Southern Methodist University

Collection on W. B. Godbey

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Bridwell Library
Title: Collection on W. B. Godbey
Dates: 1891-1919
Abstract: This study collection consists of forty-six booklets dating between 1891 and 1919 written by the Rev. William Baxter Godbey, D.D. (1833-1920). Rev. Godbey was a leading figure of the holiness movement within the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and inter-denominationally.
Accession No: Collection BridArch 3.111
Extent: 1 box (.5 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

William Baxter Godbey was born in rural Pulaski County, Kentucky, on June 3, 1833. He was raised in a pious Methodist home where, as Godbey states in his autobiography, he came to faith and received a call to preach at the age of three. At sixteen, while attending a Baptist revival meeting in November of 1849, Godbey experienced an outpouring of supernatural power that he considered his moment of conversion.

In 1853 the Kentucky Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South licensed William Godbey to preach. For the next several years, Godbey taught in the public schools, preached to slave congregations, and studied at Georgetown (Kentucky) College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1859. He served as President of Harmonia College in Perryville, Kentucky from 1859 to 1869 while also ministering to the Perryville Circuit. The Kentucky Conference admitted Godbey on trial in 1866 and as a full member in 1868. While leading a revival in December of 1868, Godbey felt that his conversion was finally completed with a moving experience of entire sanctification.

Rev. Godbey served pastoral appointments and as a presiding elder in Kentucky from the late 1860s to the early 1880s. In 1883 and 1884 he expanded his holiness and revival preaching ministry to Missouri and Texas. For the rest of his career he was in demand across the United States as a respected Bible teacher and evangelist. This development took him outside of the bounds of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South both geographically and structurally. However, in 1918 Godbey asked to be re-admitted to the Kentucky Conference. The Conference agreed, and he died on September 12, 1920 a prized member of that body.

W. B. Godbey married America Emma Durham (1839-1915) in 1860. They had eight children. The only child to survive into adulthood was daughter Effie Orpha (1873-1906), who married Rev. F. M. Hill (1864-1908), a minister in the Kentucky Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.


Godbey, W. B. Autobiography of Rev. W.B. Godbey. Cincinnati: God's Revivalist Office, 1909.

Hamilton, Barry W. William Baxter Godbey – Itinerant Apostle of the Holiness Movement. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.

Hamilton, Barry W. “Godbey, William Baxter.” In Historical Dictionary of the Holiness Movement, edited by William Kostlevy. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2009.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

W. B. Godbey wrote many periodical articles and more than 230 books and booklets. This collection includes forty-six pamphlets written by Godbey between 1891 and 1919, the second half of his ministry. These pamphlets convey Godbey’s thoughts on numerous topics including sin, justification, sanctification, vital spirituality, baptism, temperance, various denominations, and Christ’s Second Coming. Three items of special note are Woman Preacher, an impassioned endorsement of the preaching gifts of sanctified women, and two autobiographical pieces: The Happy Octogenarian and Our Glorified Children.

Arrangement of the Collection

The Collection on W. B. Godbey consists of a single series, Pamphlets, 1891-1919. The series has been divided into five subseries, one for each of the publishers represented in the collection. The publishers are in alphabetical order, and the pamphlets within each subseries are arranged in alphabetical order by title.
Series 1: Pamphlets
  • Subseries 1: Apostolic Messenger Publishing Co., Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Subseries 2: God’s Revivalist Office / God’s Revivalist Press, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Subseries 3: Pentecostal Mission Publishing Co., Nashville, Tennessee
  • Subseries 4: Pentecostal Publishing Co., Louisville, Kentucky
  • Subseries 5: Pillar of Fire, Zarephath, New Jersey


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.
Godbey, W. B. (William Baxter), 1833-1920
Holiness movement.
Holiness churches -- Doctrines.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Collection on W. B. Godbey, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from William Snyder, Homestead, Florida, 2012.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described in 2012 by Timothy Binkley.

Finding aid written by

Timothy Binkley, 2012

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2012

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Pamphlets, 1891-1919

The first and only series in this collection includes forty-six pamphlets grouped by publisher. Within the five publisher subseries, titles are arranged alphabetically. Most folders contain two different titles. Few of the pamphlets are precisely dated. However, all but Woman Preacher (1891) were produced in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Estimated (circa) dates are based on references to historical events and biographical details mentioned by the author.
Subseries 1: Apostolic Messenger Publishing Co., Greensboro, North Carolina
Box Folder
1785B 01 The Altar, circa 1918
The Abundant Entrance 2 Pet. 1:12, circa 1911
02 Baptism Paganized and Demonized, circa 1914
Collapse of the Ages, circa 1915
03 Ethical Trinity, 1915
Family Government, circa 1915
04 Holiness Churches, circa 1915
Holiness Clergy Bureau, circa 1915
05 Infant Baptism, circa 1915
Justification, circa 1910
06 My Funeral, 1915
Revive and Refire, 1914
07 Souvenirs of A. D. 1913, 1915
The Visible and Invisible, circa 1911
08 Witness of the Spirit circa, 1915
Subseries 2: God’s Revivalist Office / God’s Revivalist Press – Cincinnati, Ohio
Box Folder
1785B 09 About Jesus; or, Five Sermons, circa 1910
Absinthe and the Drink Demon, circa 1911
10 Baptism, circa 1910
Campbellism, circa 1910
11 Catholicism, circa 1910
Christianity & Sectarianism, 1911
12 Godbey-Maupin Debate, 1911
Higher Criticism, 1909
13 Holy Wedlock, circa 1911
The Iron Kingdom, circa 1910
14 Mormonism, circa 1910
Our Glorified Children, circa 1910
15 Patriotism and Politics, 1911
Presbyterianism, circa 1910
16 The Seven Churches, circa 1910
Spiritual Pauperism, circa 1910
17 Superficialism Fatal to Spirituality, 1911
Unholy Trinity, circa 1910
18 The Victory of Christ, circa 1910
Youthful Piety, circa 1910
Subseries 3: Pentecostal Mission Publishing Co., Nashville, Tennessee
Box Folder
1785B 19 An Appeal to Postmillennialists, circa 1904
Signs of His Coming, circa 1903
Subseries 4: Pentecostal Publishing Co., Louisville, Kentucky
Box Folder
1785B 20 Woman Preacher, 1891
Subseries 5: Pillar of Fire, Zarephath, New Jersey
Box Folder
1785B 21 The Bridehood, 1918
Degospelized Pulpit, 1918
22 God’s Triple Leadership, circa 1908
The Happy Octogenarian, circa 1908
23 Old and New Creation, 1919
Russellism, 1918
24 Satanic Delusion, 1918
Satan’s Defeat, 1918