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William Postell Witsell personal and family collection

William Postell Witsell personal and family collection

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Finding aid for the William Postell Witsell personal and family collection

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

September 6, 2006



Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-11-25T14:10-0600
Language: English

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Witsell, William Postell, 1874-1959
Title: William Postell Witsell personal and family collection
Dates: 1895-2001
Quantity: 7.2 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains papers of William Postell Witsell, D.D., who was rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock from 1927, until his retirement in 1947.
Identification: BC.MSS.02.15
Language: English

Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically and topically, and is divided into four series. Series I contains materials of Dr. William Postell Witsell. Series II contains genealogy research materials collected by Charles Witsell, Jr. Series III consists of photographs. Series IV contains materials of Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson Witsell (mother of Charles Witsell Jr.)

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers of William Postell Witsell, D.D., who was rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock from 1927, until his retirement in 1947. Included are correspondence, biographical and genealogical information, newspaper articles, church history, sermons, and photographs, as well as books and articles authored by Dr. Witsell. Also included in the collection are correspondence and genealogical research materials compiled by Dr. Witsell's grandson Charles Witsell Jr., a prominent Little Rock architect and preservationist; and materials of Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson Witsell, Charles Witsell's Mother.


Biographical Information

William Postell Witsell was born in Walterboro, South Carolina, on December 6, 1874, the fifth son of Dr. Charles Witsell and Emmeline Fishburne Witsell. After attending local public schools, he entered South Carolina Military College, graduating with a B.S. in 1894. He taught at Porter Military Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, for a short time before entering Hobart College in Geneva, New York, where he earned a B.Litt. degree in 1896. He then earned a B.D. from General Theological Seminary, in New York City, in 1899. In 1925, Dr. Witsell received a D.D. degree from the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee.

William Postell Witsell married Addie May Cherry on December 27, 1899. They had seven children.

Dr. Witsell was ordained as a deacon in 1899, and as an Episcopal priest in 1900. His first rectorate was at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Columbia, South Carolina. He was rector of churches in Meridian, Mississippi and Waco, Texas before coming to Little Rock as rector of Christ Episcopal Church in April 1927.

While at Christ Church he guided construction of the church parish house, finished in 1929, and rebuilding of the church after it was destroyed by fire in October 1938. During his time as rector, the church membership doubled, as had the membership in his two previous parishes. Dr. Witsell retired in 1947.

Dr. Witsell held almost every post in the Diocese of Arkansas. He represented the diocese at every General Convention of the Episcopal Church from 1928-1946. He was a member of the National Council of the Episcopal Church for over nine years. He was a trustee of the University of the South for many years, representing the state of Arkansas.

Dr. Witsell served as a delegate to the General Triennial Convention of the Episcopal Church from 1913 to 1943, and was also a delegate to the Worldwide Congress of the Episcopal Church in London in 1908 and 1943. Dr. Witsell was never elected bishop. As a young man, he sustained a severe hearing loss after a prolonged ear infection. Many church leaders felt this would hinder him from performing the duties of a bishop.

Dr. Witsell was listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Arkansas, the Biographical Encyclopedia of the World, and Who's Who in the Clergy. His biography was included in Arkansas and its People, 1930.

Dr. Witsel's published works include Our Church One Through the Ages, 1923, second edition 1929; The Bible and Evolution, 1925; A History of Christ Episcopal Church, Little Rock, Arkansas, 1839-1947; Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, 1953; and Come, 1955.

In addition to his church work, Dr. Witsell was active in many community activities. He was chairman of the Little Rock Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1927 to 1929, and a director of the Pulaski County Community Chest. He was also a director of the Little Rock Kiwanis Club.

Dr. Witsell died December 28, 1959 and is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park.


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Arkansas -- Biography.
Christ Episcopal Church. (Little Rock, Ark.)
Episcopal Church.
Religon.
Witsell, Addie May Cherry, 1875-1974
Witsell, William Postell, 1874-1959

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted Access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William Postell Witsell personal and family collection, MSS.02.15, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by Charles Witsell Jr., October 2002


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