Graduate Theological Union: Online Exhibits

Online Exhibits and Collections


Three additional sets of newsletters and publications have been uploaded to one of our online sites. These join the publications from the Center for Women and Religion and the Pacific and Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies.

The first set is one of the earliest student publications, The Advocate, part of the Student Activities collection. The paper ran from 1969 through 1970. The first copy was sent to and acknowledged by the Religion Editor of Time Magazine. The contents are an intense mixture of Holy Hill activities, Vietnam protests, ecology, and popular culture.

The Center for the Study of New Religions published only three issues of the newsletter, aimed at publicizing its work. Jacob Needleman, the director, writes: “These issues pass beyond the limits of merely academic interest, important though they are from that aspect. What we are dealing with is a key component in the cultural crisis through which American civilization is currently passing.”

The final newsletters came from the Office of the Programs of Comparative Religions. First called Shaman’s Drum (1975-1983) and then OPCR (1985-1989), the newsletters promoted people and an amazing number of activities related to what was GTU’s Area VIII, the History and Phenomenology of Religion.

This upload was made possible through the help of Charly Stoehr, a summer intern from the University of Denver’s MLIS program, who distilled the metadata for the publications.

In January, newsletters, journals and a reader from the Pacific and Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies (PACTS) Collection were added to one of our content management sites. This collection is part of the ongoing effort to make accessible materials from Centers at Graduate Theological Union. PACTS operated from 1973 until 2002, when there was no longer funding to continue. During its life span, the Center was a vital institution in wrestling with religious and cultural issues for Pacific and Asian Americans.

In the 20th anniversary edition of Branches in 1993, the directors observed: "PACTS started in 1973 with primarily Asian Americans comprising the group for the first 15 years. The last few years have been spent trying to bring into balance the broader communities we represent with more involvement by the Pacific Islanders. We serve as an advocacy group for Pacific Island/Asian American issues. We bring these to the forefront for your awareness and action. The PACTS board now has representation from the Tongan/Samoan, Filipino, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Okinawan, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese communities. We hope to be a valuable part of the information network and a vehicle by which we can effect change."

PACTS logo

Pacific and Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies

Organized in 1972 as the Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies and incorporated in 1974, the name was changed to Pacific and Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies in 1977 to reflect inclusiveness of constituencies. PACTS was an ecumenical center for research, resourcing, recruiting, training, and consciousness-raising which sought to promote the fulfillment of God's mission through the ministries of the churches and the service of community groups.


Center for Women and Religion

The Center was founded in 1970 as the Office of Women's Affairs by women who recognized "that seminary women at the GTU schools needed a channel, an advocate, an office through which to express their needs and concerns." The name was changed in about 1977 to Center for Women and Religion. The Center worked toward the goal of ending sexism and promoting justice in and through religion focusing on research, the status of women in religious structures, and community building for women. Activities included offering GTU courses, sponsorship of conferences, programs, and groups, and the publication of anthologies, bibliographies, a journal, and newsletters.

Sacred Dance

The Sacred Dance Collection has been updated to reflect the range of of lively and significant sacred dance materials in the archives. Along with Margaret Palmer Taylor, the site features images and other materials from the work of Carla DeSola, Doug Adams, Judith Rock, Murshid Samuel L. Lewis, the Sufi Choir and Starhawk.

Alfred Buchler Railroad label

Alfred Büchler, From Vienna
to Shanghai in World War II


Alfred Büchler was born in Vienna, Austria, January 17, 1927. Finding it impossible to obtain visas for the United States or Chile, the Jewish Büchler family succeeded in escaping to Shanghai on the Trans Siberian Railway, arriving in May 1941. He continued his education there, joining the Scouts and playing various musical instruments. Immigrating to the United States, Büchler received a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Harvard University in 1960 and worked in various labs for the next 25 years. He moved to Berkeley in the late 1970s and began the study of common objects in medieval times, including the development of drums and trumpets.

PCTS, 1939

Pacific Coast Theological Society Collection

The Pacific Coast Theological Society (then Group) was established by John C. Bennett (1902-1995) and supported by the Hazen Foundation in 1939. Bennett, then Professor of Christian Theology at Pacific School of Religion, was inspired by a similar organization on the East coast ("the younger theologians"). Since then, the society continues to meet twice a year, in the Spring and Fall for two days (Friday and Saturday) to discuss critical theological and societal issues.

Viktor Frankl and Randolph Sassnet

Viktor Frankl Library and Memorabilia

Dr. Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), a Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist, survived four concentration camps and founded the third Viennese school of psychotherapy. His emphasis on meaning of life and social responsibility, along with acceptance of a spiritual reality, provided a sympathetic theory for teachers of pastoral counseling. The presence of the Frankl collection is due in large part to the activities of Robert C. Leslie (1917-2006), a Methodist minister and professor of pastoral psychology at Pacific School of Religion from 1954 to 1995.

Edith Stein, 1925

Edith Stein Collection

The Edith Stein Collection was donated to the Graduate Theological Union by Susanne M. Batzdorff, a niece of the saint and resident of Santa Rosa, during the summer of 2013. Edith Stein (1891-1942), St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was born into a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany. She became a philosopher, phenomenologist, teacher, feminist, and translator. In 1922, she was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Unable to continue as a teacher as a Jew under Nazi rule, she joined the Discalced Carmelites in 1933. In 1942, she and her sister Rosa were arrested in Echt, Holland, and transported to Auschwitz and killed. Edith Stein was canonized in 1998. She is one of the six patron saints of Europe.

Eal Lectures committee letterhead cropped

E.T. Earl Lectures
The Fifties

Since 1902, Pacific School of Religion has hosted the Earl Lectures and Leadership Conference, an event that features influential religious speakers and also addresses critical theological, pastoral, and social topics for students, ministers and the community. The lectures were first recorded on reel to reel audio tape in 1950, when they were also broadcast on the radio. Cassette tapes were latter created in the 1960s for sale and distribution, landing in various theological libraries. Previously, printed forms of the lectures were often made available, as with the Theodore Roosevelt lectures in 1911.

Earl Lectures-1948
Claude Welch, groundbreaking

Building a Library

The Graduate Theological Union Library was designed to become the central meeting place for the consortium. The building houses the library, which holds over 400,000 books and many journals and microforms, as well as much of the GTU administration. This collection is a work in process and documents the major events in the library's history, from its early history as a bibliographic center, to the selection of Louis Kahn to design the building, to the local architects who took over after Kahn died, to developments to repair and modernize the facility.

Temple of Religion

Temple of Religion and Tower of Peace

Religious leaders in the Bay Area raised $100,00 to construct a Temple of Religion and Tower of Peace for the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island. The San Francisco Temple represented all faiths, unlike the Temple of Religion at the 1938 World's Fair in New York City that only represented Protestants, Catholics and Jews. As involvement in the Second World War seemed increasingly inevitable, the organization sponsored a series of events and lectures to promote peace and keep America out of the conflict on the last eight Sundays of the exposition in 1939.

Elsie Culver

Elsie Thomas Culver:
A Journey Through
Post-World War II Europe

September 25-October 20, 1945

Elsie Thomas Culver, a publicist for church relief services in New York City, packed her camera, hopped on a troop ship to England and then traveled through Europe on a fact finding mission in late 1945. She writes: "I went avowedly to meet and talk with the common people, to hear their stories, and to let them know, so far as one person could, that the Christian people of America do care what has been happening to them, and want to share their burdens as far as possible by gifts of money and material goods."


Imaging Religion: An Exhibition
in Honor of the 50th Anniversary
of the Graduate Theological Union

July 2012-June 2013

This online site features works that are on display and includes other works that are not for the "Imaging Religion: An Exhibition in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Graduate Theological Union." Also included are remarks given at the blessing of the library and its collection that was held on October 8, along with a brief history and timeline of the GTU.

King James Bible Exhibit
J. Stilson Judah

Oral Histories
Graduate Theological Union


This extensive oral history includes interviews from 79 scholars who discuss the founding of the Graduate Theological Union and issues in theological education before, after and during the 1960s. Ray Kibler, who conducted the interviews, writes: "It is well said that few American religious institutions went through such tumultuous changes during "the 1960's" as did the seminaries and that few people experienced such tumult over these changes as did their faculties. Certainly, an American seminary in most times or places has served to conserve the tradition of its constituency but as well to reinterpret that tradition in order to make it relevant as the "cutting edge" of its ministry to society."

Maisner flyer

Art Exhibits: Cards and Flyers

The Graduate Theological Union library was envisioned as a facility that would be more than just a library/office building: it would be open to the public for lectures, events and for the display of art, sculpture, rare books and historical materials. The exhibits were selected to show how art reflected the spiritual in humanity.

Doug Adams
His Life and Work


Douglas Glenn Adams (1945 - 2007) was professor of Christianity and the Arts at Pacific School of Religion for 31 years and member of the core Graduate Theological Union faculty. He was an international scholar in religion and the arts, worship, dance and humor.


Robert McAfee Brown:
Glimpses of What Life is
Meant To Be


Robert McAfee Brown, 1920 – 2001, Christian theologian, teacher, author, and preacher, was an advocate for justice in social, economic, and gender issues, believing “we are here to share bread with one another, so that everyone has enough, and no one has too much.”

Oral History of the
Sanctuary Movement


An oral history of the sanctuary movement based on interviews with religious and lay leaders in the Bay Area conducted by Eileen Purcell during 1997-1998. The interviews cover the beginning of the sanctuary movement during the Vietnam Conflict (1971-1972) and the much more extensive movement assisting Central American refugees in the United States (1982-1987). This is one of six GTU collections on the Sanctuary Movement.


Thomas Starr King

Thomas Starr King (1824 - 1864) was a Unitarian and Universalist minister and popular lecturer. After serving churches in the Boston area, he accepted a call to San Francisco in 1860. With the start of the Civil War, he lectured and campaigned successfully throughout the state to keep California in the Union. He was an early environmentalist and great nature writer. One of two statues from the State of California in the Capital Building, Washington, D.C., King's was replaced by Ronald Reagan in June 2009. King's statute is now in the Civil War Grove in Capitol Park, Sacramento.

Berkeley Free Church

The Berkeley Free Church (South Campus Community Ministry), 1967-1972, Richard York, Pastor, operated a service ministry to the Berkeley, CA, Telegraph Ave. area transients, runaways and hippies. Services included a referral switchboard, counseling, health care, crash pads, and free food. The Church and its clergy were involved in all the radical and social justice issues of the late 60's including local Berkeley issues, campus riots, and People's Park; peace and draft resistance issues of the Vietnam War; and radical church renewal (Submarine church) in the mainline Protestant denominations.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives at the Graduate Theological Union offer a variety of digital resources on theological education, social justice, art and religious activities in the West. The online exhibits reflect the collections at the GTU and provide primary sources that assist scholars and students in their research.

Special Collections and Archives at the Graduate Theological Union, founded in 1962, was formally established in 1989. The collection records the American religious experience in the West, religious dialogue, the Christian and wider religious intellectual heritage, and the ministries of the GTU's member schools and centers.

Housed are over 400 different collections and 1500 linear feet of archival, manuscript and non-textual materials, as well as more than 10,000 rare books and pamphlets.

Finding aids to the collection are located at Online Archive of California or through GRACE.

Special Collections and Archives • Flora Lamsom Hewlett Library
Graduate Theological Union • 2400 Ridge Road • Berkeley, CA 94709
Email: archives AT • Website: