The Perkins School of Theology Documents and Images collection presents a variety of documents, images, and publications produced by, on behalf of, or about the school. Perkins School of Theology has been part of Southern Methodist University since the university’s founding, growing out of the work of a commission led by Bishop James Atkins of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to establish a theological school west of the Mississippi River. Dr. E.D. Mouzon, dean of the Theological Department of Southwestern University and later bishop, became the first dean in 1914. With the opening of the university in the following year, the School of Theology began its work as the church’s official theological school for the western half of the United States. When ownership of the University was vested in the South Central Jurisdiction of The Methodist Church at the Uniting Conference of 1939, the school of theology became the official theological school of that jurisdiction.
Dean Mouzon was followed by Deans Hoyt M. Dobbs (1916), Paul B. Kern (1920), James Kilgore (1926), Eugene B. Hawk (1933), Merrimon Cuninggim (1951), Joseph D. Quillian Jr. (1960), James E. Kirby (1981), Robin W. Lovin (1994), and William B. Lawrence (2002).
In 1945 the School of Theology at Southern Methodist University was named Perkins School of Theology in honor of benefactors Joe J. Perkins and Lois Craddock Perkins of Wichita Falls, Texas. Today Perkins School of Theology is one of the thirteen seminaries of The United Methodist Church and one of only five university-related United Methodist theological schools. The primary mission of Perkins School of Theology, as a community devoted to theological study and teaching in the service of the church of Jesus Christ, is to prepare women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry.
Perkins School of Theology Documents and Images at Bridwell Library draws upon a related archival Collection on the History of Perkins School of Theology and additional historical resources owned by Bridwell Library. A finding aid for the collection may be found at Texas Archival Resources Online. For more information about these holdings, please contact Bridwell Library Special Collections.