"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.XIII Pg.21-22
July/August 1944

Norris-Stubblefield Correspondence

1. Norris To Stubblefield

December 5, 1934

My dear Brother Stubblefield:

Since you were Chairman of the Committee representing the Church of Christ in the debate and in view of the discussions with references to the publication of the debate, I am writing you.

1. I agreed with Wallace during the debate that he could make corrections and changes in address if he desires. I paid for the stenographers. I received nothing out of the debate financially. Wallace received a liberal offering, which I was glad for him to have. The great crowds come to the debate not on Wallace's account, for he has had other debates where there were only small crowds. My purpose in the debate was not so much for the discussion of the present but to make a record for the truth as I understand it. Therefore, I made thorough preparation and am perfectly satisfied with the manuscripts of my address.

2. No advantage will be taken in the publication and my purpose is to publish the addresses supported by affidavits of three stenographers who took down and transcribed the same. In court and on other occasions the word of the stenographers reporting is considered the best evidence of the essential correctness of what was said.

4. I am warranted by information in not permitting Wallace to have his addresses to correct, save and except under proper supervision. I mean no reflection, I am simply taking the necessary precaution in view of the warnings I have received from members of your own church, and I mean members who are not living in Texas. I do not wish to take advantage of Wallace and on the other hand, I am not going to be taken advantage of. I am equally certain of both propositions.

5. I repeat, Wallace can have his manuscripts to make corrections or changes but under the necessary supervision to guarantee the return of same without any use having been made of the manuscripts in any way whatsoever.

6. It will make little difference to me whether Wallace's addresses are published or not because I so thoroughly quoted him in his former debate and so thoroughly quoted him in each address from the stenographic record as the debate proceeded, that the public will have sufficient understanding of the issues involved. I had all this in mind when I conducted the debate in the manner which I did.

My attorney, Mr. Collins, informed me that your people would not be interested in buying the debate unless it had Wallace's full approval. This would interest me very little for the book will have sufficient publication regardless of anybody's approval. People are going to buy this debate not so much because Wallace was in it, for with all due respect to him, the great outside mass of people never heard of Wallace. Certainly I mean no reflection on him when I make this statement. Anyway, that will be my concern--lose or gain.

So far as the threatened injunction is concerned, that will only serve to advertise the book and I am fully informed as to the legal phases.

I am not going to have any further argument about the publication anytime, for it matters little to me what course Wallace pursues. The debate will be published.

7. It will be better for him and the cause he represents for the book to be published with his addresses changed and corrected as he desires.

8. I have plenty of means of publicity and all the Baptist papers from New York to California, even though they differ with me on other issues, are anxious to carry full notices of this book and have so written me.

I have the entire Southwest Network of some eight stations and will give this debate, my side of it, over this entire network.

I am under no obligation to give Wallace's addresses and if he and his friends desire to give his side, they can pay for the time to do so. That is their right and privilege.

I will be home in a few days and without further delay, shall proceed to the consummation of this whole matter and nothing will be done until I return.

You can send this letter, a copy of it, to all parties concerned.

Be assured of my continued, very high personal esteem for you.

Yours very cordially,

J. Frank Norris

It will be noted that Mr. Norris admits in the above letter that he had made his plans before the debate began to do as he has done. This admission is the proof that he never intended that both sides should be printed and deliberately planned it that way.

It will also be noted that Norris said, "The debate will be published" -- the threat which forced the injunction.

2. Stubblefield to Norris

1616 Denver, Ave., Fort Worth, Tex.,

December 9, 1934.

My Dear Doctor Norris:

Your letter, relative to publishing the Norris-Wallace debate, has been received. Many thanks. In one paragraph you say: "I am not going to have any further argument about the publication anytime, for it matters little with me what course Wallace pursues. The debate will be published."

Very well. But why write me a two-page letter about it, then? Were you merely trying to work off some excess steam? I had entertained high hopes, Doctor Norris, that you and I could sit down together and reach an agreement whereby the book could be brought out with the approval of all concerned, thus insuring a wider circulation and avoiding hard feelings between the two bodies, as well as the ill-repute in consequence of a case in the courts. Your utterance, however, destroys that hope. Be assured, therefore, my dear sir, that I shall not insinuate myself into the controversy, but shall try to be content with the delusion that "it matters little with me what course" Norris "pursues."

Permit me to add, however, that, should one desire to browbeat another, the attitude manifested by you in your letter is the ideal one. Borrowing your own overworked expression: "I mean no reflection."

Moreover, should one desire to publish what purports to be the Norris-Wallace debate but which, in reality, is not it at all, the course you have determined upon is ideal for that purpose also. But again I say, "I mean no reflection."

It may be, as you so confidently affirm, that you want to be perfectly fair, but candor demands that I say to you that we have yet to see the first manifestation of such. It is possible, of course, that with the wide facilities of which you so blatantly boast, you may make some people believe that you are acting fairly, but my judgment is that there are at least a few people in the world still who can think in straight lines.

Very truly yours,

C. M. Stubblefield.

3. Norris To Stubblefield

December 15, 1934

My dear Stubblefield:

Yours to hand and you proposed exactly what I suggested in the beginning to you; namely, that you and I could sit down and work the matter out.

There is no intention on my part to "brow beat" anybody. I am simply, endeavoring to protect my rights and the large amount of work that I put on the debate.

All that I offered Wallace so far as the corrections of the manuscript, etc., was wholly in addition to our agreement for there was not a word said in the agreement relative to publication of stenographic report, cost, and so on. It was open to him, you and all your brethren, to have reported the debate on your own responsibility.

As I wrote you before, I have been warned several times concerning Wallace and I mean in addition to the Wood family. There may be no justification in the charges that the members and ministers of your church bring against him. I can quite understand how, that a man may be falsely accused.

In addition to reports I received when Wallace threatened to go to court and gave peremptory notice that he was going to court, my first inclination was for hire to go ahead. I am fully advised as to my legal rights in the whole matter and am thoroughly prepared to defend the same if forced to do so.

I repeat the promise that I made during the debate, that Wallace could have the opportunity of correcting his manuscript and he can do so under proper supervision.

It matters little so far as I am concerned as to what he may do for immediately upon my return home, I shall proceed to the consummation of my plans.

Referring to your term, "brow beat," it would seem that that term would apply to Wallace from what his own brethren say, but I am not interested in that.

I am more than pleased with the results of the debate and particularly after effect. Here is the report from one of the outstanding citizens of Texas and I have had many like it. There have been several from the Church of Christ that have united with the First Baptist Church since the debate.

I don't blame those who could wish the debate was not published. I quite understood your desires in the matter as you expressed to me over the phone that the debate not be published.

I have read my addresses and only a few changes are necessary. I join with the enclosed testimony as well as many others from your brethren but I was greatly surprised at the inadequate preparation of Wallace but that is not my fault or responsibility.

I have written you thus fully because you are chairman of the committee that made the arrangements. I have no agreement with Wallace. I am perfectly willing and will be glad to listen to any matter but I repeat the whole matter will be closed up speedily when I return. Yours very sincerely,

J. Frank Norris.

4. Stubblefield To Norris

Dec. 20, 1934.

My Dear Sir:

I am surprised beyond measure at receiving another communication from you relative to the publication of the Norris-Wallace debate, for I had every reason to believe that we understood each other perfectly. You told me in your former letter that you were "not going to have any further argument about the publication any time for it matters little with me what Wallace may do." In reply to that utterance of yours, I pledged you my solemn promise that I would not impose upon you with any plea. I am surprised, therefore, to have another letter from you saying, "Immediately upon my return home I shall proceed to the consummation of my plans." Why did you write me that? Are you afraid that I am going to call you on the phone and impose my pleas upon you? Do you feel that I am so ill mannered, so ill bred as to hang around the door of your sanctum sanctorum with outstretched hands, tearful eyes, and tremulous voice pleading with you for mercy? Now, my dear sir, let me assure you again, and once for all, that I shall not call you on the phone, nor knock for admission at your door in an effort to prevent you proceeding with "the consummation" of your plans.

There are several matters in your letter which demand a rather stiff reply, but I, shall make short work of it by merely saying to you that ail your insinuations, all your innuendos, all your threats fall, so far as I am concerned, upon listless ears. They have the sole effect of creating nothing but disdain.

Very truly yours,

C. M. Stubblefield.

Note to Wallace:

The above is a copy of my letter to Norris. I have him strictly on the aggressive. If they want a conference, I'll take part in it, but not in his office. He will come out of that hole if he ever talks with me again. --C. M. Stubblefield.