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The Joseph Ross Stevenson Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 010

Scope and Content

This collection consists of President Stevenson's personal papers, as well as material about him collected by the Seminary Libraries. Content includes sermons, addresses, ecumenism papers, correspondence, and other files.


  • 1887 - 1939

Language of Materials



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.

Preferred Citation

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The Joseph Ross Stevenson Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


1866 March 1
Born, Ligonier, Pennsylvania
B.A., Washington and Jefferson College
M.A., Washington and Jefferson College; B.D., McCormick Theological Seminary
Student, University of Berlin
Ordained, PCUSA
Pastor, Broadway Presbyterian Church, Sedalia, Missouri
Adjunct Professor, Ecclesiastical History, McCormick Theological Seminary
Professor, Ecclesiastical History, McCormick Theological Seminary
Pastor, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, New York
Member, Board of Directors, Princeton Theological Seminary
Pastor, Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland
President and Professor of History of Religions and Christian Missions, Princeton Theological Seminary
Instructor, Homiletics, Princeton Theological Seminary
1939 August 13
Died, Princeton, New Jersey

Biographical Information

President Stevenson received honorary doctorates from Washington and Jefferson College (1897), Ursinus College (1908), Lafayette College (1915), University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1919), and Presbyterian Theological College, Halifax, Canada (1920). He was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1915.


10.3 Linear Feet (23 Boxes)


This collection has been arranged into six series by subject, with respect to their original order at the time of accession. They include: Sermons, Addresses (formal, informal, and miscellaneous), Ecumenism Papers, Biographical Materials (including correspondence files),"Reorganization Controversy" Papers, and Addendum (including personal papers and correspondence files).

Related Material

See also the following manuscript materials in Special Collections:

The James Oscar Boyd Manuscript Collection

The John Gresham Machen Manuscript Collection

The Alexander Napier MacLeod Manuscript Collection

The Ethelbert Warfield Manuscript Collection

The H. Clare Welker Manuscript Collection

See also the following oral histories in the PTS Audio Cassette Collection:

Allan A. MacRae (Tapes #0314, 0323, 0324, 0467)

Carl McIntire (Tapes #0310,0404)

Edwin Rian (Tapes #0331-0334)

Processing Information:

This collection was processed, and the original finding aid was written by Raymond Cannata in April of 1996, under the direction of William O. Harris, Archivist. The finding aid was edited by Sarah Malone in July 2008.

The J. Ross Stevenson manuscript collection consists of papers relating to President Stevenson gathered from a number of sources. President Stevenson's manuscripts of sermons and addresses appear to have been organized under his direction into three distinct sets: "sermons," "formal addresses," and "informal addresses." These were carefully maintained during the entire course of his ministry. Each manuscript was given a cover, which was labeled with appropriate information: title, biblical text, dates and places of delivery. Each covered manuscript was assigned a number and filed in order. The only exception to this system regards the "informal addresses," which were assigned several numerical schemes which do not run concurrently. All these sermons and addresses were later wrapped in bundles and labeled.

In approximately 1989 the sermons and addresses were removed from these bundles and placed in archival file boxes in the "Alumni Alcove" collection of the Library Archives Department. Gathered with these boxes at that time were other miscellaneous papers related to President Stevenson. A collection of correspondence to and from President Stevenson, largely relating to the "Re-organization controversy" of the 1920's, had been donated to the library some time earlier by his widow. These had been sealed and remained inaccessible until the April of 1996.

Another set of papers was given to the Seminary on December 6, 1984 by the Stevenson family. This consisted of twenty-one groups of items, including President Stevenson's diary, scrapbook, pastoral journal, memorabilia, published writings, and correspondence. A typed inventory of these items has been preserved. Some other miscellaneous papers relating to President Stevenson, of unknown origin, were shelved with these items. These largely consisted of papers on the ecumenical movement collected by Dr. Stevenson, 1936-1939. Photocopies of newspaper clippings and biographical items from the Archives' office files were added when the collection was organized in April 1996.

Additional papers were discovered shortly thereafter in the Archives' "File D," which currently form an addendum to the collection. President Stevenson's sermon and address file was added to the archives in January 2008. It is meant to be preserved “as is.”

The Joseph Ross Stevenson Manuscript Collection
Raymond D. Cannata
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
Wright Library
25 Library Place
Princeton NJ 08540 USA