Marshall Herff Applewhite papers, 1944-1970
Marshall Herff Applewhite (1901-1971) was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 3rd, 1901. Applewhite, a Presbyterian minister, was licensed and ordained in 1929 after receiving degrees from the University of Texas and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He served as pastor at many churches in Texas, was stated clerk of the Fort Worth and John Knox Presbyteries, and worked extensively with the Presbytery’s Home Missions Committee on new church development.
Applewhite was notably involved in the founding of the Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1946. The only structure Applewhite could secure for the church in light of war-time material restrictions was 50 miles away, and had to be floated on a barge to its new location.
Applewhite was married and had four children, one of whom, Marshall Herff Applewhite Jr., was the founder and leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Marshall Herff Applewhite died in 1971.
1.5 inches of correspondence, reports, printed material, and pastor’s records books (1945-1970) relate to Marshall Herff Applewhite’s ministerial career in Texas, particularly his work with various committees in the Presbyterian Church. The material is arranged in two series: Committee Work (1944-1967) and Pastoral Records (1945-1970).
The first series, Committee Work (1944-1967), is comprised primarily of correspondence recording Applewhite’s involvement with committees in the Presbyterian Church, particularly his work in church development with the Presbytery’s Home Missions Committee. The bulk of the correspondence in this series is with Paul S. Van Dyke, superintendent of the Home Missions Committee, West Texas Presbytery, regarding Applewhite’s visits to seminaries, where he recruited men to serve at new churches. Also well documented is the founding of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church. A blueprint of the seating plan for Woodlawn was removed from the folder in which it was originally housed, and moved to a larger box for preservation. The second series, Pastoral Records (1945-1970), contains five volumes of pastor’s records books of marriage and baptism records spanning roughly half of Applewhite’s career.
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Marshall Herff Applewhite papers, 1944-1970, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Materials in accession #2007-009 were originally held at the Montreat office of the Presbyterian Historical Society. They were transferred to the Austin Seminary Archives in 2007.
Detailed Description of the Collection