MCSWAIN, HAROLD W., PAPERS, 1962-2008 (bulk 1973-1994)

MSS 354


Extent: Eight records boxes (Boxes 1-8), 8.32 cubic feet

Access: Unrestricted

Reproduction: All requests subject to limitation noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Copyright: Information on copyright (literary rights) available from repository.

Citation:  [Title or Description of Item], Harold W. McSwain Papers, MSS 354, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Biographical Sketch:

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



Container List

Series I: Rural Ministries Training Program (RMTP)

Minutes, November 1971 – May 1973                     Box 8
Minutes, July 1973 - November 1974                    Box 8
Minutes, 1975-1976                                    Box 8
Minutes, 7 February 1977 – 12 October 1978            Box 8
Minutes, 28 November 1978 – 27 September 1979         Box 8
Minutes, 1980                                         Box 8
Minutes, 1981                                         Box 8
Minutes, 1982                                         Box 8
Minutes, 1983                                         Box 8
Minutes, 1984                                         Box 8
Minutes, 1985                                         Box 8
Minutes, 1986                                         Box 8
Reports and materials, December 1977                  Box 8 


Series II: Center for Town and Rural Ministries (CTRM)

Minutes, 1986-1993                                    Box 4
Minutes, 1986                                         Box 4
Minutes, 1987                                         Box 4
Minutes, 1988-1990                                    Box 4
Minutes, 1988 (Book 2)                                Box 4
Minutes, 1989                                         Box 8
Miscellaneous CTRM Documents, 1980-1991               Box 4


Series III: Other Organizations – United Methodist Rural Fellowship (UMRF), Hinton Rural Life Center (HRLC)

UMRF Minutes, 1976-1992                               Box 1
UMRF minutes, 1977-1994                               Box 1
Miscellaneous UMRF documents, 1973-1975               Box 4
Minutes, HRLC, November 15-16, 1973                   Box 8


Series IV: Professional Studies and Reports

Professional Studies and Reports, 1963-1985           Box 2
Professional Studies and Reports, 1963-1992           Box 3
Methesco Study, 1975                                  Box 7
Upper Sand Mountain Parish Study, 1977                Box 7
Cooperative Ministry Studies, 1978-1989               Box 7
Columbus North/South District Study, 1983             Box 7
Paris District, Memphis Conf. Evaluation, 1987        Box 7


Series V: Training Conferences and Workshops

Training program, Cookson Hills, 1974                 Box 6
California Project, 1975-1976                         Box 6
Cooperative ministries workshop, Western PA, 1975-76  Box 6
NE Jurisdiction, Town and Country Group, 1978         Box 6
SE Jurisdiction, Town and Country Group, 1979         Box 6
Community Development Consultancy, 1978-1979          Box 6
Wstn. Jurisdiction, Town and Country Group, 1979-1987 Box 6
Cooperative Parish Ministry Workshop, 1987            Box 6
Appalachia: Sim. to developing countries, 1989        Box 6
Training Event Evaluations, 1989                      Box 6
PA West Conference, Cooperative Parish Workshop, 1989 Box 6
Workshop for Judiciary leaders, 1989                  Box 6
New England Training Conferences, June 1-2, 1993      Box 6


Series VI: Methodism Abroad

England and Norway documents, 1979                    Box 6
Miscellaneous Europe trip material, 1979-1980         Box 6
Scandinavian Pastor’s School documents, 1980          Box 6
Trip to England, 1985                                 Box 6
Oxford Trip, 1985                                     Box 6


Series VII: Winter Forum Conference

Assignments, 1988-1993                                Box 3

Assignments, 1992-1993                                Box 3

Assignments, 1992-1993                                Box 3

Assignments, 1992-1993                                Box 3
Assignments, 1993-1994                                Box 3
Assignments, 1993-1994                                Box 3
Registration/Mailing, 1993-1994                       Box 3

Guidelines and Notes, 1991-1993                       Box 3


Series VIII: Academic Material

Contemporary Theology Course Notebook, 1963           Box 5

Ethics Course Notebook, 1962-1963                     Box 5

Ethics Course Notebook, 1963                          Box 5

Christian Ethics Course Notebook, 1963                Box 5

Social Ethics Course Notebook, 1962                   Box 5
Addresses and Formal Papers, 1975-1998                Box 1
Academic miscellanea, 1978-1998                       Box 3
Academic miscellanea ca. 1977-1987                    Box 7

Material related to dissertation, c. 1970s            Box 7


Series IX: Miscellaneous McSwain Material

Correspondence and papers, 1978-1996                  Box 3

Correspondence and Papers, 1979-1989                  Box 1
James A. Craig, Correspondence, 1977-1979             Box 6
Papers and writings, calendars, ca. 1980s             Box 1

News articles, 1979-1980                              Box 3
Photographic negatives and positives, ca. 1985        Box 6