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Box 1-Ellis

University President James Shannon
James Shannon, UMC Archives (C:1/3/1)

Record Group: 1 C
Record Sub-Group: 1
Records Title: UMC; Administration; President James Shannon (1850-1856); James Shannon Papers
Dates: 1815-1962, bulk 1835-1860
Volume: 1/3 cubic foot, 0.4 linear foot

Scope and Content Note

This Record Sub-Group contains records documenting aspects of James Shannon's early life and education, his speeches, sermons, commencement addresses, and letters relating to subjects such as: heretical ideas of Disciples of Christ preachers in Kentucky, Shannon's enemies in Columbia (among whom were a number of Whig Presbyterians) and his adversaries within the Thomas Hart Benton wing of the Missouri Democratic Party.

Other topics of Shannon's correspondence include routine annual reports to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, concern over his own health and the health of members of his family, establishment and financing of a college for women in Columbia, and of a Disciples of Christ college at Canton, Missouri, as well as the purchase of household furnishings and books for the University's Library from merchants in New Orleans and St. Louis.

Also included in this Sub-Group are several letters to Shannon's widow from friends and colleagues offering condolences for her loss. A few items of more recent origin provide information concerning a number of Shannon's descendants, as well as the 1962 dedication of James Shannon Hall on the Culver-Stockton College campus in Canton.

Biographical Note:

James Shannon (1799-1859), the second President of the University of Missouri (1850-56) was born, raised and educated in Ireland. His professional life was divided between the classroom and the pulpit. Trained originally to be a Presbyterian minister, he served for a time as a Baptist preacher in Georgia and later became a staunch Disciple of Christ (Campbellite). Between 1840 and 1850, he was President of Bacon College in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Later he was instrumental in founding the Christian Female College (now Columbia College) in Columbia and Christian University (renamed Culver-Stockton College) in Canton. He served as the latter institution's first President (1856-1859).

James Shannon was a controversial figure. He held strong religious and political views which often brought him into conflict with others. Shannon's correspondence reflects his vehement opposition to the Abolition movement, Freemasonry, and the Whig political party. His strongly held and freely expressed beliefs were central to the development of a contentious relationship between Shannon and several members of the University's Board of Curators.

Early in 1856, the situation had become so strained that Shannon resigned from the office of University President. His appointment as President of the newly established Christian University followed almost immediately. Shannon continued to serve as the first president of this institution until he died of a heart ailment, at the age of sixty, in 1859.

Series Descriptions:

The materials contained in this Record Sub-Group are divided into three separate record series. Series One contains documents relating to Shannon's schooling in Belfast, Ireland, and his appointment to teaching positions in Georgia and Kentucky. Series Two holds records which chronicle Shannon's growth and success in his dual careers as educator and preacher, with items relating to his religious conversions, his rise to the office of University President, and his death. Series Three contains documents pertaining to the immediate aftermath of Shannon's death, as well as information concerning his recent descendants and the dedication of a residence hall that bears his name.

Series Outline:

  1. Series One - Belfast to Kentucky (1815-1839)

  2. Series Two - Kentucky to Missouri (1840s-1860)

  3. Series Three - James Shannon Hall Dedication and Miscellaneous (1860-1962)


Series One - Belfast to Kentucky: 1815-1839

FF 1

Item 1 - Financial document written in Latin and English, 10/10/1664

Item 2 - Report cards of James Shannon's grades while attending Belfast Academical Institution, ca 1816-1820

Item 3 - Report card certifying that Shannon attended classes in Natural Philosophy, 1817-1818

Item 4 - Letter to Shannon from Doisy, his French and Italian instructor at Belfast, stating that Shannon was qualified to teach both languages, 07/21/1821

Item 5 - Letter about a teaching offer to Shannon from James Thomson, 10/15/1821

Item 6 - Letter of recommendation from James Corely, 10/16/1821

Item 7 - Testimonial letter from William Smyth, 07/02/1822

Item 8 - Sermon or essay prepared by Shannon, ca. 1820-1823

Item 9 - General letter of recommendation written by C.O. Sereven, Pastor of the Sunbury Baptist Church, 01/09/1826

Item 10 - Testimonial letter from H.J. Ripley, Principal of the Academy at Walthourville, Liberty County, Georgia, 01/11/1826

Item 11 - Ledger sheet containing Biblical citations, 1827-1828

Item 12 - Testimonial letter about Shannon's abilities as a teacher of languages from W.T. Brantly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 09/26/1929

Item 13 - Testimonial letter over Shannon's teaching and administrative abilities while at Scottsboro, Georgia from President S. Olive, DD, 12/17/1833

Item 14 - Letter from Henry Jackson, Trustee of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, 10/08/1834

Item 15 - Testimonial letter from Jas. Carnack, Trustee of the University of Georgia , 10/09/1834

Item 16 - Testimonial letter about Shannon's abilities as an instructor by Judge A. Clayton, Trustee of the University of Georgia, 10/15/1834

Item 17 - Testimonial letter about Shannon's scholarship and teaching abilities from A. Woods, President of the University of Alabama, 10/1834

Item 18 - Personal letter from S.H. Maxwell, 06/06/1835

Item 19 - "Extract from the minutes of the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia," praising Shannon and signed by Asbury Hull, Secretary of the Board, 09/1835

Item 20 - Letter signed by the President and five faculty members of the University of Georgia regretting Shannon's decision to leave, 10/24/1835

Item 21 - Ledger sheet listing items paid for by Shannon in an account with Henderson Walton Company of New Orleans, 1836

Item 22 - Receipts for purchases from merchants in New Orleans, 1836

Item 23 - Letter to Shannon from Alexander Campbell in Bethany, Virginia, 06/27/1837

Item 24 - Sheet of words and phrases with their corresponding symbols, ca. 1830s

Item 25 - Note of Biblical citations and statements from articles regarding the Pope, church, and state of Rome, ca. 1830s

Item 26 - Quotation about disciples from Dwight Sermon 135, volume 4, page 475, ca. 1830

Item 27 - List of names entitled "Proceeding of Memphis Revision Convention - to be sent to...," ca. 1830s

Item 28 - Advertisement in French and German about Cologne, ca. 1830s

Item 29 - Sheet entitled "Questions agreed on for discussion between Mr. N.L. Rice and President Shannon," ca. 1830s

Item 30 - List of Shannon's scholarly awards

Series Two - Kentucky to Missouri: 1840-1860

FF 2

Item 1 - Baccalaureate address given by Shannon to the first graduating class of Bacon College, 06/1841

Item 2 - Letter to Jacob R. Chapline from J.W. Cardwell about Reverend Jamison, 06/21/1841

Item 3 - Letter to Elder Alex Carson in Tubbemore, Ireland, 11/19/1841

Item 4 - Letter to "Dear Brother" from Shannon about Christian Union, 12/08/1841

Item 5 - Letter to Shannon from B.B. Smith about differing interpretations of scriptures and sacraments, 01/06/1842

Item 6 - Letter to A.G. Comings about paying for subscriptions to the Journal of Christianity, 03/01/1842

Item 7 - Broadside about religious controversy in the Cynthia-Millersburgh, Kentucky area with a reply from G.W. Merritt, 03/1842

Item 8 - Letter from D.L. Phares, 05/25/1842

Item 9 - Resolution about using MU buildings under proper supervision, 05/25/1843

Item 10 - Memorandum booklet containing theological notes about ordination, conversion, and sanctification, 11/27/1843

Item 11 - "Tracts for the Times," Number 2, 02/22/1844

Item 12 - Letter to Brother Burnet about Shannon allegedly prostituting scriptures to uphold slavery, 02/19/1845

Item 13 - Letter to Shannon from D.S. Burnet about Shannon's involvement in the abolition controversy, 03/03/1845

Item 14 - Letter to a funeral oration committee about Shannon's "funeral discourse on the occasion of the death of General Jackson," 07/04/1845

Item 15 - Statement about the sin of coveting, 08/18/1845

Item 16 - Letter Shannon allegedly wrote to Alex Campbell in which Shannon defended statements made in the Andrew Jackson funeral oration, 10/20/1845

Item 17 - Letter that Shannon allegedly wrote to a family member about his invitation to be a delegate to the World's Convention on Christian Union, 04/17/1846

Item 18 - Letters requesting specific charges against G.L. Shilbeck, 10/25/1846

Item 19 - Letter to Brother Van Fleet about an appeal from the Salt River Church, 10/26/1846

Item 20 - Letter to Brother Trabue about payments of interest on tuition balances, 12/14/1846

Item 21 - Ledger sheet about Shannon's salary and expenditures as pastor of Christian Congregation in Harrodsburg, 1845-1847

Item 22 - Reports of the doings of George L. Shilbeck, Church of Christ in Harrodsburg, 05/08/1848

Item 23 - Letter from James Metcalf about church and family matters, 05/20/1848

Item 24 - Letter from Francis of Tours, 11/15/1848

Item 25 - Letter to Brother Kendrick about "Secret Societies Number I" denouncing Brother Clark's speeches and writings approving Freemasonry, 01/13/1849

Item 26 - Letter to Brother Kendrick about "Secret Societies Number II," ca. 1849

Item 27 - Statement about the manner in which the Clark case was brought to the Elders of Harrodsburg Christian Church, ca. 1849

Item 28 - Report of the proceedings in the Ballinger-Jones controversy and the actions of the Elders of the Harrodsburg congregation, 01/1849

Item 29 - Report on the case of Brethren Ballinger and Jones, 01/21/1849

Item 30 - List of charges regarding unchristian conduct against Christopher Jones by Frank Ballinger, ca. 1849

Item 31 - Letter W.G. Connor about "removing Miles to Harrodsburg," 01/22/1849

Item 32 - Request of the Elders of the Harrodsburg Church that they be relieved of further consideration in the Jones-Ballinger case, 02/02/1849

Item 33 - Resignation of the Elders of the Harrodsburg Christian Church about lack of authority to manage the church, 02/02/1849

Item 34 - Draft of Elders of the Harrodsburg Christian Church seeking to avoid further decisions in the Ballinger-Jones case and a letter from Henry David Ward about books out of print that Shannon should read to better understand Freemasonry, 02/09/1849

Item 35 - Letter to T.H.R. Smith, Secretary of the Board of Curators, outlining the conditions under which Shannon would accept the MU Presidency, 04/01/1849

Item 36 - Notes from President Young's first speech in favor of emancipation in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, 06/1849

Item 37 - Ledger sheet from S.G. Mullins about his daughter's tuition, her voice and piano lessons, and his preaching services payment. Also, receipt of payment for issues of the American Journal of the Medicinal Sciences, 1849

Item 38 - Sermon entitled "Sovereignty," ca. 1840s

Item 39 - Letter to Brother Campbell about financial and other administrative problems at Bacon College, ca. 1840s

Item 40 - Photos of Aspen Hall at Bacon College, ca. 1840s

Item 41 - Sermon on divine instruction, ca. 1840s-1850s

Item 42 - Transmittal note to C.A. and Mary Rowley about Shannon's gift of a miniature

Item 43 - Resolutions passed by the Bacon College Board of Trustees, ca. 1849-1850

Series Two - Kentucky to Missouri (cont'd)

FF 3

Item 1 - Document from persons around Mount Sterling, Kentucky regarding the "Clark Document," 04/1850-05/1850

Item 2 - Letter to Brother Williams about the trial of Brother Clark with accompanying certificates, 05/03/1850

Item 3 - Note: the conditions of the sale of Shannon's house, lot, and Negroes, 05/18/1850

Item 4 - Letter to Brother S.G. Mullins from members of the Nicholasville church about Brother Clark's attitude on "secret societies," 05/28/1850

Item 5 - Letter from furniture dealers about the shipping and costs of furniture, 06/25/1850

Item 6 - Statement of the Elders of the Harrodsburg congregation about the Clark Case, 06/05/1850

Item 7 - Letter from William H. Wyckoff about Shannon's opinion of the The American Bible Union, 07/01/1850

Item 8 - Shannon's inaugural address at the University of Missouri, 07/04/1850

Item 9 - Letter from Sam Hatch in Harrodsburg about W.P. Clark being found guilty of falsehood, 07/13/1850

Item 10 - Letter and committee report from Sam Hatch and others in Old Forest, Kentucky on the results of the Clark trial. Also, a personal note from John B. Bowman, 7/14/1850

Item 11 - Letter from Sam Hatch about the Clark case and its immediate aftermath, 07/14/1850

Item 12 - Letter from Henry H. White in Harrodsburg about the committee investigation of Clark, 07/15/1850

Item 13 - Letter from Sam Hatch about Shannon's reception in Columbia, 07/27/1850

Item 14 - Letter from S.G. Mullins about Shannon's new job at the University of Missouri and the outcome of the Clark case, 08/02/1850

Item 15 - Letter from James Harrison in St. Louis about giving a mineral specimen to the University, 08/05/1850

Item 16 - Letter from Brother Augustus in Mount Fustian, Kentucky regarding the "Clark Affair," 08/08/1850

Item 17 - Letter to the Presbyterian Herald in Louisville, Kentucky from MU chemistry professor Edward H. Leffingwell protesting the claim that Shannon had preached sermons in Columbia criticizing other religions, 10/08/1850

Item 18 - Draft of the letter to the Presbyterian Herald, 10/08/1850

Item 19 - Statement from the Church of Somerset upholding the character of Doctor C.E. Williams, 11/27/1850

Item 20 - Ledger sheet of Shannon's household items account purchased from Hutchinson and Brothers, ca. 1850

Item 21 - Receipt for Shannon's items purchased from E.P. Rogust and Company, ca. 1850

Item 22 - Envelope from Mrs. G.A. Bradford about Shannon's being allowed to preach, 1849-1850

Item 23 - Letter to the Editor of The Harbinger requesting certain clarifications of Shannon's inaugural address be published to avoid misunderstandings, 01/20/1851

Item 24 - Sheet of arithmetic figures and a note about a meeting to found a female college in Columbia, 02/03/1851

Item 25 - Consultation report about a slanderous article in the Missouri Statesman, 02/18/1851

Item 26 - Bill and letter about a charge for a subscription to the Weekly Union, 02/18/1851

Item 27 - Letter to C.N. Palmer about a statement Shannon allegedly made to R.D. Gray, 02/21/1851

Item 28 - Letters to R.S. Thomas about R.D. Gray, 02/21/1851

Item 29 - Letters to and from Shannon and William Shields about Shannon's alleged job offer to Gray and his statements regarding Whiggery and Presbyterianism, 02/22/1851 and 02/24/1851

Item 30 - Letter from T.H. Bradford about Shannon's alleged "Presbyterian Whig Clik" statement, 02/24/1851

Item 31 - Order from T.R.H. Smith, Secretary of the Curators, to fire R.A. Grant as a University of Missouri tutor, 04/16/1851

Item 32 - Resolutions from T.R.H. Smith, Secretary of the Curators, 04/17/1851

Item 33 - Resolutions passed by a church congregation and a letter from M.B. Reed, 04/27/1851

Item 34 - Letters to and from Shannon and Professor R.S. Thomas about the alleged job promise to R.D. Gray of Kentucky, 06/02/1851

Item 35 - Letter from Sam Mullins from the Greenville institute, 06/28/1851

Item 36 - Letter to J.C. McBride about Shannon's alleged statement that he intended to break up the Whigs in Columbia, 07/03/1851

Item 37 - Letter from J.C. Wilson, 07/04/1851

Item 38 - Letters to and from Shannon and J.M. Wilson about Shannon's alleged denunciation of Whigs in Columbia, 07/04/1851

Item 39 - Letter from J.C. McBride about Shannon's alleged statement, 07/04/1851

Item 40 - Letter from Robert Wilson about an alleged conspiracy between Wilson and Major Rollins to discredit Shannon, 07/05/1851

Item 41 - Letter to Major J.S. Rollins about the sale of Bennett's property for the Christian Female College, 07/05/1851

Item 42 - Letter to General Robert Wilson, 07/08/1851

Item 43 - Letter from John W. Powell in Harrodsburg alleging that rumors about Shannon were false, 07/16/1851

Item 44 - Letter from C.E. Williams about University and personal matters, 10/12/1851

Item 45 - Receipt from Henri Desrioux for tutoring Shannon's daughters, 10/20/1851

Item 46 - Letters between Shannon, Henri Desrioux, B.S. Head, and W.D. McCracken about Shannon's alleged rudeness to Desrioux, 10/1851-11/1851

Item 47 - Letter to William H. Wyckoff about translating portions of the New Testament , 12/01/1851

Item 48 - Letter from medical students asking Shannon to deliver a speech and includes the speech on "Social Compact," 12/24/1851

Item 49 - Ledger sheet items Shannon paid for in account with Alex Douglas, 1851-1852

Item 50 - Curators' resolutions from H.F. Garey about literary societies performing in Chapel and displaying artifacts in library, 04/26/1852

Item 51 - Letter to Brother Judd about the misinterpretation to the Campbellites' view of "Baptismal Regeneration," 05/03/1852

Item 52 - Letter to Colonel Benton about "forming an alliance with the enemies of the State University," 07/26/1852

Item 53 - Newsclips about MU, 1852-1853

Series Two - Kentucky to Missouri (cont'd)

FF 3a

Item 1 - Statements by T.R.H. Smith that Shannon said "Presbyterians, if let alone, will go to the devil"

Item 2 - Letter to Colonel Switzler for The Statesman complaining of slanders circulated in the press regarding R. Gray

Item 3 - Statement by R.S. Thomas regarding Shannon offering a job to Gray

Item 4 - Shannon's letter "To The Public" defending himself from the charge that he made slanderous remarks about Presbyterians in Columbia, 02/1851

Item 5 - Essay entitled "Sovereignty"

Item 6 - Commencement address to "Be men, Be Honest men"

Item 7 - Report to the Curators about students recommended by faculty for degrees and recommendation of honorary L.L.D. to former Governor Dunlap of Maine

Item 8 - Speech about causes, their advocates, and personal slander

Item 9 - Report on the "Frankfort Emancipation resolutions" and remarks from members

Item 10 - Shannon's comments regarding a "vile crew"

Item 11 - Letter to Curators reporting University matters, n.d.

Item 12 - Letter to Curators about opening the term on the first Monday in October because of a conflict with the annual Boone County Fair, n.d.

Item 13 - Letter to President J.A. Williams about the propriety of certain expenses, 01/24-29/1853

Item 14 - Letter from R.S. Thomas about the purchase of "Calhoun's work" for the MU library, 02/26/1853

Item 15 - Letter to Professor R.S. Thomas about ordering Calhoun's work, 02/26/1853

Item 16 - Commencement program for Christian College, 1853

Item 17 - Letter to Trustees of Christian College from President J.A. Williams certifying that the women listed were qualified to stand for "public examination," 06/28/1853

Item 18 - Letter to the Curators reporting on University matters, 06/29/1853

Item 19 - Announcement about "Exhibition of the Union Literary Society" and the presentation of diplomas by William F. Switzler, 07/04/1853

Item 20 - Shannon's letter to the University of Georgia Trustees turning down an honorary DD, 01/10/1854

Item 21 - Letter to Franklin Hardesty, I. Ronaldson, and G.C. McWhorter from James McVea about Shannon taking the property of minor children, 03/13/1854

Item 22 - Shannon's paycheck from the University of Missouri and a letter to John Pearson the job offer to Gray, 09/18/1854

Item 23 - Letter from Pearson and The Statesman. Also, letter and memo to E.C. Davis about the editorial in the Cycle which denounced "the fanaticism of Shannon," 1854-1855

Item 24 - Essay entitled "Domestic Slavery," 08/13/1855

Item 25 - News clip about "Discussion on the University Bill," 12/13/1855

Item 25a - Photograph and copy negative of letter from Shannon to Henry A. Wise concerning Shannon's proslavery pamphlet and Legislature's decision to prohibit MU President and professors from preaching, 01/07/18

Item 26 - Letter to Brother Christopher about the death of Brother Church and the St. Louis congregation no longer wanting Shannon to preach there, 06/05/1856

Item 27 - Letters to President J.A. Williams about William's serving at Christian College and the sale of his cottage, 06/13/1856 and 06/23/1856

Item 28 - Letter to Brother Mullins about Shannon possibly moving to Canton and declining reappointment at MU, 07/07/1856

Item 29 - Resolution of the Board of Curators conferring honorary L.L.D. on Shannon, 07/08/1856

Item 30 - Resolutions from Columbia Christian Church about respect for Shannon, 09/21/1856

Item 31 - Letter from Henry Blackstraw about themes in Christianity, 12/29/1857

Item 32 - Essay to "Dear Brother Campbell" from Canton about "The New Name III - the Union of Jews and gentiles based on scriptural prophecies"

Item 33 - Essay to Brother Campbell entitled "The New Name III - Number IV" about spiritual "proofs" of all followers being called Christians. Also, a personal letter to Mrs. Shannon, 08/05/1858

Item 34 - Personal letter to Mrs. Shannon, 08/08/1858

Item 35 - Personal letter to Mrs. Shannon, 08/29/1858

Item 36 - Resolutions from the Trustees of Christian University expressing sorrow over Shannon's death, 02/1859

Item 37 - Letter of condolences to Mrs. Frances Shannon regarding the death of James Shannon , 02/26/1859

Item 38 - Resolutions from the Monalethean Society about condolences over Shannon's death , 03/04/1859

Item 39 - Essay entitled "Baptism of the Holy Ghost"

Item 40 - Essay entitled "Polybius v. 57"

Item 41 - Floor plans for a building at Christian College

Series Three - James Shannon Hall Dedication and Miscellaneous: 1860-1962

Box 1 (cont'd)

FF 4

Item 1 - Letter to Mrs. Shannon from D. Pat Henderson hiring someone to write a biography of Shannon, 07/23/1860

Item 2 - Letter to Mrs. Shannon from Henderson about continuing negotiations regarding the preparation of the biography, 11/09/1860

Item 3 - Financial report by C.S. Stone and J.S. Dorsey about the construction of a Christian College building, 11/16/1860

Item 4 - Letter to Mrs. Shannon from Henderson about a request for materials with which to write the biography, 12/10/1860

Item 5 - Account of a social affair at the "Governor's reception" in Jefferson City where Miss Shannon, the niece of Governor Woodson, presented herself, 01/09/1873

Series Three - James Shannon Hall Dedication - Miscellaneous (cont'd)

FF 5

Item 1 - Photo print of Shannon entitled: "James Shannon, first President: 1856-1859"

Item 2 - Article about Shannon in a special issue of the Culver-Stockton College Bulletin, 01/1929

Item 3 - Culver-Stockton College Bulletin article on President Shannon, 09/1962

Item 4 - Article from "The Bacon College Story" in The College of the Bible Quarterly by Dwight E. Stevenson, 10/1962

Item 5 - Dedication of James Shannon Hall at Culver-Stockton College, 11/10/1962

Item 6 - Speech by Doctor Herbert P. Davis on "The Pioneer We Honor", given during the Shannon Hall dedication, 11/10/1962

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