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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 680

William Norman Guthrie papers, 1860-1967


Papers of Episcopalian minister, William Norman Guthrie, including sermons, writing, correspondence, material related to his time as rector at St. Mark's Church in New York, and biographical material. The papers span 1860-1967.


  • 1860-1967


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


48 boxes

Collection contains Guthrie's orders of service and other liturgical materials used at St. Mark's Church and elsewhere; sermons and sermon notes; lecture transcripts and notes; articles and news clippings about Guthrie and St. Mark's Church; correspondence to and from Guthrie, including his correspondence with architect Frank Lloyd Wright; records documenting Guthrie's professional activities; manuscript material for his published and unpublished works, including an unpublished autobiography; administrative records; personal diaries; family correspondence, and family photographs. There is significant overlap of subject material among all the series.

Note: Guthrie's autobiography is located in Series IX.

Biographical / Historical

William Norman Guthrie, 1868-1944, an Episcopalian clergyman, was born in Dundee, Scotland, on March 4, 1868. He was the son of William Eugene Guthrie and Frances Sylva d'Arusmont. His maternal grandmother was Frances (Fanny) Wright, an ardent abolitionist and feminist. Guthrie received a Bachelor of Literature degree in 1889 and a Master of Arts degree in 1891, both from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He also received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of the South in 1915. He founded and became president of the Sewanee Browning Society, and in 1915 he married Anna Norton Stuart, who was one of the society's first members. Guthrie was an assistant professor of modern languages at the University of the South, 1889-1890, a professor of modern languages at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, 1892-1893, and was ordained to the Episcopalian priesthood in 1893. He was stationed at Christ Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1893-1894, and was an assistant at the Church of the Advent in Cincinnati, 1894-1896. He was a lecturer in comparative literature at the University of Cincinnati, 1898-1900, and rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Fern Bank, Ohio, 1899-1903. He was rector at Christ Church in Alameda, California, 1903-1908, professor of general literature and director of the University Extension Department at the University of the South, 1908-1911, and rector of St. Mark's Church in the Bouwerie, New York, 1911-1937. When Guthrie became rector of St. Mark's, he strove to attract people to the church by creating many unusual services and liturgies that incorporated the arts, literature, and various religious traditions. A Devotion for Buddha's Birthday, Order of Devotional Service for American Indian Day, Dante's Birthday, and the Ritual Dance of the Della Robbia Annunciation are just some of the services he created. A prolific writer, Guthrie's publications include The Leaves of the Greater Bible, Modern Poet Prophets, Orpheus Today, and The Religion of Old Glory.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Personal and biographical material
  2. Series II. Events held at St. Mark's Church (includes newsletters, orders of service, addresses, and presentations)
  3. Subseries A. Newsletters and other publications of St. Mark's
  4. Subseries B. Orders of service and announcements of events at St. Mark's
  5. Subseries D. Service material used at St. Mark's
  6. Subseries C. Catalog of published special services written by Guthrie and used at St. Mark's
  7. Subseries E. Addresses and presentations at St. Mark's
  8. Series III. Lectures and addresses given by Guthrie in places other than St. Mark's Church
  9. Series IV. Sermons by Guthrie
  10. Subseries A. Undated sermons
  11. Subseries B. Sermons, 1890-1912
  12. Subseries C. Sermons, 1913-1916
  13. Subseries D. Sermons, 1917-1920
  14. Subseries E. Sermons, 1920-1921
  15. Subseries F. Sermons, 1922-1927
  16. Subseries G. Sermons: 1928-1931
  17. Subseries H. Sermons: 1932-1943
  18. Subseries I. "What Is Religion?" Sermon series, 1923-1924
  19. Series V. St. Mark's Church administrative records (includes planning documents and statements about St. Mark's, vestry documents, financial records, parish organizations, and marriage and burial records)
  20. Subseries A. Planning documents and statements about St. Mark's
  21. Subseries B. Vestry documents
  22. Subseries C. Financial records
  23. Subseries D. Parish organizations
  24. Subseries E. Lists of names of parishioners
  25. Subseries F. Miscellaneous administrative records
  26. Series VI. Articles and newsclippings about Guthrie and St. Mark's Church
  27. Series VII. Correspondence
  28. Series VIII. Guthrie's professional activities outside of St. Mark's Church
  29. Series IX. Guthrie's writings, published and unpublished
  30. Subseries A. Autobiography
  31. Subseries B. The Egyptian Pageant King God; The King of Granada; Leaves of the Greater Bible
  32. Subseries C. The Religion of Old Glory; Salvaging Christianity; Seven Oracles from the Cross
  33. Subseries D. The Life of Jesus/Skylark of Galilee
  34. Subseries E. Their Quest; Tragedy of King Saul; Uncle Sam and the Old World Conquerors
  35. Subseries F. Articles, essays, book reviews by Guthrie
  36. Subseries G. Assorted writings, some incomplete or undated, by Guthrie
  37. Subseries H. Poetry and translations by William Norman Guthrie
  38. Subseries I. Background material by Guthrie for his writings and sermons
  39. Subseries J. Background material by other people used by Guthrie for his writings and sermons

Acquisition Information

Collection donated to the Andover-Harvard Theological Library in 1960 by Mrs. Phoebe Guthrie Harvey and Clara Guthrie Paterson, who were William Norman Guthrie's daughters. Approximately one hundred of the personal letters found in box 2, plus some of the family photographs and books written by Guthrie family members were donated in 2000 by Pamela Dean Greenwood, the step-granddaughter of Phoebe Harvey.

General note

The number after the slash in each entry in the following list indicates the box number, and the number in parentheses is the folder number.

Processing Information

Processed by Ramy Abdelghani, Matthew Sudnik, Scott Templin, and Frances O'Donnell, 2005-2006.

Guthrie, William Norman, 1868-1944. Papers, 1860-1967: 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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