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The Samuel W. Blizzard papers

Identifier: SCM 421

Scope and Contents

This collection includes notes, lectures, papers, spreadsheets and data from Blizzard's academic career as a student and faculty member in various schools, correspondence throughout his lifetime, and several research projects for various foundations. Most covers the area of sociology of religion. His research projects have a particular emphasis on rural Protestant ministers, their self understanding, and evaluation of preparedness for ministry.


  • 1937 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

There are no special restrictions to access of this collection. It may be examined by library patrons under the normal rules and conditions of Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

"Samuel W. Blizzard was a central figure during the 1950s and 1960s in developing the practical application of sociology to church policy and programs, the analysis of the minister’s role, and the design of theological education.” Bouma, Gary D.. 1981. “Samuel W. Blizzard (1914-1976) Sociologist, Theological Educator and Border Broker: An Appreciative Evaluation”. Review of Religious Research 23 (2). [Religious Research Association, Inc., Springer]: 205–13. doi:10.2307/3511929

The papers of Samuel W. Blizzard (1914-1976) reflect Mr. Bouma’s assessment. Beginning with his theological training at Princeton Theological Seminary (ThB 1939; ThM 1941) and his training as a sociologist in the rural sociology tradition of Cornell University (PhD 1946), the papers reflect the man’s singular devotion to rural sociology and the integration of sociological theories and practice in the life of the church.

Samuel W. Blizzard taught at Pennsylvania State University and Union Theological Seminary in New York. He also served as the director of both the Russell Sage Foundation’s Training for the Ministry Project (1953-1960) and the National Council of Churches Clergy Research Project (1957-1958). He returned to Princeton Seminary in 1957 and was made the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Christianity and Society. He co-authored, with Emory J. Brown, The Church and the Community and contributed essays and articles to more than 40 books, scholarly journals, and popular periodicals. Dr. Blizzard retired from active teaching in 1975 and died in Princeton on April 6, 1976 following a long illness.


85.5 Linear Feet (57 Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged by material and time period. Series I is correspondence over Blizzard's lifetime. Series II covers Blizzard's activities as a student, and Series III covers his activities as a teacher. Series IV includes his work with two sociological research projects, and Series V includes later additions.

Processing Information

The Blizzard papers were organized in 1992 by Mrs. Harriet Blizzard and Mr. William Harris. They reduced the original 127 boxes of papers to 57 boxes. A finding aid was prepared in January 1996 by Douglas Denné.
The Samuel W. Blizzard papers
Joshua Wilder, March 2016, based on original finding aid by Douglas F. Denne' in 1996
2016 March 30
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Special Collections Repository

Princeton Theological Seminary
PO Box 821
Princeton NJ 08542 USA