Peabody Singing Tower

 North Manchester, Indiana

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An 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 undertaking.
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, too.

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 good experience.

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 librarian?

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 seventeen years.

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 over?

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 that room?

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 trip.

Shultz' interview continued in Feb 1998 NMHS Newsletter:

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 economically?

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, issues

Bittinger: Do you still remember a lot of poetry that you learned?

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,
And again
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 recreation.