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Harrison Street Methodist Church papers


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

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.

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.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Purchase, July 1998

Processed by Laura Cochrane and Theresa Hessey, November 2001. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, July 2021.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2021 July 29
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Directory of the Harrison Street Methodist Episcopal Church, 1935.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Paper bound book, includes names of officers, committee members, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of Church members

Lists of members, undated.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Typed lists of the names, addresses, and phone numbers, of Church members.

List of Officers, 1941.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Hand written list of officers' names and addresses

List of Sunday school class members, 1940.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Typed list of the names and addresses of class attendees

Two letters, 1937-1944.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

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 pastor.

Report of the General Superintendent of Harrison Street Methodist Church School to the Fourth Quarterly Conference, 1941.
Box 1 Folder F6
Annual Reports of the Treasurer of Harrison Street Methodist Episcopal Church, 1935/ 1936-1947/1948 and 1953/1954.
Box 1 Folder F7
Handwritten and typed budgets, 1945/1946 and 1954/1955.
Box 1 Folder F8
Church newsletters, 1950-1952.
Box 1 Folder F9
Newspaper articles, undated.
Box 1 Folder F10
Scope and Contents

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

Weekly programs, 1941-1943.
Box 1 Folder F11
Weekly programs, 1944-1945.
Box 1 Folder F12
Weekly programs, 1946-1948.
Box 1 Folder F13
Weekly programs, 1949-1951.
Box 1 Folder F14
Weekly programs, 1952-1954.
Box 1 Folder F15
Notes for Rally Day, 1942 and 1943.
Box 1 Folder F16
Scope and Contents

Handwritten notes of remarks delivered on two Rally Days

Palm Sunday concert programs, undated.
Box 1 Folder F17
Christmas service and concert programs, 1944 and undated.
Box 1 Folder F18
50th Anniversary celebration, 1940.
Box 1 Folder F19
Children's programs, 1940, 1953, and undated.
Box 1 Folder F20
Scope and Contents

Programs for Children's Day services, Promotion Day, and a Tom Thumb Wedding.

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