Clarence L. Jordan papers

Clarence L. Jordan papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Library
Creator: Jordan, Clarence
Title: Clarence L. Jordan papers
Dates: 1920-1970
Quantity: 13.6 Linear feet (32 document boxes, 1 half box, 3 oversized folders A, 3 oversized folders B)
Coll. Number: ms756

Biographical/Historical Note

Clarence Jordan (1912-1969), a white Southern Baptist minister, cofounded Koinonia Farm in Sumter County and translated many New Testament books into the "Cotton Patch" versions, colloquial interpretations set in the American South. Jordan committed his ministry to racial reconciliation and economic justice. A gifted preacher and teacher, he was a popular and frequent speaker at progressive religious gatherings across the United States from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Koinonia was the Christian farm community that Jordan and his wife Florence co-founded in 1942. It is considered to be the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity, among other charities.

For more information, see the article "Clarence Jordan (1912-1969)" in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of letters, pictures, clippings, manuscripts, programs, printed materials, notes, file cards, and other materials concerning the life, career, and writings of the late Dr. Clarence Leonard Jordan, founder of Koinonia Farms, an agricultural missionary enterprise, and inter-racial community. The early letters, largely from Clarence Jordan to his mother, are most revealing as to the character of the man. The many clippings and printed materials about Clarence Jordan and Koinonia also give insight into the community life, and the programs indicate the wide demand for Dr. Jordan as a speaker. The collection also includes the manuscripts, both written and typed, with annotations and/or corrections and revisions of many of Dr. Jordan's writings, particularly the Cotton Patch versions of the Gospels.

The collection is arranged into folders but for the most part it has been described at container level.


Arranged into five series: Series 1. Correspondence; Series 2. Personal papers and manuscripts; Series 3. Koinonia; Series 4. General; and Series 5. Oversized material.

Index Terms

Apocryphal Gospels.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Jordan, Clarence -- Correspondence
Koinonia Farm. -- History
Manuscripts (documents)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Clarence L. Jordan papers, ms756, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


Series 1: Correspondence

11Correspondence, 1927
2Correspondence, 1928
3Correspondence, 1929
4Correspondence, 1930
5Correspondence, 1931
6Correspondence, 1932
7Correspondence, 1933
8Correspondence, 1934
9Correspondence, 1935
10Correspondence, 1936
11Correspondence, 1939 January -1940 December
Includes letters regarding the "Baptist Fellowship Center" for Negroes, an initiative to form relationships with black Christians in Lousiville, KY, through a collaborative training institute. Also includes correspondence to and from individuals involved in the Southern Baptist Convention.
12Correspondence, 1941 January - April
13Correspondence, 1941 May - August
14Correspondence, 1941 September - December
21Correspondence, 1942 January - February
correspondence includes mention of World War II or the "outbreak of the war"
2Correspondence, 1942 March - July
includes information about starting Koinonia Farm after WWII
3Correspondence, 1942 August - December
4Correspondence, 1943 January - April
5Correspondence, 1943 May - September
6Correspondence, 1943 October - December
7Correspondence, 1944
8Correspondence, 1945
9Correspondence, 1946
10Correspondence, 1947
11Correspondence, 1948
12Correspondence, 1949
13Correspondence, 1950
14Correspondence, 1951
15Correspondence, 1952
16Correspondence, 1953
31Correspondence, 1954
2Correspondence, 1955 January-February
3Correspondence, 1955 March - August
includes information within correspondence about desegregating churches and church related activities (Bible camps, VBS, etc.)
4Correspondence, 1955 September - December
5Correspondence, 1956 Janurary - February
6Correspondence, 1956 March - May
Includes Carol Smith letter concerning Fort Valley (HBCU) students visiting not yet integrated Mercer
Includes letter from John Swomley concerning the Montgomery Bus Boycott and how white religious leaders should lend their support to Black pastors facing jail time for organizing the boycott
7Correspondence, 1956 June - September
Includes letters concerning an integrated summer camp at Koinonia Farm
8Correspondence, 1956 October - November
9Correspondence, 1956 December
Includes letter to President Eisenhower from E.E. Opdyke regarding the financial situation at Koinonia Farm
41Correspondence, 1957 January
includes note from January 12th about Koinonia being mentioned in Philadelphia's African American newspapers
2Correspondence, 1957 February
3Correspondence, 1957 February II
4Correspondence, 1957 March
5Correspondence, 1957 March II
6Correspondence, 1957 April
7Correspondence, 1957 May
8Correspondence, 1957 June
9Correspondence, 1957 July
10Correspondence, 1957 August
11Correspondence, 1957 September
12Correspondence, 1957 October
13Correspondence, 1957 November
14Correspondence, 1957 December
51Correspondence, 1958 January - March
Includes correspondence from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Dexter Avenue Baptist Church letterhead
Includes correspondence from S. Ralph Harlow (NAACP)
2Correspondence, 1958 April - October
Includes correspondence from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Includes correspondence from S. Ralph Harlow (NAACP)
3Correspondence, 1958 November - December
4Correspondence, 1959 January - February
includes correspondence discussing abolishing the death penalty
5Correspondence, 1959 March - May
6Correspondence, 1959 June - July
includes correspondence discussing the role of segregation in the U.S. South
7Correspondence, 1959 August - December
61Correspondence, 1960 January - May
2Correspondence, 1960 June - December
3Correspondence, 1961 January - May
Includes letters mentioning correspondence with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vincent Harding
Includes correspondence discussing local businesses and their discrimination against Koinonia Farms, mostly by banks and suppliers
Includes correspondence with Eleanor Roosevelt in regards to supplier discrimination against Koinonia Farm
4Correspondence, 1961 June - September
5Correspondence, 1961 October - December
6Correspondence, 1963
7Correspondence, 1963 January - July
8Correspondence, 1963 August - December
9Correspondence, 1964 January - May
10Correspondence, 1964 June - December
11Correspondence, 1965 January - May
12Correspondence, 1965 June - December
71Correspondence, 1966 January - May
2Correspondence, 1966 June - December
3Correspondence, 1967 January - June
4Correspondence, 1967 July - December
5Correspondence, 1968 January - May
6Correspondence, 1968 June - August
7Correspondence, 1968 September - December
81Correspondence, 1969 January - May
2Correspondence, 1969 June - December
3Correspondence, 1970
4Correspondence, 1971
5Correspondence, 1972
6Correspondence, 1973
7Correspondence, no date
8Correspondence, no date
9Correspondence, no date
10Correspondence, no date

Series 2: Personal Papers and Manuscripts

9Biographical Note ( 7.0 folder(s) )
10Speaking Engagements (programs, schedules, etc.), (1940-1963) ( 18.0 folder(s) )
11Cotton Patch Gospels ( 21.0 folder(s) )
12Cotton Patch Gospels ( 12.0 folder(s) )
13Lessons ( 31.0 folder(s) )
14Lessons ( 18.0 folder(s) )
15Printed material by and about Clarence Jordan ( 8.0 folder(s) )
Printed material by Jan Jordan ( 8.0 folder(s) )
16Notes ( 6.0 folder(s) )
17School and camp notebook kept by Clarence Jordan, (1920's-1950's) ( 7.0 folder(s) )
18School Textbooks
Diary, (1943)
Report to the People Script, (1956)
Speech by Dallas Lee

Series 3: Koinonia

19General Information
19BNew Jersey
Printed Material
3Legal Documents
4Guest Lists
5Mailing Lists

Series 4: General

22Intentional Communities ( 21.0 folder(s) )
23Non-violence ( 7.0 folder(s) )
24Race Relations/Civil Rights
Human Relations
25Misc. Writings not by Clarence Jordan ( 8.0 folder(s) )
26Printed Material (misc.) ( 7.0 folder(s) )
27Printed Material (misc.) ( 7.0 folder(s) )
28Newspaper Clippings, (1929-1964) ( 25.0 folder(s) )
29Newspaper Clippings, (1965-1974) (n.d.) ( 13.0 folder(s) )
30Misc. ( 18.0 folder(s) )
31Duplicates (Printed) ( 5.0 folder(s) )
32Duplicates ( 7.0 folder(s) )

Series 5: Oversized material

OS Folder
1A2 sketches, 1 photograph of Jordan
OS Folder
2A2 photographs with truck, train
OS Folder
3BBlowup image of Jordan (1 of 2)
OS Folder
4BBlowup image of Jordan (2 of 2)
OS Folder
5BMisc. posters, district map
OS Folder
6A2 vinyl records of Clarence Jordan lectures- The Great Banquet and Metamorphosis