The Paul Austin Wolfe Manuscript Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Wolfe, Paul Austin, 1898-1964
Dates: 1931-1964
Extent: 29 boxes (31.4 linear feet)
Language(s): English
Repository: Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries. Special Collections.


1898 June 24 Born, Avalon, Missouri
1918 Graduated, Carleton College, Minnesota
1921 Graduated, Yale Divinity School
1922 Ordained
1922-1925 Assistant pastor, 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York
1925-1928 Pastor, Keene Valley Congregational Church, New York
1926 Married to Helena Woodbridge
1928-1932 Chaplain, Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut
1932-1938 Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Evanston, Illinois
1938-1964 Brick Presbyterian Church, Park Avenue at 91st Street, New York City
1964 Died

Biographical Information

The Rev. Dr. Wolfe was born in Avalon, Missouri on June 24, 1898 and was a graduate of Carleton College in North Field, Minnesota, 1918 and the Yale Divinity School, 1921. He was ordained in 1922 as an Assistant at the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City and became pastor of the Keene Valley Presbyterian Church, New York in 1925 where he remained until 1928.

He married Helena Woodbridge of New York City in 1926. They had four daughters, Helena, Julia, Barbara and Debora.

He was chaplain of the Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut 1928 - 1932 and pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Evanston, Illinois, 1932 - 1938. He became pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, Park Avenue at 91st Street, New York City, in 1938. He remained in this post he remained until his death in 1964.

Dr. Wolfe was a great authority on Abraham Lincoln and spoke frequently on Lincoln around the country. He was also a thoughtful critic of the public school system and many of his insights and concerns in this area are still relevant. Dr. Wolfe received ten honorary doctorates and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.


Scope and Content

This collection includes sermons and addresses, correspondence, committee reports and related materials, Brick Presbyterian Church of New York City bulletins and histories, and miscellanea.



Wolfe, Paul Austin, 1898-1964--Archives.

Presbyterian Church--Clergy--Archives.

Presbyterian Church--Sermons--Archival resources.

Sermons, American--20th century--Archival resources.

Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Manuscript collections.


Administrative Information

Processing Information

This collection was processed, and the original finding aid was written in the summer of 1995, by Timothy J. Smith, under the direction of William O. Harris, Archivist. The finding aid was edited by Sarah Seraphin and Daved Anthony Schmidt in May of 2009.


There are no special restrictions to the access of this collection. It may be examined by library patrons under the normal rules and conditions of Special Collections.

Use of Materials

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The Paul Austin Wolfe Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.



Series I: Sermons and Addresses. This collection includes sermons for most Sundays between 1931 and 1964. Major addresses and sermons for especially significant events are noted. (Boxes 1-15)

Series II: Correspondence (Boxes 16-21)

Series III: Committee Work Material (Boxes 22-25)

Series IV: Miscellaneous Papers (Box 26)

Series V. Brick Church Bulletins and History (Boxes 27-29)



Series I: Sermons and Addresses
Box 1: October 11, 1931 through March 24, 1935. Highlights include:
- Wolfe's trial sermon for the pastorate of First Presbyterian Church, Evanston, Illinois. October 11, 1931
- Wolfe's first sermon as minister at First Presbyterian Church, Evanston. January 3, 1932
- Installation service of Wolfe at Evanston. February 10, 1932
- Baccalaureate sermon at Northwestern University. June 12, 1932
- Commencement address, Huron College, Huron, South Dakota. June 14, 1932
- Radio address on Religion October 4, 1932
Box 2: 1932-1938 (1st Presbyterian Church, Evanston, Illinois) Highlights include sermons and various files from the years 1932-1938.
Box 3: March 31, 1935 through April 22, 1938. Highlights include:
- Commencement address, Park College May 27, 1935
- Commencement address, Blackburn College June 4, 1935
- Baccalaureate address, Carleton College June 9, 1935
- Vesper sermon, Amherst College November 17, 1935
- Chapel address, Kalamazoo College February 17, 1936
- Commencement address, Carleton College June 8, 1936
- Article for Monday Morning, "The Sacrament of Preaching" September 1, 1936
- Shaffer Lecture, Northwestern University October 26, 1937
- Vesper service, Amherst College October 31, 1937
- Address, "Liberal Education," Carleton College February 8, 1938
Box 4: April 24, 1938 through May 18, 1941. Highlights include:
- YMCA address, Champaign, Illinois June 3, 1938
- Commencement Address, "The Exploitation of Youth" [Wolfe's obituary in the New York Times highlights Dr. Wolfe's concern for youth and for private schools in particular.] June 9, 1938
- Last Sunday at Evanston, Illinois June 12, 1938
- First sermon at Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City [Dr. Wolfe had apparently begun his work there earlier that fall.] November 6, 1938
- Laying of cornerstone for new building of the Brick Church at 91st Street. Mayor La Guardia attending. November 25, 1938
- Address to students at Princeton Theological Seminary April 11, 1939
- Address to New England Bakers Association June 18, 1940
- Wendell Wilkie campaign material Fall 1940
- Radio address (short-wave) broadcast to England November 13, 1940
- Address to State Teacher's College, Indiana, Pennsylvania December 8, 1940
- Address to Muskingum College February 17 - 21, 1941
Box 5: May 23, 1941 through May 14, 1944. Highlights include:
- Address to General Assembly, "Your faith and your country" May 23, 1941
- Address to business convention, "You and your country" October 16, 1941
- Sermon "The Bible and the War" December 14, 1941
- CBS Radio broadcast address on the history of Brick Church (175th anniversary). January 9, 1943
- Town Hall Lecture, "How will religion survive the war?" April 5, 1943
- Address to advertiser's convention April 22, 1943
- Commencement address, Duke University May 21, 1943
- Speech to IBM Educational Department October 12, 1943
- Lincoln Day address, National Republican Club, New York City February 12, 1944
Box 6: May 14, 1944 through February 24, 1945.
- Address to Mayflower Society, "Pilgrims, Puritans, and Moderns" November 21, 1944
- Address, "Character Education in the Post-War World" February 22, 1945
Box 7: February 25, 1945 through February 11, 1948. Highlights include:
- Address in honor of Secretary of War Henry Stimson August 18, 1945
- Talks at Duke University November 25-29, 1945
- Address, "Religion and the Campus," given at Columbia University May 28, 1946
- Funeral of Mrs. Andrew Carnegie June 27, 1946
- Address to Academy of American Poets November 23, 1947
Box 8: February 12, 1948 through April 9, 1950. Highlights include:
- Address on Lincoln, National Republican Club February 12, 1948
- Review of "The Reconstruction of Humanity" June 10, 1948
- Address to Presbyterian college presidents January 13, 1949
- Address to Smith College Religious Forum on the question "Is God Dead?" February 28, 1950
Box 9: April 16, 1950 through June 15, 1952. Highlights include:
- Paper read to Sigma Chi, "The Churches and the liberal university" May 7, 1952
Box 10: July 14, 1952 through March 28, 1955.
Box 11: April 3, 1955 through December 31, 1957. Highlights include:
- Funeral service, Thomas J. Watson (founder of IBM) June 21, 1956
Box 12: January 5, 1958 through October 16, 1960. Highlights include:
- Memorial service for the Honorable John Foster Dulles, former Secretary of State (member of Brick Church) June 14, 1959
- Panel discussion, "Man, Medicine and Religion," Academy of Religion February 17, 1960
- Address on the comparative weakness of Liberal Protestantism versus Roman Catholicism May 4, 1960
Box 13: October 1960 through July 1963.
Box 14: 1963 and 1964
Box 15: Miscellaneous sermons
- Index of Sermons, beginning 1932 1932
- Navy Preaching Mission
- Printed sermons
- Reviews and notes on various subjects
Series II: Correspondence
Box 16: Professional Correspondence, "A-F"
Box 17: Professional Correspondence, "G-O"
Box 18: Professional Correspondence, "O-Z"
Boxes 19 and 20: Personal Correspondence
- Includes letters received during illnesses and club committee papers; letter sent to President Roosevelt
Box 21: Special Correspondence
- Includes correspondence with Mrs. Andrew Carnegie, Henry Sloane Coffin, John Foster Dulles, J. Howard Pew, Thomas J. Watson, Sr., and others
Series III: Committee Work Material
Box 22
National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C. (Henry Luce, and others); Calvin Chapel, Geneva; Chaplain's work
Box 23
New York Presbytery; General Assembly committees
Box 24
Miscellaneous Committee Papers; Yale Religious Life, YMCA, 1964 New York World's Fair, and other material, 1964
Box 25
Inter-American University, Puerto Rico
Series IV: Miscellaneous Papers
Box 26:
New York Times obituary of Paul Austin Wolfe; Academic notes; Record of condolences received at the death of Dr. Wolfe; Naval War College; papers from conferences
Series V: Brick Church Bulletins and History
Box 27: Brick Church Bulletins, 1936-1949
Box 28: Brick Church Bulletins, 1949-1961
Box 29: Brick Church Bulletins. History and manuals of Brick Church, 1961-1964


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