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Descriptive Summary

Title: Marshall Herff Applewhite papers
Dates: 1944-1970
Accession Number(s): 2007-009
Extent: 1.5 inches
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Austin Seminary Archives at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Biographical Note: Marshall Herff Applewhite (1901-1971) was a Presbyterian minister in Texas. Applewhite was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 3rd, 1901, and was licensed and ordained in 1929 after receiving degrees from the University of Texas and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He served as pastor at many churches in Texas, was stated clerk of the Fort Worth and John Knox Presbyteries, and worked extensively with the Presbytery’s Home Missions Committee on new church development.

Applewhite was notably involved in the founding of the Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1946. The only structure Applewhite could secure for the church in light of war-time material restrictions was 50 miles away, and had to be floated on a barge to its new location.

Applewhite was married and had four children, one of whom, Marshall Herff Applewhite Jr., was the founder and leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Marshall Herff Applewhite died in 1971.

Scope and Contents: 1.5 inches of correspondence, reports, printed material, and pastoral record books (1945-1970) relate to Marshall Herff Applewhite’s ministerial career in Texas, particularly his work with various committees in the Presbyterian Church. The material is arranged in two series: Committee Work (1944-1967) and Pastoral Records (1945-1970).

The first series, Committee Work (1944-1967), is comprised primarily of correspondence recording Applewhite’s involvement with committees in the Presbyterian Church, particularly his work in church development with the Presbytery’s Home Missions Committee. The bulk of the correspondence in this series is with Paul S. Van Dyke, superintendent of the Home Missions Committee, West Texas Presbytery, regarding Applewhite’s visits to seminaries, where he recruited men to serve at new churches. Also well documented is the founding of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church. A blueprint of the seating plan for Woodlawn was removed from the folder in which it was originally housed, and moved to a larger box for preservation. The second series, Pastoral Records (1945-1970), contains five volumes of pastoral record books of marriage and baptism records spanning roughly half of Applewhite’s career.

Materials in accession #2007-009 were originally held at the Montreat office of the Presbyterian Historical Society. They were transferred to the Austin Seminary Archives in 2007.

Restrictions: Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.

Index Terms:
Applewhite, Marshall Herff, 1901-1971.
Van Dyke, Paul S.
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.--Presbytery of Western Texas.
Woodlawn Presbyterian Church (Corpus Christi, Tex.)
Presbyterian Church--Clergy. 

Other Finding Aids: This finding aid is also available in PDF format, which may be more suitable for printing. Click here to download the PDF version.

Preferred Citation: Marshall Herff Applewhite papers, 1944-1970, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary


Box Number:
B097   Committee Work (1944-1967):
    Presbytery’s Home Mission Committee—Correspondence, 1946-1948
    Construction of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church:
FF 10      Seating plan blueprint, 1947
B097   Educational Tithing Foundation, 1947-1949
    Assembly’s Commission on Evangelism, 1944
    Report to John Knox Church Extension Committee, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, 1967
    Report to John Knox Church Extension Committee, Bethel Presbyterian Church, 1967
B092   Pastoral Records (1945-1970)
    Baptism and Marriage Records (five volumes), 1945-1970

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