The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Number: M389
Volume: 4.5 cubic feet
Stephen C. Rose (b. New York City, 1936) earned his B.A. from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1958, and his B.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1961. For some ten years he would be an active reformer of the Christian faith in America, mostly through his efforts as a writer, public speaker, and magazine editor.
Rose spent the summer of 1961 as assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, a historically black congregation. He was assigned to the church as part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Student Interracial Ministry Project. While in Nashville, Rose met preacher and author Will D. Campbell, who would become a lifelong friend.
In September 1961 Rose found work in the communications section of the Chicago City Missionary Society, an outreach organization founded in 1886 and now associated with the United Churches of Christ. In that capacity, Rose founded and edited Renewal, a semi-monthly magazine that covered urban renewal and issues of faith in the inner city. He would serve as editor from 1962 to 1966. Between 1966 and 1967, Rose worked as a staff writer for the youth department of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1967 he returned to Chicago, where he would serve two more years editing Renewal before resigning from that post and leaving Chicago for Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
All the while, Rose was also publishing books and magazine articles. Most notably, he was the author of the book The Grass Roots Church, published to wide acclaim in 1966. After 1968, Rose would become a self-employed writer, musician, lecturer, and activist. He held editorial posts at periodicals such as Christian Century and Christianity and Crisis, and published articles and columns in numerous magazines and newspapers. He is currently a direct marketer living and working in New York City.
Contents of the collection.
Other Finding Aids:
The Stephen C. Rose papers include a broad range of materials spanning a significant portion of Mr. Rose’s life. His relations with Will D. Campbell and his participation in the SCLC’s Student Interracial Ministry project should be of interest to researchers of civil rights activities in the southern United States. The collection is divided into three series, two of which contain several subseries.
Series I: Personal Papers:
Series One contains personal correspondence, educational records, financial, legal, and medical documents, and other miscellaneous items. The resume folder is particularly useful; it contains eight resumes and curriculum vitae dating from 1962 to the 1990s. Series one also contains a photograph file.
Series II: Religious Activities:
Series Two consists of materials related to Rose’s religion-centered journalistic, fund-raising, and activist work. Subseries One contains materials from Rose’s tenure as editor of Renewal, including strategic proposals, memos, and some correspondence related to grants and funding. Subseries Two contains correspondence and collected articles from Christianity and Crisis, another religious magazine. Subseries Three contains correspondence and reports on the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), an ecumenical organization. Subseries Four contains materials related to Jonathan’s Wake, an activist organization founded in winter 1969 by Mr. Rose to effect a change in leadership in the National Council of Churches. This subseries also encompasses related activist groups and initiatives started by Mr. Rose. Subseries Five includes correspondence and other materials related to Rose’s work as a fundraiser for Will Campbell’s Committee of Southern Churchmen in the early 1980s.
Series III: Other Employment:
Series Three includes materials related to Rose’s non-religious employment, mainly after 1970. Subseries One deals with journalism and contains clippings from various newspaper columns. Subseries Two contains materials from Mr. Rose’s musical career. It includes lyrics, sheet music, records and cassette tapes, promotional materials, and related documents. Subseries Three holds unpublished manuscripts and other materials from Mr. Rose’s writing career, including notes on determined and undetermined subjects, personal notebooks, journals, poetry, some sermons, and copies of several books written by Rose and other authors.