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The Arthur M. Adams Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 240

Scope and Content

The Arthur M. Adams Manuscript Collection consists of approximately 5 linear feet of documents pertaining to Adam’s work as a pastor and a professor. Inclusive dates are from 1942 to 1979, with the majority of the content falling between 1950 and 1970. The collection has been divided into three series, grouped by subject matter. These series are 1-Sermons, 2-Teaching Materials, and 3-Bible Class Talks.


  • 1942-1980


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.


Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 28
Attended University of Pennsylvania
Attended and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary
Ordained by the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Presbytery of Philadelphia North, June 26
Married Margaret Baker, social worker, October 23
Pastored Glading Memorial Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Pastored First Presbyterian Church, Albany, New York
Conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity, Beaver College, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Pastored Central Presbyterian Church, Rochester, New York
Preached on Central Church of the Air
Served as a Trustee at Princeton Theological Seminary
Became Director of Field Education and Professor of Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary
Founded the Center of Continuing Education at Princeton Theological Seminary
Published Pastoral Administration
Became Dean of Princeton Theological Seminary
Published Communication and Decision in the United Presbyterian Church
Founded the Church Administration Society
Retired as Dean of Princeton Theological Seminary, September 1
Arthur Merrihew Adams died at his home, Princeton Theological Seminary, September 9
The home of the Center of Continuing Education is dedicated and renamed in honor of Adams. Adams House Dedication Ceremony at Princeton Theological Seminary, April 23

Biographical Information

Arthur Merrihew Adams was born on September 28, 1908, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Alexander Mackie Adams and his wife, Laura Merrihew Dickey Adams. He was the oldest of three children. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1931. From there, he proceeded to Princeton Seminary and received a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1934. In the same year, he was ordained by the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in the Philadelphia North Presbytery and began his first pastorate at Glading Memorial Presbyterian Church. He also was married to Margaret Baker in October of 1934. After serving at Glading for ten years, from 1934-1944, Adams became the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York. He was positioned there from 1944-1950, when he then moved to Central Presbyterian Church of Rochester, New York.

An obituary in Princeton Theological Seminary News states, “Under his leadership Central Church pioneered in migrant work, store-front ministry, service to underprivileged children, … and an annual religious arts festival that drew entries from all over the country. His ministry in Rochester extended beyond the membership of his own congregation to the many that heard him as preacher for more than a decade on the Central Church of the Air, the city’s oldest religious radio program, and as teacher of the lunch-hour Bible classes…”

After twenty-eight years in the pastorate, Adams came back to Princeton Theological Seminary in 1962, where he would stay until his retirement. He had been serving as a trustee at the Seminary for seven years already at that time. Adams was deeply influential in beginning and maintaining the field education and continuing education programs at the Seminary, where he was serving as a professor of Pastoral Theology and the Director of Field Education. In 1966, he became the Dean of Princeton Theological Seminary and he continued his service until September 1979. He retired only days before his passing on September 9, 1979.


5 Linear Feet (10 Boxes)


The Arthur M. Adams Manuscript Collection has been arranged into three series, one containing sermons, one containing teaching materials, and one containing Bible class talks.

Series I: Sermons - Contained in this series are sermons from his various pastoral positions, as well as numerous manuscripts of sermons from his time as a radio preacher on the Central Church of the Air.

Series II: Teaching Materials - Contained in this series are materials related to Adams’ time as a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. There are leadership games, ministry role plays, and other assorted materials for instructing pastors.

Series III: Bible Class Talks - Contained in this series are manuscripts and materials from the Noonday Talks Adams gave while positioned at Central Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York.

Processing Information

This collection was inventoried in June, 2005. The inventory was edited in the fall of 2014, and the finding aid was written by Suzanne Cooley in November, 2014.

The Arthur M. Adams Manuscript Collection
Suzanne Cooley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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