The F. O. Rindom Collection of Upper Room Letters
NAxxxx.0034

Summary Information

Repository
Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Creator
Rindom, F. O. (Frank Oscar), 1881-1949.
Title
The F. O. Rindom Collection of Upper Room Letters
ID
NAxxxx.0034
Date
Circa 1913-1916
Extent
0.25 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
Annual letters and weekly leaflets prepared by Thomas Medary Iden for students in his Bible study classes, plus a fundraising letter related to the classes.

Preferred Citation note

The Frank O. Rindom Collection of Upper Room Letters, Emporia State University Archives, Emporia State University.

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F. O. Rindom

Frank Oscar Rindom was born on January 23, 1881, in Ionia Township, Jewell County, Kansas. His parents were Christen Rindom and Ella Virginia Beach Rindom. F. O. Rindom attended Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, completing his life teaching certificate in 1910, and his Bachelor of Science degree in 1916. He was a teacher and school superintendent in Liberal, Kansas, from 1907 to 1920. Frank married Mina Alice Ward in Emporia, Kansas, on July 28, 1909. Their children were Frank O. Rindom, Jr., Lawrence Leroy Rindom, and Charles W. Rindom. In 1920 F. O. Rindom enrolled in the law school at the University of Colorado. He eventually served more than 20 years as a judge in the 39th Judicial District in Kansas. F. O. Rindom died at his home in Liberal, Kansas, on December 22, 1949.

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Upper Room Bible Class (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

The Upper Room Bible Class in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was established and led by Thomas Medary Iden. Iden had previously led Bible study classes for college students at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 1887 to 1897, and at the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia from 1898 to 1913. The class in Emporia eventually became known as the Upper Room Bible Class, or simply the “Upper Room,” taking its name from the Biblical account of the location of the Last Supper. Coincidentally, the class actually held its meetings in rooms on upper floors of several different buildings over the years. Students of the class affectionately called their leader “Father Iden.” In 1913 Iden left Emporia to accept the position of Ann Arbor Bible Chair, a full-time religious instruction ministry serving the students of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Iden accepted the position on condition that, in addition to the other classes he would conduct, he could still conduct his Upper Room Bible Class as his own private hobby, according to his own plans. The Upper Room Bible Class in Ann Arbor became popular with students, and Iden continued to publish weekly study notes and annual letters for his students as he had previously done in Emporia. The publications eventually grew into a series of bound volumes known as the Upper Room Bulletin, spanning the years 1914 to 1932. Iden continued to conduct the Upper Room class in Ann Arbor until 1932, when the religious societies which financed the Ann Arbor Bible Chair could no longer support it due to the financial difficulties of the Great Depression.

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Upper Room Bible Class (Emporia, Kan.)

Thomas Medary Iden, the head of the Department of Physics and Chemistry at the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas, established a Bible study class as a private hobby that he offered to any young men of the college or the town. Iden had previously led an informal student group for Bible study while he was a professor at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 1887 to 1897, and that class provided some of the basis for the class in Emporia. Iden’s Bible class, which was established in Emporia on November 19, 1898, eventually became known as the Upper Room Bible Class, or simply the “Upper Room,” taking its name from the Biblical account of the location of the Last Supper. Coincidentally, the class actually held its meetings in rooms on upper floors of several different buildings over the years. Students of the class affectionately called their leader “Father Iden,” and the popularity of the class was such that the vast majority of men from the college (and many other young men in Emporia) attended the weekly classes held on Saturday nights during the academic year.

During this time Iden produced weekly mimeographs of handwritten leaflets outlining the topics for the lectures and providing a schedule of Bible readings to study during the week. The leaflets also contained other notes or poetry and literary quotations relating to religious themes. Besides distributing the leaflets at the Saturday evening classes, Iden also regularly mailed leaflets to former students or those who could not attend the classes. Many students would save their weekly leaflets and have them bound at the conclusion of the academic year.

Iden also wrote a special annual Christmas and New Year letter to all of his current and former students, and insisted on personally addressing by hand the hundreds of envelopes needed for mailing the letters. He often prepared the envelopes during the summer months when he was not busy with his regular academic job. The contents of the annual letters were prepared over many months of the year, although the completion and actual mailing of the letters would be done in late December.

Iden’s work on the Upper Room Bible Class was supported by William Allen White, the famous editor of the Emporia Gazette. The class met in a room on the upper floor of the Emporia Gazette building for several years, and White made substantial contributions to a fundraising campaign with the purpose of building a permanent home for the class.

The meetings of the Upper Room Bible Class in Emporia ceased in 1913 when Iden left to accept the position of Ann Arbor Bible Chair, a full-time religious instruction ministry serving the students of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Iden also established an Upper Room Bible Class in Ann Arbor.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection includes 5 annual letters dated 1903/1904, 1908/1909, 1909/1910, 1910/1911, and 1911/1912. There are 10 weekly leaflets for the weekly meetings from September 12, 1908, to November 14, 1908. The leaflet for October 17 is misdated on the first page as October 18, but dated correctly on the third and fourth pages. The leaflet for October 31 is a special format of only one page, which in mentioned and explained in the text of the leaflet. There is a letter dated October 1, 1916 from Iden to the members of the Upper Room Bible Class explaining the fundraising efforts to build a permanent Upper Room building. Included with the letter are floor plans for the proposed building, a fundraising pledge card, a return envelope addressed to Iden in Ann Arbor, and the original mailing envelope addressed to “Prof. Frank O. Rindom” in Wichita, Kansas, with a variety of handwritten notes on the envelope, including a reference to Liberal, Kansas.

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Arrangement note

Chronological.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives October 2008

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431
archives@emporia.edu

Processing Information note

Shari Scribner and Michael Redmann, October 2008

Processing Information note

Processed by: Shari Scribner and Michael Redmann, October 2008.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

The Iden Meditation Upper Room Collection (NA1996.0001) contains extensive information on Iden and the Upper Room Bible Class, plus the scholarships and reunion activities associated with them.

The yearbooks (with various titles) for the years 1898, 1901, 1904, and 1906 to 1913 contain photographs and some descriptions of Iden and the Upper Room Bible Class. The Faculty Index for T. M. Iden contains notes about Iden's career at the Kansas State Normal School The Bulletin Indec for T.M. Iden lists seven articles about him and ten articles about the Upper Room Bible Class. The   Emporia Gazette issue of January 1, 1934 has an article about Iden's death in 1933 and discusses his annual letters and his lasting influence in the Emporia area.   Qualitites of Greatness, volume 1, decribes Iden and his influence at the Kansas State Norma School.

The Mrs. Ora F. Grubbs Papers (NA1969.0002) include eight of Iden's annual letters. THe J.Robert Steel Collection(NAxxxx.0038) includes a volume of bound leaflets from Iden's weekly Upper Room Bible Class notes dated 1912-1913, with a handwritten letter from the Steel dated February 27, 1908, also bound into the front of the volume.

Separated Materials note

One oversize file folder located with oversize materials.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Kansas State Normal School -- Religion. .
  • Kansas State Normal School -- Societies, etc. .
  • Kansas State Normal School -- Student activities and organizations..
  • University of Michigan -- Religion.
  • Upper Room Bible Class (Emporia, Kan.) .
  • Upper Room Trust Fund Committee (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

Personal Name(s)

  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933 -- Correspondence.
  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933.
  • Rindom, F. O. (Frank Oscar), 1881-1949.

Subject(s)

  • Bible -- Study and teaching -- Kansas -- Emporia.
  • Bible -- Study and teaching -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Bible -- Study and teaching.
  • Christian education -- Kansas -- Emporia -- Periodicals.
  • Christian education -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor -- Periodicals.
  • Church and college.
  • College students -- Kansas -- Emporia -- Societies and clubs.
  • College students -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor -- Societies and clubs.
  • College students -- Religious life.
  • Devotional calendars.
  • Students -- Kansas -- Emporia -- Societies and clubs.
  • Students -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor -- Societies and clubs
  • Students -- Religious life.
  • Universities and colleges -- Religion.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Annual Letter, 1903/1904. 

1 1

Weekly Leaflet, September 12, 1908. 

1 2

Weekly Leaflet, September 19, 1908. 

1 3

Weekly Leaflet, September 26, 1908. 

1 4

Weekly Leaflet, October 3, 1908. 

1 5
Bin Folder

Weekly Leaflet, October 10, 1908. 

1 6
Box Folder

Weekly Leaflet, October 17,1908. 

1 7

Weekly Leaflet, October 24, 1908. 

1 8

Weekly Leaflet, October 31, 1908. 

1 9

Weekly Leaflet, November 7, 1908. 

1 10Weekly Leaflet, Weekly Leaflet, Weekly Leaflet, Weekly Leaflet,

Weekly Leaflet, November 14, 1908. 

1 11

Annual Letter, 1908/1909. 

1 12

Annual Letter, 1909/1910. 

1 13

Annual Letter, 1910/1911. 

1 14

Annual Letter, 1911/1912. 

1 15

Letter, October 1, 1916. 

1 16