Heading - Preserve the Study

In a quiet garden study behind the home of Charles and Mary Abby Sheldon, a worldwide movement began. It was within those four walls, on a rolltop desk and multiplex typewriter, that an incomparable legacy was launched…

Heading - Man in the Study

Pastor of the Central Congregational Church in Topeka, Kansas, Charles M. Sheldon was inspired to change the social inequalities of his time. As a reformer and civil rights activist, Sheldon wrote and preached to cause widespread change. Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been passed nearly 30 years prior, the United States was still recovering from a Civil War that was fought to equalize the rights of every person. Segregation was still acceptable, making it difficult for many African American families to find proper education for their children. Sheldon's vision of race relations and justice for minorities was far ahead of its time, and in 1893, he established the first African American Kindergarten west of the Mississippi in Topeka, known as the Tennessee Town Kindergarten.

As Sheldon continued to grow in his own faith, he was even more propelled to inspire change among his community. In 1896, he began writing the progressive sermon story, “In His Steps.” It was a tale of a group of committed Christians who resolved to ask themselves whenever they had hard decisions to make, "What would Jesus do?"  The publication caught the attention of a religious magazine, and quickly gained a national readership, and soon after, Charles’ first published book. Today, “In His Steps” has been translated in more than 23 languages and has sold more than 30 million copies.


Contribute now to show your support for keeping Dr. Sheldon's legacy alive in our community!

Heading - Historical Significance

The work of Charles Sheldon has reached global corners, not only because of the popularized phrase “What Would Jesus Do?,” but also due to his solid commitment to equal rights.

A student of the Tennessee Town Kindergarten, Elisha Scott caught the attention of Rev. Sheldon at an early age. Sheldon gave financial support for Scott to earn a law degree from Washburn College in 1916, only the third African American to graduate from the school.

In honor of Sheldon, Elisha named his second son, Charles Sheldon Scott. Following in his father’s footsteps, C.S. Scott earned his law degree and began a practice with his brother and Scott Senior. Charles Sheldon Scott made history in 1954 as a plaintiffs' attorney for the landmark case “Brown vs. Board of Education”, where segregation was found to be unconstitutional.

Heading - Why Save the Study

Situated in Old Prairie Town of Topeka, KS, the Sheldon Study will serve as a historical landmark, where visitors can learn of the significance of Charles M. Sheldon. The quaint building will be open to the public and restored to it’s original finishes. Artifacts owned by Sheldon, such as his rolltop desk and typewriter will be on display, bringing life back to the study. Educational materials will be mounted throughout for onlookers to read and relish in the amazing work of Charles Sheldon, and encourage a revived look at making a difference today.

Heading - Contact


Contribute now to show your support for keeping Dr. Sheldon's legacy alive in our community!

1800 SE 21st St.
Topeka, KS, 66607

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