The John Gresham Machen Manuscript Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Harris, William O.
Dates: 1915-1936
Extent: 5 Boxes (2.1 linear feet)
Language(s): English
Repository: Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries. Special Collections.


1881 July 28 Born, Baltimore, Maryland
1901 B.A., Johns Hopkins University
1904 M.A., Princeton University
1905 B.D., Princeton Theological Seminary
1905-1906 Student, Gottingen and Marburg Universities
1906-1914 Instructor, New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
1914-1929 Assistant Professor, New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
1918-1919 Y.M.C.A. war service, French Army
1929-1937 Professor, New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary
1937 January 1 Died, Bismark, North Dakota

Biographical Information

J. Gresham Machen also received honorary doctorates from Hampden-Sidney College (1921) and Wheaton College (1928). He was the author of several books, including The Origin of Paul's Religion, Christianity and Liberalism, New Testament Greek for Beginners, What is Faith?, The Virgin Birth of Christ, The Christian View of Man, Christian Faith in the Modern World, and Brief Bible History. The majority of these currently remain in print. There are also numerous anthologies of his writings, including God Transcendent, Education, Christianity and the State, Galatians, and New Testament Introduction. Several biographical treatments have been published on Dr. Machen's life. Most noteworthy are works by Ned Stonehouse (1955), Paul Woolley (1977), and D. G. Hart (1994).


Scope and Content

This collection contains materials by and about J. Gresham Machen, as well as published and unpublished materials on the 1929 reorganization of Princeton Theological Seminary.



Machen, J. Gresham (John Gresham), 1881-1937--Manuscripts.

Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Manuscript collections.


Administrative Information

Processing Information

The papers currently organized as the Machen Collection were gathered from a number of sources, the origins of which are unknown in many cases. Some items were maintained in "Cabinet C" in the Old Lenox Library of Princeton Seminary. Paul Martin, a protagonist in the reorganization conflict, had also donated his correspondence and papers relative to Dr. Machen. Another set of papers was donated to the Seminary many years ago by Judge Huston Dixon, consisting of his correspondence and documents relating to the legality of reorganizing the Seminary. All of these items were stored in sealed bundles. These and other papers were gathered in 1993 and stored together in a large box designated "Machen Controversy." They remained unorganized and were not made accessible to library patrons. In April of 1996 the collection was organized, with revisions made in July 1997. At that time several photocopies of relevant items from other manuscripts collections and from files in the Archives' office were added to the collection.


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.

Use of Materials

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The John Gresham Machen Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


Related Material

See also the following materials in Special Collections:

The Board of Directors of Princeton Theological Seminary Records

The James Oscar Boyd Manuscript Collection

The Robert E. Speer Manuscript Collection

The Charles Rosenbury Erdman Manuscript Collection

The Alexander Napier MacLeod Manuscript Collection

The Joseph Ross Stevenson Manuscript Collection

The H. Clare Welker Manuscript Collection

See also the following oral histories in the PTS Audio Cassette Collection:

Oswald Allis (tape #0514)

Muriel Jennings (tapes #0339-0342)

Allan A. MacRae (tapes #0314,0323-0324,0467)

Carl McIntire (tapes #0310,0404)

Edwin Rian (tapes #0331-0334)

See also the John Gresham Machen Papers, in the Archives of Montgomery Library at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pa.



This collection is arranged in six series: Published Writings, Correspondence, Published References to Machen, Machen's Trial (1934-1935), Reorganization Controversy (1923-1929) Printed Items, and Reorganization Controversy (1923-1929) Unpublished Items. Files have been arranged chronologically.



Box 1
1:1 Finding aid.
Series 1: Published Writings
1:2 "History and Faith." Reprinted from the Princeton Theological Review,1915 July.
1:3 "Statement" [to the General Assembly Committee],1926 November 23.
1:4 "Documents: Appended to 'Statement'" [to the General Assembly Committee],1926 November 23.
1:5 "Additional Statement: Concerning Personal Relations Between the Rev. Professor Charles R. Erdman, D.D., LL.D. and J. Gresham Machen,"1926 December 18.
1:6 "Attack Upon Princeton Seminary: Plea for Fair Play,"1927 December.
Box 1 continued
Series 2: Correspondence
1:7 11 facsimile letters, Machen to James Oscar Boyd,1921 February 15-1936 August 6.
1:8 Machen to William M. McPheeters,1922 May 21.
1:9 Machen to Frederick W. Johnson,1924 January 7.
1:10 Machen to Henry Hale,1924 May 1.
1:11 Machen to Board of Directors (withdrawing call to Professorship of Apologetics),1928 June 20.
1:12 Machen to Board of Directors,1928 December 27.
1:13 Machen to G. Ritter In re Francis L. Patton,1932 December 15. See also, folder 3:30.
Box 1 continued
Series 3: Published References to Machen
1:14 Bultmann, Rudolph, review of The Origin of Paul's Religion, by J. Gresham Machen, Theologische Literaturzertung, January 12, 1924.
1:15 Newspaper clipping entitled, "Machen Criticizes Church Assembly,"1929
1:16 Newspaper clipping on the establishment of Westminster Theological Seminary, The New York Times,1929
1:17 Newspaper clippings about Westminster Seminary and Bryan University, 1929.
1:18 Brochures of Westminster Theological Seminary, 1929 December 14; 1936.
1:19 "Presbytery to Try Machen as Rebel," The New York Times, 1934 December 21.
1:20 "Tribute to Dr. Machen," by Pearl Buck, 1937 January.
1:21 "Doctor Fundamentalis," by H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun,1937 January 18.
1:23 "Machen, History, and Truth," by George Marsden, Westminster Theological Journal, 42,1979/1980.
1:24 "Machen on Barth," by D.G. Hart, Westminster Theological Journal, 53, 1991.
1:25 "The Legacy of Machen and the Identity of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church," by D.G. Hart Westminster Theological Journal, 53, 1991.
1:26 "Machen: Politically Incorrect Fundamentalist," by D.G. Hart, Tabletalk,circa 1993
1:27 "Machen's Local Approach to Christian Culture," by D.G. Hart, WTS Bulletin, 33, summer 1994.
1:28 Miscellaneous published references to Machen.
Box 2
Series 4: Machen's Trial
2:1 Official bound record (418 pp.): Special Judicial Commission of the Presbytery of New Brunswick. Presbyterian Church in the United States of America vs. J. Gresham Machen. Trenton, New Jersey. 1935 February 14.
2:2 Correspondence: J. Ross Stevenson to Paul Martin, 1934 August 24.
2:3 Correspondence In re Machen trial, 1934 August-December.
Charles Erdman to Paul Martin, 1934, August 3.  
D. Wilson Hollinger to Paul Martin, 1934, December.  
Paul Martin to D.W. Hollinger, 1934, November 3.  
List of members of the Independent Board.  
Peter K. Emmons to Charles R. Erdman, 1934, July 31.  
Box 3
Series 5: Reorganization Controversy, 1923-1929, Printed Items
3:1 Report of the Conference Committee, 1924.
3:2 2 pamphlets: "Presbytery of New Brunswick to the Church at Large", 1925 April 15. "Statement Concerning [the] Presbytery of New Brunswick to Church..."
3:3 "Are there Good Grounds for Dividing the Church?," by Professor A.M. Dulles, Presbyterian Advance, 1925 May 7.
3:4 "Open Letter to Commissioners of the Next General Assembly Regarding Special Report on Princeton," [by pro-Machen Directors],circa 1927 April.
3:5 "Report of the Special Committee to Visit Princeton Theological Seminary [to the General Assembly]," 1927 May.
3:6 Printed items regarding the Presbytery of Chester's protest, and the Presbytery of New Brunswick's reaction.
3:7 "A Misapprehension Corrected," open letter to J. Ross Stevenson from J.A. Schofield, Princeton Seminary, Class of 1925,circa 1928
3:8 "Princeton Seminary Propaganda," by C.D. Wilbur, regarding The Presbyterian,circa 1928
3:9 "A Memorial," petition of ministers and elders against the reorganization of Princeton Seminary, 1928.
3:10 Princeton Defense Committee items, 1928.
3:11 Printed letter: "Dissent of Presbytery of New Brunswick," regarding the protest of the Presbytery of Chester and a "vote analysis;" 1928.
3:12 Open letter from William G. Schauffler regarding the General Assembly and Princeton Seminary, 1928.
3:13 Arch Street Presbyterian Church (of Philadelphia) worship service bulletins regarding Princeton Seminary, 1928 January 15, 22.
3:14 "Princeton Issue," Presbyterian Banner, 1928 January 19.
3:15 "Protest of Princeton Alumni Resident in the Orient against any Changes in the Constitution of the Seminary," 1928 January 27.
3:16 "Princeton Seminary Issue," N.Y. Herald Tribune, 1928 January 29.
3:17 "The Historical Position of Princeton Seminary," by J. Ross Stevenson, 1928 February.
3:18 "Presbytery of New Brunswick Adopts Resolution Approving Assembly Stand," Trenton Evening News, 1924.
3:19 "A Pastor Looks at Princeton," by Frank H. Stevenson [Director], 1928 March.
3:20 Open letter from Charles Erdman, 1928 March 19.
3:21 "Majority Report of Committee of 11 on Princeton Seminary: Its Misinformation...," by Samuel G. Craig [Director],The Presbyterian, 1924.
3:22 "The Majority and Minority Reports of the Board of Directors of Princeton Theological Seminary, with Editorial Comment," The Presbyterian, 1929 April 15.
3:23 "Princeton Theological Seminary: Its Troubles," by "Amicus."
3:24 "For Peace and Liberty," to the people of the P.C.U.S.A. by the Correspondence Committee [defense of the Auburn Affirmation of 1924]; articles from The Presbyterian,and other miscellaneous printed items.
Box 3 continued
Series 7: Reorganization Controversy, 1923-1929, Unpublished Items
3:25 First Presbyterian Church [of Princeton, New Jersey] session minutes mentioning Machen 1920-1926.
3:26 Extracts from Directors' meetings minutes, regarding the merger of Princeton Seminary Boards 1923-1926.
3:27 Paper by J. Ross Stevenson,circa 1924/1925.
3:28 Princeton Seminary Directors' meeting minutes, 1925.
3:29 Letter from William McEwan to Paul Martin regarding Erdman and Machen, 1925 February 27.
3:30 Letter from James Cannon to J. Ross Stevenson, 1925 May 8; Letter from Machen to Cannon, 1925 March 18.
3:31 Minutes of Princeton Seminary Directors' meetings, 1926-1927.
Box 4
4:1 Papers of Judge Huston Dixon, relating to merger of the Seminary Boards (File 1), 1926-1929.
4:2 Papers of Judge Huston Dixon, relating to merger of the Seminary Boards (File 2), 1926-1929.
4:3 Papers of Judge Huston Dixon, relating to merger of the Seminary Boards (File 3), 1926-1929.
4:4 Transcript of the hearing of Princeton Theological Seminary faculty by General Assembly Special Committee, 1926 November 22-24.
4:5 Letter from Paul Martin to W.O. Thompson [12 typewritten pages], 1926 December 23.
4:6 J. Ross Stevenson's response to the "Memorandum" by W.P. Armstrong on behalf of the majority of the faculty [photocopy],circa 1927
4:7 Transcript of the hearings of General Assembly Special Committee, 1927 January 5-6.
4:8 2 letters between George N. Luccock and Paul Martin regarding Machen 1927 January 29, February 2.
4:9 2 letters from E. J. Fox (attorney) to J. Ross Stevenson, regarding amendments to Seminary charter [photocopies], 1927 November 15, 19.
4:10 Transcript of the hearing of Princeton Theological Seminary faculty by General Assembly Special Committee, 1926 November 22-24.
4:11 Transcript of the hearing of Princeton Theological Seminary faculty by General Assembly Special Committee, 1926 November 22-24.
4:12 Transcript of the hearing of Princeton Theological Seminary faculty by General Assembly Special Committee, 1926 November 22-24.
4:13 Transcript of the hearing of Princeton Theological Seminary faculty by General Assembly Special Committee, 1926 November 22-24.
4:14 Transcript of the hearing of Princeton Theological Seminary faculty by General Assembly Special Committee, 1926 November 22-24.
Box 5
5:1 Report to Trustees of the Committee on Conference with the Assembly's Committee of Eleven,circa 1928 February.
5:2 Letter from Princeton Committee member to W.O. Thompson, 1928 February 28.
5:3 Petition by Directors to General Assembly, 1928.
5:4 Letter from M.A. Brownson (Director) to S.W. Beach (Secretary of Directors), 1928 June 16
5:5 Letter from Robert E. Speer to S.W. Beach, 1928 June 27.
5:6 Board signatures and letters regarding peace statement, 1928 July-October.
5:7 2 letters from Professor Finley D. Jenkins to Directors, circa 1928; 1928 July 5.
5:8 Letter from Professor Geerhardus Vos to S.W. Beach regarding signing of peace statement, 1928 July 13.
5:9 Letter from L.B. Crane (Director) to S.W. Beach, 1928 August 19.
5:10 Letter from Ethelbert Warfield to S.W. Beach, 1928 August 30.
5:11 Letter from William R. McEwan to S.W. Beach, "confidential," 1928 August; October 12.
5:12 Typescripts of faculty letters to Directors regarding peace statement signing, 1928 December
5:13 2 Letters from Professor C.W. Hodge to Directors [photocopies], 1928 July 2; 1928 December 13.
5:14 Letter from Professor Charles R. Erdman to S.W. Beach, 1928 September 7.
5:15 Letter from Prof. Robert Dick Wilson to Beach [photocopy], 1928 October 8.
5:16 Response to Group of Six; by Professors J. Ross Stevenson, F.W. Loetscher, J. Ritchie Smith, and Charles R. Erdman, 1928 October 8.
5:17 Letter from Professor Geerhardus Vos to Frank Stevenson (Director), 1928 December 19.
5:18 Letter from Charles R. Erdman to Directors, 1928 December 26.
5:19 Letter from Prof. F.W. Loetscher to Directors [photocopy], 1928 December 21.
5:20 Letter from Professor J. Ritchie Smith to Directors, 1928 December 24.
5:21 2 letters from Professor W.P. Armstrong to Directors [photocopies], circa 1928; 1928 December 27.
5:22 Letter from Robert Dick Wilson to Directors [photocopy], 1928 December 27.
5:23 2 letters from Professor Oswald Allis to Directors, 1928 July 12; 1928 December 28.
5:24 Letter from J. Ross Stevenson to Directors [photocopy], 1928 December 28.
5:25 Letter from Professor W. Brenton Greene to S.W. Beach regarding signing of pledge, 1928
5:26 Trustees response to Directors, 1929 January 21.
5:27 2 letters from Lewis Mudge to S.W. Beach, 1929 March 23; 1929 March 28.
5:28 Actions of Student Cabinet and Students' Association, 1929 May.
5:29 Report of Directors to General Assembly, 1929
5:30 Letters from Directors to Trustees, 1929 May.
5:31 "Why the General Assembly Can and Ought to Put Faith in...Trustees," undated
5:32 "Summary of the Ecclesiastical Status of Theological Seminaries of the P.C.U.S.A., with Special Reference to... Princeton Theological Seminary to the General Assembly," by William B. Pugh for Lewis Mudge (Stated Clerk), undated
5:33 Miscellaneous items regarding reorganization of the Boards.
5:34 Miscellaneous items regarding Machen photocopied from the Robert E. Speer Manuscript Collection [see boxes 39, 124,125,134,168].


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