Henry Clay Morrison (1857-1942) H.C. Morrison was born in Trimble County, Kentucky, on March 10, 1857. His parents died when he was very young, and he was reared in his grandfather’s home in Barren County, Kentucky. As a boy, Morrison was sensitive to spiritual matters and often felt under conviction for sin in his young life. He tells the story of his conversion in a chapter of his book Life Sketches and Sermons, indicating that he was saved as a teenager when a circuit-riding preacher came to their community. Soon after that Morrison felt a call to ministry. At the age of 19, he was licensed to preach and carried out his calling in his work as a circuit rider and station pastor.
In 1890 he left the pastorate and gave himself to the work of evangelism and the publication of a religious paper called The Old Methodist, which later became The Pentecostal Herald. Morrison’s evangelistic leadership in Methodism grew rapidly from Kentucky to most of the other states and many foreign lands. The camp meeting became one of his favorite venues of outreach, and perhaps no other man ever gave more time or effective leadership to this method of evangelism than he. William Jennings Bryan regarded Morrison to be “the greatest pulpit orator on the American continent.”
Under great financial difficulty, Asbury College hired Morrison as its president in 1910. With the help of his Pentecostal Herald readers and his nationwide reputation as a great preacher, Morrison was able to pay off large debts owed by the college and increase its reputation and student body. He was instrumental in founding Asbury Theological Seminary in 1923. After stepping down as president of Asbury College in 1925, Morrison was asked once again to assume the presidency in 1933 under another financial crisis. He served his second term until 1940. Morrison published 25 books, all directed toward a layperson audience. Morrison passed away in the home of a pastor for whom he was conducting revival meetings in Elizabethton, Tennessee, March 24, 1942.
Books by H.C. Morrison Available at Kinlaw Library and/or Asbury University Archives:
Bio written by Matt Kinnell