Southern Methodist University

Jo Carr papers

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Carr, Jo
Title: Jo Carr papers
Dates: 1960-1981
Dates (Bulk): 1965-1979
Abstract: Bettye Jo Crisler Carr (1926-2007) was a United Methodist preacher, a teacher, an author, a missionary, a mother of five, and a leader of the Girl Scouts of America. The Jo Carr papers represent her work as a freelance writer. The majority of the collection contains articles, prayers, devotionals, religious education lesson plans, and books that Carr wrote. Correspondence, book reviews, news articles, children’s magazines, galleys, and publishing contracts are also included.
Accession No: Collection BridArch 3.061
Extent: 2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Bettye Jo Crisler (who went by Jo) was born September 29, 1926 in Greenville, Mississippi. She was the only child of Joseph Neal Crisler and Bessie Esther Gilley Crisler. In 1929, Joseph took a job with the USDA Department of Entomology, and the family moved to El Paso, Texas. Since Joseph’s job involved pest control, the family constantly moved across the south following the pink boll worm. Therefore, Crisler grew up in El Paso, Texas, Lordsburg and Homestead, Florida, and numerous other cities throughout the southern states. She went to nineteen grade schools and three high schools, graduating in Modesto, California.

After finishing high school at the age of sixteen, Crisler traveled alone from California to Lubbock, Texas to attend college. She studied at Texas Tech University, and graduated with honors in 1947 with a B.S. in home economics and a minor in applied arts. Upon graduation, she was hired as a Girl Scout field director which involved organizing troops, training scout leaders, and directing day camps within a sixteen county area around Lubbock.

In December 1947 Crisler married Galen Carr. The Carrs became involved with the Methodist Board of Missions as lay missionaries. They continued to live in Lubbock but spent time in Illinois, Connecticut, and California taking special courses prior to missionary service. Their first two assignments, in China and Korea, were both cancelled due to communist takeovers. Meanwhile, in 1950, Jo Carr gave birth to her first daughter, Cathy.

Finally, in May 1952, the couple left for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for their missionary service. The Carrs spent five years in Rhodesia, and their second and third children, Mike and Glenna, were born there. Galen, an engineer, supervised the building of two hospitals and some residences while Jo worked as a home demonstration agent.

The Carrs returned to Lubbock in June 1957. Jo Carr gave birth to Becky in 1959 and Doug in 1960. She longed to return to Rhodesia, but had been told it would be best for Galen if he did not return. Galen struggled with schizophrenia, but Jo was not aware of this until after their wedding. After almost twenty years of marriage, Jo Carr filed for divorce in 1967 after finally realizing that her husband’s illness was not going to get better.

Carr began writing in 1957 upon returning to the United States. Initially she wrote stories for children about Africa, but the majority of her published work focused on prayer and devotions. She also wrote curricular materials for teachers, advent calendars, and magazine articles for a number of publications. Her published books include Too Busy Not to Pray: A Homemaker Talks With God (1966), Bless This Mess and Other Prayers (1969), The Intentional Family (1971), Plum Jelly and Stained Glass and Other Prayers (1973), and Mockingbirds and Angel Songs and Other Prayers (1975).

Carr briefly taught English at Texas Tech University. While teaching, she realized her call to pastoral ministry. She entered the United Methodist Ministry in 1977 as a local pastor at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock. She completed the Course of Study, became an Associate Member of the Northwest Texas Conference in 1983, and was ordained an Elder in 1986.

Reverend Jo Carr was the first woman to be appointed District Superintendent in the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. She served from 1989 to 1993 as Superintendent of the Pampa District and also as Dean of the bishop’s cabinet. She served as pastor of churches at Cooper, Levelland, and Crosbyton at a time when West Texas churches still disliked the idea of women pastors. She said that she considered herself a "pastor, not a woman pastor. . . . I think women are called in the same sense that men are called to be pastors. I think God regards us as people."

Bettye Jo Carr died of cancer in her home on July 7, 2007.


"Bettye Jo (Jo) Carr, Obituary." LubbockOnline, July 8, 2007.

"Biographical Note," Bettye Jo Carr papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

McMillan, Bobby. "Memories of Jo Carr."

Pratt, Beth. "Female pioneer in area Methodist churches, Jo Carr, dies at 80." LubbockOnline, July 9, 2007.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jo Carr papers comprise 1.5 linear feet of materials Jo Carr created and collected during her time as a freelance writer. The majority of the collection consists of notes, drafts, and manuscripts Carr submitted for publication. Book reviews, correspondence, news articles, galleys, and publishing contracts are also included in the collection. Carr’s papers reflect her writing style, religious beliefs, personality, and professional success.

Arrangement of the Collection

Much of the original order has been maintained in the collection. Carr’s folder label designations have been preserved, and the contents of each folder remain in her original order. Eight folders were unlabeled, and these titles appear in brackets. Newspaper and magazine articles were photocopied onto acid free paper, staples and paper clips were removed, and the collection was re-foldered. However, the order of the folders was rearranged to form three series:
Series 1: Christian Home
Series 2: Curricular Materials
Series 3: Other Writings


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.
Carr, Jo.
United Methodist Church (U.S) -- Texas -- Clergy.
Women clergy -- United Methodist Church (U.S.)
Christian education -- Curricula.
Manuscripts for publication.
Christian Home.

Related Materials

Betty Carr papers, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.

Institutional Research and Information Management, 1920-2008, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Jo Carr papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired January 5, 1982.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described in 2010 by Allison Osborn.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Christian Home, 1963-1979

Jo Carr wrote prolifically for the magazine Christian Home. Series one consists of seventeen folders of devotionals and stories Carr wrote for the publication. Correspondence with magazine staff is also included. Folders are arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
1780 01 Christian Home Devotions July 1966, 1963-1966
02 Christmas Devotions Christian Home 1966, 1966
03 Christian Home Jan. 1969, 1968
04 Christian Home October 1969, 1969
05 Christian Home Sept. ‘70, 1969-1970
06 Easter (Christian Home Article) 1970
07 Christian Home, Mar ‘71, 1971
08 Christian Home, April '72, 1971
09 This is the Day (Celebration) C.H., 1971-1973
10 Christian Home, Jan. 1973, 1972
11 Christian Home, Oct. 1973, 1972-1973
12 Europe-Finance Christian Home Apr. ’74, 1973
13 Christian Home Column June 1974-May 1976, 1974-1976
14 [Christian Home August 1975] 1974
15 Who, Me? C.H. Aug. 1975, 1974-1975
16 Christian Home Column 1, 1970-1978
17 Christian Home Column 2, 1977-1979

Series 2: Curricular Materials, 1965-1981

The second series includes sixteen folders of curricular materials Jo Carr wrote for the United Methodist Publishing House. Correspondence, student and teacher unit guides, stories, and children’s magazines reflect Carr’s ability to write materials for the classroom. Two filmstrips are also included. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Box Folder
1780 18 I-II Teacher, Aug. ’76 Worship Unit, 1975-1976
19 I-II Teacher, July ’76 Mission All Around, 1976
20 "Do Unto What Others?" Filmstrip & Guide, 1976-1978
21 Film slip: Ways We Worship, 1977
22 Filmstrip, "Ways We Worship" (Butterfly Box) 1977-1978
23 Kg. Accordion Book to Accompany Filmstrip, 1981
24 Leader’s Guide-Curriculum Materials, 1973-1976
25 Mission Unit: Student Booklet (Rewrite) July 1979 [1979]
26 Mission Unit: Teacher’s Guide July 1979 [1979]
27 Primary Unit on Worship & Mission-1976, 1973-1976
28 Remedial Reading Project, 1970-1971
29 Summer Unit Packet, 1965-1976
30 Summer Unit Rewrite, 1973-1979
31 [Teacher’s Guide to S.E. Asia] 1966
32 Worship Unit: Student Book Aug. 1979, 1976
33 Worship Unit: Teacher’s Guide Aug. 1979

Series 3: Other Writings, 1960-1981

The third series is comprised of forty folders containing Jo Carr’s manuscripts, galleys, notes, drafts, publishing contracts, and leaflets. The series also includes correspondence, book reviews, news articles, and children’s magazines. Two photographs of book signings can be found; one in the Bless This Mess folder and the other in Too Busy. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Box Folder
1780 34 1/2 "God is With Me" Summer ’73, 1972-1973
35 [Advent 1976 Manuscript] 1976
36 Advent Book, 1977
37 [Advent Devotions 1979]
38 Advent: Ready Now Ms. 1980
39 Advent Service, 1965-1968
40 Bless This Mess, 1967-1972
41 Book Five (Mockingbirds) 1973-1975
42 Camping Devotions, 1972-1973
43 [Christmas 1980 & 1981] 1980-1981
44 Christmas Ms. for David Bradley, 1979
45 Christmas Worship in the Home Leaflet, 1972-1975
46 Dr. Pettit, 1974
Box Folder
1781 01 Four Fishermen Guide, 1973-1975
02 Hearthstone, 1969
03 I Gotta Be Me (Accent) 1973
04 The Intentional Family, 1970-1971
05 [Journalism 181] [1960-1981]
06 Lena Mereness, 1973-1975
07 Margaret Porter, 1973-1975
08 Misc. Correspondence, 1964-1978
09 Misc. – Published [1960-1981]
10 Mr. Primm, 1967-1969
11 No Time for a Picnic, 1976
12 Parents of Younger Children Leaflet, 1972
13 Pictures & Stories Collaborated, 1960-1964
14 Plum Jelly - Carbon, 1970
15 Plum Jelly Correspondence, 1972-1973
16 Plum Jelly - Page Proofs, 1973
17 Prescriptive Writing-Lippincott, 1970
18 Sir Cumfrence, 1965-1966
19 Snake Pit, 1968-1969
20 Step by Step- Aug. 1976, 1974-1976
21 Step by Step, July 1976, 1976
22 Summer of the 5 Bikes, 1973-1974
23 Tater Talk, 1963-1970
24 Too Busy, 1968-1970
25 United Methodist Today, 1973-1975
26 Upper Room Book, 1974-1975
27 [Who but Andy?] [1960-1981]