Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Samuel Alexander King papers, 1860-1917

Descriptive Summary

Creator: King, Samuel Alexander
Title: Samuel Alexander King papers
Dates: 1860-1917
Abstract Samuel Alexander King (1834-1918) was a Presbyterian minister in Texas and a faculty member of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The papers of Samuel Alexander King, 1858-1917, document portions of King's career as a minister, professor, and scholar serving the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in Texas.
Identification: 1996-008, 2007-009
Extent: 1 foot, 3 inches, 1 volume
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Biographical note

Samuel Alexander King (1834-1918) was a Presbyterian minister in Texas and a faculty member of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. King was born in Woodford County, Kentucky on October 11, 1834 to Rev. William M. King, a Presbyterian minister, and Lucy Railey King. The family moved to Texas in 1851. King studied theology under the direction of his father and was licensed and ordained by the Presbytery of Western Texas in April 1856 (Conger 1955, 5). King received the degree of Doctor of Laws from Austin College in 1885. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by Baylor University and by Southwestern Presbyterian University.

After his ordination, King traveled extensively throughout Central and East Texas as a circuit minister. During these early years his ministerial work was divided between Crockett, Centerville, Palestine, Larissa, Liberty, Rusk, Garden Valley, Randolph, Antrim Church, Fairfield, Union Academy, Waco, San Marcos, Milford and Huntsville (Conger, 6). He was stated supply for Crockett and Centerville (1856-1860) and then Milford (1861-1866). By 1863 he was preaching at the First Presbyterian Church of Waco once a month and became the Church's full-time minister in 1882 (Conger, 9).

While pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Waco, King served the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in various capacities. In 1877, under the appointment of the General Assembly, King attended the Pan-Presbyterian Council in Edinburgh, Scotland (Conger, 9). He served as Moderator of the Synod of Texas in 1867 and in 1889. In 1892 he served as Moderator of the General Assembly. In addition, he periodically served on various General Assembly and presbytery committees.

In 1902 King accepted the position of professor of Systematic Theology at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas. His theology was rooted in the strain of strict Calvinism expounded by the conservative theologians Robert Lewis Dabney and Charles Hodges. Student accounts of King indicate that he was highly respected as a scholar of Calvinism as well as a practicing minister.

Published writings of King include: Presbyterianism (1901), The System of Theology of the Westminster Standards (1905), How Far Has Original Calvinism Been Modified By Time? (1909), and Presbyterian Doctrines, As Contained in the Five Points of Calvinism (1909). In January of 1913, King outlined a proposal for the reunification of the Presbyterian Church in "Presbyterian Union - A Suggestion," an article which appeared in several denominational newspapers.

King retired from the Seminary in 1914 at age 80. He remained in Austin until his death in September of 1918.

Reference: Conger, Roger Norman. 1955. The First Presbyterian Church of Waco, Texas: A Memorial History, 1855-1955. [Waco, Texas].

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Samuel Alexander King, 1858-1917, document portions of King's career as a minister, professor, and scholar serving the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in Texas. Though many of the sermons and sermon materials are from the early years of King's ministerial work, the remaining papers predominately document the work of his later years, 1890-1909. The few documents which are related to King's life outside of his career provide limited insight into his personal life. The papers are arranged into two sub-groups: professional activities and personal activities.

Documentation of King's professional activities includes: sermon materials, addresses, circular letters, lecture and examination materials, and writings. These materials illuminate King's development as a theologian. The bulk of these papers, the sermon and lecture materials, highlight King's career as a minister and as an educator. The "pocket size" format and worn condition of some early sermon items suggest they are artifacts of King's first assignment which was to serve portions of Central and East Texas (on horseback) as a circuit minister. Content of sermon materials span both Old and New Testament scriptures and include issues of Christian faith, the mysteries of godliness, and early struggles of the Church. King's class lectures, created following forty years of ministerial work and study, serve as a culmination of his views on and understanding of theology. The lecture materials contain numbered and dated lectures for the Middle and Senior Systematic Theology classes. The most complete set of lectures are for the Middle classes of 1903 and 1904. The Middle Class lectures focus on two aspects of theology: consideration of the inspiration and authority of the scriptures and theology proper, including aspects of anthropology. The Senior Class lectures discuss soteriology and eschatology. Several free-response style exams, primarily “Intermediate Examinations,” document the testing methods employed by King. Lecture materials do not necessarily correlate with exams.

League of America certificate, a clipping, a pamphlet, two letters and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings relating to the 1892 PCUS General Assembly meeting.

Materials in this collection represent two separate accessions. The materials in accession #2007-009, primarily sermons, sermon notes, and exams, were originally held at the Montreat office of the Presbyterian Historical Society. They were transferred to the Austin Seminary Archives in 2007, and were integrated into the existing Samuel Alexander King Papers, accession #96-008. Portions of Dr. King's papers are also held by the First Presbyterian Church of Waco, Texas.


Access Restrictions

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

Index Terms

Personal Names
King, Samuel Alexander, 1834-1918.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary--Faculty.
First Presbyterian Church (Waco, Tex.)
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.--Clergy.
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.--Presbytery of Central Texas.
Presbyterian Church--Doctrines.
Religious education--Study and teaching--Texas.
Sermons, English--Texas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Samuel Alexander King papers, 1858-1917, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Processing Information

Initially processed by Tracy Grimm in December 1997.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Professional Activities

C079 A. Ministerial Work., 1858-1910
Sub-series Abstract:
Includes sermon materials, addresses, and collected materials related to King's ministerial duties in Central and East Texas. Sermon materials appear in manuscript, typescript, and printed form. Handwritten notations appear on many of the typescripts. The majority of the sermon materials are headed by scripture citation and have been arranged in citation order according to the Old Testament and New Testament. The remainder are divided into three divisions: titled/subject, untitled, and extracts. The bulk of this material is undated. There are four items with dates and locations of delivery noted (Crockett, March 3, 1860; Waco, Nov. 29, 1894; Marlin, Aug. 6, 1899; Temple, July 2, 1903). Addresses include a memorial for the Rev. Dr. Andrew Pickens Smith and a funeral address for Judge Robert Simonton Gould. The collected materials are related to King's service to the First Presbyterian Church of Waco and to the Presbytery of Central Texas. Items related to the First Presbyterian Church of Waco include a souvenir membership list and a certificate of dismission. Materials related to the Presbytery of Central Texas include a printed program for the "Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the Formation of the Westminster Confession of Faith," held during the 1897 spring meeting in Belton, Texas, and an introduction card associated with the 1910 spring meeting in McGregor, Texas.
Sermon Materials:
Old Testament, 1883-1902 and undated
New Testament:
1894-1903 and undated
1899 and undated
1860 and undated
Titled/subject 1900-1902 and undated
Untitled, 1898-1907 and undated
Extracts, 1899 and undated
Sermon Notes [29 folders], 1858-1902 and undated
Miscellaneous Sermon Notes [2 folders], 1873 and undated
Sermons [5 folders], 1858-1859 and undated
C080 Sermons [27 folders], 1857-1861 and undated
Addresses and extract, 1895-1907
Collected materials, 1893- 1910
B. Committee Work. 1869, 1892.
Sub-series Abstract:
Two circular letters regarding Domestic/Home missions. Subjects include a need for increased funding from the ministers and churches of the Presbytery of Central Texas for domestic missionary work and a PCUS General Assembly ad interim Committee investigation into the method of work for the Home Missions.
Circular letters, 1869, 1892
C. Professorship/Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. 1903-1914.
Sub-series Abstract:
Includes lecture notes, exam questions, and student exams for the Systematic Theology course. Notes are arranged by class (Middle and Senior) and chronologically within. Student exams are arranged by class. The notes are based on King's study of the works of Robert Lewis Dabney and Charles Hodges. Subjects include inspiration of scriptures, theology proper, anthropology, soteriology and eschatology.
Lecture notes, Middle Class [4 folders], 1903
Notebook, schedule of lectures, 1904-1905
Lecture notes, Middle Class [4 folders], 1904
Lecture notes, Middle Class, 1905
Lecture notes, Middle Class, 1907-1908
C082 Lecture notes, Senior Class, 1904-1905
Lecture notes, Senior Class, 1911-1914
Notebook, circa 1903
Notebook, undated
Exam questions, 1903
Junior Class—“Systematic Theology,” 1905
Middle Class—“The Holy Trinity,” , 1909
Middle Class—Intermediate Exam, 1909
Senior Class—Intermediate Exam, 1909
Junior Class—Intermediate Exam, 1909
Middle Class—Intermediate Exam, 1910
Junior Class—Intermediate Exam, 1910
Student exams [2 folders], 1907, 1909
Outline, Seminary coursework undated
Printed course notes: “Austin Theological Seminary / Department of Systematic Theology / Samuel A. King, Professor / Middle Year Course: Theology Defined / Sources – Natural and Supernatural Revelation / Inspiration of Scriptures,” [withdrawn from Library collection, 04/16/2012], undated
C. Writings. 1901-1913.
Sub-series Abstract:
Includes works based on Presbyterian doctrines and works related to various PCUS issues; arranged chronologically. Published works include: Presbyterianism, 1901; The System of Doctrine [Theology] of the Westminster Standards, 1905; Presbyterian Doctrines, 1909; and How Far Has Original Calvinism Been Modified by Time?, 1909. Also includes clippings of a 1913 article outlining King's support for a reunification of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
C082 Writings:
The System of Doctrine [Theology] of the Westminster Standards 1905
Presbyterian Doctrine1909
How Far Has Original Calvinism Been Modified by Time?,1909
"Presbyterian Union - A Suggestion,"1913
"Do it Now,"undated
"The Proposed Substitute for the 'Elect Infants' Clause,"undated

II. Personal Activities

A. Financial Record. 1866.
Sub-series Abstract:
Receipt for farming supplies purchased from the Central Illinois Agricultural Works, Decatur, Illinois.
C082 Financial record, 1866
B. Collected Materials. 1885, 1897 and undated.
Sub-series Abstract:
Includes a clipping of a review of a sermon delivered by King, a pamphlet of published addresses on the Westminster Standards, and letters justifying a reluctance to preach prohibition by J.S. Johnston. Arranged chronologically.
C082 Collected Materials, 1885, 1897 and undated
C. Letter. 1917.
Sub-series Abstract:
Incoming letter from George Washington Littlefield regarding support for the establishment of a monument to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865.
C082 Letter-George W. Littlefield to King, 1917
D. Scrapbook. 1892.
Sub-series Abstract:
Scrapbook of clippings from denominational and local newspapers regarding some of the proceedings of the PCUS General Assembly meeting in 1892. Also included are several clippings that describe the historical attributes of Hot Springs, Arkansas, the site of the 1892 meeting.
C083 Scrapbook, 1892
E. Membership Certificate. 1900.
Sub-series Abstract:
Sunday League of America membership certificate which includes a statement of the League's belief in working toward holding Sunday as a day of rest.
FF/7.1 Sunday League of America Certificate [oversized], 1900