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Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire Manuscript Collection (1925 - 1998)
RepositoryPrinceton Theological Seminary Library, Special Collections [preliminary]
Size669 Boxes (650 linear feet)
Collection Description
Carl [Charles Curtis, Jr.] McIntire was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan on May 17, 1906. His father, Charles Curtis McIntire, was a 1904 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. Prevented by ill health from realizing his initial hope to serve as a missionary to China, Charles Curtis McIntire went on to serve as pastor to the Presbyterian church in Ypsilanti (1904-1907), to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City (1907-1910), and as executive secretary of the Presbyterian Laymen's Foreign Missionary Movement for the Synod of Iowa (1911-1912). However, the elder McIntire suffered from mental health problems and a breakdown forced him to enter a hospital in 1913 when his son was 7 years old. Following his recovery he went on to serve briefly as a pastor in Vinita, Oklahoma (1920-1921) and then to an extended traveling ministry as a preacher and special lecturer at colleges, seminaries, and especially penal institutions all across the country. Based in Washington, D.C., he continued this ministry through the early 1950s and died in 1962. Carl McIntire's mother was Hettie Hotchkin McIntire, a teacher and librarian. She returned to her native Oklahoma, was divorced from her husband in 1920, and raised her children as a single mother. Although she eventually became dean of women at Southeastern State Teacher's College in Durant, OK, Carl McIntire grew up "dirt-poor." As a young man he did farm chores, and during his college years worked as a janitor at the college and in a local church. He attended college at Southeastern State, but transferred to Park College in Parkville, MO, for his senior year and received his diploma there.

McIntire enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary, his father's alma mater, in 1928. He was s elected president of his first-year class in 1928-1929. When the school was reorganized amid much controversy in 1929, McIntire withdrew to follow his mentor, J. Gresham Machen, to Westminster Theological Seminary, founded by Machen in a dispute over the theological direction of both Princeton Seminary and the denomination's Board of Foreign Missions. Thereafter both Machen and McIntire became two of the most well known Presbyterians who took the fundamentalist side in the so-called modernist-fundamentalist controversy of the 1920s and 1930s. This was a bitter time for the Presbyterian Church.

McIntire graduated from Westminster Seminary and from 1931 to 1933 served as pastor of the Chelsea Presbyterian Church in Atlantic City, NJ. In 1933 he was invited to become pastor of the 1,200-member Collingswood Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, NJ, the largest church in the Presbytery of West Jersey. He also became one of the founding members of Machen's Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, organized as a conservative alternative to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions.

McIntire's opposition to the theology and structures of the Presbyterian Church soon attracted attention and he was investigated by the presbytery and convicted of "sowing dissension within the church." His ministerial credentials were revoked in 1935 and the following year he was among 34 ministers who organized what is now the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. McIntire's Collingswood congregation withdrew from the Presbyterian Church and became one of the flagship congregations of the new denomination.

Although McIntire was originally committed to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he and Machen soon parted ways. McIntire found the new denomination insufficiently conservative. He went on to found his own Protestant church, the Bible Presbyterian Church (with a weekly newspaper, the Christian Beacon), and in 1937 he organized his own graduate school, Faith Theological Seminary on the then palatial Widener Estate in Philadelphia. Fighting "Modernism" on the left and McIntire on the right, the stress on Machen took its toll. The 55-year-old reformer succumbed to pneumonia and died suddenly on January 1, 1937. McIntire quickly became the voice of the Bible Presbyterian Church.

The Beacon had proclaimed in a front-page editorial that it was to carry news of a religious nature and would "not enter into politics one whit." However, McIntire's theological, social, and political agenda was everywhere implied, and later was overtly stated in his publications, on his radio program, and through his demonstrations. At the height of its circulation the Beacon had about 250,000 readers which greatly extended the influence of McIntire's 8,000-member Bible Presbyterian Church.

In 1938 the Collingswood church lost its battle with the Presbyterian Church to retain its property, but McIntyre gradually acquired an entire city block in Collingswood with property and buildings worth, at the time, the huge sum of over $1 million. He established a denominational headquarters in Cape May, NJ, where he purchased the Christian Admiral Hotel and used it as a conference and retreat center.

As a corrective to perceived social and political ills, McIntire carried on battles with local municipalities, the Federal Communications Commission, and various Protestant denominations. He declined to join with conservative "Neo-evangelicals" in 1942, when they organized the National Association of Evangelicals. He strongly opposed Communism, the United Nations, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and the Civil Rights movement.

A brilliant and effective preacher, McIntire used fiery rhetoric during the 1950s to denounce various Protestant denominations and churches which "leaned toward Communism." He called well-known evangelist Billy Graham "a cover for the apostates" and his crusade a "ministry of disobedience." He considered the Southern Baptists to be "soggy compromisers," and he referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "fascist." During the Viet Nam War he organized several "Marches for Victory" in Washington, D.C.

During the mid-1950s the Bible Presbyterian Church was in turmoil over allegations that McIntire was inflating the membership statistics of his American Council of Christian Churches and charges that the Council's finances were in disarray. This controversy, part of a power struggle within the denomination, led to a schism within the Bible Presbyterian Church, when a large faction left to organize the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. The group subsequently became part of the Presbyterian Church in America, also known as the PCA.

By the mid-1960s the outspoken minister had attracted thousands of followers whose donations enabled him to build a multi-million dollar empire. His radio show, the Twentieth-Century Reformation Hour, was heard on more than 600 stations and listeners sent about 4,000 letters daily. The donations in these letters amounted to about $4 million per year.

However, during the 1970s McIntire experienced a reversal of fortunes and his empire began to crumble. The first sign of trouble appeared at Faith Theological Seminary. In 1971 the school president and the majority of its professors, experiencing some disagreements with McIntire, left organize Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, PA. His two colleges, Shelton College in Cape May and Highlands College in Pasadena, CA, also had difficulties and eventually lost their accreditation.

In the 1980s, as his followers aged and many split away, contributions to McIntyre's ministry rapidly declined. He soon owed back taxes on his properties and lost most of his properties. His congregation at the Collingswood Presbyterian Church had dwindled significantly by the mid-1990s, but McIntyre refused retirement and a pension. The session appealed to the presbytery which eventually declared the church pulpit vacant. McIntire was still holding services in his home when he died just before his 96th birthday.
Collection Contents
The collection consists of documents, photographs, audio and video recordings, and ephemera. It is arranged in 9 series: 1-McIntire Files, 2-McIntire Related Organizations, 3-Christian Beacon and 20th Century Reformation, 4-Publications and Press, 5-Properties, 6-Photographs, Recorded Media, and Ephemera, 7-Robert Mulholland Collection (dissertation materials), 8-Materials

The online finding aid includes a number of Newark references:

Box 357: 16. New Jersey Council of Christian Churches (NJCCC) Meeting, Newark, May 5, 1953

Box 437: 21. Rosen, Howard T., Esquire, Rosen and Weiss, 810 Broad Street, Newark

Box 439: 6. US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Newark, NJ

Box 443: 22. Shelton College - Report to New Jersey Legislature, re: Disturbances, Newark and Camden Campuses of Rutgers (Dungan)

Box 553: 26. Catalogue, "Evangel College and Theological Seminary," Newark, NJ, 1937
FormatsAudio materials; Photographic materials; Textual materials
SubjectsPolitics and Government; Religion / Churches
Time Period20th Century
LanguagesChinese; Dutch; English; German; Korean; Vietnamese
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finding Aid URL