Library News

Young at Heart in the Archives: M. Norvel and Helen Young Papers Open for Research

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The finding aid for the M. Norvel and Helen Young papers is now available on the Online Archive of California!  The collection was processed as part of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant awarded to the department of Special Collections and University Archives.

The collection contains the personal and professional papers of M. Norvel and Helen Young. The bulk of the materials range from the 1900s to early 2000s and document the Youngs’ involvement with Pepperdine University; their families’ lives; and their activities while based in Tennessee, Texas, and California.

The Youngs were involved in Pepperdine from the beginning – Helen was a student during the first year of classes in 1937, and Norvel taught history for a few years, starting in 1938.  The two moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to further their education at the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, then moved to Lubbock, Texas, so Norvel could preach at the Broadway Church of Christ from 1944 to 1957.  The family (including their four children) moved to Los Angeles in 1957, when Norvel accepted the job of President of Pepperdine (later transitioning to Chancellor and Chancellor Emeritus).  Helen and Norvel were very involved in the various Churches of Christ they attended, and also edited multiple nationwide church publications.  Norvel and Helen continued their support of Pepperdine for decades, until Norvel’s death in 1998 and Helen’s retirement in the mid-2000s.

The collection has a fascinating depth of information about the Youngs as a family (including their extended families – pictures, family trees, and family history!), their educational careers, Pepperdine as a university, their travel around the world, and the Churches of Christ – all with information spanning from the early 1900s to the early 2000s.

For more information about the collection, or to set up an appointment to use the collection, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.

The pictures shown below were selected and scanned by our graduate student assistant, Jessica Geiser.  These pictures (plus other pictures and objects from the M. Norvel and Helen Young Papers, the J.M. McCaleb Papers, and the George Pepperdine Family Papers) are on display the week of May 1-4 for the 69th Annual Bible Lectures in Special Collections (room 326) in Payson Library.  The display also includes rare books from Special Collections.  The items can be viewed from 1-5 pm Tuesday, and 12-5 pm Wednesday through Friday.

(Click the images to view them larger.)


Norvel, age 7, with a pony.


From the left, on camels: Norvel, Helen, and Norvel’s mother (Ruby) in Egypt, 1949.


Helen, Norvel, and other Pepperdine people looking at a campus map on-site in Malibu.


Helen and Norvel on the swings in Korea.


Norvel and Helen at their 50th wedding anniversary party.

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