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Olan Hicks, founder of The Christian Chronicle, is portrayed in an illustration in the September 1981 issue available online.
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The Christian Chronicle archive

Catching up on 80 years of Christian news

The Portal to Texas History hosts The Christian Chronicle's archive.

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Has The Christian Chronicle featured someone you know?

Did this newspaper ever cover a ministry or church you were a part of?

What information is available about the history of evangelism in Churches of Christ?

These questions — and more — can now be answered by the Chronicle’s archive. 

It’s available online through The Portal to Texas History. Readers can search the database with key phrases, names and topics to quickly find results spanning the 80 years of publication. 

Readers might even find more than just what they are searching for. 

Information and news about the fellowship is often interpreted with references to current events of the time, like the “recent” publication of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis mentioned in the very first issue of the Chronicle in 1943 or a devastating earthquake in Los Angeles.

“When you have a newspaper like The Christian Chronicle that’s moved around as much as it has, it’s really hard to have a reliable archive because as the paper has changed hands, those records have gotten lost. This is a nice, easy way to put everything in one location that makes it a big searchable database.”

“This is a great way for us to provide access to issues that go all the way back to the time that the paper was founded 80 years ago by Olan Hicks,” said Erik Tryggestad, the Chronicle’s president and CEO. “When you have a newspaper like The Christian Chronicle that’s moved around as much as it has, it’s really hard to have a reliable archive because as the paper has changed hands, those records have gotten lost. This is a nice, easy way to put everything in one location that makes it a big searchable database.”

Although Oklahoma has been the Chronicle’s home since 1980, The Texas History portal honors the legacy of Hicks, who launched the ministry in Texas. 

Abilene Christian University in Texas partnered with the Chronicle to digitize issues in the libraries of Oklahoma Christian University and ACU, as well as copies owned by the Oklahoma Historical Society. Then the librarians scanned the physical material or film and uploaded it online. A grant helped cover the cost and time. 

Mac Ice, director of Special Collections and assistant professor of Library Science at ACU, said he hopes to see new studies and growth come from the archived content. 

“The librarian, the archivist in me says, ‘There’s information here that can be terribly useful for all kinds of research projects, academic research, personal and genealogical,’” Ice said. “‘Grandpa was a preacher for 100 years, and I want to look up grandpa,’ or congregational, because there’s lots of news about new buildings.”

The past two decades of Chronicle stories are also available through NewsBank, a company that consolidates publications for academic research. The collection is available via request through libraries partnering with NewsBank. 

But whether readers are searching for specific information, researching for academia or just enjoying reading through history, they are likely to find themselves encouraged. 

“You get this wonderful chronicle, no pun intended, of the growth of Churches of Christ in the post war period,” Ice said. 

Stories of baptisms, ministries and missions continue to inspire even 80 years later. 

Filed under: Archives Christian Chronicle Christian Chronicle archive church history Churches of Christ churches of christ history National News NewsBank Partners The Christian Chronicle The Portal to Texas History Top Stories

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