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Harold W. McSwain papers, 1962-2008 (bulk 1973-1994)

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rpfgd

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: McSwain, Harold W. (Harold Warren)
Title: Harold W. McSwain papers, 1962-2008 (bulk 1973-1994)
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 354
Extent: 8 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Abstract:Contains McSwain's reports and academic papers, with particular focus on rural ministry.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Pitts Theology Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


[after identification of item(s)], Harold W. McSwain papers, MSS 354, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Robert Presutti, February 2009.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

The Reverend Dr. Harold W. McSwain was a lifelong advocate of rural ministry. From 1964-1973, he served as executive director of the Hinton Rural Life Center, a training facility in North Carolina for small membership rural churches in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. In 1971 he received a Ph.D. from Emory University.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, McSwain served as Executive Director of the Center for Town and Rural Ministries (formerly known as the Rural Ministries Training Program) in addition to his twin roles as a consultant on town and rural parishes and communities with Methodist bishops, district superintendents, and conferences, and professor of Church Administration at two Methodist seminaries in Ohio: the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and United Theological Seminary. By 1985, he had also served as chairman of the National Network for Town and Country Ministries, vice-chairman of the Appalachian Development Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee of the National United Methodist Rural Fellowship.

McSwain retired in 1994, but continued to be involved in various leadership roles related to town and rural ministries and cooperative parish ministries nationally and internationally. He served as the prime organizer of the Rural Chaplains Association, officially organized in 1991 in response to the family farm crisis of the late 1980s. He served as the Dean of the Rural Chaplains Association from its inception until December 2007.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists primarily of materials relating to McSwain’s professional affiliations and his own writings. This includes many of the minutes related to the (primarily Methodist) rural ministry organizations with which he was involved, reports and statistics detailing conditions in rural parishes, budgets, training assignments from McSwain’s work with the Center for Town and Rural Ministries, and consulting documents.

Also included is material of a more academic nature, including course notebooks from McSwain’s seminary school days in the 1960s, course notes from his own teaching career in Ohio, and material relating to his dissertation. McSwain’s work in developing rural ministry abroad (primarily, according to the collection, in Scandinavia and England) forms a good part of box 6.

McSwain’s professional correspondence is scattered throughout the collection and is filed primarily according to whatever association or project to which the correspondence was related. Finally, photographic negatives and a few positives relating to his trip to Oxford in 1985 are included in Box 6.

The collection arrived at these archives filed by subject; you will find the folders appropriately labeled inside each box. The minutes for organizations with which McSwain was affiliated are quite comprehensive, especially for the Rural Ministries Training Program and the Center for Town and Rural Ministries. Also comprehensive is the collection’s extent of McSwain’s own writing, publication, and research, included in bound form. Most of the rest of the collection consists of miscellanea, filed (like McSwain’s correspondence) according to whatever event or organization to which the material pertained. The container inventory should assist you in finding the rough extent of events and organizations included.

Overall, the collection is most useful as an insight into McSwain’s extensive work on rural ministry, especially during the 1970s and 1980s.

Arrangement Note

The Harold W. McSwain papers are housed in eight archival boxes, arranged into nine series.

Selected Search Terms

Topical Terms

Container List

Series I: Rural Ministries Training Program (RMTP)
Box Folder Content
8 Minutes, November 1971 – May 1973
8 Minutes, July 1973 - November 1974
8 Minutes, 1975-1976
8 Minutes, 7 February 1977 – 12 October 1978
8 Minutes, 28 November 1978 – 27 September 1979
8 Minutes, 1980
8 Minutes, 1981
8 Minutes, 1982
8 Minutes, 1983
8 Minutes, 1984
8 Minutes, 1985
8 Minutes, 1986
8 Reports and materials, December 1977
Series II: Center for Town and Rural Ministries (CTRM)
4 Minutes, 1986-1993
4 Minutes, 1986
4 Minutes, 1987
4 Minutes, 1988-1990
4 Minutes, 1988 (Book 2)
8 Minutes, 1989
4 Miscellaneous CTRM Documents, 1980-1991
Series III: Other Organizations – United Methodist Rural Fellowship (UMRF), Hinton Rural Life Center (HRLC)
1 UMRF Minutes, 1976-1992
1 UMRF minutes, 1977-1994
4 Miscellaneous UMRF documents, 1973-1975
8 Minutes, HRLC, November 15-16, 1973
Series IV: Professional Studies and Reports
2 Professional Studies and Reports, 1963-1985
3 Professional Studies and Reports, 1963-1992
7 Methesco Study, 1975
7 Upper Sand Mountain Parish Study, 1977
7 Cooperative Ministry Studies, 1978-1989
7 Columbus North/South District Study, 1983
7 Paris District, Memphis Conf. Evaluation, 1987
Series V: Training Conferences and Workshops
6 Training program, Cookson Hills, 1974
6 California Project, 1975-1976
6 Cooperative ministries workshop, Western PA, 1975-76
6 NE Jurisdiction, Town and Country Group, 1978
6 SE Jurisdiction, Town and Country Group, 1979
6 Community Development Consultancy, 1978-1979
6 Wstn. Jurisdiction, Town and Country Group, 1979-1987
6 Cooperative Parish Ministry Workshop, 1987
6 Appalachia: Sim. to developing countries, 1989
6 Training Event Evaluations, 1989
6 PA West Conference, Cooperative Parish Workshop, 1989
6 Workshop for Judiciary leaders, 1989
6 New England Training Conferences, June 1-2, 1993
Series VI: Methodism Abroad
6 England and Norway documents, 1979
6 Miscellaneous Europe trip material, 1979-1980
6 Scandinavian Pastor’s School documents, 1980
6 Trip to England, 1985
6 Oxford Trip, 1985
Series VII: Winter Forum Conference
3 Assignments, 1988-1993
3 Assignments, 1992-1993
3 Assignments, 1992-1993
3 Assignments, 1992-1993
3 Assignments, 1993-1994
3 Assignments, 1993-1994
3 Registration/Mailing, 1993-1994
3 Guidelines and Notes, 1991-1993
Series VIII: Academic Material
5 Contemporary Theology Course Notebook, 1963
5 Ethics Course Notebook, 1962-1963
5 Ethics Course Notebook, 1963
5 Christian Ethics Course Notebook, 1963
5 Social Ethics Course Notebook, 1962
1 Addresses and Formal Papers, 1975-1998
3 Academic miscellanea, 1978-1998
7 Academic miscellanea ca. 1977-1987
7 Material related to dissertation, c. 1970s
Series IX: Miscellaneous McSwain Material
3 Correspondence and papers, 1978-1996
1 Correspondence and Papers, 1979-1989
6 James A. Craig, Correspondence, 1977-1979
1 Papers and writings, calendars, ca. 1980s
3 News articles, 1979-1980
6 Photographic negatives and positives, ca. 1985