William Irvine Woods papers, circa 1870, 1955-1988, 2007
William “Bill” Irvine Woods (1939- ) was a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina and Texas. Woods was born November 25, 1939 in Columbia, South Carolina. After receiving an English degree from the University of South Carolina, he enrolled at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1962.
During his time at the Seminary, he received clinical pastoral training as a chaplain at Austin State Hospital (1965), and served one summer as a student assistant pastor in Mineral Wells, Texas. He graduated from the Seminary in 1966, and was called to be Pastor at both Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church and Faith Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, SC. Woods’ ministry in South Carolina was marked by his active commitment to youth ministry, migrant ministry, and mental health issues. He served the South Carolina Mental Health Association, as President of the Lancaster County chapter (1968-1972), and as a member of its Executive Board of Directors (1970-1973). In recognition of his efforts, the Lancaster Jaycees named Woods “Young Man of the Year” (1972).
In 1973, Woods resigned from both Old Waxhaw and Faith Presbyterian Churches, and accepted a call to become Associate Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, under Reverend Joe R. Cochran. While at Westminster Presbyterian, Woods continued to be active in youth ministry, and served as Secretary of the Women’s Coordinating Council, PCUS, Southwest Region (1976). With Cochran’s resignation in March 1976, Woods became acting Pastor. Due to financial difficulties, Westminster decided to retain only one pastor, and Woods’ was forced to dissolve his ties with the church in January 1977 when a new pastor was named.
In the subsequent years, Woods accepted numerous invitations to deliver sermons at other churches, primarily in Texas. He also served as an editor of the short-lived ‘O Kerux: A Quarterly Journal of Sermons (1976-1977). Woods then embarked on secular work. He accepted an administrative assistant position at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin (1979-1983), where he edited the department’s newsletter, Biosphere In 1983, he became an executive assistant in the Department of Geological Science, a position he held until his retirement in 2006.
One foot, seven inches of diaries, correspondence, creative works, minutes, printed material, and photographs (1870-1988), arranged in three subgroups, document Reverend William I. Woods and the churches he served.
The William I. Woods subgroup (1870-1988, 1 ft., 2 in.) comprises the bulk of this collection, and is divided into five series. Series I. Ministerial Papers (1966-1988, 1 ft., 2 in.) contains correspondence, sermons, pastoral records, creative works, speeches, photographs, and printed material documenting Woods’ ministerial work primarily at Old Waxhaw and Westminster Presbyterian churches. The majority of sermons (1963-1982, 9 in.) incorporate the printed order of worship from the day on which Woods delivered the sermon, illuminating the weekly activities of the congregations he addressed. Correspondence (1966-1984, undated, 1.5 in.) details many of Woods’ pastoral and administrative duties, particularly in the areas of youth, mental health, and women’s ministry. Extensive minutes and financial statements of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Session (1974-1976) are also included. Series II. Seminary Papers (1962-1966, undated, 2 in.), comprising diaries, correspondence, course papers and notes, and photographs, richly documents the life of a student preparing for the ministry. Three diaries (1965, 0.5 in) detail Woods’ thoughts and experiences at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Other materials relate his research and interactions with the staff and patients at Austin State Hospital (some of which are currently restricted). The majority of the correspondence (1962-1966, 0.5 in) concerns financial aid, but Woods’ initial communication with the Old Waxhaw and Faith Presbyterian congregations regarding his calling also are included. Series III. Personal Papers (1870, 1955-1986, undated, 1.5 in.) contains small numbers of resumes, correspondence, creative works, printed material, and photographs, and cover Woods’ life prior to entering the Seminary and his life after he left the ministry. Notable inclusions are an early essay Woods wrote about becoming a minister, and his great-great-great grandfather’s prayer book (1870). Series IV. Quarterly Journal of Sermons (1976-1977, 0.3 in.) and Series V. Biosphere (1981-1983, 0.1 in.) contain a few issues of each publication.
The Presbyterian Churches subgroup (1955-1976, undated, 1 in.), arranged in three series, provides additional documentation of the churches Woods served. Series I. South Carolina (1955-1973, undated, 0.3 in.) primarily consists of Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church histories by Nancy Crockett and membership directories for the Waxhaw and Shiloh Bible Society. Limited documentation of Bethel Presbytery (1966-1973, 0.1 in.) is also included. Series II. Texas (1973-1976, undated, 0.3 in.) contains records from Westminster Presbyterian comprising minutes, Easter devotionals, and an audio recording of music specially created for the church. Series III. Southwest (1976) comprises a single report of the Women’s Coordinating Council of the Red River Synod.
The third subgroup, Sermons by others (1973-1977, undated, 0.3 in.) incorporates a few sermons delivered by William J. Barnett, Bob Kash, Roland Perdue, John Evans, James Wharton, and Jay Wilkins.
These materials were originally held at the Montreat office of the Presbyterian Historical Society. They were transferred to the Austin Seminary Archives in 2007.
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Social Security information and sensitive information regarding patients at Austin State Hospital have been restricted for a period of 80 years from the date of creation.
The reel-to-reel recording is inaccessible due to a lack of playback equipment.
William Irvine Woods papers, circa 1870, 1955-1988, 2007, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
This collection was processed by a group of students from the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Collection