by Thomas Medary Iden
NAxxxx.0037

Summary Information

Repository
Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Creator
Unknown.
Title
Upper Room Letters from Bible Lands by Thomas Medary Iden
ID
NAxxxx.0037
Date
1904.
Extent
0.25 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
The collection is a single book of letters written by Thomas Medary Iden to his students of the Upper Room Bible Class describing his travels to the Middle East.

Preferred Citation note

Recommended citation: Upper Room Letters from Bible Lands by Thomas Medary Iden, Emporia State University Archives, Emporia State University.

Return to Table of Contents »


Thomas Medary Iden

Thomas Medary Iden was born on July 11, 1856, in Bethel, Ohio, to William and Rebecca Iden. He grew up on their family farm, and received his early education at The Republican School House, District Number 11, Tate Township, Clermont County, Ohio. His education continued at Parker’s Academy. He taught in country schools for a few years, then entered Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1883, and his Master of Philosophy degree in 1887. Iden later studied at the University of Berlin from 1891 to 1892. After his years as a student at Butler University, Iden became a science instructor there. In 1887 Iden began an informal student group for Bible study at Butler University, and this was the basis for what later became known as the Upper Room Bible Class.

In 1897 Iden became the head of the Department of Physics and Chemistry at the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas. Once again he established a Bible study class as a private hobby that he offered to any young men of the college or the town. This 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.

In 1904 Iden made a trip to the Middle East with funds contributed by his Upper Room students for that purpose. That trip resulted in the publication of the book Upper Room Letters from Bible Lands.

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 students collected funds to send Iden on a world tour in the 1924/1925 academic year, and that trip resulted in the publication of the book Upper Room Letters from Many Lands in 1925. 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. After a long illness, Iden died in Ann Arbor on July 20, 1933.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of one copy of Upper Room Letters from Bible Lands. The book includes a 4-page Preface by the author, a Table of Contents listing 23 letters, a List of Illustrations (actually referring to prints made from photographs) listing 200 prints, and 264 pages of letters written between February 4 and May 8, 1904. Before the title page there is a page with the handwritten name Marvin Richards and a handwritten inscription by the author reading “Very truly yours, T. M. Iden.” There are also 3 pages containing a handwritten list of signatures and addresses that appear to have been written some time later than the original publication of the book.

Return to Table of Contents »


Arrangement note

Single volume.

Return to Table of Contents »


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.

Return to Table of Contents »


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. A copy of  Emporia’s Upper Room by James W. Putnam is available as part of the Iden Meditation Upper Room Collection, two typescripts of  Emporia’s Upper Room (NA1947.0001) form another collection, and a copy is available for public check-out at William Allen White Library.

Separated Materials note

None.

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Upper Room Bible Class (Emporia, Kan.) .

Geographic Name(s)

  • Europe -- Description and travel.
  • Palestine -- Description and travel.

Personal Name(s)

  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933 -- Correspondence.
  • Iden, Thomas Medary, 1856-1933.

Subject(s)

  • Voyages and travels.

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Book - Upper Room Letters from Bible Lands, 1904.