeastern State Teacher’s College in Durant, Oklahoma, Carl McIntire grew up “dirt-poor.” As a young man he did farm chores, and during his college years worked as a janitor at the college and in a local church and over the summers sold maps in Western Oklahoma to earn money. He attended college at Southeastern State, but transferred to Park College in Parkville, Missouri, for his senior year and received his diploma there.

McIntire enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary, his father’s alma mater, in 1928. He was also inspired to attend the school by reading J. Gresham Machen’s book, What is Faith? (1925). He and Machen grew close during his first year at the seminary and McIntire was elected president of his first-year class in 1928-29. When the school was reorganized amid much controversy in 1929, McIntire withdrew to follow his teacher to Westminster Theological Seminary, founded by Machen in a dispute over the theological direction of both Princeton Seminary and the denomination’s Board of Foreign Missions. Thereafter both Machen and McIntire became two of the most well known Presbyterians who took the fundamentalist side in the so-called modernist - fundamentalist controversy of the 1920s and 1930s. This was a bitter time for the Presbyterian Church, with so-called fundamentalists attacking the denomination and so-called modernists throwing out the fundamentalists.

McIntire graduated from Westminster Seminary and from 1931 to 1933 served as pastor of the Chelsea Presbyterian Church in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1933 he was invited to become pastor of the 1,200-member Collingswood Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, New Jersey, the largest church in the Presbytery of West Jersey. He also became one of the founding members of Machen’s Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, organized as a conservative alternative to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions.

McIntire’s opposition to the theology and structures of the Presbyterian Church soon attracted attention and he was investigated by the presbytery and convicted of “sowing dissension within the church.” His ministerial credentials were revoked in 1935 and the following year he was among 34 ministers who organized what is now the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. McIntire’s Collingswood congregation withdrew from the Presbyterian Church and became one of the flagship congregations of the new denomination.

Although McIntire was originally committed to Westminster Seminary, the Independent Board, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he and Machen soon parted ways. McIntire found the new denomination insufficiently conservative, wanting the church to subscribe to abstinence from alcohol and dispensational pre-millennialism. He led a number of pastors out of the new denomination to found his own Protestant church, the Bible Presbyterian Church, and in 1937 he organized his own graduate school, Faith Theological Seminary on the then palatial Widener Estate in Philadelphia. Fighting “Modernism” on the left and McIntire on the right, the stress on Machen took its toll. On a visit to Bismarck, North Dakota to rally conservative churches, the 55-year-old reformer succumbed to pneumonia and died suddenly on January 1, 1937. McIntire’s weekly newspaper, the Christian Beacon, quickly became the voice of the Bible Presbyterian Church. The first issue appeared on February 13, 1936, and proclaimed in a front-page editorial that the Beacon was to carry news of a religious nature and would “not enter into politics one whit.” However, McIntire’s theological, social, and political agenda was everywhere implied, and later was overtly stated in his publications, on his radio program, and through his demonstrations. At the height of its circulation the Beacon had about 250,000 readers which greatly extended the influence of McIntire’s 8,000-member Bible Presbyterian Church.

In 1938 the Collingswood church lost its battle with the Presbyterian Church to retain its property and on April 17 the congregation made a well-publicized march from the church grounds to a large revival tent that McIntire erected on a vacant lot. He gave a defiant sermon, dispensed communion in paper cups, and was determined to regain all he had lost. He gradually acquired an entire city block in Collingswood with property and buildings worth, at the time, the huge sum of over $1 million. He established a denominational headquarters in Cape May, New Jersey. There he purchased the Christian Admiral Hotel and used it as a conference and retreat center. He also purchased a Hilton Hotel at Cape Canaveral, Florida, along with other properties.

McIntire gradually developed a brand of Christian fundamentalism that crossed denominational lines, mixing conservative social and theological views with a conservative political agenda. He found an audience for his views in his Collingswood congregation, the readers of his Christian Beacon newspaper, the listeners of his radio program, and those who joined his national and international church councils. McIntire especially criticized the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches, which he considered centers of apostasy. He founded the American Council of Christian Churches (1941) and the International Council of Christian Churches (1948) as alternative national and international voices. While the American Council has largely disappeared, the International Council grew to represent more than 100 Protestant denominations and still meets. As a corrective to perceived social and political ills, McIntire carried on battles with local municipalities, the Federal Communications Commission, and various Protestant denominations. He declined to join with conservative “Neo-evangelicals” in 1942, when they organized the National Association of Evangelicals. He strongly opposed Communism, the United Nations, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and the Civil Rights movement.

A brilliant and effective preacher, McIntire used fiery rhetoric during the 1950s to denounce various Protestant denominations and churches which “leaned toward Communism.” His McCarthyism grew from his belief that there was a substantial communist infiltration of the American churches, and he was especially wary of the Russian Orthodox Church and its ecumenical agents. He also inveighed against inroads made by liberal theologians into American churches. Conservatives too were suspect. McIntire called well-known evangelist Billy Graham “a cover for the apostates” and his crusade a “ministry of disobedience.” He considered the Southern Baptists to be “soggy compromisers,” and he referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “fascist.” In 1956 McIntire appeared at major demonstrations in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles denouncing Communism and the National Council of Churches, and he frequently picketed meetings of the World Council of Churches. Also during the Cold War era, he sent balloons carrying Bible pages across the borders of the Iron Curtain. During the Viet Nam War he organized several “Marches for Victory” in Washington, D.C.

During the mid-1950s the Bible Presbyterian Church was in turmoil over allegations that McIntire was inflating the membership statistics of the American Council of Christian Churches and charges that the council’s finances were in disarray. This controversy, part of a power struggle within the denomination, led to a schism within the Bible Presbyterian Church, when a large faction, also opposed to McIntire’s battles with the National Council of Churches and Communism, left to organize the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. The group subsequently became part of the Presbyterian Church in America, also known as the PCA.

By the mid-1960s the outspoken minister had attracted thousands of followers whose donations enabled him to build a multi-million dollar empire. His ten year old radio show, the Twentieth-Century Reformation Hour, was heard on more than 600 radio stations and listeners sent about 4,000 letters daily. The donations in these letters amounted to about $4 million per year. McIntire used these funds to further extend his influence at home and abroad. He began to devote his time to social and political issues at home, and he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Korean, Indian, and African churches after they withdrew from the World Council of Churches and lost funding. He received honorary doctorates from Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bob Jones University.

However, during the 1970s McIntire experienced a reversal of fortunes and his empire began to crumble. The first sign of trouble appeared at Faith Theological Seminary. In 1971 the school president and the majority of its professors, experiencing some disagreements with McIntire, left organize Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. His two colleges, Shelton College in Cape May and Highlands College in Pasadena, California, also had difficulties and eventually lost their accreditation. His radio program, another crucial part of his ministry, also came under attack when listeners in Pennsylvania complained about the station to the Federal Communications Commission. In 1973 the Commission and the US courts, to which he appealed, ruled that his radio programs did not comply with the Fairness Doctrine which required all radio stations to present balanced programming. (The so-called “Fairness Doctrine” was subsequently overturned by the courts during the Reagan Administration.) However, when McIntire failed to present opposing views his stations were taken off the air. Within two months 200 stations had dropped his program. Still defiant, he tried to circumvent the FCC by broadcasting from a converted World War II minesweeper anchored 12 miles off Cape May in the international waters of Delaware Bay. However, his “Radio Free America” lasted for only 16 hours. When his transmission interfered with another radio signal the US Coast Guard was forced to deliver the final FCC injunction which permanently closed the station.

With McIntire’s radio voice silenced, contributions to his ministry rapidly declined. He soon owed back taxes on his properties. He was eventually forced to sell most of his properties, including his Cape May retreat and conference center. In 1984 the Bible Presbyterian Church was faced with another split and McIntire then founded the Bible Presbyterian Church Collingswood Synod, consisting of two congregations.

McIntire remained pastor of the Collingswood Presbyterian Church for more than 60 years. However, his many battles had taken a toll on the congregation and by the mid-1990s, although 1,400 members remained on the rolls, a far smaller number of mainly elderly members attended services. Many who had worked with McIntire over the years had eventually split from him. In April of 1996, the church session offered him an honorable pension to retire, but he refused. The session appealed to the presbytery which eventually declared the church pulpit vacant. McIntire was still holding services in his home when he died just before his 96th birthday.

Extent

650 Linear Feet (669 Boxes)

Arrangement

Series 1: McIntire Files: Boxes 1-326

This series is arranged into 11 subseries:

1. Communism, documenting McIntire's anti-Communist research and activities.

2. Correspondence, mostly arranged alphabetically.

3. Country Files, documenting information on countries where Carl McIntire had interest and activities.

4. Denominations, containing research and information on all religious denominations worldwide.

5. General Subjects and Organizations, primarily arranged alphabetically.

6. Individuals, arranged alphabetically.

7. Legal/Financial, documenting financial and legal issues such as estates, banking, journals, taxes, loans, and properties.

8. NCC/WCC, documenting research and activities pertaining to the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

9. Personal/Historical, including personal correspondence, early academic materials, travel, publications and clippings.

10. Projects, including protest marches, political projects, and religious initiatives not related to the Bible Presbyterian Church.

11. Sermons and Addresses, including drafts and manuscripts of sermons and major addresses.

Series 2: McIntire Related Organizations: Boxes 327-448

This series is arranged into 5 subseries:

1. ACCC/ICCC/TAM, documenting the American Council of Christian Churches, the International Council of Christian Churches, and The Associated Missions.

2. Bible Presbyterian Church, some chronological arrangement by year, but mostly subject files dealing with Bible Presbyterian Church congregations nationwide, general synods, and issues pertaining to the Bible Presbyterian Church in Collingswood.

3. Faith Theological Seminary, containing administrative and faculty information, catalogs, course, and class information.

4. IBPFM/IBPHM, administrative and financial information, individual files, and country information pertaining to the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions and the Independent Board of Presbyterian Home Missions.

5. Shelton College, information pertaining to Shelton College in both New Jersey and Florida, including documentation of the effort to keep accreditation in New Jersey.

Series 3: Christian Beacon and 20th Century Reformation: Boxes 449-527

This series is arranged into 6 subseries:

1. 20th Century Reformation Hour Radio Show, including topic packets sent to listeners.

2. Christian Beacon Newspaper, including clippings, indexes, subject files and manuscript submissions.

3. Christian Beacon Press, containing administrative and financial information, conferences, and individuals files.

4. Donor Information, which is primarily in the form of empty envelopes which were received with donations. In most cases, the date of donation and amount received is stamped on the envelopes, and most contain the return address of the donor.

5. Federal Communications Commission Issues, including those pertaining to radio station WXUR and McIntire's long fight with the FCC.

6. WXUR and Radio Affiliates, including contracts and financial information, transcripts and subject files, and files on affiliated radio stations nationwide.

Series 4: Publications and Press: Boxes 528-563

This series is arranged into 3 subseries:

1. Articles and newspaper clippings, pertaining to Carl McIntire and to topics of interest to him.

2. Press and Media Relations; correspondence and statements, including press releases, advertising placements, and correspondence with media outlets.

3. Publications by Carl McIntire and others, including books, pamphlets, brochures, and tracts.

Series 5: Properties: Boxes 564-584

The series is arranged into 3 subseries:

1. Beacon Conferences, including logistical information and individuals files.

2. Cape May and Cape Canaveral, General Information, including financial information, brochures, property information, and subject files.

3. Properties legal and financial, including statements, taxes, clippings, and correspondence.

Series 6: Photographs, Recorded Media, and Ephemera: Boxes 585-640

This series is arranged into 6 subseries:

1. Mixed media, including 35mm slides, voice reel tapes and cassettes, U-matic and VHS video recordings, film strips, and 8 and 16mm movie film of meetings, speeches, and sermons.

2. Sorted Photographs, Negatives, and Slides A-Z, identified and sorted alphabetically.

3. Unsorted Photographs, Negatives, and Slides by Topic, which were arranged by topic and individuals though recognition of people and events by the archivists and their assistants.

4. Videotaped recordings, consisting primarily of U-matic and VHS formatted recordings of the 20th Century Reformation Hour television broadcast, as well as other television programs.

5. Oversized and Rolled Photographs, some with identification, which were too large to place in standard storage boxes.

6. Ephemera and Oversized Items, including plaques, awards, and personal items retrieved along with the document collection.

Series 7: Robert Mulholland Collection: Boxes 641-665

This series is arranged into 3 subseries:

1. Subject Files, includes mostly documents pertaining to Carl McIntire's early interest and activities concerning religious broadcasting, including those of the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC).

2. Literary Productions, which contains books and other publications by Carl McIntire and others.

3. Recorded Media, including voice reels and cassettes of Carl McIntire and others on selected religious topics.

Series 8: Materials Compiled by William O. Harris: Boxes 666-669

This series is arranged into 2 subseries:

1. Collected by Reverend E. Lansing Bennett, including publications, clippings, and materials on Carl McIntire's trial by the Presbyterian Church USA during the 1930s.

2. Basic Biographical Material, compiled by archivist William O. Harris, including correspondence, from McIntire's early period of being a minister, mostly from the 1930s.

Series 9: Ray Edwards Accession 2012.44

This series is arranged into 2 subseries:

1. Sermons, addresses and articles by Carl Mcintire.

2. Subjects, topics and organizations.

Related Material

See also the following materials in Special Collections:

The John Gresham Machen Manuscript Collection

See also the following:

Carl McIntire Collection, Presbyterian Church of America Historical Center

Carl McIntire Collection 1933-1993, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

Processing Information:

This collection was acquired between 1998 and 2002 in three major accessions. First, in 1998, the Borough of Collingswood, New Jersey declared the contents of Carl McIntire's old 20th Century Reformation headquarters building to be abandoned. The city officials notified the Princeton Seminary of the papers' existence and their impending destruction, whereupon the Seminary agreed to immediately retrieve the approximately 400 linear feet of materials. James Lennox Librarian Stephen Crocco and archivist William O. Harris were chiefly responsible for acquiring this collection. Secondly, Bowling Green University learned of this acquisition and transferred the Robert Mulholland materials to the Seminary shortly thereafter. Mulholland's collection consisted of materials he gathered through personal contact with Carl McIntire for dissertation research on the early broadcast activism of McIntire. Thirdly, upon Carl McIntire's death in 2002, another 200 linear feet of documents were accessioned from McIntire's personal papers.

The initial, box-level inventory of the McIntire collection was compiled by William O. Harris in 1999, with the assistance of staff assistants Elizabeth Barrows, Joshua Cole, and Matthew Reeder. A folder-level inventory of the first 45 linear feet was taken by temporary archival assistant Michelle Malone in 2008.

Project archivist Bob Golon was hired in March of 2009 to continue work on the McIntire Collection to its completion. His hiring was made possible by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation. Using processing techniques developed and published by Dennis Meisner and Mark A. Green (Society of American Archivists, 2004), the folder-level inventory was completed in July of 2009. Next, the inventory was sorted into a logical series and sub-series grouping, and from September 2009 through January 2010, the collection was physically consolidated and rearranged while accounting for as much of the original collection order as possible. Student assistant Kate Moore assisted in this process.

Many photographs are included in this collection. Some were received in folders and sorted alphabetically. Others were loosely arranged and unidentified. The Seminary received assistance from long-time Bible Presbyterians Robert and Nancy Anderson in identifying some of the photographs. Robert attended Shelton College and Faith Seminary and served for 45 years as a Bible Presbyterian pastor in Tennessee and Washington. Nancy's parents supported Carl McIntire throughout the trials in the Presbyterian Church USA during the 1930s. Nancy grew up in the Church, personally meeting many of the leaders of the denomination as well as of the International Council of Christian Churches. She also worked at the Christian Admiral Bible Conference Center in Cape May, New Jersey.

Final documentation of the collection, including the writing and publishing of a finding aid, was done by Bob Golon, with assistance from manuscript librarian Sarah Seraphin, between February and April, 2010.
Title
The Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire Manuscript Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Bob Golon
Date
2009
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Princeton Theological Seminary
Library
PO Box 821
Princeton NJ 08542 USA