Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 467

Sullivan, William Laurence. Papers, 1895-1961.


Papers of Unitarian minister William Laurence Sullivan that include writings, sermons, prayers, correspodence, and material related to his work with the American Unitarian Association and the Unitarian Laymen's League Mission. The papers span 1895-1961.


  • Creation: 1895-1961.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


13 boxes

This collection consists of seven series. Series I contains Sullivan's writings, including published and unpublished manuscripts of books, fiction, short stories, plays, and poetry. Series II consists of professional papers, including articles and addresses. Series III contains sermons and prayers, arranged chronologically. Series IV is comprised of materials relating to the parishes he served, mainly All Souls Church in New York City. Series V consists of materials related to his service in the American Unitarian Association and the Unitarian Laymen's League Mission. Series VI is correspondence, arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Series VII is personal papers, which include notebooks, photographs, and biographical information.

Note: The letters of William Laurence Sullivan to Estelle Throckmorton (bMS 467/10 (14-17) are the gift of Ms. J.L. Rubel, March 1982.

Biographical / Historical

William Laurence Sullivan (1872-1935) studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood at Boston College and graduated from St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1896. He also graduated from Catholic University in 1899 and was ordained as a Paulist priest that same year. In 1917, he received an honorary DD from Meadville Theological School. For nearly a decade, Fr. Sullivan wrote articles in numerous Catholic journals which were critical of Roman Catholic church officials. In 1909, Sullivan severed his ties with Roman Catholicism and wrote a polemic on papal authority, entitled Letters to His Holiness, Pope Pius X, which was published in 1910. Sullivan received Unitarian fellowship in 1912, and served parishes in Schenectady and Manhattan, New York, as well as Germantown, Pennsylvania, and St. Louis, Missouri. Sullivan also served as the mission preacher for the Unitarian Laymen's League. He also published several books, including The Priest: A Tale of Modernism in New England (1911), A Noble Adventure (1917), Unitarian Christianity (1922), and his autobiography, Under Orders (1944).


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Writings
  2. Series II. Professional papers
  3. Series III. Sermons and prayers
  4. Series IV. Material relating to parishes
  5. Series V. Material relating to service in the America Unitarian Assocation and the Unitarian Laymen's League Mission
  6. Series VI. Correspondence
  7. Series VII. Personal papers

Acquisition Information

Gift of Unitarian Society of Germantown, 1966, 1971, and Ms. J.L. Rubel, 1982.

Related Materials

For related collections, please see bMS 92.

Sullivan, William Laurence. Papers, 1895-1961: 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.

45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-1911 USA
(617) 496-2485