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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 630

Niebuhr, H. Richard (Helmut Richard), 1894-1962. Papers, 1919-1962.


This collection contains H. Richard Niebuhr's addresses, lectures, sermons, writings, and teaching materials. The records span 1919-1962.


  • 1919-1962.


There are restrictions on access to this collection. Consult the curator of manuscripts and archives for further information.


5 boxes

Each series is arranged alphabetically. The lectures include both single lectures and lectures given in series, such as the Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt University, the Earl Lectures at the Pacific School of Religion, the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Swander Lectures at the Theological Seminary of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The teaching materials include the "Christian Ethics" lectures given by Niebuhr at Yale Divinity School (1949-1961). For a good overview of much of the material in this collection, see H.R. Niebuhr: Theology, History, and Culture: Major Unpublished Writings, edited by William Stacy Johnson and published by Yale University Press, 1996, and Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith, by H. Richard Niebuhr, published by Yale University Press, 1989.

This collection contains some overlap of materials with bMS 695. They include several of the Cole Lectures and Earl Lectures, as well as some addresses and sermons. As both collections consist of annotated or different drafts, they have been retained in their respective collections.

For related collection, please see bMS 695.

Biographical / Historical

Helmut Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), a leading twentieth-century American Protestant theologian and churchman, is known for his contributions to Christian ethics, for his social analysis of American denominationalism, his interpretation of American religious history, study of American theological education, and authorship of books and essays advancing "theocentric" theology. The younger brother of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Helmut was born in Missouri, and was educated at Elmhurst College, Eden Theological Seminary, Washington University, Yale Divinity School, and Yale University, where he received a PhD in religion in 1924. In 1916, he was ordained a minister in the Evangelical Synod, which later merged with the German Reformed Church in America. He taught at Eden Theological Seminary (1919-1922; 1927-1931) and was president of Elmhurst College from 1924 to 1927. From 1931 until 1962, he taught theology and Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School. Some of his major works include: The Social Sources of Denominationalism (1929); The Purpose of the Church and Its Ministry (1956); The Kingdom of God in America (1937); The Meaning of Revelation (1941); Christ and Culture (1951); Radical Monotheism and Western Culture (1960); The Responsible Self (1962); and Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith (1989).


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Addresses, 1939?-1959
  2. Series II. Lectures, 1939-1962
  3. Series III. Sermons, 1936-1962
  4. Series IV. Teaching materials, 1949-1961
  5. Series V. Writings, 1919?; 1937-1962

Acquisition Information

Gift of Richard Niebuhr.

Related Materials

For related collection, please see bMS 695.

Niebuhr, H. Richard (Helmut Richard), 1894-1962. Papers, 1919-1962: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

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