Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Joe J. and Lois Perkins, 1925-1993

Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, 1846-2009

Charles and Elizabeth Prothro, 1960-1993

Photographs, 1945-1976

Oversize, 1846-2002

Southern Methodist University

Collection on the Perkins and Prothro families

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: Bridwell Library
Title: Collection on the Perkins and Prothro families
Inclusive Dates: 1846-2009
Bulk Dates: 1945-1989
Abstract: The Collection on the Perkins and Prothro families documents the lives of philanthropists Joe J. and Lois Perkins, their daughter Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, and her husband Charles N. Prothro. The two families were benefactors of Southern Methodist University (SMU) and especially of its School of Theology, which was renamed in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Perkins in 1945. This collection contains correspondence, reports, printed material, photographs, and news articles detailing the two families’ interactions with SMU, Southwestern University, and Sweet Briar College.
Accession No: BridArch 303.14
Extent: 8 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Joe J. Perkins was born in Brookston, Texas in 1874. He was a successful businessman, operating several mercantile stores, and also invested in coal mining, ranching, and oil development. Lois Craddock Perkins, a native of China Springs, Texas attended Southwestern University from 1908 to 1911. She became a teacher and moved to Wichita Falls in 1913. The two were married in 1918.

The Perkins family’s interest in Southern Methodist University dates back to the school’s founding. Mr. and Mrs. Perkins were among the newly-chartered university’s earliest supporters in 1913. Over the years, their contributions made possible the construction of the Perkins administration building, the Joe Perkins Gymnasium, and enlarged resources for the university libraries. A series of generous donations led to the construction of new School of Theology facilities and an enhanced endowment. In honor of their support of SMU, the Board of Trustees renamed the School as the Perkins School of Theology.

Joe Perkins served on the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council, as well as the SMU Board of Trustees (on which he sat for over thirty years). He was inducted into the Methodist Hall of Fame for his philanthropy, which extended to various other Methodist causes in Texas, including Dallas Methodist Hospital, the Waco Methodist Home, and the North Texas Conference Pension Fund. He died in 1960 and was buried in Wichita Falls.

Perkins School of Theology became the first school within SMU to admit black students in the early 1950s, due in no small part to Lois Perkins’s advocacy. Mrs. Perkins’ generosity also extended to her alma mater, Southwestern University. She donated money for a new university chapel named in her honor, which was dedicated in 1950. She also served on the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council, and was elected to the Methodist Hall of Fame. In 1970, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Southwestern University in recognition of her many philanthropic pursuits. Lois Perkins died on November 30, 1983, and was buried in Wichita Falls.

Their daughter, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, was born in Dallas, Texas on September 7, 1919. She attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia before coming to SMU, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1939. She married Charles Nelson Prothro, a Wichita Falls oilman, in 1938. The couple had three sons, Joe, Mark, and Charles Vincent Prothro, and a daughter, Kay Prothro Yeager.

Charles and Elizabeth Prothro continued the philanthropic work of her parents. Together, they made several contributions to Southwestern University. Elizabeth Prothro sat on the Board of Regents at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. She also gave her time to Sweet Briar College, her alma mater, as well as to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the University of Texas, and religious and civic organizations in Wichita Falls.

At SMU, Elizabeth Prothro not only made financial contributions to the improvement of the Perkins School of Theology, but also served as a member of several university groups and governing bodies. A donation totaling $7 million made by Mr. and Mrs. Prothro in 1997 provided for theology scholarships and the renovation of Perkins Chapel. In 2009, SMU completed construction of the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. The new facility, as part of a broader building program for the School, was made possible with an initial $6 million gift from the Perkins-Prothro Foundation.

Mrs. Prothro, a collector of rare Bibles since 1963, donated her collection to Bridwell Library in 1996. The collection consists of nearly five hundred volumes, in almost one hundred languages, spanning eight centuries.

Like her parents, Elizabeth Prothro was recognized for the many educational enhancements she fostered. Among the awards she received were the Southwestern University Medal in 2006, the SMU Mustang Award (which was also awarded to Mr. Prothro), two honorary doctorates (Southwestern and SMU), and the Medallion of Merit from the Texas Methodist Foundation in 2004.

Charles Prothro died in 2001. Elizabeth Perkins Prothro died in Wichita Falls on May 23, 2009.

Sources:

"Elizabeth Perkins Prothro." Times Record News, May 25, 2009: http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2009/may/25/elizabeth-perkins-prothro/. Accessed June 14, 2011.

"Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall and Renovated Buildings Dedicated." SMU News & Communications, September 11, 2009: http://www.smu.edu/News/2009/prothro-dedication-11sept2009.aspx#video. Accessed June 14, 2011.

"Lois Perkins Chapel." Southwestern University Virtual Tour: http://www.southwestern.edu/visit/virtual/chapel.php. Accessed June 14, 2011.

"Longtime Benefactor Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Dies." SMU News & Communications, May 23, 2009: http://www.smu.edu/News/2008/elizabeth-prothro-23may2009.aspx. Accessed June 14, 2011.

"Longtime Southwestern Supporter Dies." Southwestern University News, June 1, 2009: http://www.southwestern.edu/newsroom/story.php?id=1249. Accessed June 14, 2011.

McCann, Ian. "Elizabeth Perkins Prothro: Philanthropist, Dedicated Supporter of SMU."Dallas Morning News, August 15, 2009: http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/64565962.html. Accessed June 14, 2011.

Perkins School of Theology records finding aid. Southern Methodist University DeGolyer Library: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/smu/00117/smu-00117.html. Accessed June 14, 2011.

Vernon, Walter N. "Joe J. Perkins," in Handbook of Texas Online: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe35. Accessed June 14, 2011.

Vernon, Walter N. "Lois Craddock Perkins," in Handbook of Texas Online: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe67. Accessed June 14, 2011.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Collection on the Perkins and Prothro Families comprises 5.5 linear feet of papers, the majority of which relate to their involvement with SMU over a fifty-year time period. The material is arranged in alphabetical order within each series.

A major portion of the collection is correspondence between the Perkins and Prothros and school administrators and staff. Much of the correspondence is with Deans Eugene Hawk and Joseph Quillian, and Bridwell Library Director Decherd Turner. Other topics include specific campus organizations in which the two families held membership: the Board of Trustees, Colophon, the SMU Decanal Committee, Presidential Search Committee, and the Theology Task Force.

Files containing correspondence, printed material, and news clippings on the dedication of the Perkins School of Theology; university Presidents Willis Tate, Paul Hardin, James Zumberge, L. Donald Shields, and A. Kenneth Pye; and the university libraries are also included.

A small amount of material details other institutions of higher learning that were the beneficiaries of the Perkins and Prothro families’ beneficence: Southwestern University, Sweet Briar College, and the University of Texas.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 5 series:
Series 1: Joe J. and Lois Perkins, 1925-1993
Series 2: Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, 1846-2009
Series 3: Charles and Elizabeth Prothro, 1960-1993
Series 4: Photographs, 1945-1976
Series 5: Oversize, 1846-2002

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Restrictions

Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgement of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

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Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Perkins family.
Prothro family.
Perkins, Joe J.
Perkins, Lois Craddock, 1887-1983.
Prothro, Elizabeth Perkins.
Perkins School of Theology -- History.
Benefactors -- Texas -- Dallas.
Letters.
Photographs.

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Related Material

Friends of SMU Libraries/Colophon records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University (SMU 1992.0162).

Perkins, Lois Craddock. The History of My Life. Wichita Falls: Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, 1993.

Perkins School of Theology records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University (SMU 1991.0051).

Southern Methodist University campus building files, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University (SMU 1997.0290).

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Collection on the Perkins and Prothro families, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired, 1997-2009. The exact dates of donation and the circumstances under which Bridwell Library acquired these papers are not known.

Processing Information

The material in this collection was originally divided between two named collections: the Collection on Joe. J. and Lois Perkins and the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro papers. Due to their related provenance and subject matter, the two collections were merged into one to ensure easier access for researchers.

This collection was arranged and described in 2011 by Paul H. Santa Cruz.

Finding aid written by

Paul H. Santa Cruz, 2011.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2011.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Joe J. and Lois Perkins, 1925-1993
46 folders

This first series consists of forty-six folders and is made up of correspondence with Perkins School of Theology Deans Eugene Hawk and Joseph Quillian, as well as correspondence Joe J. and Lois Perkins received following their donation to the School of Theology in 1945 and the dedication of the new buildings in 1951. Also included is correspondence with Southwestern University President J.N.R. Score and material on the Perkinses’ other philanthropic interests.
Box Folder
961A 1 Biographical Information 1943-1984
2 Correspondence; Cunninggim, Merrimon 1953-1955
3 Correspondence; Hawk, Eugene B. 1948-1949
4 Correspondence; Hawk, Eugene B. 1950
5 Correspondence; Hawk, Eugene B. 1951-1953
6 Correspondence; General 1944-1957
7 Correspondence; General [Lois Perkins] 1954-1965
8 Correspondence; General [Lois Perkins] 1954-1965
9 Correspondence; General [Lois Perkins] 1945-1970
10 Correspondence; General [Lois Perkins] 1971-1982
11 Correspondence; Martin, Bishop W.C. 1935-1949
12 Correspondence; Martin, Bishop W.C. 1950-1973
13 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1960-1963
14 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1964-1965
15 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1966-1967
16 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1968-1969
17 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1970-1971
18 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1972-1975
19 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1960-1964
20 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1965-1966
21 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1967-1968
Box Folder
961B 1 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1969-19970
2 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1971-1972
3 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1973-1974
4 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1975-1976
5 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph [with Lois Perkins] 1976-1979
6 Correspondence; Score, J.N.R. 1940-1943
7 Correspondence; Score, J.N.R. 1944-1947
8 Correspondence; Score, J.N.R. [with Lois Perkins] 1942-1945
9 Perkins-Prothro Letters [bound volume] 1960-1972
10 Methodism 1881-1989
11 Philanthropy, General 1925-1993
12 SMU Perkins Gymnasium 1942
13 SMU; Perkins Philanthropy to SMU 1970
14 SMU Perkins School of Theology Dedication 1951
Box Folder
962A 1 SMU Perkins School of Theology Dedication 1951
2 SMU Perkins School of Theology Dedication Corresp. 1951
3 SMU Perkins School of Theology Donation 1945-1946
4 SMU Perkins School of Theology Donation Corresp. 1945
5 SMU Perkins School of Theology, General 1943-1976
6 SMU Perkins School of Theology Ministers’ Week 1975
7 SMU Perkins School of Theology Ministers’ Week 1975
8 SMU Perkins School of Theology News Clippings 1945-1962
9 SMU Plaque 1950-1960
10 SMU Selecman Hall [includes photographs] 1954
11 Southwestern University 1942-1981

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Series 2:
Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, 1846-2009
61 folders

The second series, consisting of sixty-two folders, contains papers that document Elizabeth Prothro’s service to SMU, and Perkins School of Theology in particular, from the 1960s through the 1980s. Included are reports and printed material from Perkins School of Theology and university organizations of which she was a member, such as Colophon/Friends of SMU Libraries and the Theology Task Force; and reports, meeting minutes, and correspondence generated through her position as a university trustee.
Box Folder
962A 12 SMU Board of Trustees [includes photographs] 1972-1989
13 SMU Board of Trustees and Governors, 11/07/1986 (includes photographs)
14 SMU; Colophon, General 1970-1973
15 SMU; Colophon, General 1974-1982
16 SMU; Colophon, General 1970-1982
17 SMU; Colophon, News Clippings 1970-1972
18 SMU; Colophon, Printed Material 1970-1974
19 SMU Decanal Committee 1979-1982
20 SMU; General 1941-1994
21 SMU; Hardin, Paul 1972-1973
22 SMU; Hardin, Paul – Inauguration 1972-1974
Box Folder
962B 1 SMU; Hardin, Paul - Resignation Press Reports 1974
2 SMU; Kirby, James 1970-1994
3 SMU Libraries 1966-1979
4 SMU Libraries 1980-1983
5 SMU Libraries 1984-1985
6 SMU Libraries 1986
7 SMU Libraries 1987-1989
8 SMU Libraries 1970-1990
9 SMU Library Trustee Committee 1973-1975
10 SMU Library Trustee Committee 1977-1983
11 SMU Library Trustee Committee 1984-1987
12 SMU Perkins School of Theology News Clippings 1969-1993
13 SMU Perkins School of Theology, Perkins Hall 2009
14 SMU Perkins School of Theology Printed Material 1945-1996
15 SMU Presidential Search, 1974-1975 1970-1975
16 SMU; Princeton University 1970
17 SMU; Prothro Bible Collection 1966-2006
18 SMU; Pye, A. Kenneth 1987
19 SMU; Pye, A. Kenneth 1993-1994
Box Folder
963 1 SMU; Pye, A. Kenneth 1987-1994
2 SMU; Quillian, Joseph 1962-1973
3 SMU; Quillian, Joseph 1974-1979
4 SMU; Quillian, Joseph 1981
5 SMU; Quillian, Joseph 1990-1992
6 SMU; Relation to Church 1964-1972
7 SMU; Royce, Anya 1994
8 SMU; Shields, L. Donald 1980-1986
9 SMU; Tate, Willis 1969-1975
10 SMU; Texas Itinerant Advocate Prospectus, 10/03/1846
11 SMU Theology Task Force 1975
12 SMU Tributes 1979-1986
13 SMU Trustee Meetings 1972
14 SMU Trustee Meeting, 09/27/1974
15 SMU; U.S. Methodist Bishops, 1968-1992
16 SMU; Zumberge, James 1975-1980
17 Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine 1966-1979
18 Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine 1981-1992
19 Sweet Briar College Correspondence 1963-1983
20 Sweet Briar College Council Members 1965-1970
Box Folder
964A 1 Sweet Briar College; General 1953-1975
2 Sweet Briar College; General 1975-1984
3 Sweet Briar College Fiftieth Reunion 1988-1989
4 Sweet Briar College; Friends of Sweet Briar College Library 1965-1978
5 Sweet Briar College; Friends of Sweet Briar College Library 1966-1987
6 Sweet Briar College; Fry, Nenah Elinor 1983-1995
7 Sweet Briar College; Hill, Barbara 1991-1994
8 Sweet Briar College Library 1944-1971
9 Sweet Briar College Meetings 1966-1967
10 Sweet Briar College Publications 1967-1973
11 Sweet Briar College; Whiteman, Harold 1967-1986
12 University of Texas, General 1958-1994
Box Folder
964B 10 Rare book AFV8879 photograph album 1999

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Series 3:
Charles and Elizabeth Prothro, 1960-1993
10 folders

The third series, totaling ten folders, is mostly correspondence between Mr. and Mrs. Prothro and Decherd Turner, the Director of Bridwell Library from 1950-1980.
Box Folder
964A 13 Biographical Information 1969
14 Correspondence; General 1974-1984
15 Correspondence; Quillian, Joseph 1964-1974
16 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1960-1966
17 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1967-1968
18 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1969-1970
Box Folder
964B 1 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1971-1973
2 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1974-1977
3 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1978-1989
4 Correspondence; Turner, Decherd 1990-1993

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Series 4:
Photographs, 1945-1976
5 folders

Series 4 consists of five folders of photographs related to the Perkinses’ and Prothros’ involvement with Perkins School of Theology. It is important to note that not all dates of, and people in, the photographs are identified. Additional photographs in this collection can be found in Box 962A, File 10: "Selecman Hall" in Series 1; File 12: "Board of Trustees," and File 13: "Board of Trustees and Governors, 11/07/1986."
Box Folder
964B 5 Elizabeth Perkins Prothro 1969
6 General 1969
7 Joe J. and Lois Perkins 1951-1961
8 Joe J. and Lois Perkins Busts 1950-1960
9 Perkins School of Theology 1945-1976

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Series 5:
Oversize, 1846-2002
7 folders

The final series contains eight folders of oversize materials that mostly relate to either Series 1: Joe J. and Lois Perkins, or Series 2: Elizabeth Perkins Prothro.
Box Folder
965A 1 SMU Certificate of Appreciation 2002
2 SMU Honorary Doctorate 1996
3 SMU Perkins School of Theology Marker Remarks 1979
4 SMU Perkins School of Theology Quadrangle Illustration 1945-1955
5 SMU News Digest Newsletter, 03/13/1945 [2 copies] 1945
6 SMU Texas Itinerant Advocate Prospectus, 10/03/1846
7 University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association Certificate 1962
8 Event program "In appreciation of Joe and Lois Perkins" 1950

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