The Resource William H. Whitsitt papers

William H. Whitsitt papers

William H. Whitsitt papers, 1858-1909
William H. Whitsitt papers
Inclusive dates
  • Papers, 1858-1909, of William Whitsitt of Tennessee, consisting of correspondence, index cards, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and notes. These papers are arranged chronologically in six boxes and contain letters to William H. Whitsitt dealing almost entirely with the so-called Whitsitt controversy of 1896-1899 among Southern Baptists. In brief, Whitsitt asserted in an article in Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia that there had not been an unbroken continuance of the Baptist practice of immersion for adults seeking membership in the denomination. It was practically an article of faith among many Southern Baptists during that period that their ordinance of adult baptism by immersion had been handed down from generation to generation all the way back to New Testament times. Whitsitt's assertion appeared to many to be an undermining of Baptist legitimacy and authority
  • The Whitsitt papers contain letters from theologians, educators, Baptist clergymen and laymen in all parts of the country. The letters range from open hostility and disbelief of Whitsitt's theory, to support and praise for his position. Especially interesting throughout the correspondence files are Whitsitt's annotations of the letters and notes he wrote regarding certain aspects of the controversy. Included among the correspondence are numerous newspaper clippings. Also included is correspondence from T.T. Eaton, editor of The Western Recorder, who led the opposition against Whitsitt. Whitsitt's 13 July 1898 resignation letter to the Seminary is included, along with correspondence with Richmond College in regards to a faculty position
  • Other topics of the correspondence include publication of Whitsitt's books, correspondence with his wife, and the daily affairs of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary such as, conventions, speeches, and pleas for donations. The Seminary received contributions from John D. Rockefeller and included in the collection are letters in regards to his donations. Also included is a report of the faculty of the Seminary for 1896-1897; pamphlet "After Whitsitt, What?: An open letter to the trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary" by S.C. Mitchell, 1899; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary treasurers report, 1899; pamphlet "Baptist World Congress, 1905"; and pamphlet "The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Jubilee 1859-1909." Of note in the collection is Whitsitt's thirty-page summary of the controversy written in 1906
  • Of note are two boxes of card index filed at the end of the collection. These were created by a staff member after the collection was received by the Library of Virginia. The first box of cards are arranged chronologically and list the date and author of each letter in the collection. The second box of cards contains an alphabetical listing of each correspondent, along with their birth and death dates, if known. A searchable database is available for the index cards
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
  • Redescribed and finding aid completed
Additional physical form
Also available on microfilm (Misc. Reels 37-39)
Biographical or historical data
William Heth Whitsitt (1841-1911) was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1862, and served in the Confederate Army. He served as professor of Church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., from 1872-1895, and as President from 1895-1899, when he was forced to resign. He served as professor of philosophy at Richmond College, now University of Richmond, Richmond, Va., from 1901-1910.
Cataloging source
William H. Whitsitt papers
Books by Dr. Whitsitt include: LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE CALEB WALLACE. (Louisville, Ky.: J. R. Morton and Co., 1888); ORIGIN OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST (CAMPBELLITES). (Louisville, Ky.: 1888); and GENEALOGY OF JEFFERSON DAVIS AND SAMUEL DAVIES. (New York: Neale Publishing Co., 1910)
Arranged chronologically, with miscellaneous items arranged to the rear.
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Inventory
  • Searchable database
Immediate source of acquisition
William H. Whitsitt
Type of unit
cu. ft.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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