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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 704

Whitaker, Arthur Luther. Papers, 1949-2003.

Papers of Arthur Luther Whitaker that include personal material, addresses, sermons, writings, and notes taken at Harvard Divinity School. The papers span 1949-2003.


  • 1949-2003.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


1 collection (3 boxes (1.25 linear feet))

This collection is organized into three series. The first series contains personal material, which includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a photograph. The second series contains Whitaker's writings, addresses, and sermons. The third series contains class notes taken by Whitaker while he was a student at Harvard Divinity School.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Luther Whitaker (1921-2007) was a minister, professor, and psychologist. He was born in Malden, Massachusetts, and served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. He married Virginia Carter in 1948, and they had four sons. He received a BA in theology from Gordon College in Wenham in 1949, and received a bachelor of sacred theology degree (STB) in 1952 from Harvard Divinity School. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1951 and served at the Cavalry Baptist Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In 1954 he earned a master of sacred theology degree from Andover Newton Theological and Missions College in Newton, Massachusetts. In 1956 he moved to Rochester, New York, and became the minister at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. While in Rochester he witnessed the racial riots of 1964, and was moved to write Anatomy of a Riot, a work that was entered into the National Congressional Record soon after its publication. After a subsequent appointment as minister of Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, he returned to Andover Newton Theological and Missions College to earn a doctorate in 1973. It was at this time that he also became a licensed psychologist. In 1978 he returned to New York and was named the executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of New York, thus becoming the first African American to be appointed to an executive minister post in any of the American Baptist Churches in America. He served in this capacity until 1986, when he moved back to Massachusetts and did teaching and counseling work at Harvard Divinity School. After retiring from teaching in 2001, he continued to practice as a psychologist, and remained active in the American Baptist Church community. He was also a founding member of the Black Alumni/ae Network (now known as Alumni/ae of African Descent) at Harvard Divinity School.


Organized into the following series:
  1. Series I. Personal material
  2. Series II. Addresses, sermons, and writings
  3. Series III. Class notes taken by Whitaker at Harvard Divinity School

Acquisition Information

Gift of Arthur Whitaker, 2006.

Processing Information

Processed by Rachel Adler, 2010
Link to catalog
Whitaker, Arthur Luther. Papers, 1949-2003: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Repository Details

Part of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School Repository

Special Collections at Andover-Harvard Theological 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.

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