A Guide to the J. B. Cranfill Papers, 1844-1941
Baptist leader James Britton Buchanan Boone "J. B." Cranfill (1858-1942) was born in Parker County, Texas, to Dr. Eaton A. Cranfill and the former Martha Jane Galloway. While teaching in Crawford, Cranfill married his student Olivia "Ollie" Allen in 1878. The next year he earned a doctor’s license and began practicing in Turnersville, where Cranfill also ran a cash store and the local newspaper, Effort. Over the next decade, Cranfill published the Gatesville Advance, Waco Advance, and State Mission Journal. After being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1890, he served as superintendent of Texas Baptist mission work until 1892. As Prohibition Party candidate for Vice President of the United States, Cranfill toured the southern states in 1892 to garner votes for himself and Presidential candidate John Bidwell, losing to the Democratic candidates, Grover Cleveland and Adlai E. Stevenson.
With Belton pastor M. V. Smith in 1892, Cranfill acquired and edited the Western Baptist, renamed the Texas Baptist Standard. While editor at the paper, Cranfill continually argued with Samuel A. Hayden of the Texas Baptist and Herald about the administration of Texas Baptists missionaries. Following a confrontation between the two men in 1904, Cranfill sold the Texas Baptist Standard and the next year began editing the Baptist Tribune, which he left in 1907.
Cranfill served as trustee of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1909-1942), trustee of the Relief and Annuity Board (1920-1942), and vice president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (1928). He wrote Courage and Comfort (1895), Cranfill’s Chronicles (1916), and From Nature to Grace (1924), among others. Cranfill also edited and compiled numerous books by Benajah Harvey Carroll, James Milton Carroll, and George Washington Truett.
Summerlin, Travis L. "Cranfill, James Britton Buchanan Boone."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 10, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcr07.
The J. B. Cranfill Papers, 1844-1941, document the career of Baptist minister and editor J. B. Cranfill in five series of correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, literary productions, and photographs and negatives. Arranged alphabetically, the first series, Correspondence, 1844-1941, contains missives between Cranfill and family members, pastors, politicians, educators, and writers, including B. H. Carroll, Corra Harris, Herbert Hoover, Pat Neff, J. D. Sandefer, and Morris Shepard. The second series, Literary productions, 1867-1930, consist of genealogical narratives about the Isom Cranfill family, poetry, newspaper clippings, and writings by Cranfill and others, including lectures, speeches, biographies, and articles concerning scripture, medical advise, preachers, Comanche Indians, Texas history, and local politics. Furthermore, the literary productions contain transcripts of his newspaper editorial, “Cranfill’s Chronicle.” The third series, Legal documents, 1909, 1923, concern lawsuits against petroleum companies, while the fourth series, Financial documents, 1910, 1919, include bills and receipts for Cranfill. Finally, the fifth series, photographs and negatives depict Dr. F. M. Land, Hon. George W. Jones, and possibly Cordie Webb Ingram and Mrs. Martha Woodruff, among other unidentified people.
This collection is open for research use.
Use of photographic negatives by appointment only; please contact photo archivist for more information.
J. B. Cranfill Papers, 1844-1941, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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.
Detailed Description of the Papers