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Freda A. Gardner papers

 Collection — Box: 1-5
Identifier: SCM 287

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection document Gardner’s life as a professor, Christian educator, and moderator of the PC(USA)’s 211th General Assembly. Most of her research and teaching focused on Christian education and on women and society.


  • 1963 - 2008

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

Born in Albany, NY, Freda A. Gardner devoted her life to education, working in the public school systems of New York for five years prior to attending the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, VA to obtain her Masters in Christian Education. After earning her MRE, Gardner served as the Director of Christian Education at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield, NJ. After that, Gardner spent most of her career teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary (31 years) as a professor of Christian Education, first as assistant professor (1961-1997) then as associate professor (1977-1992). Gardner became director of the School of Christian Education in the late 1970’s. Gardner also paved the way and advocated for women leaders in the church. She was the second woman hired by Princeton Theological Seminary as faculty and the first woman to receive tenure and have a long career at PTS. Much of Gardener’s writings and expertise of education centered on the intersection of women’s experiences as they relate to various areas of life. Gardner approached education holistically, and this collection presents that perspective.

Her service with the Women in Church and Ministry (WICAM) and participation in organizing Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) led up to her year serving as the 211th Moderator of the PC(USA)’s General Assembly.

Retired from teaching, Gardner continues to be involved with advocating for women in the life of the church and her passion for Christian education remains.

For more information, see: Keely, Barbara Anne. 1997. Faith of our foremothers: Women changing religious education. 1st ed. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press.

1929 Apr. 7
Born: Albany, NY
B.S. in Education from SUNY Plattsburgh
Teacher at Central School in Red Hook, NY
Teacher at Knickerbacker Junior High School in Lansingburgh, NY
Obtained MRE from Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, VA
Commissioned by Elizabeth Presbytery
Director of Christian Education (DCE) at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield, NJ
Assistant professor of Christian Education at Princeton Theological Seminary
1966 June 6
Board of Trustees at PTS voted to approve tenure starting September 1967. One of first two women to receive tenure at PTS
Associate professor and Director of Christian Education at Princeton Theological Seminary
Served as Moderator of the 211th General Assembly for the PC(USA)


5.21 Linear Feet (5 record cartons )

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Women and Society
  2. Writings and Speeches
  3. Moderator of 211th General Assembly


Materials are arranged at the folder level.

Processing Information

The collection came to Special Collections in three different years: 1996, 2006, and 2009. Inventories were created with each accession. A finalized inventory and reorganization were done in 2016.

Initial inventories were done by Megan Corbi and John Paul Cooke (student archivists) in 2016. Megan Corbi processed the collection and created the finding aid in 2016.

Freda A. Gardner papers
Megan Corbi
Spring 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

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

Princeton Theological Seminary
Wright Library
25 Library Place
Princeton NJ 08540 USA