first Summer Bible School in the U.S., held in 1894, consisted of daily classes
in Bible instruction for children. By
the 1920s the concept was popular with churches across America. The first printed curriculum for Vacation
Bible School was developed in 1923. These
early programs relied on Bible study and storytelling and typically operated
for several weeks.
|Vacation Bible School children and teachers at the Second Baptist Church
on King St. in Brevard, 1950.
first Summer Bible School held in Transylvania County operated from June 7
through July 2, 1926. Children, ages 6
to 18, attended from 8:30-11:30. Wayne A. Monroe was the Supt. of the Summer Bible
School. Classes met at the Baptist and
Presbyterian churches. Children from the
Episcopal and Methodist churches, as well as those visiting from out of town, were
also encouraged to attend.
first day 90 children were present. The final enrollment number was 131. There
was no cost to families but donations were asked for to cover the final cost of
|A group of Vacation bible School children from the First Baptist Church
parade through downtown Brevard wearing crowns.
at the Baptist Church were under the leadership of Rev. Wallace Hartsell. The
teachers were Miss Emma Hartsell, Miss Pauline Sitton, Mrs. Wayne A. Monroe,
Miss Alexander and Miss Eva Rice. Miss
Christine Snelson and Mr. J.A. Glazener served as substitutes. Mrs. V.A. Crawford directed and taught at the
Presbyterian Church. The other instructors were Mrs. Charles Verner, Miss Nellie
Rambo and Miss Jennie Lee Chandler, with Miss Mytrle Barnett and Miss Kimzey as
exercises were held on Friday evening, July 2, at both churches. Scripture
recitations and Bible related questions, along with Gospel songs were all part
of the celebrations. A picnic and
activity day for all of the children was held on Saturday, July 3 at Lake
Sega. The children voted to hold Bible
School again the following year.
|Children enjoy a lunch break during Vacation Bible School at the Little River
Baptist Church, 1957.
or Vacation Bible School, also known as VBS, remained popular throughout the 20th
century as it evolved by incorporating additional activities, such as arts and
crafts, live music, skits, dramatic presentations, and recreation. Over time Bible
School schedules also changed to accommodate families. Today they are typically one-week sessions, often during evening hours.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at