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A newsletter from the Princeton Theological Seminary Library

News from the Archives (Spring 2014)

(Kenneth W. Henke) Permanent link

Recent Donations
Pages from an eighteenth century set of the complete works of Isaac Newton donated by Barry H. Downing (PTS Class of 1963)
Pages from 18th century set of the
complete works of Isaac Newton,
donated by Barry H. Downing,
PTS Class of 1963

Among the recent donations to Special Collections is a five volume set of the complete works of Isaac Newton published in London by J. Nichols between 1779 and 1785. Newton kept his personal religious beliefs rather private and refused to take holy orders in the Church of England, something which was normally expected of Cambridge faculty in his day (he had to receive a special dispensation from King Charles II exempting holders of his chair from this requirement). Yet he was known to be a deeply religious person who was convinced that the order and beauty which he found in the universe could not have come about by chance. In addition to his well-known writings in the field of mathematics and natural science, he studied scripture, theology and church history, and this edition of his works contains the first complete printing of a lengthy letter he wrote on the textual history of I John 5:7, as well as his writings on ancient chronology and the prophetic writings found in the Bible, especially the books of Daniel and Revelation. The volumes were the gift of Barry H. Downing (PTS Class of 1963) who after completing his studies at Princeton Seminary went on to complete a doctorate on “The Eschatological Implications of the Understanding of Time and Space in the Thought of Isaac Newton” at the University of Edinburgh.

Handwritten manuscript of a sermon preached by William Frazer, colonial New Jersey preacher, in 1771
Handwritten manuscript of a sermon
preached by William Frazer, colonial
New Jersey preacher, 1771

Another recent gift to the library’s Special Collections was a small collection of nine handwritten eighteenth century sermons from Katie Engstrom of Dallas, Texas. These include sermons preached by Colin Campbell, Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Burlington, New Jersey, and William Frazer, Rector of St. Michael’s Church, Trenton, New Jersey. These colonial and post-revolutionary ministers were among her ancestors, and the sermons were handed down through the family.

Bob Golon Retires

December 2013 saw the retirement of Bob Golon from his position as Manuscripts Librarian here in Special Collections. Bob first came to Princeton Seminary as a Project Archivist to work on the extensive Carl McIntire Manuscript Collection consisting of over 600 boxes of material from the files of this noted 20th century fundamentalist preacher and radio personality. Through diligent concentrated work Bob was able to inventory and arrange this massive collection, making its rich holdings available for researchers. He produced an extensive electronic finding aid, available online, as well as an 80 page illustrated print booklet introducing the collection, its history, and an extended glossary of specialized terms and abbreviations. Since becoming available through Bob’s hard work, the McIntire Collection has become one of the most used collections in the Special Collections area of the library. Among others, Markku Ruotsila, of the University of Helsinki in Finland, made several extended visits to Princeton to work in the collection and is preparing a full-length scholarly biography of McIntire based on his research which it is expected will be published this year. Bob also used his work on the McIntire Collection to interest the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in holding one of its semi-annual sessions at Congress Hall in Cape May, an historic hotel on the South Jersey coast which was once the center of many of McIntire’s activities. Bob worked on the planning committee for the sessions, while Ken Henke, Curator of Special Collections, prepared a talk on McIntire and the collection for those attending the conference.

As Manuscripts Librarian, Bob participated in the ongoing daily work of Special Collections, arranging and describing a number of our collections, including recently the collection of materials related to the organization of Christians Associated for Relationships with Eastern Europe (CAREE). This organization originated from the work of Czech theologian and former Princeton Seminary faculty member Joseph Hromadka and others who sought to promote world peace during the Cold War years by deepening the understanding between Christians in Central and Eastern Europe and those in the United States. Charles West, former Stephen Colwell Professor of Christian Ethics at Princeton Seminary, was active with CAREE and its predecessor, the Christian Peace Conference, for many years, and his donation of papers related to this work was the basis for the collection. Additional papers in the possession of other officers of the organization were also solicited and contributed and together provide a fine overview of the organization’s work during the Cold War years, and in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Researching and installing a new electronic system for monitoring the temperature and humidity in our climate-controlled book boxes was another of Bob’s many contributions, and he will be greatly missed.

Kenneth W. Henke
Archivist and Curator of Special Collections

Recent Gifts to the Archives (Fall 2013)

(Kenneth W. Henke) Permanent link

Discover Recent Gifts to the Archives

It is with great thanksgiving that I would come into the presence of Almighty God for the preservation of my life through the terrific battle of yesterday.

In the morning I followed my regiment into the battlefield. In crossing the road a shell came very near striking me on the head. Not seeing either of the surgeons in the field I went in amidst the fire of the enemies artillery to inquire of the Colonel the locality of the hospital. When talking to the Colonel a shell came right near the head of the Colonel making for us both a narrow escape.

Items from the collection of John Pomeroy, 1861 PTS graduate and Civil War chaplain
Items from the collection of John Pomeroy,
PTS Class of 1861 and Civil War chaplain

As I did not intend leaving the regiment without orders or without my Colonel’s knowing my whereabouts, I reported myself for duty in the battlefield. Colonel told me my place was in the hospital…I started for the hospital. The skirmishers were in front of our regiment which was about 100 yards in advance of the 1st line of battle in which the 3rd [regiment] was. In passing the second line of battle I made another escape from a shell. Proceeding a few steps further my attention was attracted by the cry, ‘Where is the doctor.’ I think he was hurt by the shell that came near hitting me. He was not wounded seriously. His little finger was severely cut & the gravel was driven into his face, so deep that he bled profusely. I helped him across the fields to the hospital. The tramp was not unaccompanied with dangers. The shells were ploughing up the ground about us. I got my patient safely to our division hospital, but there being others who were in worse condition than my man, I washed his wounds & tied them up till he could be attended to.

Here under this hill I spent a day which is so full of misery & suffering & personal danger that I would not if I could portray the bloody scene. The wounded men poured in upon us all day. I with other Chaplains of our division made myself useful as I could. I think I was the only Chaplain who attempted to perform a surgeon’s duty by washing and tying up those who were waiting for the most severe cases to be attended first…Thus I worked all day, not forgetting to improve the sad occasion, by referring to the bleeding men the physician of souls…

Battle Field near Fredericksburg
Sabbath 1 P.M. Dec. 14th 1862

The above excerpt is from one of the letters back home of John Jay Pomeroy (PTS Class of 1861), who volunteered to serve as a chaplain with a Pennsylvania regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War. One of the most recent gifts to Special Collections was a box of his Civil War letters, together with the folding travel desk on which they were written and other memorabilia, including an autograph book with photos of his classmates from the Class of 1861. These items were the gift of his descendant, George R. Pomeroy (PTS Class of 1963), whose class is celebrating their fiftieth reunion this fall. Several other gifts have come our way recently as well.

Jane Minton, granddaughter of William Harris Templeton (PTS Class of 1850), has donated eighteenth century manuscript sermons of her ancestor James Grier (1750-1791), who underwent a religious conversion under the preaching of George Whitefield, studied theology with John Witherspoon at Princeton, and served as pastor of the Deep Run Presbyterian Church near Doylestown, PA, and of his younger brother, Nathaniel Grier (1760-1814), pastor of the Church in the Forks of the Brandywine in Chester County, PA, who in the days before the existence of Princeton Seminary trained many young men for the ministry. There is also a very interesting set of mid-nineteenth century sermons written in a form of phonetic shorthand and dating to the time William Harris Templeton was serving as a missionary among the Native Americans of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma.

Marie Melrose, daughter of Paul Cunningham Melrose (PTS Class of 1915), has donated a set of materials about the Presbyterian mission on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Before going as a missionary to Hainan, the father of Paul Melrose had been a seminary classmate of J. Ross Stevenson, who would later become a president of PTS; and Paul Melrose, who was born and grew up on Hainan, became a seminary classmate of later PTS president John A. Mackay. The collection includes a transcript of the memoirs of Margaret Rae Melrose, the mother of Paul Melrose, who served at the Hainan Mission from 1890 until 1940, as well as a collection of photographs from the history of the mission dating from 1890 through the 1950s.

Dayle Gillespie Rounds, associate dean for continuing education at PTS, has given us ten boxes of materials from the files of her father, former PTS president, Thomas W. Gillespie. Dr. Gillespie was the fifth president of Princeton Theological Seminary, serving from 1983 until 2004. Under his administration the Seminary saw the beginning of several major academic programs, including the Program for Asian American Theology and Ministry, the Institute for Youth Ministry, the Center for Barth Studies, the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology, and the Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching. He also placed an emphasis on increasing diversity within the Seminary community, including an increase in the number of women and of African American and Latino/a students and scholars, and the invitation for the Hispanic Theological Initiative to locate on the Princeton Seminary campus. Several new chairs were endowed, including chairs in theology and science, homiletics, and theology and the arts; and the John A. Mackay Chair in World Christianity was initiated.

The new materials added to the Thomas W. Gillespie Collection include a collection of his addresses and articles; a large collection of his sermons, including those given in the parish as well as those preached in Miller Chapel; farewell addresses to the graduating classes; well-organized notebooks of sermon illustrations; datebooks and planning calendars that document his many activities and involvements; course notes for courses he took while a student at Princeton Seminary, as well as for graduate courses he took elsewhere, including those at Claremont Graduate School, where he earned his doctorate in New Testament; course notes for the courses in New Testament that he taught at Princeton Seminary; and selected correspondence relating to his appointment at PTS and to his retirement.

We have also received the papers of Abigail Rian Evans, PTS professor of practical theology emerita. Much of her work over the years has focused in the field of bioethics and health ministries, and the papers are rich in materials covering topics such as the church and mental illness, addiction, holistic health, organ transplants, reproductive choice, euthanasia, AIDS, death and dying, working with persons with disabilities, parish nursing, and older adult ministry. There are also records of the National Capital Presbytery Health Ministries (which she founded), sermons and liturgies (including liturgies for services of healing), course outlines and bibliographies, and a collection of materials on women in pastoral ministry.

Finally, we have also received from John H. Sinclair (PTS Class of 1947), a long-time Presbyterian missionary to Latin America and former Secretary for Latin America of the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations, a large box of material gathered in preparation for the writing of his Spanish-language biography of former PTS president John A. Mackay.

Kenneth W. Henke
Curator of Special Collections

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