of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME XIV, NUMBER 4 (NOVEMBER, 1997)
Interview with Lawrence W. Shultz
By Richard Bittinger and Joanna Strode
June 2, 1975
[Lawrence W. Shultz was a well-known churchman in the
Church of the Brethren. He was best known as a teacher
at Manchester College, for his key role in the beginning
and development of Camp Mack and as a lover of books. He
died very suddenly in 1982.]
B: Lawrence, you've been connected with the
Chautauqua movement in North Manchester. Tell us some of
your recollections about that.
S: The Chautauqua in this town was active for several
years. For about three years I acted as secretary to
arrange the programs and sell tickets to pay the bills.
These week-long programs of lectures and music were one
of the greatest things that ever came to our town.
Chautauqua grew up at Chautauqua, New York, under John H
Vincent. It spread across the country in week-long
programs of education and entertainment. They had great
speakers. Chautauqua was held at the fairgrounds - the
area where Peabody Home is now located.
I remember one time William Jennings Bryan was
here - sometime between 1916 and 1920. He came to town
and had to wait about an hour down at the depot for
someone to come pick him up. He didn't know who to call.
John Isenberger always regretted the fact that they let
William Jennings Bryan sit at the deport for an hour and
didn't know he was there. John was the outstanding
Democrat in this town.
B: The meetings would last a whole week?
S: Afternoons. Afternoons for a week once a year.
B: Who would come?
S: Oh, anybody we could sell tickets to. College people,
teachers, anybody who was interested in what you would
consider a lecture course these days. It was more
popular than I suppose our lecture series here at the
College now. It drew people from all over the area.
Farmers, people from Wabash. It was quite an
I don't think Wabash or any other town in the county had
one but we were interested because Manchester is a
cultural center. Chautauqua New York is a very
interesting place to me because John Vincent influenced
two or three people there to do a lot of writing of
music. For instance, "Day is Dying in the West" was
written for Chautauqua for a evening vesper service.
"Break Thou the Bread of Life" was written by the same
woman for a morning service. Both came out of
Chautauqua. Very wonderful!
It lasted three or four years and then sort of faded
away like the fair did. Our fair faded out, too. They
held the Chautauqua on the old fair grounds in a big
tent, with seats out in the open.
B: What was the cost of a ticket? Was it a major
expenditure for a family.
S: My records on that have disappeared. I suppose around
four or five dollars. Not a high price but in terms of
people's ability to pay in this area it was pretty high.
It was very well attended for this community. The
College folks responded quite well.. but others did,
B: Why did it end? Do you have any insight?
S: I can't answer.. just like an old pilgrim, it faded
away. But it was an excellent thing. I appreciated the
fact of being connected with it.
Now you should ask me
about the Chatauqua salute. At the end of the missionary
program at the Annual Meeting of the Church of the
Brethren everyone pulled out their handkerchief to wave
to say goodbye to the missionaries who were leaving for
the foreign field. I did that many times and it was a
B: I've done that several times.
S: Didn't think you were old enough. When I asked for
the Chautauqua salute one time one man said we didn't do
it anymore because it wasn't sanitary. Anyway that came
out of the Chautauqua movement. They did it at the end
of a speech they appreciated very much. I liked that -
the Chautauqua salute.
B: You've written a book about your life experiences
called "People and Places". So we won't duplicate a lot
of things from that, but just to go back for the record,
you were born..
S: October 24, 1890 in Huntington County, Lancaster
township. I came to Manchester in 1907 when I was
sixteen plus. I went to the training school. It was a
training school in those days for getting ready to
teach. I'd finished school early and the trustee
persuaded me to teach for him. That was really an honor.
A boy sixteen years old asked to teach school, and his
home school too, to boot. And so my father said, "You go
to Manchester where I want you to go." And I said no
because I wanted to go to Valparaiso. All my chums were
going there. But he said to go to Manchester for one
term and if you don't like it you can go wherever you
want to after that. So I went one term and here I am
yet. That was 1907 and this is 1975.
B: Why have you stayed in Manchester when you had a
number of opportunities to go to other places?
S: Well, because of friends and then later on, because I
married a girl. I was only sixteen. I didn't know of too
many places then to go for training to teach. Valparaiso
was the only one I'd ever heard about besides
Manchester. I came over to take a short training course
in ten weeks to be able to teach common school. My
father taught school but he never weent to any training
to teach. All he did was to get a license after he got
-well, he never went to high school even. Those days you
didn't have to have special training. The year I began
teaching there was no requirement except a license. The
next year Page Fourthey required twelve weeks. And the
next year they required twenty-four weeks; the next
thirty weeks and the next thirty-six. And now it's four
years and sometimes five.
Strode: Was there an examination for your license?
Shultz: Yes, you had to have an examination for your
license. I have those papers here yet. I'm very proud of
some of my records that I had published. I've got a
record of my six years in school; the last two years in
common school and all four years in high school. I
wouldn't take a million dollars for that. Those days we
had to have examination papers. There were six months of
school and you'd take examinations every two months. At
the end of the year they'd give you all the examinations
you had during that year. I couldn't answer some of the
questions myself now.
B: Then you taught your way through Manchester College-
first at the Academy and then at the College?
S: I came to get training to teach and I was here for
four summer terms for that. Then I taught four years.
Then I began doing College work but Otho Winger
persuaded me to come and gave me a chance to teach my
way through College. I was a tutor. I had some of the
same folks I was teaching in the dormitory. I was there
three years with my kids and my wife even went to school
to me. Some of the persons I taught are here right now
in Timbercrest with me. In the Academy I taught mainly
mathematics and history. It was a great experience. I
taught my way through College.
B: Shortly after you came back to teach they made you
S: That didn't happen until later - 1924. My teaching
here was in 1911, 12 and 13. In 1914, I graduated from
the College and then I began teaching some high school.
Then Winger asked me to come back to Manchester to serve
as the Principal of the Academy. In those days the
College was more academy than it was college work. When
Vernon Schwalm became dean a little later on he asked
President Winger one day, "When will Manchester ever
become a college?" For a time we had on campus the
second largest high school in Wabash County with
something like l30 enrolled. I was in that work for
about six years until most people decided to send their
children to public high school.
B: Why did they make that decision?
S: Just the local situation. Partly because of finances
-the public school was cheaper than the Academy. There
was a little depression back there before 1923, you
know. and the Academy just faded out all over the
country. Except the Mennonites and the Quakers. The
Academy here closed in 1923 and I was asked by Winger to
go to Northwestern University and take a course and come
back and teach the field of Christian Education. So I
did. i took my degree at Northwestern in 1924. I hadn't
been here a year until he asked me to also become
half-time librarian. So I did that. I worked at that for
B: How did you feel about that? Does your love of books
go back to your childhood?
S: Oh boy! I liked it! At about five years of age I
began reading. When I started to school, I had my first
reader and primer by heart. I made the first four grades
in two years and the third year there wasn't any fifth
grade so I started sixth grade. We didn't get along too
well so I kept the sixth grade two years and did very
well and finished common school in six years. In the
library I had a great experience working with books in
all fields and also working with teachers who wanted
certain books. I became a collector of books for the
library as well as for myself.
B: Where was the College library when you first took it
S: When I first came to Manchester the library was one
room in the northwest corner of the second floor of the
old administration building -way over towards the
dormitory. Later on it was expanded into the next room
to make two rooms. That's when I became librarian. Ollie
Miller was working at that time and she became the
cataloguer. I worked there for several years and then we
moved to what was then the science building - now the
communications building. We moved to the lower floor of
that and upstairs was the Academy where I taught my
classes in the same building. At the west part of the
second floor was the assembly room where all the
students assembled in one room and the classes were
around it. We often said to each other -we need to
sometime have a real library here. Now we have the
Funderburg Library. I never got to serve in it but I did
help to move the books from the old one to the new.
B: What was your philosophy as librarian? What kind of
books would you get?
S: I ordered books that the teachers could use and the
students would read. Just like here in the Timbercrest
Library. We're sorting out a lot of dead wood because
there's a lot here that no one will read and we don't
have any more space. I read a book once in a while and
I'll take it over and say, "Here's one you ought to
have," and I'll give it to them. I took one the other
day, SO BIG by Ferber. That's a good one. I'm still
looking for Gene Stratton Porter books. They ought to be
in here - that's Wabash County stuff you know. Have you
read her books?
Strode: Not yet.
S: Oh, my goodness! I have one there right now that I'm
taking down to the Historical Society tonight to sell to
Edna Heeter, the secretary of the Society. She's making
a collection of all the Porter books she can get. This
one is FOOT OF THE RAINBOW. I've sold her LADDIE and
FRECKLES, GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST.
B: When did you become a collector of Brethren history?
S: I became interested in the historical library at the
College because we had a room available finally on the
second floor which became the historical seminar room.
It became the south part of the room we had used for
assembly. It's the southwest room of the second floor of
the communications building. I secured permission from
the trustees to put into that room what we would call a
seminar room for historical research. In it we put all
historical books of Brethren material. George L.
Studebaker, father of Mark, had a library and for a long
time we kept that intact. That was the beginning of the
historical library. Then when we went to the new
building we were able to have a very fine place for an
archives for the historical collection. I'd like to take
you through that room in the northeast corner of the
second floor of Funderburg and tell you some stories
about that. A part of it is a vault which is closed
B: What kind of policy did you have for people using
S: There were open stacks in the room. Anybody could get
in that made application to the library, secured a key
and brought it back. Many of the teachers - expecially
church history teachers, and we did have a few such in
those days - would assign people to go to that room to
do research. I was also interested in what happened at
Elgin and at Bethany in Brethren history. I didn't help
set up their libraries but I helped work with them to
find material for them. I made some trips to the east
and secured historical material that I brought to Elgin
and Bethany to be placed in their files. I always
enjoyed those trips. I have recorded one in PEOPLE AND
PLACES, telling where we went and what we found on the
Shultz' interview continued in Feb 1998 NMHS
continued from November, 1997 issue
Bittinger: Can you tell us a little bit about your
experience in printing books? Where did you do the first
one and what kind of costs were involved?
Shultz: In those days printing was reasonable. Now it's
gone sky-high. My daughter reprinted these two recently
and the cost is up almost 50% over what it was. I used
to sell this book at $4.00. Now it's $6.00 I found out
that right near to us at Winona is a firm that I could
get to in thirty minutes. I made many, many trips to
carry copy there to get them started and then to go back
to correct it and finally to pay the bill and pick up
the books. I've been interested in that all my life. I
never thought I'd be a publisher but I have seen 25
books go through the press.
Bittinger: In reprinting books, were you able to make it
Shultz: Some were subsidized. The Camp Mack book was
done for the camp. It never paid out and we never
expected it to. There's still a few of them around.. I
go up and get a package once in a while and there's
still about eighty up there. I give them away. I want
something to tell the story of Camp Mack. This year my
plan has been that I print a little card saying what the
book is about, when and where it will be published, how
many pages, whether it's illustrated or not, then give
them the price and tell them if they want it they can
let me know ahead of time. That's the way to do it if
you want to be sure. Now these books here -I had them
all taken care of before they came off the press.
So I didn't print many more than I had subscribed. But I
wish now that I had. Several books are now in demand. I
have two of my own autobiography left and the other day
I dug up a couple more of the Schwarzenau book.
Bittinger: You've also been a great collector of books.
How did that start?
Shultz: I don't know when I started collecting books.
The first fiction I read I found in my father's library
-as book I would never had expected to find there. In
those days you weren't supposed to read fiction. I found
in our home library THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS by Cooper.
That just thrilled me and I read every book that I could
find by Cooper after that -THE SPY, LEATHERSTOCKING
tales and many other. Then I began to collect books on
my own. I've got some of my old school books here. I
wouldn't take anything for them.
Bittinger: How many books do you think you've had?
Shultz: I haven't the least idea. I had a wonderful sale
and before the sale I disposed of many books by porch
sales and private sale to people who wanted some. One
Japanese Mennonite wanted all the books the Brethren had
ever printed. He wanted to take them to the Tokyo
University Library where he has the Brethren books in
one section, the Friends books in another and the
Mennonite books in another. And so I sold him about an
even $l,000 worth of books.
My father had a library, just a bookcase, about three or
four shelves. My daughter has it now in her home. I
think I'm going to ask, if she will, to put on one of
the shelves some of my old books.. This is my old fifth
reader It's one of the greatest inspirations of my life.
Here's my HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE by Hallecks and
here's Vander Matthews' HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE.
These three books did more for me in the field of
literature than any other in my experience.
These were my personal books that I used in school -
high school or common school These books are beyond
anything being taught today in public school. We had
some of the very best in the field of poetry and
literature and history for children to learn. We were
required to memorize a lot of it. Can you quote "The Day
is Done" or "Rainy Day"? I could go on and on. When I
taught here in the Academy or in the normal school at
the College I required my students to learn poetry.
I taught a course in Chief American Poets one time and I
announced the first day that I would require them to
learn two eight line sections from each of nine poets.
That would be about 144 lines. I so stunned the class
that some of them went out saying, "We'll never come
back!" But some did and now they're saying, "I'm glad we
did," They had never committed poetry before.
To be continued in May, 1998 Newsletter.
An Interview with Lawrence W. Shultz
By Richard Bittinger and Joanna Strode
June 2, 1975
continued from November, 1997, and February, 1998,
Bittinger: Do you still remember a lot of poetry that
Shultz: Some. I'm recommitting some now too. One that I
didn't learn - I learned about it - is THE LAST LEAF. Do
you know it?
"I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane."
And the last verse goes..
"And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring.
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling."
That's the old man. That's a good poem. I recite it
every once in a while now because I'm in that stage.
Strode: Do you think that memorizing poetry helped your
students to write?
Shultz: Sure. Why not? It's the best of literature.
Nowadays they don't know how to write. Many college
freshmen don't know how to sit down and write legible
paragraphs. They don't even know how to write letters.
It helps to polish their English. I had a letter this
morning and I could tell by her writing and by her
English that she had not had excellent courses in
English. I got most of my books from subscribing to
auctions in the East. You put in a bid ahead of time and
then others bid there against your bid and if they don't
come up to your bid, you'll get it. Some Saturday
auctions too. And some I bought privately out of private
libraries. I like to do that. Many people ask me for
books. I expect two or three letters a month from people
away from here who want me to get a book.
Bittinger: You've inspired a number of people to become
librarians, haven't you?
Shultz: I was thinking about that the other day.
Somewhere between twenty and thirty have gone on into
library work. For instance, just this last week I
understand that Orpha Book resigned, retired. She was
one of them and Ruth Coblentz was one. Lois Lehman and
my three daughters.
Bittinger: Let's talk a bit about Otho Winger. What's
your first memory of Otho?
Shultz: He took his AB and Masters both at Indiana
University. He was a great student. He came here one
morning for chapel and I'll never forget President
Crouch introducing him. He came here for just that
speech and then the next year he came back to teach.
From 1908 to 1941 he was the main figure on the campus.
I had courses under him in many fields. One time
somebody asked him what chair he held. He said he didn't
hold a chair, he had a whole settee. He taught many,
many subjects. About the only thing he didn't teach was
domestic science and some language - Greek maybe. He was
a great teacher. His main course was philosophy. Under
him I had Commercial Arithmetic, Greek History, Roman
History, English Literature - Spencer, Milton and
Wordsworth, Civil Government.. I can't remember all of
them. He could just fill in most anywhere.
He lectured and then he'd ask questions and he demanded
outlines and memory work. When I was in his English
History course, I could name all the kings and queens
from Egbert down to the present day, and give the dates.
He didn't require a lot of paper work. We didn't do a
lot of handing in term papers but we did have to answer
a lot of test questions. He demanded that we know
something about these great people on the pages of
history. He underlined what he thought were the most
important parts of a book. Schwalm said he was one of
the greatest teachers ever. Let me read you a little of
this paragraph from Schwalm's estimate of Otho Winger.
"Winger was a great unselfish soul. His countless deeds
of service to unnumbered needy students, his frequent
visits to the sick and unfortunate, his unselfish
devotion to the College and the Church have become
common knowledge to the Church of the Brethren and among
the thousands of Manchester alumni. His firm conviction
for the right, his uncompromising attitude towards sin
and wrong are equally well known. He was a personality
cast into the right mold. Great in personality, great of
heart, boundless in energy and statesmanlike in mind, he
gave all his power to the causes he served with an
abandon that has rarely been equaled."
I lived beside him for 25 years and saw him write these
Indian books. From about 1933 on for about eight years
it was his weekend hobby to go out and get recreation by
talking to people. The first three years he taught was
in this Indian school and that's how he got interested
in Indians. Then during the weekends when he was
President, he'd go down to the area and visit with
former students, with their children and some of their
grandchildren to get stories for his books. That was his