Southern Methodist University

Robert O. Cooper papers

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: Cooper, Robert O.
Title: Robert O. Cooper papers
Dates: 1874-2015
1955-2000
Abstract: The Robert O. Cooper papers consist of materials documenting his career in campus ministry and higher education. Rev. Bob Cooper served Southern Methodist University as Associate Chaplain from 1966 until his retirement in 1992.
Accession No: Collection BridArch 3.082
Extent: 12 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English and German
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Robert O. Cooper was born October 9, 1927 in Crowell, Foard County, Texas. He attended Texas Technological College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. Cooper entered law school, but realized that his interests were more in line with church work than with practicing law. He then enrolled at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (SMU), and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1952. In 1954 he was ordained and became a member of the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church.

Rev. Cooper began his ministry at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Women’s University), where he served as campus pastor and associate director of the Wesley Foundation beginning in 1952. In 1955 he moved to Kenyon, Texas, where he taught courses on the Bible and was the associate director of the Wesley Foundation at West Texas State College (now West Texas A &M University). In 1956 Cooper became the campus minister and Wesley Foundation director at Texas A&M University–College Station. While in College Station, he took part in forming the city’s first integrated vacation Bible school for children. In 1960 the Coopers moved to New Jersey, where Rev. Cooper earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Drew University. He returned to Texas in 1962 to become director of the Campus Christian Fellowship at Texas College of Arts & Industries (now Texas A&M University–Kingsville).

In 1965 SMU hired Cooper to serve as Associate Chaplain, a position he held for twenty-seven years. At SMU his work included preaching and directing the Wesley Foundation. During the 1966-1967 academic year, he served as visiting professor at Perkins School of Theology. Rev. Cooper became known at SMU for his deep interest in connecting education, religion, peacemaking, and environmentalism. Following his retirement in 1992, friends and co-workers established The Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship in his honor.

Cooper’s wider ministry included leadership roles in the Texas Methodist Student Movement Yearly Meeting (Dean, 1956 to 1960); the Dallas Clergy Consultation on Problem Pregnancies (co-founder and coordinator, 1971 to 1975), and the Democratic Party (Precinct Chair). Bob Cooper and his wife, Shirley Burns, married in 1951. They had three sons: Glenn, Gary, and Gordon.

Sources:

Cooper, Robert. Interview by Tim Binkley and Ally Boland. Personal Interview. Dallas, March 21, 2014.

Dallas Morning News, "Rev. Cooper Gets SMU Wesley Post," July 18, 1965. infoweb.newsbank.com (accessed March 28, 2014).

Olivera, Mercedes. "Variety of Creatures Blessed on Special Day." Dallas Morning News, October 3, 1988.

"Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship


Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection comprises manuscript, typescript, and printed resources created or collected by Rev. Bob Cooper, including his work with the Wesley Foundation, the Texas Methodist Student Movement, and at Southern Methodist University. Materials include correspondence, sermons, event programs and fliers, essays, meeting minutes, campus ministry records, published articles, and audio-visual recordings. Themes include social issues, Christian ethics, and the role of campus ministry in higher education. The collection offers researchers insights into university chaplaincy in the changing social atmosphere during the last half of the twentieth century. Additionally, the Robert O. Cooper papers include a folder of personal family history documents: baptismal, confirmation, and marriage certificates in German from the late 1800s and early 1900s.


Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains six series:
Series 1: Wesley Foundation, 1957-1969
Series 2: Ministry Papers, 1948-1992
Series 3: Sermons, 1962-2013
Series 4: Correspondence, 1950-2015
Series 5: Audio-Visual Materials, 1964-1999
Series 6: Family History Documents, 1874-1902

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 Head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

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

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which Bridwell Library assumes no responsibility.


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.
Cooper, Robert O.
Wesley Foundation (Southern Methodist University)
Texas Methodist Student Movement.
Methodist Church -- Texas -- Clergy.
College chaplains -- Texas --Dallas.
College students -- Religious life -- Texas -- Dallas.
Letters.
Sermons.
Audiovisual materials.

Related Materials

Texas Methodist Student Movement records, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Records of the National Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church Archives – General Commission on Archives and History, Madison, New Jersey


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Robert O. Cooper, 2009, 2014, and 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Ally Boland, 2014. 2014 and 2015 additions were processed in 2015 by Rebekah Rochte and Timothy S. G. Binkley.

Finding aid written by

Ally Boland, 2014; Rebekah Rochte and Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2015.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2014.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Wesley Foundation, 1957-1969
9 folders

The first series contains documents pertaining to the Wesley Foundation at Southern Methodist University. A majority of the materials are Wesley Foundation records, letters, pamphlets, and various other papers, although some deal with both the Wesley Foundation and the Methodist Student Movement.
Box Folder
736A 01 SMU Wesley Foundation freshman programs, 1957-1967
02 SMU Wesley Foundation general programs, 1959-1962
03 Wesley Foundation and Presbyterian/Christian Fellowship letters to students, 1963-1969
04 Motive, 1965-1969
05 Methodist campus ministry, 1967-1972
06 SMU student theological seminars, 1962-1967
07 Sunday morning programs, 1959-1969
08 Publicity materials, 1941-1969
09 Week of study essays, 1964



Series 2: Ministry papers, 1948-2014
5.5 boxes

The second series highlights the relationship between campus ministry and higher education as documented through seminars, papers, articles, pamphlets, letters, and a set of newsletters produced by the SMU Chaplain’s Office. Series two also includes materials from the Texas Methodist Student Movement, University and Colleges Christian Fellowship, and the United Campus Christian Life Committee.
Box Folder
736A 10 YMCA/YWCA at SMU campus, 1957-1958
11 Merger proposals for campus ministry plus variety of articles, 1956-1961
12 Publications relating to foreign students, 1960s
13 Christian ethics articles and papers, 1964-1965
14 Garrett Biblical Institute summer course on campus ministry, 1953
15 Social issues and campus ministry, 1961-1965
16 Campus ministry articles and papers, 1959-1967
17 United ministries in higher education, 1965-1971
Box Folder
736B 01 Lists of study papers on file, 1966-1967
02 Junior college handbook, Patrick Heath, 1968
03 The Association of College and University Ministers, 1960
04 University Christian Movement, 1950-1969
05 Proposed University Christian Movement regional conference, 1967-1969
06-07 Texas Methodist Student Movement annual reports, 1964-1966
08 Texas Methodist Student Movement area conferences, 1948-1969
09-11 Higher education and campus ministry articles and papers, 1956-1964
12 Peace issues teaching files, 1964
13 Faculty Christian fellowship, 1959-1962
14 University and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), 1969-1970
Box Folder
736C 01 Ecumenical Institute for Church and University, Houston, 1964-1965
02 United Campus Christian Life Committee (UCCLC) local board minutes, 1969-1971
03 Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship, 1995-2014
04-05 Drew University coursework, 1960-1961
06 Thesis, Drew University, circa 1960-1962
Box Folder
737A 01 Photograph, circa 1972
02-03 Abortion: 1989
04 Advocates for Social Action and Progress, 1990-1991
05 Democratic Party, 1992-2001
06-07 Greater Dallas Community of Churches: Peacemaking Committee, 1982-2001
08 Gun control, 1992-1995
09 Inauguration of conscience, 1973
10 Loyalty Oath, 1957-1959
11 “Academic Freedom and Loyalty Oaths” (Avral A. Morris), 1963
12 McGovern campaign (Precinct 174), 1972
13-15 Nuclear awareness, 1982-1985
16 Nuclear disarmament, 1982
17 Nuclear war, 1981-2013
18 Peace and justice, 1986-2013
19 Peace coalition, circa 1970s
20 Pension funds, 1986
21 United Nations seminar, 1982
Box Folder
737B 01 Robert O. Cooper resume, undated
02 Press, circa 1989-1991
03 Awards, circa 1988-1990
04 Baker Awards, 1981-1983
05 Office papers, 1978-1984
06 Texas A &M College, 1956-1969
07 Current events, 1976-1985
08 Student papers, essays, miscellanea, 1965-1982
09 SMU campus ministry paper, undated
10 Joe and Lois Perkins fund, 1995-2000
11 United Presbyterian Synod of Texas, June 6, 1972
12 Westminster College, 1984
13 Oxford Seminar on Ministry in Higher Education, 1990
14 Campus Ministry Conference, 1982
15 National Campus Ministry Associates, 1982
16 Campus Ministry reunion, 1985-1988
17 Mexico City trip, 1978
18 Address: Lambda Chi Alpha conclave, February 24, 1968
19 Lima liturgy, 1983
20 Kent State memorial service, May 6, 1970
21 Casa View United Methodist Church, 1996-2007
22-24 Prayers, 1971-1991
25 Gary Cooper, 1991
26 Claude Evans articles, 1982-1991
27 Miscellanea, 1990-1991
Box Folder
738A 01-10 Perspective (Chaplain’s Office newsletter), 1974-1993



Series 3: Sermons, 1962-2013
2 boxes

The third series includes sermons, bulletins, notes, and research materials spanning from 1962 to 2013, as well as memorials, sermons by colleagues, and a wedding service. Square brackets indicate the topics or occasions of untitled sermons.
Box Folder
738A 11 Untitled, circa 1960-1970
12 Covenant and Community, circa 1960-1970
13 The Outsider, circa 1960-1970
14 The Layman and the Church Minister to the World, circa 1960-1970
15 Faith and Knowledge, July 23, 1961-July 15, 1962
16 [John F. Kennedy assassination], November 1963
17 Vanity and Oppression, circa 1963
18 Into the World, August 4, 1963-August 16, 1964
19 Freedom Now, February 12, 1967
20 On the Meaning of Christ, March 10, 1968
21 Politics and Morality, July 7, 1968
22 Untitled, November 17, 1968
23 The Future of Man, September 28, 1969
24 Seeing God Face to Face, circa 1970-1980
25 Wonder Bread, circa 1970-1980
Box Folder
738B 01 Covenant and Promise, May 17, 1970
02 Sons and Daughters, October 11, 1970
03 Untitled, circa 1971
04 The Best of Times…The Worst of Times, January 3, 1971
05 [Easter], April 2, 1971
06 Untitled, May 2, 1971
07 Death, and a Few Other Things, November 21, 1971
08 [Commitment Sunday], November 5, 1972
09 Pluralism and Ethics, October 27, 1974
10 Untitled, May 4, 1975
11 For What Do I Contend? September 28, 1975
12 Wisdom From Above, October 10, 1976
13 Life in the Spirit, June 5, 1977
14 What is Religion For? October 2, 1977
15 [Harvest Festival], November 20, 1977
16 Untitled, circa 1978
17 A Joyful Noise? June 11, 1978
18 Symbol…of What? November 5, 1978
19 Equality with God, April 8, 1979
20 A Kind Word, August 12, 1979
21 ‘Red Ryder Ain’t ‘Cha Ever Comin’ Back?’ with How Did I Get Here From There? September 9, 1979
22 The Magic of Christmas, December 23, 1979
23 Epiphany, Mystery, and Hope, January 6, 1980
24 An Obedient Servant (Palm Sunday), March 30, 1980
25 Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, June 1, 1980
26 An Unhappy Business, August 3, 1980
27 Bound for Glory, October 26, 1980
28 Untitled, June 7, 1981
29 Thinking the Unthinkable, April 18, 1982
30 Walking in Darkness, April 25, 1982
31 Work and the World, September 5, 1982
32 Who Speaks for God? February 6, 1983
33 Rain and Pain, May 8, 1983
34 Don’t Look Back, June 26, 1983
35 Risky Business: War Games, October 9, 1983
36 Mountain-Top Experiences, March 4, 1984
37 [Valedictory service at Westminster College], June 24, 1984
38 The Chosen and the Outcasts, August 19, 1984
39 Hope and Community, October 14, 1984
40 Untitled, December 30, 1984
41 St. Patrick: Stirring Up the Spirit? March 17, 1985
42 Untitled (Pentecost), May 26, 1985
43 A Matter of Equality, July 2, 1985
44 Who Am I, O Lord God? July 14, 1985
45 Surprise! July 28, 1985
46 ‘Pale Rider to the Rescue?’ September 1, 1985
47 Untitled, January 5, 1986
48 Goat Ropers Need Love, Too! April 13, 1986
49 The Mantle of Good Sam, July 13, 1986
50 Symbols and Faith, July 27, 1986
51 Once Below a Time, August 31, 1986
52 Reading Visions on the Run, October 19, 1986
Box Folder
739A 01 Untitled, January 24, 1987
02 Whom and How Do You Follow? January 25, 1987
03 [Installation of Rev. Jimmie Reese as Dean of the Chapel], March 11, 1987
04 Untitled, March 22, 1987
05 What Do We Know and When Do We Know It? May 10, 1987
06 Freedom and Community, July 5, 1987
07 Untitled, July 12, 1987
08 Wrestling with Angels, July 19, 1987
09 Who’s That Guy? September 16, 1987
10 Waking or Sleeping, November 15, 1987
11 Untitled, December 13, 1987
12 Untitled, January 3, 1988
13 [Ash Wednesday], February 17, 1988
14 Whatever Happened to Sin? April 17, 1988
15 Ascension, Baptism, and Demons, May 15, 1988
16 Untitled, June 12, 1988
17 Your Chance, June 19, 1988
18 The First Temptation for Us, September 4, 1988
19 Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, September 25, 1988
20 Where Are You? October 9, 1988
21 Untitled, December 18, 1988
22 Untitled, circa 1989
23 What is Religion For? April 23, 1989
24 Untitled, circa May 1989
25 [Pentecost and Mother’s Day], May 14, 1989
26 [Baptism], June 11, 1989
27 Untitled, June 18, 1989
28 Get Yourselves a New Heart, September 3, 1989
29 Untitled, September 17, 1989
30 The Lion and the Lamb, December 10, 1989
31 A Matter of Life and Death, April 1, 1990
32 One God, Mother of Us All, May 13, 1990
33 The Face of God, July 15, 1990
34 Untitled, July 22, 1990
35 Nobody Knows My Name, July 29, 1990
36 The Gift of Renewing Your Mind, September 2, 1990
37 Sabbath Quarrelling, September 16, 1990
38 Prepare Ye the Way, December 9, 1990
39-40 Untitled, December 1990
41 Comes A-Riding, On a White Horse (Palm Sunday), March 24, 1991
42 Untitled, May 5, 1991
43 A New Creation, June 16, 1991
44 A Thorn in the Flesh, July 7, 1991
45 Discussin’ Cussin’, September 8, 1991
46 A Perversion of Justice, October 20, 1991
47 A Puzzlement, January 26, 1992
48 Transforming Moments (Transfiguration Sunday), March 1, 1992
49 Service for Archbishop Romero, March 18, 1992
50 Palm Sunday, April 12, 1992
51 Untitled, April 26, 1992
52 Harvest Festival Message, November 15, 1992
53-54 Untitled, 1993
55 How Do We Know? April 10, 2005
56 Heritage Sunday, April 23, 2006
57 Beloved Community, April 13, 2008
58 Witness, June 15, 2008
59 Rain and Pain, October 25, 2009
60 Untitled, August 14, 2011
61 Untitled, December 30, 2012
62 Good News from God, December 15, 2013
63 Memorial – J.C. Young, circa 1971
64 Memorial – Pritchard Kilpatrick, January 18, 1973
65 Memorial – Charles Steven Flack, May 6, 1978
66 Memorial – Raymond E. Booker, January 6, 1983
67 Memorial – Marion Stanley McAdams Laird, March 5, 1983
68 Memorial – Shirley Mac Bagwell, circa March 1986
69 Memorial – Jim Babcock, January 23, 1987
70 Memorial – Letha Lee Clifford Benshoof, June 24, 1989
71 Memorial – Cliff Johnson, May 12, 1990
72 Memorial – Bayliss ‘Bernie’ Banister, January 5, 1991
73 Memorial – Fred W. Bryson, May 2, 1991
74 Memorial – Ruby Morrison, April 27, 1992
75 Memorial – Billie Park Broughton, September 23, 1996
76 Memorial – Emmie Vida Slaughter Baine, October 1, 1999
77 Memorial – Catherine Geneva (Raven) Henson, June 25, 2005
78 Memorial – Peggy Roth, November 29, 2006
79 Memorial – J. Claude Evans, September 14, 2007
80 Memorial – John Calvin Carter, October 13, 2007
81 Memorial – Maxilla Everett Evans, December 29, 2007
82 Memorial – Etha Marie Johannaber Howard, February 9, 2008
83 Memorial – James Ray Campbell, Sr., January 4, 2009
84 Memorial – June Mowery Webb, May 2, 2009
85 Memorial – Lorn Lambier Howard, November 3, 2012
86 Wedding – Pierre Martin and Jane Lee, June 3, 1978
87 Wedding – Charles Watson and Sabine Virani, August 7, 1993
88 Sermon by Van A. Harvey, circa 1963
89 Sermon by Claude Evans (memorial for Prof. Charles Oliver), July 1, 1975
90 Sermon by Fred G. Gealy (memorial for Wesley Clifton Davis), November 1, 1975
91 Sermon by G. Grady Hardin, July 27, 1980



Series 4: Correspondence, 1950-2015
2 boxes

The fourth series includes professional and personal correspondence spanning from 1950 to 2015. The series begins with folders of general correspondence filed chronologically. It ends with topical folders of correspondence with students and politicians, and a folder of Christmas letters.
Box Folder
739B 01-12 Correspondence, 1950-1989
Box Folder
740A 01-05 Correspondence, 1990-2015
06 Correspondence, Undated
07-08 Correspondence from Students, circa 1970-1990
09 Correspondence: Christmas Letters, 1970-2015
10-12 Correspondence with Legislators and Presidents, 1954-2011



Series 5: Audio-Visual Materials, 1964-1999
1 box

This series includes six audio reels, five audio cassettes, and two video tapes spanning from around 1964 to 1999.
Box
740B Audio tape: Dr. C. Eric Lincoln lecture, March 26, 1969 and Bob Cooper sermon “War Games: Risky Business,” October 9, 1983
Audio tape: “Christian Ethics and Today’s College Student,” circa 1964-1965
Audio tape: General Ford ABM, 1969
Audio tape: untitled, undated (4)
Audio tape: J. Claude Evans, “A Service of Reconciliation,” Washington Street United Methodist Church, July 21, 1996
Audio tape: Sister Helen Prejean, April 18, 1998
Audio tape: Books for Africa, undated
Audio tape: Kanuga NCAPC, J. Claude Evans, speaker, 1999
Video cassette: William Sloan Coffin lecture and 2-part panel on conversion, September 1989
Video cassette: William Sloane Coffin, Jr. sermon “Responding to the Word of God,” February 28, 1993



Series 6: Family History Documents, 1874-1902
1 folder

The final series in the Robert O. Cooper papers comprises a single oversize folder containing baptismal, confirmation, and marriage certificates issued to several of Rev. Cooper’s German-speaking progenitors. The Birk family members noted on the certificates were members of the current Trinity United Methodist Church of Castell, Texas.
File
Flat File 01 Marriage certificate of Jakob Birk and Sophia Schmith, 1874
Confirmation certificate of Louis Birk, 1888
Baptismal certificate (1875) of Hulda Auguste Hoerster, 1894
Marriage certificate of Louis Birk and Hulda Hoerster, 1902