Robert Burns Eleazer Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0129

Scope and Contents

The Robert Burns Eleazer Papers (1877–1973) include correspondence and writings by Eleazer as well as newspaper clippings, course and program outlines, press releases and pamphlets. There are several autobiographical writings as well as a transcription of Mr. Eleazer being interviewed by historian John Egerton shortly before Mr. Eleazer’s death in 1973. Writings by others include reviews, articles, pamphlets and student papers.

Eleazer’s manuscripts are divided into several series including Methodism and Christianity, Anti-War writings, writings on Economic and Political Issues in the South and, most prominently, Race Relations. Within the Race Relations series is a subseries on Education which includes material from Eleazer’s twenty years as Education Director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation as well as his subsequent five years as Special Worker in Race Relations for the Methodist Board of Education. This series includes outlines for courses and programs on race relations at the college, high school and adult education level. Additionally, the collection includes a large scrapbook containing extensive documentation of Eleazer’s years with the Methodist Board of Education. Letters, essays, clippings and pamphlets make this a fascinating document of civil rights work in the 1940’s. The Eleazer Papers also include press releases from both the Commission on Interracial Cooperation and the Methodist Board of Education and a collection of pamphlets and brochures produced by the CIC for their educational efforts in the South.

The Papers consist of 4 Hollinger boxes (1.668 linear feet) and one flat box containing a large scrapbook. The bulk of the materials come from the 1920’s through the late 1940’s.

Dates

  • 1877 - 1973

Biographical Note - Robert Burns Eleazer

Robert Burns Eleazer (1877-1973) was born in Bellsburg, TN. He attended Southwestern Presbyterian University in Clarksville, TN and received his B.A in 1898 and his M.A. in 1899. In 1910, he married Ethel Fleming; they had three children.

After college, Eleazer tried several occupations that were to prepare him well for his later work. In 1900, he became a candidate for the Prohibitionist Party and, soon thereafter, a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. After becoming a journalist in Clarksville and editing several small local newspapers, he was asked, in 1907, to join the Tennessee Anti-Saloon league as a Field Worker and editor of their official paper The American Issue. In 1909, he moved to Nashville to work as Office Secretary for the Laymen’s Missionary Movement, an agency of the Southern Methodist Board of Missions. For the next thirteen years he worked for the Mission Board of the Methodist Church, editing their official magazine The Missionary Voice. This period also saw the beginning of his anti-war activism, as he opposed the US entry into WWI. Due to his involvement in the Methodist Church’s Movement for Revision, an effort to limit the power of Bishops and make the church more democratic, his contract was not renewed in 1922.

Eleazer was then asked by his friend Dr. Will Alexander to move to Atlanta to work as Education Director for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. He worked tirelessly for the CIC for twenty years until 1942, when the organization was restructured into the Southern Regional Council. Mr. Eleazer then returned to Nashville where he spent the next seven years as “Special Worker in Race Relations” for the Methodist General Board of Education until his retirement.

Extent

1.68 Linear Feet (4 Hollinger boxes and 1 flat box)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The Robert Burns Eleazer Papers (1877–1973) include correspondence and writings by Eleazer as well as newspaper clippings, course and program outlines, press releases and pamphlets. There are several autobiographical writings as well as a transcription of Mr. Eleazer being interviewed by historian John Egerton shortly before Mr. Eleazer’s death in 1973. Writings by others include reviews, articles, pamphlets and student papers.

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives
Title
Finding Aid for the The Robert Burns Eleazer Papers
Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

Requesting Materials

Each finding aid contains a link to request materials from the collections. Collections can also be requested by emailing the repository directly through the library website. Each repository has its own location, hours, and contact information. Please consult the repository with questions about using the materials. Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the repository’s reading room. In many cases, the collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval.