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Thomas W. Gillespie papers

 Collection — Box: 1-70
Identifier: SCM 310

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of papers and other materials covering Gillespie's life as a student, pastor, professor, and administrator. Much of the material includes correspondence and other communications between Gillespie and others. The bulk of the collection spans his presidency at Princeton Theological Seminary.


  • 1946 - 2012

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

Thomas W. Gillespie was born in Los Angeles, CA, July 18, 1929. He served in the United States Marine Corps for a year before beginning his Bachelor of Arts degree, which he obtained from George Pepperdine College in 1951. Gillespie then went on to obtain a Bachelor of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained to the pastorate in the Presbytery of Los Angeles in 1954. At that time, Gillespie planted a Presbyterian church in Garden Grove, CA, which he served for 13 years before changing churches to serve as pastor at a church in Burlingame, CA. During his time in California, he obtained his PhD in New Testament from Claremont Graduate School in 1970.

In 1983, Gillespie left his congregation in Burlingame, CA, to accept a call as the fifth president of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ, a position he held 1983-2004. During that time, PTS went through significant building, faculty, and administration growth and change, including establishment of the Institute for Youth Ministry and the Hispanic Theological Initiative.

President Gillespie prioritized his call as pastor. This focus is reflected in the materials of the collection as they emphasize sermons and addresses and his relationships during his tenure at PTS.

Thomas W. Gillespie died in Princeton, NJ, of a brief and sudden illness on November 5, 2011 at age 83.

1929 July 18
Born: Los Angeles, CA
Served in the United States Marine Corps
George Pepperdine College, Bachelor of Arts Degree
Princeton Theological Seminary, Bachelor of Divinity
Ordained in Presbytery of Los Angeles
Pastored Congregation in Garden Grove, CA.
Pastored Congregation in Burlingame, CA.
Attended University of Southern California
Claremont Graduate School, PhD in New Testament
President of Princeton Theological Seminary
2011 November 5
Died, Princeton, NJ


67.92 Linear Feet (70 record cartons)

Language of Materials



The collection was received in three stages. Original order has been maintained in most of the collection. Some reorganizing was done to facilitate research and consolidate boxes.

The collection has been arranged in five series:

  1. Student
  2. Writings, addresses, publications, sermons
  3. President of Princeton Theological Seminary
  4. Correspondence
  5. Memorabilia

Processing Information

Initial inventories were done by student archivists Megan Corbi and Bianca Baird in 2012 and 2013. Megan Corbi reorganized the collection in Fall 2015 supervised by Kenneth Henke and completed processing in Spring of 2016.

Thomas W. Gillespie papers
Megan Corbi
Spring 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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