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PENN, ROBERT E., 1916-1976.
Robert E. and Lois H. Penn papers, 1902-2017

Emory University

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

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zrp7

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: Penn, Robert E., 1916-1976.
Title: Robert E. and Lois H. Penn papers, 1902-2017
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1152
Extent: 26.25 linear feet (24 boxes) and AV Masters: 0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:Papers of African American minister Robert E. Penn, and his wife Lois H. Penn, including writings, correspondence, photographs,scrapbooks, printed material and audiovisual material relating to his churches in Georgia, Kansas, and Indiana, as well as to their personal lives.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access audiovisual material in this collection.

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.

Separated Material

The Rose Library also holds books formerly owned by Robert E. and Lois H. Penn. These materials may be located in Emory University's online catalog by searching for: Penn, Robert E. and Lois H. Penn, former owners.


Gift of Robert E. Penn, Jr., 2010. Subsequent additions gift of Robert E. Penn, Jr., 2018 and 2019.

Custodial History

Robert E. Penn, Jr., is the son of Robert E. and Lois H. Penn. Rose Library staff packed the 2018 additions and transferred to the Rose Library. Penn Jr. packed the 2019 additions at his house and transferred to the Rose Library.


[after identification of item(s)], Robert E. and Lois H. Penn papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Curator of African American Collections, Randall Burkett, acquired the collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American history. Curator of African American Collections, Pellom McDaniels, III, acquired the 2018 additions. During accessioning of the additions in 2018, Rose Library staff removed and returned to the donor 1 linear foot of material, including plaques rewarding Lois H. Penn for her excellent service to the church. Appraisal decisions were made by Accessioning and Collections Manager, Meaghan O'Riordan, in consultation with Pellom McDaniels, III.


Arranged and described at the collection level, 2010. 2018 additions arranged and described at the collection level by Meaghan O'Riordan, November 2018. 2019 additions arranged and described at the collection level by Dorothy Waugh, July 2019.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Robert E. Penn (1916-1976) was a minister. He graduated from Clark College and earned his Masters of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1939. Penn was a pastor of congregations in Georgia, Kansas, and Indiana and served as a chaplain during World War II. Penn married Lois Henrietta Neale (1920-), a teacher from New Orleans, in 1945. They had two children: Barbara Jeanne and Robert E. Penn, Jr.

In 1952 Penn earned a Doctorate of Theology from Central Baptist Seminary. He became active in missionary efforts in Africa and traveled to Nigeria in 1966. In 1973 following Penn's retirement from preaching, he returned to Atlanta and joined the Interdenominational Theological Seminary faculty as a director of Field Education.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Robert E. and Lois H. Penn from 1902-2017. The papers include writings, correspondence, photographs,scrapbooks, printed material, and audiovisual material. Writings include drafts of Reverend Penn's sermons and notes. While Robert E. and Lois H. Penn created or are represented in much of the material, there is also material created by or representative of other family members, including their parents, their siblings, and their children. Scrapbooks include family photographs and newspaper clippings and other printed material about family members. Photographs include family photographs, as well as images of First Baptist Church (Gary, Indiana) and Pleasant Green Baptist Church (Kansas City, Kansas). The collection also includes Interdenominational Theological Seminary material. A significant portion of audiovisual material is made up of reel-to-reel audio recordings of sermons and musical concerts. It also includes a 16mm film, possibly of a mission trip to Africa.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

Finding Aid Note

Preliminary inventory available in repository.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Box Folder Content
14 - 25th wedding anniversary scrapbook, church programs, clippings, correspondence, dissertation by Barbara Jeanne Stembridge, memorial bulletins, photographs, photo album, and school documents, 1960-2005
1 - Audio recordings, sermons
2 - Audio recordings, musical programs and recitals
3 - Audio recordings, unidentified
4 - Audio recordings, sermons and church events
10 - Church photographs and sheet music
21 - Clippings, correspondence, photographs, and printed material, circa 1910-1978
13 - Clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks, circa 1950-2005
16 - Clippings, photographs, photo album, Polaroids, and scrapbook, circa 1924-2005
12 - Correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, travel diaries, and yearbook, 1946-1995
1 - Film, Nigeria trip [?]
6 - First Baptist Church material, sermons, and printed material
7 - First Baptist Church material, directories and slides
22 1 High school certificates and college publications, 1923-1968
5 - Interdenominational Theological Seminary materials and other correspondence
22 2 Notebook and printed material
22 3 Pages from family bible, including births, marriages, and deaths, circa 1920
22 4 Photographs
18 - Photographs and scrapbooks, circa 1947-1973
15 - Photographs and sheet music for hymns, circa 1902-1980
17 - Plaques of diplomas, 1938-1968
19 - Scrapbooks, circa 1948-1949
20 - Scrapbooks, 1952-1967
24 - Scrapbooks, circa 1950s
23 - Scrapbook, 1962-1980
8 - Sheet music
11 - Sheet music, circa 1963-1966
9 - Sermons, manuscripts, notes, and audio recordings
22 6 Subject file, Cliff Jackson (friend of Lois Penn), clippings, photographs, and programs
22 7 Subject file, clippings and correspondence relating to Robert E. Penn, Jr.'s research on African American soldiers during World War II, 1990-1991
22 8 Subject file, Robert E. Penn Jr., Master of Business Administration (MBA) thesis (The economics of the market in Modern Prints, 1980) and photographs
23 - Yearbook, First Baptist Church, 1908-1958 (Gary, Indiana), 1958
AV1 - Classical piano concert featuring Cliff Jackson [VHS tape]
AV1 - Reverend and Mrs. Penn in Nigeria, 1966, originally shot in 16mm film by Rev. Dr. Robert E. Penn, Sr. [DVD]