Etta Pursley Barton papers, 1915-2002 (bulk 1951-1992)

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link:

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: Barton, Etta Pursley, 1887-1992.
Title: Etta Pursley Barton papers, 1915-2002 (bulk 1951-1992)
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 737
Extent: 20.75 linear feet (46 boxes) and 1 oversized papers box (OP)
Abstract:Papers of Etta Pursley Barton, a Methodist minister's wife and co-founder of the Barton Educational Trust Fund.
Language:Materials in English with some items in Korean.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

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

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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


Gift, 1992, with subsequent additions.


[after identification of item(s)], Etta Pursley Barton papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by Sarah E. Gardner, January 1995.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

George Etta Pursley Barton (so named because her father desperately wanted a son) was born on October 13, 1897 in Round Oak, Georgia, the second of three daughters of Cosby and George Pursley. Her father was a store office manager, then bookkeeper, shipping clerk, paymaster, and cotton buyer for Eagan Cotton Mills, located in College Park, Georgia. The Pursley's lived here for a number of years and Etta attended Cox College as a sub-freshman until 1913 when the family relocated to Griffin, Georgia. Her father had assumed the position of cotton buyer for Griffin Mills but soon began his own firm. Etta was sent to the Georgia Alabama Business School in Macon, Georgia until she became a partner in her father's brokerage firm of G. T. Pursley and Company.

In 1916 the North Georgia Methodist Conference met in Griffin and it was here that Etta met her soon-to-be husband, Rev. J. Hamby Barton (January 15, 1889-December 1, 1979). At the time, Barton was attending Candler School of Theology and serving the DeKalb Circuit. After the Conference Etta and J. Hamby maintained their courtship and were married in November of 1917. Etta began teaching Sunday School to young adults shortly after her marriage - a task she would continue throughout her life.

In 1950 the Bartons began the Barton Education Trust Fund (BETF), which was designed to aid foreign students who wished to study in the United States. Over the years, the BETF has funded dozens of students from many countries, including Korea, where the vast majority of students are from, China, Vietnam, Nigeria, and India. Many of these students have become prominent members of their countries' government and academic circles, most notably Hong Koo Lee, Korea's current ambassador to England. J. Hamby Barton died on December 1, 1979. Etta Pursley Barton died April 15, 1992.

Scope and Content Note

The Etta Pursley Barton papers consist of diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, subject files, and photographs from 1915 to 1992, with the bulk of the material falling between 1951-1992. The papers chronicle her life as an educator, writer, and the wife of a Methodist minister. The collection contains items that touch upon nearly every facet of her life. Her diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, and autobiographies concern her religious faith. Her slides and photographs, coupled with her subject files, reveal her interest in foreign lands and her passion for travel. Perhaps the most interesting material of the collection surrounds the Barton Education Trust Fund. Created in 1950, the fund supports foreign Methodist students who wish to study in the United States. The Bartons developed very close relations with many of these students and kept in contact with many of them well after the students had graduated. The correspondence between the Bartons and these students reveals a great deal about cross-cultural relations, the students' home countries, and United States foreign relations. Correspondents include Chungil Choo, Bo Mo Chung, Sue Kwon, Hong Koo Lee, Dong Sung Kim and Chinsook Kwon Kim. The collection also contain the papers of J. Hamby Barton, Etta Pursley Barton's husband and a Methodist minister. His papers consist almost entirely of his pastor's books, kept from 1915-1960 while he was a circuit preacher in northern Georgia.

Arrangement Note

Organized into seven series: (1) Personal papers, (2) Writings, (3) Barton Education Trust Fund, (4) Subject files, (5) J. Hamby Barton papers, (6) Slides and photographs, and (7) Collected material.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms


Description of Series