University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Harrison Street Methodist
Church Papers



Manuscript Collection Number: 425
Accessioned: Purchased July 24, 1998
Extent: .33 linear ft.
Content: Church newsletters, weekly programs, church directories, correspondence,
annual reports, budgets, Church service programs, and lists of church members,
officials, and Sunday school students.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 2001 by Laura Cochrane and Theresa Hessey

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

The Harrison Street Methodist Church had its beginnings as a Sunday school at the home of Wilmington resident Howard L. George. Named the Franklin Street Methodist Sunday school, it held opening exercises on October 5, 1890. The first regular session was held on October 12, 1890, with Mr. George presiding as superintendent and with fifty-six students attending.

The popularity of the school led to discussion of the possibility of founding a church. The community consulted Rev. Louis E. Barrett, the Pastor of nearby St. Paul’s Methodist Church, to assist them in this undertaking. After discussing various names, they settled on Harrison Street Methodist.

The Harrison Street Methodist Church was officially organized and incorporated under Delaware law on March 25, 1891. The original congregation numbered twenty-five. On April 21, 1891, these members purchased a lot on which to erect their church on the corner of Harrison and Seventh Streets. On May 21, 1891, a temporary frame chapel was erected and dedicated. The following Sunday, the school met for the first time in their new location. In the fall of 1891, the church was plastered, prepared for winter, and became the first church in the city of Wilmington to have electric lights.

Over the course of many years, membership to this church community continued to grow. It became apparent that a larger, more permanent church building was needed. Construction of the new church on the original lot began on July 17, 1893. After 1907, additional rooms were added to the building to accommodate the Church’s numerous programs, which included various levels of Sunday school teaching, adult Bible classes, a preschool, and an infant care program.

The pastors who served Harrison Street Methodist included Dr. F.B. Short (1892-1896), Rev. R.T. Coursey (1897-1899), Dr. C.T. Wyatt (1905-1910), Rev. W.T. Habbart (1919-1924), Rev. E. M. Shockley (before 1941-1943), Rev. C.M. Harris (1944-1948), and Rev. Milton H. Keene (1949?-1951 or later).

The church closed in 1978.

Scope and Content Note

The Harrison Street Methodist Church Papers span the years 1935 to 1953, although most of the materials pertain to the 1940s and early 1950s. The collection mainly comprises published Church newsletters (1950-1952), and weekly programs (1941-1954), but also includes church directories, correspondence, annual reports, budgets, programs for various Church services, and lists of church members, officials, and Sunday school students. Although this collection offers an incomplete record of the Church’s history, it provides a valuable look into the programs and activities of this historic Church during the mid-twentieth century.

Contents List

Folder -- Contents

1    F1        Directory of the Harrison Street Methodist
               Episcopal Church, 1935
               Paper bound book, includes names of officers,
               committee members, and the names, addresses and
               phone numbers of Church members

     F2        Lists of members, n.d.
               Typed lists of the names, addresses, and phone
	       numbers, of Church members.

     F3        List of Officers, 1941
               Hand written list of officers’ names and addresses

     F4        List of Sunday school class members, 1940
               Typed list of the names and addresses of class

     F5        Two letters, 1937 and 1944
               The 1937 letter requests donations from members
               and friends of the church.  Rev. Carlton M. Harris
               sent out the 1944 letter as the Church’s new
     F6        Report of the General Superintendent of Harrison
               Street Methodist Church School to the Fourth
               Quarterly Conference, 1941
     F7        Annual Reports of the Treasurer of Harrison Street
               Methodist Episcopal Church, 1935/36-1947/48 and
     F8        Handwritten and typed budgets for1945/46 and
     F9        Church newsletters, 1950-1952
     F10       Newspaper articles, n.d.
               Two articles announcing the reinstatement of Rev.
               Carlton M. Harris to the Harrison Street Methodist
               Episcopal Church.  One of the articles quotes Rev.
               Harris, but seems to be facetious.
     F11       Weekly programs, 1941-1943
     F12       Weekly programs, 1944-1945

     F13       Weekly programs, 1946-1948

     F14       Weekly programs, 1949-1951
     F15       Weekly programs, 1952-1954
     F16       Notes for Rally Day, 1942 and 1943
               Handwritten notes of remarks delivered on two
                         Rally Days
     F17       Palm Sunday concert programs
     F18       Christmas service and concert programs, 1944 and
     F19       50th Anniversary celebration, 1940
     F20       Children’s programs, 1940, 1953, and n.d.
               Programs for Children’s Day services, Promotion
               Day, and a Tom Thumb Wedding.

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