Henry Coe Culbertson, president of the College of Emporia, was born July 11, 1874, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was James Coe Culbertson, M. D., a practicing physician, for more than a quarter of a century editor of the "Cincinnati Lancet-Clinic," and for six years editor of the "Journal of the American Medical Association." His great-grandfather was James Coe, a pioneer Presbyterian minister and missionary, who founded many churches in Kentucky and Ohio which have since grown to be strong and influential organizations. His mother, Sarah Pogue, was born in Ireland, and came to this country at an early age. Her brothers founded the H. & S. Pogue Dry Goods Company of Cincinnati.
Henry Coe Culbertson attended school, first in the Chickering Institute, Cincinnati, and afterward in the public schools in that city. He graduated in Hughes High School in 1891, and in the University of Cinnati,[sic] receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1895. During his college course he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. After graduation he spent a year in the law office of Messrs. Jones & James, in Cincinnati, and then studied for two years in the law department of Columbia University. About this time he became dissatisfied with the legal career, which he had planned, and decided to study for the ministry, instead. He had always been interested deeply in religious thought, and at the age of eleven had become a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, in which his father at that time was an elder and of which Rev. F. C. Montford, D. D., was pastor. Having determined to study theology he entered the divinity department of the University of Chicago, and carrying unusually heavy work, graduated in that department, with the degree of Bachelor of Divinity in October, 1900, thus taking three years' work in less than two years.
On March 14, 1900, he was married to Miss Mabel Dora, daughter of Judge Henry V. Freeman, a justice of the appellate court of Illinois. Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Culbertson made a wedding trip through Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, France and England, visiting the Passion Play at Oberammergau, and the world's exposition at Paris.
Mr. Culbertson was licensed by the Cincinnati presbytery, in October, 1900, and in January, 1901, he became assistant pastor of the Lake Forest Presbyterian Church, in a suburb of Chicago. The pastor of that church, Rev. James G. H. McClure, D. D., was at that time serving, not only as pastor of the church but also as president of Lake Forest University, and Mr. Culbertson counts it as one of the inestimable privileges of his life that he was associated at this time with this great and good man. He remained as assistant pastor in this church until March, 1902, when he was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church at Iola, Kan. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in April, 1902, by Neosho Presbytery, at a meeting held in the First Presbyterian Church in Parsons, Kan. He served as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Iola for five years, during which time a beautiful new $30,000 stone edifice was erected by the church, and also two branch chapels, one called Little Builders' Chapel and the other Bassett Chapel. The Little Builders' Chapel was organized into an independent church to meet the needs of the locality which it served. During his ministry in Iola 369 persons were received into church membership, and the giving of the church to all benevolences was very largely increased. The rapid growth of the town and especially the work of Elder William Davis and Mrs. E. N. Jones made possible the building of the two mission chapels of the church, and Mr. Culbertson attributes the development of the branch work almost entirely to these efficient helpers, with whom it was his privilege to coöperate. In February, 1907, he received a call to the presidency of the College of Emporia, the Presbyterian synodical college of Kansas. Having decided to accept this call he left the pastorate of the church in Iola April 1 of that year, and after a month's trip among the educational institutions of the East, took up the college work, May 1. Under his leadership the college has grown, both in number of students and financial resources. He has not only carried the work of the presidency, but as professor of Biblical history and literature has made this subject an important part of the curriculum. In June, 1910, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Lenox College, in Iowa, which was conferred upon him with impressive ceremonies during the commencement exercises of the College of Emporia, by the chairman of the board of trustees, representing Lenox College. He is a member of the state executive committee of the Young Men's Christian Association, and has served as lecturer for the Western conference of the Young Women's Christian Association, at Cascade, Cal.
Mr. and Mrs. Culbertson have one child, a daughter, Eleanor Pogue Culbertson, born April 14, 1908.Pages 1472-1473 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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