D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives
C.W. McCall Collection
of Josiah Strong Family Papers
M2010.14.01-03 ; OS2010.14.01-03 ; MC2010.14.01


Title C.W. McCall Collection of Josiah Strong Family Papers
Creator C.W. McCall and Rebecca P. McCall
Alt. Creator Josiah Strong
Alt. Creator Margery Strong
Alt. Creator Elsie Strong
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/mccall_cw_strong_josiah/
Subject Keyword

Josiah Strong ; Congregational Church ; religion ; Protestantism ; sermons ; mission schools ; maps  ; education ;  railroads ; schools ; ministers ; industrialization ; cities and towns ; Anglo-Saxon Race ; sermons ; Social gospel ; Christian sociology ; churches ; urban sociology ;

Subject LCSH Strong, Josiah, 1847-1916
Strong, Margery
Strong, Elsie
Strong family
Bisbee family
Congregational Church in the U.S.
Congregational Church. Missions
Congregational Church -- History -- Sources
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
Western Reserve University -- History  -- Sources
Oberlin College -- History -- Sources
Tryon (N.C.) -- Church history
Hudson (Ohio) -- Church history
Christian sociology
Congregational churches -- Sermons 
Sermons, American 
Social gospel 
Christian sociology 
Sociology, Urban 
Cities and towns 
Anglo-Saxon Race
Evangelical Alliance -- History
American Institute of Social Services -- History

The collection contains a small body of papers and books related to Josiah Strong (1847-1916) in the possession of his two daughters, Elsie and Margery Strong.  Josiah Strong was an American  Congregationalist clergyman and a central figure in the Social Gospel movement. In addition to the small collection of personal copies of Strong's monographs, are collected newspaper clippings and annotations by Strong and his two daughters, Elsie and Margery Strong.

The material in this collection does not contain substantial personal correspondence or the writings of Strong.   The largest collection of papers of Josiah Strong are held by Union Theological School, Yale University. While this collection is small it does contain key documents, manuscripts, letters and photographs belonging to Strong that were retained by his two daughters, Elsie and Margery.  Of special merit are the early notes for some of his published books, an extensive journal of a trip taken by Rev. Strong to the Holy Land in 1902 and the photographs that documented that journey.  Another series of photographs of a Grand Tour of Europe by Strong are also included in this donation.

Some documents related to Josiah Strong's work with the Social Gospel movement and particularly his work with the League for Social Service (1898-1916) are included among the papers. Correspondence pertaining to Strong's work as the Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance for the U.S. in New York and with the American Institute of Social Services for which organization he served as the President from 1902 until his death in April of 1915, is also found among the papers in this collection. Some correspondence, sermons, outlines, drafts, printed articles, various publications, newspaper clippings related to various social issues of the day are also found in the collection

A small group of  papers from Strong's student years at Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, cover his years as a student, as chaplain and instructor in "natural theology" and other events connected with his tenure at that institution. He was a lifetime supporter of Western Reserve College which later was called Adelbert College and after became Western Reserve University and today is Case Western Reserve University.

Publisher Special Collections, D.H. Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Contributor Mike McCue, Condar Press, Tryon, NC
Date original 1898 - 1985
Date digital 2010-11-05
Type Collection ; Text ; Image ; Correspondence ;  Scrapbooks ; Diaries ;Clippings ; Photographs ; Sermons ; Subject files ; Lecture notes ; Legal documents ; Manuscripts  ; Maps ; Pamphlets ; Newspapers ; Periodicals ; Reports ; Minutes ; Newsletters ;
Format 4.00 linear ft.
Source M2010.14.01-03.  D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, Manuscript Collections
Language English
Relation Papers of Josiah Strong in Union Theological Seminary Collection./ Bio/History: Congregational minister and Social Gospel movement leader.  Includes 6 boxes of material including correspondence and draft notes of biography.  Cataloged July 14, 1988 ; University of Pennsylvania Library. Manuscript. Josiah Strong correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1910.  1 item.  In: Theodore Dreiser Papers, ca. 1890-1965.  Folder 5973 ; Correspondence included in the papers of James Harris Fairchild, 1819-1910, President of Oberlin College. In the Oberlin College Library and in the Library of Congress ; Walter Rauschenbusch, 1894-1928.  Scrapbook with notes on the "Social Gospel" movement. Rauschenbusch was professor of New Testament interpretation (1897-1902) and a professor of church history (1902-1918) in Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School ;  Silas McBee (1853-1924) Papers  located in Wilson Library, University of NC Chapel Hill. Papers contain information on the Social Gospel movement, North Carolina and correspondence with Gifford Pinchot and others.
Coverage temporal 1898-1986
Coverage spatial Primarily Hudson, OH ; Greenwich, CT ; Tryon, N.C. ; Western North Carolina ;  Appalachian region
Rights Material must be used in accordance with current copyright law. Copyright retained by the authors of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor Donor number: 460
Acquisition 2010-11-05
Citation C.W. McCall Collection of  Josiah Strong Family Papers.   Special Collections, D.H. Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Processed by Processed by staff of the University of North Carolina Asheville, 2010-11-05 ; Laura Gardner Spring 2011

**The following biographical material is from "Tribute to the Memory of Rev. Josiah Strong, D.D.," (by a Life-Long Friend), by Rev. John Brown Paton, D.D. of Nottingham, England. "Revised and supplemented by E[lsie]. and M[argery] Strong. [Annotations are found throughout the account.  Some sections are missing.]

Josiah Strong was born at Naperville, Ill., January 19, 1847.

In childhood he moved with his parents to Hudson, where he resided until his graduation from Western Reserve College in 1869.  After his graduation he attended Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, for two years.

In 1871 he was ordained to the Christian ministry in the Congregational church. August 29th of the same year he was married to Miss Alice Bisbee of Chardon, O.  there were born to them four children, one of whom died in infancy. After marriage they moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where Mr. Strong preached for two years. While there he served as chaplain of the Legislature.

In 1873 he returned to Hudson, where he labored in the college until 1876, both as chaplain and as teacher.

From '76 to '81 he served as pastor of the Congregational church at Sandusky. He was secretary of the Ohio Missionary society from '81 to '84. From '84 to '86 he occupied the pulpit of the Vine St. Congregational church at Cincinnati.

For almost a decade he held the important position of general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance for the U.S. with headquarters in New York.

In the year '86 he became honored with the degree of D.D. from his Alma Mater, and in the same year issued his first book entitled  "Our Country."

He became president of the American Institute of Social Service in 1902.  This position he held up to the time of his death, which occurred last Friday, April 28 [1915] in a New York City hospital.

The above are but brief data which indicate only to a limited extent some of the public services which have been rendered to the world and to humanity by Josiah Strong.

He had an inner life and personality which I wish I had the ability to impress upon the minds and hearts of others as they have been impressed upon mine.

Hence, I undertake to record some of the elements in his life which have helped him to be the man that he was.

In his boyhood he had to contend against a quick temper but in early manhood he succeeded in curbing it.

Here is one incident related by one who knew him well:  A man in whom he had implicit confidence had made him a promise, but when the opportunity came for him to fulfill it he failed and subjected him to such treatment as no Christian ought to subject another. As was only natural, he resented it and became very angry about it.  He went up to his room to fight it out with himself. After a time he thought he had conquered, so he started down the stairs, but he had not gone far before he realized that the battle was not yet finished, so he sat down on one of the stairs and renewed the conflict.  His friend found him there and asked why he was sitting on the stairs and his reply was that he was trying to subdue his hot temper.  And he did;  and also on many other occasions.  These successful battles with himself was one secret of his success.

Another element within him which largely contributed to his success was his habit of work.  He was always and ever at it, even in his boyhood days.

He early learned to help in the support of himself and his family.  He seemed willing to do anything that was honest in [an effort to] "help along."

He was the janitor of the Congregational church for some years and while in college he rang the chapel bell.  While many of the other boys were at their sports he was busy either at physical or mental labor.  It seemed that the was so busy that he never had any time for idleness Thus even in early life he became accustomed to hard work. 

In later years  [he devoted much time to] the writing of books.


..[.for years after the publication of the second edition in 1891, he received requests for further revision.]

And I dare say that no book of like character has been more largely quoted frojm, especially by public speakers.

Furthermore, he was for some years the editor of a monthly magazine -- The Gospel of the Kingdom.  In addition to all this literary work and the supervision of the Institute for Social Service hew was much in demand on the lecture platform.  In fact he has performed labors that would have staggered most men.


[Am [?] like a friend of mine who once said to me "I hope life will last till work is done, and work will last till life is done."


[...for health, He was a frail child and on one occasion overheard his mother remark, "I am afraid Josiah will never live to grow up."]

He said to me: "From that time I determined that I would not die."

And to avert death he began to practice gymnastic exercise and use other means to strengthen his physical powers. And so well did he succeed in his efforts that he told me on his last visit here that he had only missed one public appointment on account of sickness.  But few in public life can make such a statement.

And his long and laborious life further testify to his success in warding disease.

He was both a musician and artist of rare taste.  But the one element within him which gave him his great success and influence was his religious life and experience.  Here we see his character shining the brightest.  Christ and Him crucified was the supreme object of his affections and labors.  And because  of his great love for the Master he was led to an earnest and sincere love for humanity, especially for the lowly and oppressed.  He was deeply interested in the laboring classes, as found in our large cities.  It is evident that this was one great object he had in view in the establishment of the Institute for Social Service.  And I have no doubt, as has been suggested, that he was author of the phrase which we hear so often these days -- "Safety First."

The desire of the writer of this very imperfect sketch is that it may not be considered as a mere obituary, but as a loving tribute to the memory of one who he has always esteemed as a dear friend and brother.  To truly know him was to love him, as many are ready to testify. 

Though dead he yet speaketh.

[Josiah Strong died in New York, April 28, 1916.]

Rev. John Brown Paton, D.D. of Nottingham, England. [1916]


See Special Collections catalog location

Books by Josiah Strong

Books owned by Josiah Strong

Mics. Books

Box order:
Box 1

Biographical information

  Published works (selected works) and notes
  Articles and clippings
  Photographs from the Strong family personal collection
Box 2
Greenwich Academy, Connecticut  and Christadora House, New York City Publications
  Misc. Publications owned by Josiah Strong, and Elsie and Margery Strong
Box 3
Misc. Books owned by Josiah Strong, and Elsie and Margery Strong
Map Case
( Posters)
'The Quest of the Holy Grail,'  15 posters and accompanying descriptions by Edwin A. Abbey, reproduced in the New York Times by special permission of Mrs. Abbey.  (Copyright by E.A. Abbey; from a Copley Print Copyright by Curtis and Cameron, Boston)
OS Photographs

(Temp. shelved with M2010.14.01)

A 'Grand Tour of Europe' photograph album (80 + photographs mounted on board)
OS Photographs

(Temp. shelved with
Photographs from "The Cruise of the Celtic Around the Mediterranean, 1902,"

Souvenir Volume.  Includes images from the American Colony in Jerusalem purchased by Strong.