Southern Methodist University

John Harden Hicks papers

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Hicks, John Harden, 1887-
Title: John Harden Hicks papers
Dates: 1905-1963
Dates (Bulk): 1922-1963
Abstract: The John Harden Hicks papers consist of two linear feet of research, teaching, and administrative papers. These items document the career of Dr. John H. Hicks, who taught archaeology and Old Testament courses at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (1922-1957), and religion classes at McMurry College, Abilene, Texas (1957-1963).
Accession No: Accession 2015.04, Collection BridArch 1.023
Extent: 3 boxes (2 linear ft)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Professor John Harden Hicks was born in Stephenville, Texas, on February 10, 1887. He studied at Southwestern University (A.B., 1911), Vanderbilt University (B.D., 1913), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., 1933). A prominent Old Testament scholar, Dr. Hicks published numerous articles, one booklet: The Scholia of Barhebraeus on the Book of Isaiah (1935), and one book: The Books of History (1947). He was a member of the National Association of Biblical Instructors, the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, the Society of Old Testament Study, Chi Alpha, and Theta Phi.

John Harden Hicks joined the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1915. He was ordained a Deacon in 1917 and an Elder in 1919. Between 1915 and 1922 he served Methodist churches in Ochiltree, Amarillo (Buchanan Street Church), Hedley, Snyder, and Canyon, Texas.

Rev. Hicks joined the SMU School of Theology (now Perkins School of Theology) faculty in 1922 and retired thirty-five years later in 1957. He was the only Old Testament professor on the School of Theology faculty from 1922 to 1950. Beginning in 1928, he also served as Director of the School of Theology’s A. V. Lane Museum - an eclectic collection of archaeological and cultural artifacts from around the world. John Harden Hicks’ approach to teaching is summarized in the School of Theology catalog of 1925-1926, which states:

It is the purpose of the department of Old Testament to acquaint the student not only with the Hebrew language as a basis for accurate study of the Old Testament literature, but also with the life, customs, manners, and thought of the Old Testament period. An attempt will be made to have the Hebrews live again in the thinking of the student and through this vital contact with a living people to furnish the inspiration for meeting the problems in his own life. It will never be forgotten that in the Old Testament are the roots of our own ideals of Christian living.

After retiring from Southern Methodist University, Dr. Hicks served on the religion faculty of McMurry College, Abilene, Texas, 1957-1963. In addition to his classroom teaching, John H. Hicks was a popular Bible conference speaker.

John Harden and Elizabeth Clark Hicks were the parents of one son: John Harden Hicks, Jr. In 2000, Hicks’ grandsons, Tom Hicks of Dallas and Steve Hicks of Austin, established the Dr. John H. Hicks Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide financial support for a Perkins School of Theology graduate student conducting research in archaeology or the Old Testament.


"Dr. Hicks, Professor of Bible, Dies." Dallas Morning News, November 24, 1963.

Grimes, Lewis Howard, and Roger Loyd. A History of the Perkins School of Theology. Dallas, Texas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1993..

Methodist Church. Journal of the Northwest Texas Annual Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. [Texas]: Northwest Texas Conference. 1964.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Harden Hicks papers comprise two linear feet of research files, course notes, office papers, and photographs. Most of these documents were generated or collected by Dr. Hicks during his teaching career at Southern Methodist University (1922-1957) and McMurry College (1957-1963). Materials of special note include copies of Dr. Hicks’s class-opening prayers, information about his trip to Palestine in 1936, correspondence with other scholars, and data about speaking engagements.

Arrangement of the Collection

When Wanda Smith inventoried the John Harden Hicks papers in 2000, she remarked: "The contents of the folders in these boxes are hopelessly mixed and scrambled, turned upside down, backward, forward." No original order was evident in 2010 when the collection was arranged into two general series by Timothy Binkley. The folders in each series are arranged alphabetically by title.
Series 1: Research and Lecture Files
Series 2: Office Papers


Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use.

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.
Hicks, John Harden, 1887-
Perkins School of Theology -- Faculty.
Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Texas -- Dallas.
Bible -- O.T. -- Criticism and interpretation.

Related Materials

Kate Warnick papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Harden Hicks papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired prior to 1980. Accession 2015.04 was added to the collection by William Hicks in 2015.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described in 2010 by Timothy S. G. Binkley.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Research and Lecture Files, 1905-1963
59 folders

The first series consists of fifty-nine folders of teaching papers. Some files contain background information used by Dr. Hicks in preparing his courses, lectures, and articles. Two folders contain academic papers written by Dr. Hicks. The remaining folders bear the names of actual course titles or topics. Though content varies, these files often contain lecture outlines and course examinations. The earliest item in this series is a pamphlet about Easter that was published in 1905. Undated coursework materials may date any time between 1922 and 1963.
Box Folder
500 1 Amos 1922-1963
2 Amos and Hosea 1922-1963
3 Apocalypticism 1922-1963
4 Arabian Slab / Arabia 1922-1963
5 Archaeology 1922-1963
6 Bible 1926-1961
7 Canon, the formation of 1922-1963
8 Children’s Work 1925-1945
9 Christmas 1922-1963
10 Church Music Bibliography (by Richard C. von Ende) 1957
11 "Claims of the Ministry" sermon 1943
12 Coastal Corridor / Palestine-Syria 1922-1963
13 Codex Sinaiticus 1922-1963
14 Divinity Education 1922-1963
15 Easter 1905-1945
16 Egypt 1922-1963
17 Egypt - The Nile River Valley 1922-1963
18 Elephantine papyri 1922-1963
19 Excavations 1922-1963
20 Ezekiel 1922-1963
21 Ezion-geber 1922-1963
22 Ezra and Nehemiah 1922-1963
23 Gleuck, Nelson 1936-1940
24 Goldston, Nimmo 1922-1963
25 Habakkuk, Obadiah, and Zephaniah 1922-1963
26 Haggai and Zechariah 1922-1963
27 Hebrew Language and Culture 1922-1963
28 Hosea 1922-1963
29 Interpretation 1922-1963
30 Isaiah 1922-1963
31 Jeremiah 1922-1963
32 Joel 1922-1963
33 Jonah 1922-1963
34 Last Words of Jesus 1922-1963
35 Lord’s Supper 1922-1963
36 Malachi 1922-1963
37 Micah 1922-1963
38 "Minister and Theological Education" paper by J. H. Hicks 1922-1963
39 Nahum 1922-1963
40 New Testament 1960
41 Notes and papers (unsorted) 1922-1963
42 Old Testament 1951
43 O.T. History 1922-1963
44 O.T. Materials 1922-1963
45 Paul 1922-1963
46 Peoples—Areas; Semite & Non-Semite 1922-1963
47 Philemon 1935
48 Poetry 1922-1963
49 Prayers 1929-1945
50 Prophets 1922-1963
51 Prophets – Bible 332 1922-1963
52 Psalms 1922-1963
53 Sabbath 1922-1963
54 Smith, G. A. 1922-1963
55 Tepe Gawra 1935
57 War 1939
58 Zechariah 1922-1963
59 Zephaniah 1922-1963

Series 2: Office Papers, 1911-1963
27 folders

The second series of John Harden Hicks papers consists of twenty-seven folders of documents related to activities outside of the classroom including office administration, book publishing, public speaking, and membership in professional organizations. Series two materials date between 1911 and 1963.
Some items may be more personal than business-related. For instance, the photograph in box 501B, file 6, is of an unnamed woman holding an infant. The style of dress and photo suggest that this may be an image of Elizabeth Clark Hicks and their son, John Harden Hicks, Jr., who was born in 1917. All other photographs in the collection are located in box 501A (international travel) and in box 2003A (SMU School of Theology circa 1940).
Box Folder
501A 1 American Schools of Oriental Research 1935-1941
2 American Schools of Oriental Research Chronicle 1937
3 Bible Conferences 1930-1945
4 Books of History, The 1947-1961
5 Correspondence 1944-1949
6 Correspondence 1950-1953
7 Correspondence 1954-1957
8 Correspondence 1960-1961
9 E. B. Germany Award in Hebrew 1939-1942
10 Graham, W. C. 1932-1937
11 Harkness, Georgia 1940-1963
12 Headland, Isaac Taylor 1937-1939
13 Hyer, Robert S. 1931
14 International Travel 1936-1938
Box Folder
501B 1 Kern, John A. and Paul B. 1924-1952
2 Letters of Introduction and Reference 1911-1936
3 McMurry College 1957-1960
4 McMurry College Courses 1957-1958
5 National Association of Biblical Instructors 1938-1946
6 Photograph [Mrs. Hicks and son?] 1917-1918
7 Rippy, M. Leo 1935-1937
8 Society of Biblical Literature 1927-1957
9 Southern Methodist University 1923-1946
10 Southern Methodist University – Negro courses 1934-1956
11 Southwestern Society of Biblical Study and Research 1929-1943
12 University Press 1942-1950
2003A Photograph of the Southern Methodist University School of Theology, circa 1940