Emporia’s Upper Room, Typescript by James W. Putnam
NA1947.0001

Summary Information

Repository
Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Creator
Putnam, James W.
Title
Emporia’s Upper Room, Typescript by James W. Putnam
ID
NA1947.0001
Date
1941-1947.
Extent
0.25 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
The collection contains two copies of a typescript titled Emporia’s Upper Room, a historical and biographical sketch of Thomas Medary Iden’s Upper Room Bible Class, written by James W. Putnam on the occasion of his being the first recipient of the Thomas M. Iden Scholarship.

Preferred Citation note

Emporia’s Upper Room, Typescript by James W. Putnam, Emporia State University Archives, Emporia State University.

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Biographical/Historical note

James W. Putnam

James Wesley Putnam was born August 4, 1914, in Topeka to Harry Wells and Clara Louise Gibson Putnam. He graduated from Topeka High School in 1932. As a student he served as president of the Entre Nous Club and the Hi-Y Club, an organization related to the Young Men’s Christian Association. He was a member of the Student Council, Debate Club, and the national organization Quill and Scroll, Arthur J. Carruth Chapter. James also served as club editor for The Topeka High School World newspaper and the memorial publication  Sixty-Two Years of History in the Topeka High School. James was inducted into the Topeka High School Historical Society Hall of Fame as part of their 1997/1998 ceremony.

James attended Kansas State Teachers College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1935 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936. He was a member of the Student Council and the Young Men’s Christian Association and served as president of both organizations. In 1935 he was selected as the first recipient of the Thomas M. Iden Scholarship, named in honor of the founder of the Upper Room Bible Class. He wrote a brief history of his benefactors titled Emporia’s Upper Room. James also attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence where he earned a Master of Arts degree in political science and a Bachelor of Laws degree. James worked as an attorney in Emporia, Kansas. One of his accomplishments was the discovery of E. J. Alexander’s will, which allowed for the creation of Camp Alexander, an area of over 80 acres opened to the public for recreational activities. In 1941 James was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, District 46, as a Republican.

James enlisted in the United States Army in July, 1942. That fall he was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and worked within the personnel classification system. In December 1942 he was promoted to Corporal and transferred to the Transportation Corps Officer Cadet School at Mississippi State College in Starkville, Mississippi. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on February 2, 1943. James was stationed in Chicago, Illinois, with the Army’s 6th Transportation Corps. In February, 1944, he was promoted to the rank of Captain. James served as Intelligence, Public Relations and Labor Relations Officer on the staff of the Chief of Transportation for the European Theater of Operations, which was headquartered in England. Later that fall he was stationed in England. In April, 1945, he was promoted to the rank of Major and by June was stationed in Paris, France.

After the war James resumed practice as an attorney in Emporia, and retired in 1989, completing 50 years of practice to the day. He was Emporia’s city attorney for ten years and city attorney of Madison for 29 years. In 1940 he organized the Parade of Progress in Emporia, with William Allen White as guest of honor. He was also the Jaycee Man of the Year in 1940. James served as chairman of the Camp Alexander board of directors for 15 years. In 1963 he was recognized by the Emporia Gazette as a “Man of the Week.” In 1967 he began serving on the Emporia State Bank and Trust company’s board of directors. James was a founder of the Emporia State University Endowment Association, and had been on the executive board since 1952. He was very active in the Kiwanis organization, and helped establish the Emporia Key Club, the Kansas Kiwanis Foundation, and the Kansas District of Kiwanis International.

The influence of the Thomas M. Iden Scholarship which James had received in 1935 continued throughout his life. In 1954 James attended a reunion of the members of the Upper Room Bible Class, and from that time he became more active in promoting the ideals of Iden. He worked on establishing the Iden Upper Room Scholarship, which was financed by donations from previous recipients of the Thomas M. Iden Scholarship. James was active in fundraising for the scholarships, and also worked with William H. Singular and Victor T. Trusler on the establishment of the Iden Meditation Upper Room in the men’s dormitory on the campus of Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia in 1966.

James died December 3, 1997, and was buried in Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Emporia. He was survived by his wife, Wanda Lang Putnam, and their children Larry, Richard, and Linda.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of two copies of Emporia’s Upper Room which appear to contain the same version of the text. Each typescript contains a total of 24 pages, although the first copy has library markings labeling the pages from “2 of 25” through “25 of 25,” without a “1 of 25” present in the collection. The first copy of the typescript is on the reverse side of City of Emporia stationery, and there are holes at the top of the pages for attachment to some kind of binder or folder. Although the title page is dated May 1, 1935, these copies of the typescript are dated between 1941 and 1947 based on the City of Emporia stationery listing O. G. Rindom as mayor. The second typescript copy was presented to the William Allen White Memorial Library at Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia by James W. Putnam on January 23, 1947. It has library processing markings and was stapled into a cardboard cover along the left margin of the pages. The pages of the second typescript have handwritten page numbers from 1 to 24, plus library processing markings numbering the pages from “1 of 24” through “24 of 24.” Other than the differences in the page numbering, the page layout of the text in the two copies appears to be identical.

Each copy of the typescript contains the same sections. First there is a title page and two introductory quotations related to the Upper Room Bible Class. The second section is a Preface in which Putnam explains the connection between receiving the Thomas M. Iden Scholarship in 1935 and writing a historical sketch of Iden and the Upper Room Bible Class. In the Preface Putnam describes interviewing William Allen White, an active supporter of the Upper Room Bible Class, for information for writing the typescript. The third section is a description of the weekly routine of the Saturday night class meetings. The last three sections are a brief biographical sketch of Iden prior to his arrival in Emporia in 1897, a description of Iden’s activities in Emporia, and a description of Iden’s activities after his relocation to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1913 until his death in 1933, plus his lasting influence in the lives of his students.

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Arrangement note

Two folders in one box.

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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

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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 Index 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.  Qualities of Greatness, volume 1, describes Iden and his influence at the Kansas State Normal School.

There is a copy of Upper Room Bulletin, volume 7, signed by James W. Putnam and marked as received by him from Mary Iden (NAxxxx.0035). There is also a copy of the 1961 Upper Room reunion program autographed by three dignitaries who had special roles in the event, with a letter to Putnam about the program (NAxxxx.0036).

Sunflower yearbooks (1934-1935) contain photographs and activity information about James Putnam as a student at Kansas State Teachers College. The  Alumni News (1942-1945) contains information about his military service during World War II. A copy of  Emporia’s Upper Room is available as part of the Iden Meditation Upper Room Collection; another copy is available for public check-out at William Allen White Library. The Iden Meditation Upper Room Collection also contains correspondence between James Putnam and others. These items generally refer to the book, scholarships, and memories of Dr. Iden. James co-authored three books while a student at the University of Kansas. These books, published between 1939 and 1941, are also available at William Allen White Library on the Emporia State University campus.

The Emporia Gazette contains an obituary for James W. Putnam on December 4, 1997.

Separated Materials note

None.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

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

Personal Name(s)

  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933.
  • White, William Allen, 1868-1944.

Subject(s)

  • Bible -- Study and teaching -- Kansas -- Emporia.
  • Bible -- Study and teaching -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Bible -- Study and teaching.
  • Church and college.
  • College students -- Kansas -- Emporia -- Societies and clubs.
  • College students -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor -- Societies and clubs.
  • College students -- Religious life.
  • 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

First typescript. 

1 1

Second typescript. 

1 2