Theologian; University professor, administrator, librarian. Born– December 25, 1894, Huntsville. Parents– Lewis Capers and Nancy (McAdory) Branscomb. Married– Margaret Vaughan, June 15, 1921. Children– Three. Education– Birmingham Southern College, A.B., 1913, Oxford University, Rhodes Scholar, 1914-1917; Columbia University, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., 1924. Served on the Commission for Relief of Belgium, 1914-15; served briefly in the U.S. Army, WWI.  Taught at Southern Methodist, 1919-1925; at Duke University, 1925-46, serving as director of the libraries, chairman of the division of ancient languages and literature, and dean of the divinity school; fourth chancellor of  Vanderbilt University, 1946-1967. Subsequently served as consultant to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Served on several United States and UNESCO councils and commissions. Member American Library Association; Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis; American Council on Education. Honors; Medaille du Roi Albert and Medaille de la Reine from the government of Belgium;  Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil (for his work in reorganizing the national library of Brazil as chair of an ALA commission).  Awarded honorary degrees from Birmingham Southern College, Southwest College, Hebrew Union College, Northwestern University, Brandeis University, and Southern Methodist University. Awarded the status of Chancellor Emeritus on his retirement from Vanderbilt in 1967. Died July 23, 1998.


Directory of American Scholars, 1974; Marquis Who’s Who online; obituary.


The Competent College Student; …. Nashville; Tennessee Higher Education Commission, 1977.

The Contribution of Moral and Spiritual Ideas to the Making of the American Way of Life …. Madison, Wisc., 1952.

The Gospel of Mark. New York; Harper, 1937?.

How Should We Develop the Kenyon Libraries? S.l.; s.n., 1942.

The Message of Jesus; …. New York; Abingdon Press, 1926.

Purely Academic; an Autobiography. Nashville; Vanderbilt University, 1978.

Teaching With Books; a Study of College Libraries. Chicago; Association of American Colleges and American Library Association, 1940.

The Teachings of Jesus. Nashville; Cokesbury Press, 1931.

Vanderbilt University; the Commodore’s Best Investment. New York; Newcomen Society in North America, 1950.