Malcom Black papers, 1860-1923, 1989
Reverend Malcom Black (1854-1948) was born in Austin County, Texas to Gaelic-speaking parents on December 10, 1854. Black was home-schooled and tutored until entering Baylor University in 1870. Shortly after starting at Baylor, Black transferred to Southwestern University. After working in business for a several years, Black entered the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas in 1877. Black was a member of the charter graduating class of 1879, with a degree in Civil Engineering. In 1881 Black began coursework at Union Seminary, and later attended Columbia Seminary. Black was licensed and ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1884.
Black was an active member of the church and of the communities in which he lived in Texas, organizing YMCAs and churches while working as a pastor, financial advisor, and briefly as Superintendent of Schools. Black retired in 1910, but continued to preach and attend church conferences until his death. Black’s community involvement was far-reaching; he served at various times as an Associated Press Correspondent, County Executive Secretary, County Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, and in various positions on the Sterling City School Board. Black held the titles of oldest living graduate of Texas A&M and oldest native-born Presbyterian minister in Texas for many years until his death at the age of 93 in 1948. Black’s wife, Ida, and four of his five children preceded him in death.
Five inches of correspondence, creative works including essays and sermons, class exercises, photographic material, printed material, and certificates (1860-1923, 1989) document the personal life and educational and ministerial work of Malcom Black. The material is divided into five series: Correspondence (1879-1919, 1989), College and Seminary Coursework (1973-1892 and undated), Sermon Material (1884-1892 and undated), Photographic Material (1933, 1936 and undated), and General (1860-1923 and undated). Some material has been damaged by insects.
The first series, Correspondence (1879-1919, 1989), is comprised of casual correspondence, primarily with friends, colleagues, and family members. Though letters are generally conversational and routine, one letter from Black dated November 30, 1880, describes to an uncle the death of Black’s mother from typhoid fever.
The second series, Coursework (1873-1892 and undated), the most voluminous series, records Black’s success in his academic career. The series is comprised primarily of coursework completed at Texas A&M in the form of persuasive essays, speeches, and exercises in English language, composition, Greek, Latin, and mathematics, many of which bear marks indicating high grades and praise for the quality of work. Black’s speeches referring to himself as “president” indicate that he may have been student body president, or leader of a school organization. A small portion of the coursework, comprised primarily of sermon-writing exercises, was completed at Union Seminary, and another small portion was completed at unidentified institutions.
Sermon Material (1884-1892 and undated), the third series, contains handwritten sermons and sermon notes, some of which are badly smudged and difficult to read. Photographic Material (1933, 1936 and undated) is comprised of family photographs of Black with his children and grandchildren, and General (1860-1923 and undated), contains certificates and various handwritten and printed materials such as notes, a doctor’s bill, and pamphlets. An oversize certificate bestowing upon Black the title of County Commissioner has been removed to oversize storage for preservation.
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Malcom Black papers, 1860-1923, 1989, 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