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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 649

Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965. Papers, 1894-1974.


Collection includes drafts of sermons, addresses, papers, and articles including drafts of Tillich's major publications. The collection also includes Tillich's early student notebooks; class notes and lecture notes from Tillich's theology courses; radio broadcasts; family records, correspondence and photographs.


  • Creation: 1894-1974.


There are some restrictions on access to this collection. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts and Archives for further information.


247 boxes

This collection includes penned and typed drafts of sermons, addresses, papers, and articles including drafts of Tillich's major publications. The collection also includes Tillich's early student notebooks which represent his work at the Universities of Marburg, Frankfurt and Berlin; class notes and lecture notes from his theology courses; radio broadcasts; family records which include birth, marriage, death records and newsletters; extensive correspondence, and photographs.

There is a link to a digitized version of a handwritten copy of My Travel Diary: Between Two Worlds in bMS 649/88 (1-2).

Biographical / Historical

Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886-October 22, 1965) was born in Starzeddel, Germany. Following his graduation in 1904 from the Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium, an advanced high school for preliminary university education, he studied at universities in Berlin, Tubingen, and Halle. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Breslau in 1911, and in 1912, after receiving a degree of theology from the University of Halle, he was ordained a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1914 he married Margarethe Wever and joined the German army as a military chaplain.

Tillich's marriage to Wever ended in divorce in 1919, and in 1924 he married Hannah Werner. From 1919 to 1924, Tillich was a Privatdozent at the University of Berlin, and from 1924 to 1925 he was Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Marburg. From 1925 to 1929 he was Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Dresden Institute of Technology, and from 1929 to 1933, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. His outspoken opposition to the Nazi movement led to his dismissal from Frankfurt in 1933. In November of that year he arrived in New York. He served as Visiting Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary until 1937. He also served at Union as Associate Professor of Philosophical Theology (1937-1940) and Professor (1937-1955). From 1955 to 1962, he was University Professor at Harvard University, and during the last three years of his life, he was the Nuveen Professor of Theology in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

Tillich spent his academic career exploring Christian faith in relation to human experience. He is regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century. His works include The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith (1957), which introduced issues of theology and modern culture to a general readership. Theologically, he is best known for his major three-volume work Systematic Theology (1951-1963), in which he developed his "method of correlation": an approach of exploring the symbols of Christian revelation as answers to the problems of human existence raised by contemporary existential philosophical analysis.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Early student notebooks (in German) (boxes 1-17)
  2. Series II. German manuscripts (boxes 18-32)
  3. Series III. Early English language notebooks (boxes 33-37)
  4. Series IV. Lecture notes, sermons, teaching materials, drafts of published works, articles, etc. (boxes 38-109)
  5. Series V. Intervews, discussions and broadcasts (boxes 110-115)
  6. Series VI. Correspondence (boxes 116-215)
  7. Series VII. Personal materials (boxes 216-233)
  8. Series VIII. Photographs (boxes 234-242)

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to Harvard University by the Tillich estate in 1962.

Related Materials

For related collections, please see bMS 621, bMS 651, bMS 721, bMS 722, and bMS 368.

Processing Information

Processed by Maria Grossmann, Eugene McAfee, Kenneth Pease, Alan Seaburg, Jessica Suarez, Fran O'Donnell, and Joseph Florez.

Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965. Papers, 1894-1974: 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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