Southern Methodist University

W. B. J. Martin papers

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Martin, William Benjamin James.
Title: W. B. J. Martin papers
Dates: 1936 – 1976
1961 – 1976
Abstract: The W. B. J. Martin papers at Bridwell Library comprise one and one half linear feet of sermons and other ministerial papers of the Rev. Dr. William Benjamin James Martin (1904-1983), Pastor of First Community Church United Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas from 1961 until 1976. Dr. Martin served Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology as visiting professor of homiletics from 1959 to 1961.
Accession No: Collection BridArch 1.043
Extent: 3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

William Benjamin James Martin was born in Morriston, South Wales, on February 17, 1904. In 1933 he graduated from the New College of Divinity School, University of London, and was ordained to the ministry in the Congregational Church. The University of Chicago honored Martin with a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1958.

Rev. Martin served as Chaplain to Congregational students at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; Pastor of Augustine-Bristo Church (now Augustine United Church) in Edinburgh, 1951 to 1958; and Pastor of First Community Church (United Church of Christ) in Dallas, Texas from 1961 until his retirement in 1976.

His wife, the Rev. Phyllis Mary Webber Martin, also was an ordained minister. They were married on March 8, 1940.

In addition to his pastoral ministry, W. B. J. ("Bill") Martin was a popular teacher and lecturer in the fields of preaching and English literature. His teaching positions included a year as visiting professor at the University of Chicago (1958-59) and two years as visiting professor of homiletics at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology (1959 to 1961). Dr. Martin also served SMU as Lecturer in English poetry and as an instructor in the School of Continuing Education. His published works include The Diary of Peter Parson (1957), Acts of Worship (1960), Little Foxes that Spoil the Vines (1968), and Sermons for Special Days (1975).

Following Rev. Martin’s death in Dallas on November 26, 1983, his estate donated part of his library to Bridwell Library. In 1985 First Community Church established an endowment enabling Perkins School of Theology to award an annual W. B. J. Martin Award in Homiletics to an outstanding student in introductory preaching classes.


Dallas Morning News. "7 New Instructors Named to SMU Staff." August 6, 1959.

Dallas Morning News. "Dr. Martin to Address Mary K. Craig Class." December 2, 1962.

Dallas Morning News."Eight Great Humanists Featured in Lectures." January 17, 1960.

Parnaby, Mary C. The History of Augustine Church, 1877-1941, and of Augustine-Bristo Church, 1941-1977. [Edinburgh]: [N.F.W. McPherson], 1978.

Swank, Patsy. "The Shared Wisdom of W. B. J. Martin."Dallas Morning News. July 27, 1975.

U.S. House. Committee on the Judiciary. W. B. J. Martin, (to Accompany S. 1335). (87 H. Rpt. 945; Date: 8/15/1961). Text from: Committee Reports. Available from: ProQuest® Congressional (Online Service). Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The W. B. J. Martin papers feature and copies of sermons preached at First Community Church in Dallas, Texas between 1961 and 1976. Seventeen of the twenty-two folders in the collection contain sermons organized chronologically. The other five folders contain a ministerial record notebook containing information about sermons that Rev. Martin preached between 1936 and 1959, an index to the 1961-1976 sermons in the collection, prayers, copies of two published works written by Dr. Martin, and a photographic portrait. These documents allow researchers to explore W. B. J. Martin’s preaching style and ministerial career.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into one series
Series 1: Ministerial Papers, 1936-1976.


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.
Martin, W. B. J. (William Benjamin James) -- Creed for today.
United Church of Christ -- Texas -- Dallas -- Clergy.
Sermons -- Texas -- Dallas -- 20th century.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], W. B. J. Martin papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired circa 1985.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described in 2011 by Timothy S. G. Binkley.

Finding aid written by

Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2011.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2011.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Ministerial Papers, 1936-1976

The ministerial papers of the Rev. Dr. W. B. J. Martin include a sermon notebook, a sermon index, copies of 674 sermons in chronological order, written prayers, a pamphlet, a booklet of published sermons, and a color photograph. A digital copy of the itemized Sermon Index (Box 715B, file 02) is hyperlinked to the folder listing below.
Box Folder
715B 01 Sermon record notebook, 1936-1959
02 Sermon Index, circa 1976
03-06 Sermons, 1961-1964
Box Folder
716A 01-05 Sermons, 1965-1969
Box Folder
716B 01-07 Sermons, 1970-1976
08 Prayers, circa 1963-1976
11 Photograph, circa 1959-1976

Series 2: Published Works, 1957-1975
4 folders

This series contains copies of five books and booklets containing sermons and worship resources written by W. B. J. Martin, a tract by Martin, and a copy of The Diary of Peter Parson, a collection of his columns from the British Weekly.
Box Folder
620A 01 Acts of Worship, Abingdon Press, 1960
The Best of Master Sermons, Cathedral Publishers, 1975
02 Pamphlet: A Creed for Today, First Community Church, Dallas, circa 1960-1976
03 The Diary of Peter Parson, Abingdon Press, 1957
Booklet: Paradoxes of a Living Faith, The Pulpit, 1959
04 A Sermon Series on “The Seven Deadly Sins,” undated
Sermons for Special Days, Abingdon, 1975