Perkins School of Theology Documents and Images



Photograph of Southern Methodist University's faculty
and first graduating class, 
Spring 1916

The School of Theology at Southern Methodist University opened in the fall of 1915. The Spring 1916 graduating class consisted of transfer students who had completed their degrees at SMU. The university's first thirty-two graduates included Umphrey Lee, future president of SMU; George F. Winfield, future president of Wesley College in Greenville, Texas; and Robert W. Goodloe, future Perkins School of Theology professor.

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Minutes of the Building Committee
for Kirby Hall,
October 2, 1923

From 1915 until 1925 the School of Theology utilized Dallas Hall for classroom, office, library, and chapel space. A March 1923 gift of $100,000 from R. Harper and Annie Kirby of Austin, Texas, enabled the School of Theology to plan and construct its own building. This typescript document comprises the minutes of the October 2, 1923 meeting of the building committee for Kirby Hall. The accompanying photograph shows the results of the committee’s work. University and church officials laid the cornerstone on April 3, 1924 and dedicated Kirby Hall on February 12, 1925. Kirby Hall housed the School of Theology until 1951, when the theology quadrangle opened in its present location on campus. The new quadrangle included a new Kirby Hall. Old Kirby Hall was renamed Florence Hall and has served the Law School since the 1950s.

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Photograph of Kirby Hall (now Florence Hall),
Southern Methodist University, 
circa 1930

From 1915 until 1925 the School of Theology utilized Dallas Hall for classroom, office, library, and chapel space. A March 1923 gift of $100,000 from R. Harper and Annie Kirby of Austin, Texas, enabled the School of Theology to plan and construct its own building. This typescript document comprises the minutes of the October 2, 1923 meeting of the building committee for Kirby Hall. The accompanying photograph shows the results of the committee’s work. University and church officials laid the cornerstone on April 3, 1924 and dedicated Kirby Hall on February 12, 1925. Kirby Hall housed the School of Theology until 1951, when the theology quadrangle opened in its present location on campus. The new quadrangle included a new Kirby Hall. Old Kirby Hall was renamed Florence Hall and has served the Law School since the 1950s.

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Photograph of the Perkins School of Theology Laboratory automobile,
circa 1953

In 1953 Perkins School of Theology began to enhance and emphasize supervised field work experiences. The automobile in this photograph advertises the Perkins School of Theology Field Work Laboratory and may have been used in the program that sent faculty members out to observe students in their ministry settings monthly.

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Seminary Singers concert program,
1957

Professor Fred D. Gealy founded the Seminary Singers soon after his arrival at Southern Methodist University in 1939 and conducted the group until his retirement in 1959. This 1957 concert program lists the names of forty-four men including future Perkins School of Theology faculty member Zan W. Holmes, Jr.

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Perkins faculty statement in support of
Rev. William A. Holmes,
November 1963

This document was the result of a faculty meeting called on November 27, 1963, to discuss the plight of William A. Holmes, a 1954 graduate of Perkins School of Theology who had garnered national attention in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. First from the pulpit of Northaven Methodist Church, Dallas, then on national television, Holmes stated that “the spirit of assassination has been with us [in Dallas] for some time.” To support his assertion, Holmes cited other local hate crimes and acts of intolerance. In Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History, Professor emeritus Joseph L. Allen recalls:

Immediately after the television broadcast, the Holmes family began receiving threatening phone calls, and as a result, they were placed under police protection and moved to a friend’s home. The following Friday, at a specially called meeting, the Perkins faculty unanimously voted to endorse and support Holmes’s stand. In a statement he later made public, Dean Quillian said, “The issue basically is one of freedom of the pulpit and the right of a person to say what he believes without being subjected to threat and attempted intimidation.” 

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The Perkins Faculty,
1966

This small publicity piece is a pictorial directory of the Perkins School of Theology faculty. In 1966 the thirty-four faculty members and three administrators represented seven Protestant denominations and Reform Judaism. Although diverse in theological background, all were white males. Faculty racial and gender diversity began at Perkins in the 1970s.

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The Perkins 40th Story,
1986

Perkins School of Theology celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 1986 with this illustrated booklet based on the work of Lewis Howard Grimes. Grimes had graduated from the School of Theology in 1940. He joined the Perkins faculty in 1949 and retired in 1982. At the urging of Dean Joseph Quillian, Grimes began to write an institutional history. Excerpts of that work were published in 1986 in this booklet. The rest of Grimes’s work was published in 1993, four years after his death, as A History of the Perkins School of Theology, edited by Roger Loyd.

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