|George P. Taubman|
George P. Taubman (1869-1947) had a significant influence on the beginnings of Hope International University. His life of ministry and leadership in the local church, his community, and the Restoration Movement personify the mission, goals, objectives and enduring core values of the University.
Under his leadership, the First Christian Church of Long Beach housed early classes for what was then Pacific Bible Seminary (1930-33). He served as the first academic dean from 1931, was listed as professor of practical ministries, and declined an offer to become the institution’s second president
In March of 1915 the Taubman family moved to Long Beach, California, where George began a nearly 25-year ministry. Here he had the opportunity to provide pastoral leadership through some of the most interesting and turbulent times in American history.
Taubman had a particular passion for reaching men. When he arrived in Long Beach, he immediately started a men’s Bible class, and within a few short years, he had taken the group from 25 to 3000+ men every Sunday morning for nearly two decades. At the time it was known as the world’s largest men’s Bible class.
This is what has brought Wilson Hutchinson to the Darling Library to read for hours in the past couple of months. Mr. Hutchinson was born, grew up, lives, and works in Long Beach. He says, "Long Beach is my city!" Hutchinson believes George Taubman is part of the early DNA of the city. In many ways, Taubman shaped the city’s beginnings through those he served and led. Although you might not read about him much or see the impact, it's there.
Taubman came to Hutchinson's attention from a small house church leader who gathered a group of young college graduates with a vision of seeing the city reached for Jesus through prayer and worship. They had a real heart to see revival in Long Beach. The church leader had heard of Taubman and communicated the impact that he had had. This sparked Hutchinson's curiosity.
He started doing some research. He found a thesis at Pepperdine written about Taubman by Kevin Kragenbrink and went to to read it. He dropped the subject for a few years and recently rekindled his interest. He feels like the Lord is leading him to study Taubman. He's not sure exactly why, yet. But he is learning a lot from the primary sources that have been kept at Hope International University.
One of the most time-consuming parts of Hutchinson's research is going through Taubman's sermons. Hundreds of hand-written or typewritten sermon notes have been saved in acid free, archival folders, organized by date. Many of these sermon notes predate Taubman’s time in Long Beach.
Hutchinson says that Taubman's bulleted notes communicate his message very well. He very much stuck with the Bible and gospel message. His sermon titles summarized the messages very well and he was very clever in his way with words. He can see why he was very popular with men at that time. He was straightforward and didn't mince words.
Taubman was also a man of action. The class slogan was: “The value of the Sunday morning session must be seen in the character of service rendered through the week.” One word was boldly displayed every week in six-foot high letters at the front of the auditorium where they gathered: OTHERS. Service to those in need throughout the city was a unifying and galvanizing force for the men of Taubman’s class.
Although he was not raised in Restoration Movement churches, Hutchinson appreciates the Restoration Movement emphasis on church unity (particularly across denominational lines) that Taubman strongly communicated through his sermons and lifestyle.
As the librarian who personally organized, preserved, and curated the Taubman collection, I am particularly encouraged by the interest that a researcher is taking in this one-of-a-kind collection. Libraries throughout the world are moving away from expanding their spaces in order to shelve more and more print books to accommodating more digital and unique resources -- like special collections.
"Special collections are often related, even deeply attached, to the mission and academic focus of a college. And special collections often house the archives and history of the institution itself." (The Library of the Future, 2022). This also connects the library (and university) with its larger community.