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Stephen C. Rose Papers

Identifier: M389

Scope and Contents

The Stephen C. Rose papers include a broad range of materials spanning a significant portion of Mr. Rose’s life. His relations with Will D. Campbell and his participation in the SCLC’s Student Interracial Ministry project should be of interest to researchers of civil rights activities in the southern United States. The collection is divided into three series, two of which contain several subseries.


  • Creation: 1949-1998


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Stephen C. Rose (b. New York City, 1936) earned his B.A. from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1958, and his B.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1961. For some ten years he would be an active reformer of the Christian faith in America, mostly through his efforts as a writer, public speaker, and magazine editor.

Rose spent the summer of 1961 as assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, a historically black congregation. He was assigned to the church as part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Student Interracial Ministry Project. While in Nashville, Rose met preacher and author Will D. Campbell, who would become a lifelong friend.

In September 1961 Rose found work in the communications section of the Chicago City Missionary Society, an outreach organization founded in 1886 and now associated with the United Churches of Christ. In that capacity, Rose founded and edited Renewal, a semi-monthly magazine that covered urban renewal and issues of faith in the inner city. He would serve as editor from 1962 to 1966. Between 1966 and 1967, Rose worked as a staff writer for the youth department of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1967 he returned to Chicago, where he would serve two more years editing Renewal before resigning from that post and leaving Chicago for Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

All the while, Rose was also publishing books and magazine articles. Most notably, he was the author of the book The Grass Roots Church, published to wide acclaim in 1966. After 1968, Rose would become a self-employed writer, musician, lecturer, and activist. He held editorial posts at periodicals such as Christian Century and Christianity and Crisis, and published articles and columns in numerous magazines and newspapers. He is currently a direct marketer living and working in New York City.


4.50 Cubic Feet (5.25 total)

Language of Materials



Series I: Personal Papers:

Series One contains personal correspondence, educational records, financial, legal, and medical documents, and other miscellaneous items. The resume folder is particularly useful; it contains eight resumes and curriculum vitae dating from 1962 to the 1990s. Series one also contains a photograph file.

Series II: Religious Activities:

Series Two consists of materials related to Rose’s religion-centered journalistic, fund-raising, and activist work. Subseries One contains materials from Rose’s tenure as editor of Renewal, including strategic proposals, memos, and some correspondence related to grants and funding. Subseries Two contains correspondence and collected articles from Christianity and Crisis, another religious magazine. Subseries Three contains correspondence and reports on the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), an ecumenical organization. Subseries Four contains materials related to Jonathan’s Wake, an activist organization founded in winter 1969 by Mr. Rose to effect a change in leadership in the National Council of Churches. This subseries also encompasses related activist groups and initiatives started by Mr. Rose. Subseries Five includes correspondence and other materials related to Rose’s work as a fundraiser for Will Campbell’s Committee of Southern Churchmen in the early 1980s.

Series III: Other Employment:

Series Three includes materials related to Rose’s non-religious employment, mainly after 1970. Subseries One deals with journalism and contains clippings from various newspaper columns. Subseries Two contains materials from Mr. Rose’s musical career. It includes lyrics, sheet music, records and cassette tapes, promotional materials, and related documents. Subseries Three holds unpublished manuscripts and other materials from Mr. Rose’s writing career, including notes on determined and undetermined subjects, personal notebooks, journals, poetry, some sermons, and copies of several books written by Rose and other authors.


Materials in this collection were generated and/or collected by Mr. Stephen C. Rose between November 1998 and August 1999

Related Materials

M341 Campbell (Will D.) Papers

Photograph Log

M389 – 1 Stephen C. Rose and Campers 8 x 10 B&W ca. 1956 Mr. Rose in a group photo at Camp Rabbit Hollow, Morningside Community Center, New York City. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 2 Nashville First Baptist Church Congregation 5.5 x 14 B&W July 1961 Group picture of church congregation with Mr. Rose, then a guest pastor, and his family at extreme left. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 3 Stephen C. Rose 2.5 x 5.5 B&W 1960s Photo of Mr. Rose, presumably in the offices of Renewal Magazine. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 4 Stephen C. Rose 7 x 10 B&W 1960s An outdoor portrait of Mr. Rose. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 5 Stephen C. and Lois Rose 3.5 x 5 B&W August 1969 Mr. and Mrs. Rose seated together outdoors. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 6 Stephen C. Rose With Guitar 9.5 x 6 B&W 1960s Mr. Rose playing guitar at a gathering or protest, possibly during the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 7 Stephen C. Rose Extending Hand 7 x 9 B&W ca. 1970 Mr. Rose greets an unidentified man, possibly during the winter 1969 National Council of Churches general assembly in Detroit. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 8 The Stephen Rose Association 4.5 x 6.5 B&W April 1978 Mr. Rose’s band performing “God’s Outlaw” at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 9 Stephen C. and Lois Rose Onstage 4.5 x 3 B&W 1970s Mr. and Mrs. Rose performing onstage; Mr. Rose plays guitar. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 - 10 Stephen C. and Lois Rose Onstage 4.5 x 3 B&W 1970s Mr. and Mrs. Rose performing onstage; Mr. Rose plays guitar and Mrs. Rose plays harp. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 11 Stephen C. Rose With Guitar 3.5 x 5 B&W 1980s Mr. Rose performing with unidentified woman. Audience is gathered in the street. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 12 Book Cover 9.5 x 6 B&W January 1987 Photograph of a book cover taken for inclusion in newspaper feature. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 13 Stephen C. Rose Typing 9.5 x 6.5 B&W January 1987 Photograph of Mr. Rose at a typewriter; taken for inclusion in newspaper feature. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 14 Men on Park Bench 6 x 9 B&W 1960s Police officers or deputy police officers holding wooden clubs. Possibly a scene from 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 15 Woman and Landscape 4.5 x 3 Color date unknown Photograph of a woman standing beside a car with mountain ridge in the distance. (Box 1, Folder 17)

M389 – 16 Dog 3.5 x 5 B&W date unknown Photograph of unidentified dog. (Box 1, Folder 17)
Stephen C. Rose Papers
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001