This collection highlights the biblical selections made by Mary Newby Miller when she quilted her Bible Quilt and gave lectures on the specific verses used to illustrate the life of Christ. Her family played a major role in the establishment of the Disciples of Christ in Oklahoma and surrounding states. The photograph to the right is Accession # H.111.33, “Aunt Mary & Uncle Porter Miller, Charles & Jessie, about 1923.”
Jessie “Dimple” Newby Ray
Jessie Newby Ray was born in Elmsdale, Kansas, to Reverend H. Warner Newby and Ceora Bowers Newby. Her father was a pioneer evangelist of the Disciples of Christ and organized many churches in Oklahoma and surrounding states. Her mother taught art and music. Jessie was a founding member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society in Oklahoma, 1932-1974. She wrote two books, The History of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society in Oklahoma from Alpha to Omega (1945) and The ‘Y’ Chapel of Song(1951).
“Dr. Ray received her A.B. and A.M. degrees from the University of Oklahoma, and her Ph.D. degree from the State University of Iowa. As a teacher in Oklahoma for fifty years before her retirement in 1956, she is best known as a teacher of Latin in Central State College. She is also known as a lecturer and as a writer of many articles for professional magazines.” (Biographical footnote in The ‘Y’ Chapel of Song.)
Connor, Kerry L. “The Delta Kappa Gamma Society in Oklahoma, 1932-1974, Founders.” An OKGenWeb Project. (link)
Ray, Jessie Newby. “The ‘Y’ Chapel of Song”, Electronic Publishing Center, Oklahoma State University Library (Adobe PDF)
Mary Newby Miller
Mary Newby Miller was born on a farm near Plattsburg, Missouri, on September 21, 1876. She was the daughter of Reverend Alexander Newby and Malinda Holman Newby. The family moved around quite a bit, living for a time in Tonkawa, Oklahoma; Mounds, which is south of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Chattanooga, Oklahoma; and New Sharon, which is east of Des Moines, Iowa. She taught country school from 1902-1904 at Mounds, and she married on June 27, 1902 to Porter Randall Miller in Muskogee. He died on November 1, 1926.
She was initiated into the Order of the Eastern Star in 1918 and served as a worthy matron. She was initiated into Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood at New Sharon in 1924. She helped her father Reverend Alexander Newby and brother Reverend H. Warren Newby in state evangelistic work from 1891-1894. She was an organist for country Sunday school conventions at the age of 13.
Written by Mary Newby Miller:
“My hobby was piecing and quilting quilts. The most outstanding was the satin Bible quilt consisting of 35 embroidered blocks depicting the ancestors and life of Christ. The Bible reference is given for each scene. I gave 12 lectures on this in churches and to groups in Des Moines. My father’s mother was a cousin to John Adams, President of the U.S.A. My mother’s mother was Nancy Jackson Holman, cousin of Stonewall Jackson, a general in the Civil War. She was married at the age of 15, rode all the way from Kentucky to Plattsburg, MO, on horseback. She and her husband homesteaded a farm near P. and it is still in the name of Holman. Nancy Holman died at the age of 97 ½ years – good eyesight. In 1927, I gave $2,000 to the Manhattan Bible College for a chapel room in memory of Father and Mother. I made it possible for the boys in the naval training station at Great Lakes to have a communion set during World War II.”
Handwritten biographical outline. Jessie Newby Ray Collection.
“Life Story of Mrs. Mary Miller”, Mahaska County, Iowa, newspaper; date unknown. Jessie Newby Ray Collection.
Scope & Content Note
The collection consists of two color transparency slides, four photographs, one postcard, typewritten correspondence between Jessie Newby Ray and Pauline Kirks, photocopies of article concerning quilting, and biographical outlines for Anna Lewis and Mary Newby Miller. A folder also contains the revised Bible verses and notes that Mary Newby Miller selected to illustrate in her Bible Quilt, which she also taught lectures on these specific verses when she exhibited the quilt. Collection items span the dates 1923 to 1967.
Miller, Mary Newby
Ray, Jessie Newby
Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ)
Women Biblical scholars
Women Biblical teaching
The accession date of this collection is not noted in the accession files, but it likely arrived during the 1960s shortly after the Museum opened. The finding aid was written and updated online by archivist/librarian Laura Anne Heller on February 11, 2010.
The Jessie Newby Ray Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Jessie Newby Ray Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.