University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Baptist Divinity House Records 1938-1961

© 2017 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Baptist Divinity House. Records




1.25 linear feet (3 boxes)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The Baptist Divinity House assisted with funding, housing, career placement and other means of support for students pursing Baptist ministry at the University of Chicago Divinity School. The collection contains correspondence, student directories, ledger books, financial statements, reports, minutes, and publications.

Information on Use


Series III contains student evaluative material restricted until 2031. The remainder of the collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Baptist Divinity House. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

The Baptist Divinity House assisted with funding, housing, career placement and other means of support for students at the University of Chicago Divinity School who intended to pursue a career in Baptist ministry. The two stated purposes for the creation of the Baptist Divinity House were to prepare men for Baptist ministry and to serve as a center of fellowship and interest for all Baptist students in the Divinity School. The Baptist Divinity House offices were located in Swift Hall and it was overseen by an advisory council composed of Baptist denominational officers and ministers, along with University of Chicago faculty and Baptist members of the Federated Theological Faculty such as Bernard Loomer, Sidney Mead, and Allen Wikgren.

According to a Baptist Divinity House pamphlet, President William Rainey Harper first proposed the idea of the Divinity Houses in order to both provide specific denominational support to Divinity School students and to strengthen the relationship between the Divinity School and the churches the students might one day serve. “Thus intelligent denominational loyalties might be cultivated, roots sunk deep in the soil of organized religion, instructions given in the history, polity, organization, and program of each particular communion, while at the same time the most scholarly teaching in the various fields of divinity study would be provided on an interdenominational basis. Denominational loyalty and responsibility and an ecumenical spirit might thus walk hand in hand.” Some of the weekly activities at the Baptist Divinity House included: courses of instruction in Baptist History and Polity, a weekly luncheon in which denominational or University representatives discussed issues of importance, various activities to support local area Baptist churches and ministries, the publication of a quarterly newsletter for members of the House, alumni, and denominational officials, and the recruitment of potential candidates for Baptist ministry.

The Baptist Divinity House was established in approximately 1942. It no longer exists today.

Scope Note

The Baptist Divinity House records are organized into three series: Series I: Baptist Divinity House; Series II: Related Organizations and Events; and Series III: Restricted. The collection contains correspondence, student directories, ledger books, financial statements, reports, minutes, and publications. Materials date between 1938 and 1961, with the bulk of the material dating between 1940 and 1950.

Series I, Baptist Divinity House, contains administrative documents pertaining to the Baptist Divinity House of the University of Chicago Divinity School and its funding, housing, career placement, and other means of support for students intending to enter Baptist ministry. The series contains financial records, notes, student directories, and correspondence with students, benefactors, and churches.

Series II, Related Organizations and Events, contains documents from events and organizations with which the Baptist Divinity House associated, including the Interchurch Council, the Baptist Fellowship and Council, the Illinois State Baptist Convention, and American Baptist Assemblies. The series contains reports, minutes, publications, correspondence, and other administrative material.

Series III, Restricted, consists of one folder that contains confidential student recommendation letters that pertain to student job placement in churches following graduation. Records in this series are restricted until 2031.

Related Resources

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Subject Headings


Series I: Baptist Divinity House

Box 1   Folder 1

Baptist Divinity House, Scholarship Investment Solicitation, 1941-1946

Box 1   Folder 2

Baptist Divinity House, Founding, 1942

Box 1   Folder 3

Baptist Divinity House, Correspondence and Administrative Materials, 1942-1948

Box 1   Folder 4

Baptist Divinity House, Student Correspondence, 1943-1950

Box 1   Folder 5

Baptist Divinity House, Hudson, 1944-1946

Box 1   Folder 6

Baptist Divinity House, Quarterly Reports, 1944-1947

Box 1   Folder 7

Baptist Divinity House, Denominational, 1944-1950

Box 1   Folder 8

Baptist Divinity House, Student Directories, 1944-1950

Box 1   Folder 9

Baptist Divinity House, Ledger Book, 1945

Box 1   Folder 10

Baptist Divinity House, Ledger Book and Receipts, 1947-1948

Box 1   Folder 11

Baptist Divinity House, Student Pastors Placement, Correspondence, 1947-1949

Box 1   Folder 12

Baptist Divinity House, Churches, Pastorates, Correspondence and Notes, 1947-1951

Box 1   Folder 13

Baptist Divinity House, Correspondence and Draft Materials, 1949-1958

Box 1   Folder 14

Baptist Divinity House, Summer Quarter Directory and Menu, 1950

Series II: Related Organizations and Events

Box 2   Folder 1

Fountain Street Baptist Church, Publications, 1938-1944

Box 2   Folder 2

Illinois Baptist State Convention, Correspondence and Minutes, 1941-1954

Box 2   Folder 3

Interchurch Council and Chapel House, Reports and Minutes, 1942-1950

Box 2   Folder 4

Baptist Fellowship and Council, Correspondence, 1942-1961

Box 2   Folder 5

Fellowship of Baptist Theological Students, Eleventh Session, Publication, 1956

Box 2   Folder 6

American Baptist Assembly, Green Lake, WI, 1947-1951

Series III: Restricted

Box 3   Folder 1

Baptist Divinity House, Student Recommendations, 1945-1951