George Noel Mayhew Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Papers of George Noel Mayhew date from approximately 1853 to 1965 and document his education and career as a religious scholar and businessman. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Extensive correspondence document Mayhew’s career and his participation in the Disciples of Christ Church and his writings and business records provide insight into his many fields of interest. The papers are comprised of approximately thirteen cubic feet (40 boxes, 1 flat) of correspondence, teaching materials, Christian Church materials, and business records. The Mayhew Papers are arranged in eight series.
- Personal Records
- Teaching Career
- Christian Church
- Hickman County, Tennessee
- Business Records
Language of Materials
The Correspondence series is the largest in the Mayhew Papers and ranges in date from 1921 to 1962. Included in this series are letters, postcards, telegrams, and holiday greetings. The correspondence reflects his early association with the Christian Church and youth organizations such as the Y.M.C.A. and the Christian Youth Movement. Significant correspondence with members of the Disciples of Christ Church, the Disciples Foundation at Vanderbilt University, and his family in Virginia are included. Correspondence regarding the McKibbon Universal Wrench Company are located in the Business Records series. This series is arranged chronologically and alphabetically.
The Personal Records series consists of biographical sketches, diaries, bills and receipts, and the wills of George Noel Mayhew. Also included in this series are wills and deeds from George Noel Mayhew’s family.
The Education series documents Mayhew’s scholarly career at Lynchburg College, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, and the University of Chicago. This series is primarily made up of lecture notes and papers written during his college education.
The Teaching Career materials consist of class lecture notes, quizzes, test and paperwork created while a professor at Vanderbilt University. There are reports of committees on which he served and student records from classes he taught. Of interest are files Mayhew collected during his long association with the National Council on Religion in Higher Education and his work as dean of the Disciples Foundation.
The series entitled Writings is comprised of bibliographies, articles, papers, and research done by George Noel Mayhew during his career. The main themes of these works are Orientalism, comparative religion, and the Christian Church.
The materials of the Christian Church series consist of minutes of meetings, brochures, correspondence, and ephemera associated with the three Christian Churches, although the primary focus of this series is on the Disciples of Christ Church. Membership lists and correspondence from Nashville churches are also included in this series.
The Hickman County series contains information on the history of Hickman County and the transfer of original records to microfilm. George Noel Mayhew assisted with the verification process during the microfilming of the Hickman County records. The majority of these materials are forms completed during the microfilming process.
The series of Business Records in these papers offer a glimpse into the many areas of interest of George Noel Mayhew. Three main businesses are reflected in these records: the Gladstone Apartments in Nashville, Tennessee; the Pinewood Farms in Virginia; and the McKibbon Universal Wrench Company of Chicago, Illinois. The materials consist of the financial records of these businesses and in the case of the McKibbon Company the minutes, by-laws, stock books, checkbooks, and correspondence of the company. Of interest in this series are the ledger books of Pinewood Farms from 1853 to 1914, which detail early operation of the farm.
George Noel Mayhew was born February 20, 1897 on a farm near Mt. Airy, Virginia. He was one of seven children born to George Washington Mayhew and Bettie Sue Hodnett Mayhew. He attended the Renan High School and Preparatory Department of Lynchburg College from 1914 to 1918. Upon graduation he attended Lynchburg College where he graduated with an A. B. in 1922. Over the next ten years he attained a M. A. from Vanderbilt University, a B. D. from Yale University and a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago.
His specialty was the field of Oriental religions, but his interests extended from agriculture to zoology. At Yale he was one of thirty-six picked for the first post-war friendship mission to Europe. At the University of Chicago he was awarded the Bateson travel fellowship and later in life traveled widely in Latin America.
He was a state student secretary for the Y. M. C. A. in 1922 and remained strongly allied with Christian youth movements the rest of his life. Mayhew was associate minister at Vine Street Christian Church from 1923-1925 and the dean of the Disciples Foundation at Vanderbilt University from 1927-1936.
George Noel Mayhew taught at Vanderbilt from 1939 to 1950. At the School of Religion Mayhew was active in the Rural Life Institute, the Student Christian Association, and the Disciples of Christ Divinity House. At the School of Religion the style of his instruction, erudite and searching was renowned and often quoted by students.
He was a long-time member of the National Council on Religion in Higher Education, the American Association of University Professors, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
On April 21, 1934 George Noel Mayhew married Beulah McLean Leech, they had no children.
He owned and ran a number of farms, including a citrus farm in Florida where he retired to in the 1950’s. At one time he was also president of the McKibbon Universal Wrench Company. This company produced a specialized wrench used in heavy machinery, such as train couplers. The McKibbon Company sold off its assets and folded in 1940.
He died at his home in Florida on August 7, 1965.
- February 20, 1897 Born near Mt. Airy, Virginia
- 1922 Received an A. B. from Lynchburg College
- 1922 State student secretary of Y. M. C. A. in Tennessee
- 1923-1925 Associate minister at Vine Street Church in Nashville, Tennessee
- 1926 Received a B. D. from Yale University
- 1927 Received an A. M. from Vanderbilt University
- 1927-1936 Dean of Disciples Foundation at Vanderbilt University
- 1927-1934 Associate Professor of Church Organization and Administration at Vanderbilt University School of Religion
- 1932 Received a Ph. D. from Chicago University
- April 21, 1934 Marries Beulah McLean Leech
- 1937-1938 Professor of Comparative Religions at Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science
- 1939-1950 Professor of History of Religions and Biblical Literature at Vanderbilt University School of Religion
- 1939 Chairman of the Faculty of the School of Religion
- 1946 Tours South America
- 1950 Teaches part-time due to heart condition
- 1963-1965 Professor Emeritus
- August 7, 1965 Died in Florida
- February 20, 1897
- Born near Mt. Airy, Virginia
- Received an A. B. from Lynchburg College
- State student secretary of Y. M. C. A. in Tennessee
- Associate minister at Vine Street Church in Nashville, Tennessee
- Received a B. D. from Yale University
- Received an A. M. from Vanderbilt University
- Dean of Disciples Foundation at Vanderbilt University
- Associate Professor of Church Organization and Administration at Vanderbilt University School of Religion
- Received a Ph. D. from Chicago University
- April 21, 1934
- Marries Beulah McLean Leech
- Professor of Comparative Religions at Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science
- Professor of History of Religions and Biblical Literature at Vanderbilt University School of Religion
- Chairman of the Faculty of the School of Religion
- Tours South America
- Teaches part-time due to heart condition
- Professor Emeritus
- August 7, 1965
- Died in Florida
16.80 Linear Feet
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Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States