Guide to the Mary Fisher Floyd Papers 1895-1997
Abstract:The materials of the Mary Fisher Floyd Papers were acquired by Pfeiffer University from Floyd over a period of more than two decades. The initial gift of Floyd's Project Books was made in 1972. More items were donated over the years by Floyd, and by Mary Bethea at the request of Floyd. The gifts of: Project (scrap)books, writings, biographical notes, correspondence, photographs, news clippings, programs, books and serials, artwork, and realia are now housed in the Pfeiffer University Archives. Some items are on display in the Mary Fisher Floyd Archives Room.
Information for Users
Mary Fisher Floyd, who achieved recognition as a college professor and Deaconess of the United Methodist Church, was born and raised in LaGrange, Georgia. She attended LaGrange College and received a bachelor of arts degree, and then earned a master of arts degree at Scarritt College. In 1931 Mary Fisher Floyd became a Deaconess of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Miss Floyd began her long career as an educator at a high school in Trenton, Florida where she taught Latin and History. A religion teacher at Brevard Institute (now Brevard College) 1931-33, she then returned to Georgia to become a teacher and principal of Vashti School, Thomasville, Georgia. Floyd was the superintendent of Vashti School when she left in 1946. Northwestern University and Garrett Biblical Seminary provided Floyd the opportunity to prepare for teaching college curricula. In 1945 she began a one-year sabbatical to pursue these studies. Pfeiffer Junior College hired Mary Fisher Floyd in 1946 and she served as both Professor of Religion and Director of Religious Life until 1957. At that time she resigned as Director of Religious Life so that she might devote more time to teaching. Floyd was an educator at Pfeiffer and beyond; she taught courses in women's work at the Pastor's School at Southern Methodist University. She also spent summers teaching in the areas of Christian missions and Bible studies. Floyd continued her own pursuit of knowledge at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. While at Pfeiffer College Mary Fisher Floyd developed a keen interest in the school's history and in the school's founder, Emily Prudden. She helped establish the Emily Prudden Lectureship and organized a series of field trips, or "pilgrimages" to the site of Oberlin School (forerunner of Pfeiffer). Floyd's devotion to and work on behalf of the Methodist Church, its women's organizations, Pfeiffer College, and the education of young people was officially recognized in 1956 when the Woman's Society of Christian Service named a $100,000 endowed chair in her honor. The chair was the Mary Fisher Floyd Chair of Religious Life. The name changed in 1971 to the Mary Fisher Floyd Chair of Religion. Floyd had a lifelong association with the Methodist Church. She received numerous honorary and special memberships in several Methodist organizations. She served as president of the Western North Carolina Deaconess Board of the United Methodist Church. Floyd also was a member of the executive committee of the conference Woman's Society of Christian Service. Other organizations with which Floyd was involved include the National Association of Biblical Instructors and the Methodist Student Workers' Association. Mary Fisher Floyd retired in 1972. On May 14, 1972, Pfeiffer College named the Mary Floyd Fisher Archives Room in her honor, in appreciation of the untold hours during her teaching years she that spent researching the history of Pfeiffer. In 1976, an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy was conferred upon her by Pfeiffer College and the professor emerita continued to be known as the College Historian. Not only did she preserve College history but also women's history, especially as related to United Methodist Women. Dr. Mary Fisher Floyd is a very unique person. She knew early in life that she wanted to serve her Lord in a servant role, so becoming a Deaconess was second nature to her. To those of us who have had the privilege of knowing her through the years - she is the very epitome of everything a Deaconess should be. --Jamima DeMarcus, President, United Methodist Women on occasion of the rededication of the Mary Fisher Floyd Archives Room, April 28, 1987 After retirement from twenty-six years at Pfeiffer, Mary Fisher Floyd moved to the Brooks-Howell Home in Asheville, North Carolina. Mary Fisher Floyd, Professor of Religion and Deaconess in the United Methodist Church died at the age of ninety-one on June 27, 1997.
Scope and Content Note
The Mary Fisher Floyd Papers consist primarily of items collected and authored by Floyd that relate to the history of Pfeiffer University. The date span of the collection is 1912 to 1997, the bulk of the materials dating from the 1950's to the 1970's. Original order as created by Mary Floyd was not possible to ascertain with exception of the Project Books found in the scrapbook series; series were therefore artificially created to augment information retrieval. These papers are valuable not only for the information found within its contents; much of the historical data is housed elsewhere. The Mary Floyd Fisher Papers are unique and valuable from an archival perspective because represents the devotion of an individual to the research, collection, and preservation of the history of Pfeiffer University. The work done by Mary Fisher Floyd on behalf of Pfeiffer University is evidenced in her papers. Mary Fisher Floyd researched and compiled information, complete with illustrations and photographs. From this investigation she created twenty-five Project Books that cover particular subjects of interest in the history of Pfeiffer. Some information is duplicated in other series, but topics such as Story of Phi Theta Kappa and To be asked in 2025 AD: were professors human in the 1960s? are unique within the Floyd papers. Original order has been maintained in this series except for photographs which were placed in the Photographs series for purposes of preservation. The Writings series is quite diverse. The subseries History and Research includes investigation on particular topics as well as research notes and written histories of the school. Floyd was very active in the United Methodist Church and this series shows her levels of involvement, particularly in women's groups. The series Biographical notes encompasses biographical and genealogical information of prominent characters in the development of Pfeiffer. It therefore includes information gathered on others but also items that Floyd had maintained about herself. Within the series Correspondence are both personal letters and those of a business nature. The correspondence is grouped alphabetically by name, regardless of whether writer or recipient. Therefore, for example, all correspondence between Mary Fisher Floyd and Thelma Firkins Sharp is found together. Additionally, letters not penned by or addressed to Floyd are found in this series. They are grouped by the recipient's name. For example one letter of note sent by Dwight D. Eisenhower would be found in the folder Merner, Garfield David, to whom the letter was addressed. Photographs in the papers focus to a great extent on buildings, students, and the "Pilgrimage" to Lick Mountain. Therefore, the photographs are arranged by subject. Not all photographs are identified, but one photo is dated 1912. News clippings are arranged as a separate series for reasons of preservation. They relate to campus history and events. Campus publications as well as local community papers are sources of most articles. Programs include such notable items as a yearbook and minutes from the 1895 session of the North Georgia Conference, Methodist Episcopal, South, and the program of service from Floyd's consecration as a Deaconess in 1931. Other materials include, realia, artwork, and books and serials.
Online Catalog Headings
Organization of Collection
The collection is divided into 10 series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
- Project Books compiled and assembled by Mary Fisher Floyd. Arrangement follows original order as established by creator.
- Writings in the collection include material by Floyd and others, published and published, and are categorized by the following subseries: History and Research, United Methodist Church, Academic and Administrative. Arranged alphabetically by subject within subseries.
- Biographical notes about persons relevant to Pfeiffer's history, including Floyd's own biographical information. Arranged alphabetically by subject's last name.
- Letters and memoranda to and from the Pfeiffer community, associates of the United Methodist Church, family members and former students. Arranged alphabetically by last name. In some cases correspondence is grouped; i.e., Former Students.
- Photographs arranged by subject matter. Further divided by medium (black and white or color photographs, negatives, etc.).
- Clippings from the Torch, Pfeiffer News, Stanly News and Press, Salisbury Post, and other publications span the 1930's - 1980's, and are arranged chronologically.
- Arranged alphabetically by title; span the years 1895 to 1988.
- Items significant to Floyd, in alphabetical order.
- Items listed individually.
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