Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Inventory:

University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Jerry R. Tompkins Papers: The Scopes Trial and the Epperson Case Records, 1951-1998



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Tompkins, Jerry R.
Title: Tompkins, Jerry R., Papers: The Scopes Trial and the Epperson Case Records
Dates: 1951-1998
Abstract: The Jerry R. Tompkins Papers: The Scopes Trial and Epperson Case Records, 1951-1998, consist of research notes, correspondence, photographs, audiotapes, legal agreements, royalty statements, scrapbooks of evolution articles, articles on evolution in schools, galley proofs, and books, which document Tompkins’ research on the John T. Scopes Trial of 1925 for his book D-Days at Dayton and on the Epperson v. Arkansas case in the late 1960s for numerous articles on the case.
Accession No.: 99-153; 2000-276
Extent: 2 ft., 3 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in 1931, Jerry R. Tompkins is the son of Robert Alva Tompkins (1899-1997) and Hazel Chase Tompkins (1905-1989) and the nephew of Mary Henrietta Chase (1908-1997) and Frances Tompkins Hall. Tompkins earned a B.A. in political science from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and trained as a Presbyterian minister at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas. In the 1960s and 1970s, Tompkins worked as a Presbyterian Church minister in Louisiana and Arkansas, returning to Austin in 1974. Additionally, he worked as a reporter for Science News and contributed articles, primarily on evolution, to various newspapers and magazines.

While at the First Presbyterian Church of Monticello, Arkansas, Tompkins first met John Thomas Scopes (1900-1970) in 1962. After several interviews and years of correspondence, Tompkins edited a book on the Scopes Trial, entitled D-Days at Dayton: Reflections on the Scopes Trial (1965). In 1925, the state of Tennessee had charged Scopes with violating the state’s Butler Act by teaching evolution at Rhea County High School in Dayton. The trial brought national publicity, as well as numerous reporters and celebrities, to the town. Former U.S. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan headed the prosecution, while famed lawyer Clarence Darrow represented the defense. Although found guilty, Scopes was not punished as the case had been thrown out on a technicality. The trial led to a more forceful anti-evolution movement, and some other states enacted similar legislation. In fact, Tennessee did not repeal the Butler Act until 1967.

Tompkins’ interest in the teaching of evolution led him to research and write articles on the Epperson Case, known as Epperson v. Arkansas. In Arkansas, a 1928 statute modeled after Tennessee's Butler Act prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. After the Little Rock Central High School in 1965 approved a new science textbook that included a chapter on evolution, Susan Epperson filed a suit to test the constitutionality of the statute and prevent it from dismissing her for teaching the textbook’s contents. In 1967, the Arkansas Supreme Court left the ban in place. Epperson appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1968 overturned the statute on grounds that it aligned too much with a particular religious view.

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Scope and Contents

The Jerry R. Tompkins Papers: The Scopes Trial and Epperson Case Records, 1951-1998, consist of research notes, correspondence, photographs, audiotapes, legal agreements, royalty statements, scrapbooks of evolution articles, articles on evolution in schools, galley proofs, and books, which document Tompkins’ research on the John T. Scopes Trial of 1925 for his book D-Days at Dayton and on the Epperson v. Arkansas case in the late 1960s. The first series on D-Days at Dayton and the Scopes Trial contain correspondence and drafts of the book’s chapters by contributing authors, including John T. Scopes, Lamont C. Cole, Carlyle Marney, the estate of H. L. Mencken, and others. The series also contains correspondence with Louisiana State University (LSU) Press, potential publishers, and other writers on evolution, as well as scrapbooks, books, articles, and pamphlets on the trial and evolution. Additional materials include photographs depicting Scopes and the trial, royalty statements and a book agreement with LSU Press, and galley proofs for the book. The second series on the Susan Epperson Case contains articles on the case and teaching evolution in schools, drafts of articles by Tompkins, correspondence with newspaper and magazine editors, and photographs of Susan Epperson.

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Arrangement

The papers are arranged into two series:
  • I. D-Days at Dayton and Scopes Trial
  • II. Epperson Case

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Jerry R. Tompkins retains copyright for correspondence, research notes, and drafts he produced during his research on the Scopes Trial and Epperson Case.

Use Restrictions

Use of photographic negatives requires an appointment; please contact the photos archivist for more information.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Tompkins, Jerry R. -- Archives.
Scopes, John Thomas.
Scopes, John Thomas -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Epperson, Susan.
Epperson, Susan -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Subjects
Evolution (Biology) -- Study and teaching
Evolution (Biology) -- Study and teaching -- Law and legislation

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Related Material

See also Jerry R. Tompkins Family Papers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jerry R. Tompkins Papers: The Scopes Trial and the Epperson Case Records, 1951-1998, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

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Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory:

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3U214 D-Days at Dayton and Scopes Trial:
Contributing writers:
Lamont C. Cole, 1964-1966
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2.325/AA14b Galley proof of Appendix C: "Affidavit read to the Court at Dayton, Tennessee, July 20, 1925," Dr. Fay-Cooper Cole
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3U214 John Dillenberger, 1963-1966
H.L. Mencken, 1964
Kirtley F. Mather, 1963-1969
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2.325/AA14b Galley proof of Appendix B: "Affidavit read to the Court at Dayton Tennessee, July 20, 1975," Kirtley F. Mather
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3U214 Watson Davis, 1963-1967
John Thomas Scopes, 1963-1965
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3Y37a Photographs (color and negatives) of John Thomas Scopes, Shreveport, Louisiana, April 17, 1963
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3U214 Winterton C. Curtis, 1955-1966
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2.325/AA14b Galley proof of Appendix A: "Affidavit read to the Court at Dayton, Tennessee, July 25, 1925," Winterton C. Curtis
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3U214 Carlyle Marney, 1963-1966
Jerry R. Tompkins, 1951-1968
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3Y37a Photograph of Jerry R. Tompkins, Monticello, Arkansas, 1965
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3U214 Articles by Jerry R. Tompkins, 1966-1972
Correspondence with prospective publishers, 1962-1965
Regarding disposition of royalties (ACLU), 1966-1967
Permission to quote, 1964-1965
Correspondence with L. Sprague de Camp and Gilbert McAllister, 1963-1968
General articles, 1962-1967
General articles (newspaper and magazine clippings), 1963-1998
General articles, book reviews, and miscellaneous material regarding Darwin, Scopes, and evolution controversies, 1963-1998
Media interest, 1962-1965
Louisiana State University Press correspondence and royalty statements, 1965-1992
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2.325/AA14b Book agreement, April 13, 1965
Royalty statement for 6-month period ending July 7, 1977
Royalty statement for 6-month period ending January 31, 1978
Royalty statement for 12-month period ending August 15, 1978
Royalty statement for 12-month period ending December 31, 1979
Royalty statement for 12-month period ending December 31, 1982
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3U214 Jerry R. Tompkins, correspondence, 1961-1970
Ronald L. Numbers, article and correspondence, 1996-1997
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3U215 Scrapbook, D-Days at Dayton, 1965-1993
Scrapbook of general articles on Darwin, Evolution, and Scopes, Correspondence/related materials, 1962-1977
Stanley L. Weinberg and Creationist issues, 1968-1992
Book, D-Days at Dayton, edited by Jerry R. Tompkins, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1965
Book, Textbook of General Zoology, 4th edition, Winterton C. Curtis, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1947
Pamphlet, "How Valid is the Theory of Evolution?" Willard L. Henning, Ph.D., undated
Booklet, "Remembering the Scopes Trial: The 'Great Monkey Trial,'" June-September, 1965
Booklet, "Scopes: Creation on Trial," by R.M. Cornelius and John D. Morris, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, California, 1995
Book, What Darwin Really Said, by Benjamin Farrington, Schocken Books, New York, 1966
Book, Voices for Evolution, edited by Betty McCollister, The National Center for Science Education, Inc. Berkeley, California, 1989
Epperson Case:
Louisiana Creationist Case, "People for the American Way" Conferences, related materials, 1983-1988
Articles, correspondence, briefs, Science News items, 1965-1998
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3Y37a Black and white photographs and negatives of Jerry and Marcia Tompkins, Susan Epperson, and John Thomas Scopes, 1966, 1969
Black and white photographs, Eugene R. Warren, Susan Epperson, and Forrest Rozzell, 1967
Black and white photographs of Susan Epperson and son, [1968?]
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2X300 Audiocassette (4):
Interview with John T. Scopes, 2/8/1963 (tape 1)
Interview with John T. Scopes, 2/8/1963 (tape 2)
Interview with John T. Scopes, 4/17/1963
Immortality; An Ideal Republic; Bryan's Last Fight and John T. Scopes Trial, sung by Vernon Dalhart; Virgin Birth; 23rd Psalm; Cross of Gold; Lord's Prayer
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3.235/S74 Reel to Reel (3):
Interview with John T. Scopes, 2/8/1963
Interview with John T. Scopes, 4/17/1963
Immortality; An Ideal Republic; Bryan's Last Fight and John T. Scopes Trial, sung by Vernon Dalhart; Virgin Birth; 23rd Psalm; Cross of Gold; Lord's Prayer

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