|KCNTS and National College
During the Progressive Era, student deaconnesses at the Kansas City National Training School learned to bring social services and early childhood education to immigrant and poor urban populations. The social issues they encountered included Prohibition, Americanization and women's rights.
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In January 1900 classes began at Fisk Deaconess and Bible Training School to provide the Bishop's Course of Study for Deaconesses, as required by the Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to nurses receiving training at Bethany Hospital. Bethany was established in 1896 as a deaconess hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. Early interest from prospective students led the school to expand the program beyond nursing deaconesses.
As the school grew, the local board began looking for a permanent home. Christian E. Schoellkopf, a member of Grand Avenue Methodist Church, donated ten acres at the corner of East Fifteenth Street and Denver Avenue, on a hill overlooking Kansas City, Missouri. The first building, Fisk Hall, was built in 1904, and the school moved to the campus in December of that year. The name was changed to Kansas City National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries (KCNTS).
The merger of the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant churches into The Methodist Church in 1939, brought changes in the organization of the boards and divisions of the church that affected the school. National Training School and Scarritt College in Nashville came under the auspices of the newly formed Woman's Division of Christian Service.
After the retirement of Anna Neiderheiser as president in 1939, Cloyd V. Gustafson led the school on the first steps to becoming a liberal arts college. Dr. Lewis B. Carpenter became president in 1945. He began a building program and a push to achieving accreditation for a bachelor in liberal arts degree. The school name was changed to National College for Christian Workers in 1945 and to National College in 1958. The first BA degrees were granted in 1948, and men were admitted for the first time in 1954.
In the first half of the 1960s, the Board of Missions of The Methodist Church, including the Woman's Division of Christian Service, was restructured. In late 1963 the women began considering a "cooperative enterprise merger" of the facilities of National College with Saint Paul School of Theology Methodist. At the end of the 1963-1964 school year, undergraduate work at National College ended and the college was closed. The class of 1964, the last class to graduate from National College, had forty-six graduates, the largest class in the history of the college.
Fisk Bible and Training School, 1899
Kansas City National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries, 1904
National Training School for Christian Workers, 1933
National College for Christian Workers, 1945
National College, 1958
The National College room in the Holter Center on the
Saint Paul School of Theology campus remains to honor the
women and men of KCNTS and National College.
Approx. 10 linear feet, Heritage Room, Saint Paul School of Theology
(Box numbers 5 A-D, 6 A-F, 116-117, 122, items on display in National College Room at Saint Paul School of Theology, Drawer 6, and unboxed volumes of Kansas City Deaconess, World Horizons, and The Shield.)
Arranged in 15 series:
Series 1 Kansas City National Training School
Series 2 Mary F. Smith Collection
Series 3 KCNTS/National College Records
Series 4 National College Records
Series 5 National College Room Collection
Series 6 National College Alumni Collection
Series 7 National College Memorabilia
Series 8 National College Audio Recordings
Series 9 KCNTS Yearbooks (The Shield) 1915-1944
Series 10 National College Yearbooks (The Shield) 1945-1964
Series 11 The Kansas City Deaconess 1908-1943
Series 12 World Horizons 1943-1949, bound volume
Series 13 KCNTS Photographs
Series 14 National College Photographs
Series 15 KCNTS Portraits
The bulk of the records are from 1901 to 1964, some alumni records through 2011.
When National College closed in 1964, student records and other items were transferred to Scarritt College in Nashville, TN. Archival records transferred to Scarritt are now in the Virginia Davis Laskey Research Library at Scarritt-Bennett Center, http://www.scarrittbennett.org/about/library.aspx