Adopt A Document | Presbyterian Historical Society

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Adopt A Document

Supporting the Adopt-A-Document program saves irreplaceable historical documents at PHS.

The Presbyterian Historical Society's unique collections receive constant care to prevent deterioration. The ages and dramatic histories of some items require advanced preservation treatment beyond the scope of our in-house capabilities.

Working with the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, PHS maintains the viability of such priceless items through our Adopt-A-Document fundraising program. Every year, supporters come together to make these special projects possible.

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W.H. Shureman playing "Cornelia" at Jelm Mountain, Wyoming, 1901. 

When William H. Schureman donated his Bilhorn folding organ to PHS in 1939, he gave the Society more than an instrument. The field organ was his most prized possession on earth, having journeyed with the Sunday school missionary throughout the Rocky Mountain wilderness for 25 years. He’d named it “Cornelia” in honor of a friend’s daughter who died at the age of sixteen.

In 2015, the Society is restoring Cornelia as a part of our Adopt-A-Document program. Will you help conserve this one-of-kind treasure? Though not a paper-based item, the organ speaks to an important chapter of Presbyterian history as eloquently as any piece of writing. With Cornelia at his side, Schureman traveled by horse and carriage across Wyoming and Colorado while working for the Sunday School Missionary Department of the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work. In his quarter-century of service, he logged 300,000 miles and helped organize 215 Sunday schools, 35 Presbyterian churches, and 8 rural libraries.

PHS has been the proud custodian of Cornelia for over 75 years. After the Adopt-A-Document restoration, the instrument will be preserved for future generations to see on display at the Society. It will also be fully playable again—just as it was for W.H. Schureman, a musical messenger of God to hundreds of western communities.

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