Southern Methodist University

Hoyt M. Dobbs correspondence

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Dobbs, Hoyt M.
Title: Hoyt M. Dobbs correspondence
Dates: 1917-1918
Abstract: Hoyt McWhorter Dobbs (1878-1954) was a pastor, educator, and bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. From 1916 to 1920 he served as Dean of the School of Theology of Southern Methodist University. This collection consists of two folders of Dobbs’s business correspondence dating from his years at SMU.
Accession No: Collection BridArch 1.014
Extent: 1 box (0.5 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Hoyt M. Dobbs was born on November 16, 1878 in Antioch, Alabama to Samuel and Laura Clayton Dobbs. He attended Southern University (now Birmingham-Southern), graduating in 1899; and Vanderbilt University (1904), earning an A.M. and B.D., respectively. He also held honorary doctorates in literature, divinity, and law. Hoyt Dobbs married Lessie Ruth Jackson on November 14, 1906, and the couple had three children.

Dobbs was licensed to preach in 1901 in the North Alabama conference, becoming a full elder in 1908. His early charges were Mt. Vernon Church, Fountain Heights, and Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama; Central and Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri; and First Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He served the Perkins School of Theology between 1916 and 1920 as professor of Christian doctrine and as Dean. Dobbs resigned the deanship in March 1920 after a short tenure and was succeeded by Paul B. Kern.

Though Dobbs had expressed a desire to continue as professor of Christian doctrine, he did not return to SMU for the 1920-1921 academic year. Instead he took a pastoral appointment in Alabama, and in 1922 he was elected bishop. Bishop Dobbs served episcopal areas in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Brazil. One period of service to the North Alabama conference coincided with his own father’s residence there as a presiding elder. As Jesse A. Earl notes in his article on Dobbs in the Encyclopedia of World Methodism, "Contemporary Alabamians delighted to tell how the father, even in the intimacies of cabinet meetings, always addressed his son as ‘Bishop,’ and the son always called his father ‘Dr. Dobbs.’"

In 1944 Dobbs retired from the episcopacy due to ill health. He died on December 10, 1954 in Shreveport, Louisiana.


Allen, Joe. Perkins School of Theology. Dallas: SMU Press, 2011.

Earl, Jesse A. "Dobbs, Hoyt McWhorter" in Encyclopedia of World Methodism vol. I. Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974: 697.

Leete, Frederick DeLand. Methodist Bishops. Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1948.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This small correspondence collection offers insights into the administrative work of Hoyt M. Dobbs while he served as Dean of the School of Theology of Southern Methodist University. Most letters in the collection are modern photocopies of original carbon copies of typed letters composed by Dobbs. Original carbon copies were replaced with photocopies in 2011 due to their brittle, heavily acidic state and poor readability. The remaining estimated 10% of the collection consists of original letters written to Dean Dobbs. The collection includes correspondence between Dobbs and scholars, denominational leaders, the Anti-Saloon League of Texas, and the National Committee on the Churches and the Moral Aims of the War [World War I].

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains a single unified series of materials:
Series 1: Business correspondence, 1917-1918


Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgement of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which Bridwell Library assumes no responsibility.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Dobbs, Hoyt M.
Methodist Episcopal Church, South -- Clergy.
Methodist Episcopal Church, South -- Bishops.
Southern Methodist University -- Administration.
Perkins School of Theology -- Administration.
Christian education -- Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Deans (Education) -- Texas -- Dallas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Hoyt M. Dobbs correspondence, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Southern Methodist University Archives, 2011.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Timothy Binkley, 2011. Biographical note by Heather M. Oglevie.

Finding aid written by

Timothy Binkley and Heather M. Oglevie, 2011.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2011.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Business correspondence, 1917-1918
2 folders

Each folder in Series 1, Business correspondence, contains both incoming and outgoing letters filed in chronological order.
Box Folder
314B 1 Correspondence 1917
2 Correspondence 1918