Upper Room Bulletin 1920-1921, Volume VII
NAxxxx.0035

Summary Information

Repository
Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Creator
Unknown.
Title
Upper Room Bulletin 1920-1921, Volume VII
ID
NAxxxx.0035
Date
1935.
Extent
0.25 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
A single volume of weekly Bible study notes prepared by Thomas Medary Iden for students in his Bible classes. This volume has a handwritten note inside the front cover indicating it belonged to James W. Putnam and was a gift from Mary Iden on May 15, 1935.

Preferred Citation note

Recommended citation: Upper Room Bulletin 1920-1921, Volume VII, Emporia State University Archives, Emporia State University.

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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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James W. Putnam

James Wesley Putnam was born August 4, 1914, in Topeka, Kansas, 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 one bound volume of the Upper Room Bulletin Volume VII, containing 29 weekly issues of Bible study notes prepared during the 1920-1921 academic year. The volume includes a table of contents, 464 pages of bulletin issues (with continuous pagination), and an 8-page index. Pages 31-32 are missing. A special feature of this volume is a handwritten note inside the front cover which reads, “James W. Putnam, from Miss Mary Iden, Ann Arbor, Mich., May 15, 1935.”

.

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Arrangement note

Single volume.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives October 28

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

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. It also includes within the correspondence letters between Mary Iden and James W. Putnam indicating that Mary Iden was sending a volume of the Upper Room Bulletin to Putnam in connection with his reception of the first Thomas M. Iden Scholarship in Emporia in 1935. The collection includes several other volumes of the  Upper Room Bulletin.

There is a copy of the 1961 Upper Room reunion program autographed by three dignitaries who had special roles in the event, with a letter to James W. Putnam about the program (NAxxxx.0036). A copy of Upper Room Bulletin, volume 14, is also available (NA1960.0001). There is more information about James Putnam in the James Putnam Papers (NAxxxx.0003).

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 is availabe for public check out at William Allen White Library. The Iden Mediation 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.
  • University of Michigan -- Religion.
  • Upper Room Bible Class (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

Personal Name(s)

  • Calkins , Mary Iden, 1935.
  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933.
  • Putnam, James W.

Subject(s)

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

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Collection Inventory

Box

 Gift, Mary A. Book - Upper Room Bulletin 1920-1921, Volume VII 1935. 

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Ann Arbor Bible Chair.
  • University of Michigan -- Religion.
  • Upper Room Bible Class (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

Personal Name(s)

  • Gift, Elmer Birdell, 1874- .
  • Gift, Mary A.
  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933.
  • Morris, Alvin E., 1920-2004.
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