Divinity Library Special Collections

Projects and Initiatives | Exhibitions

Latourette Initiative

Theology at YDS - A Bicentennial Retrospective

This exhibit in the Current Periodical area and Day Missions Room traces the development of the theology faculty at YDS, beginning with Nathaniel W. Taylor's "New Haven Theology" and including D.C. Macintosh, Robert Calhoun, H. Richard Niebuhr, George Lindbeck, Hans Frei, David Kelsey, Margaret Farley, and others.

Deans of the Divinity School

In recognition of the Divinity School's bicentennial in 2022, exhibit spaces in the Library will be used to highlight aspects of the School’s history over the coming year. The cases in the Day Missions Reading Room now contain information about the Deans of YDS, with selections from their papers. 

The History of the Divinity Library

In recognition of the Divinity School's bicentennial in 2022, exhibit spaces in the Library will be used to highlight aspects of the School’s history over the coming year, beginning with the history of the Divinity Library now on view in the current periodicals area.

A Herstory of Yale Divinity School: Women at YDS, 1907 - Today

This online exhibit celebrates the personal accomplishments and contributions of the women of YDS to the life and legacy of the school. It spotlights twelve “Trailblazers”: some of first women students, faculty, and administrators of Yale Divinity School. See also "Women at Yale Divinity School: Milestones and Recollections."

Down Through the Years: The Legacy of the Yale Black Seminarians

October 7 - December 20, 2019

For fifty years, the Yale Black Seminarians have mobilized the presence of Black students at Yale Divinity School through advocacy, faith, and the pursuit of justice. By showcasing artifacts and stories held “down through the years,” this exhibit honors a rich legacy. Among this exhibition’s features are an award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, unique ties to Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and the organizational history of justice and resistance.

“Go Ye Therefore….”

February 1 - August 30, 2019

This exhibit draws on the holdings of the Divinity Library’s Day Missions Collection to illustrate methods of spreading the Christian message through evangelization, educational work, medical work, public health activities, relief work, translation, literature distribution, and so forth.

"To Be Ourselves in Print”: Divinity Student Publications of the 1960’s

August 1 - December 21, 2018

The 1960’s was a turbulent decade in the United States. In "Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America", author John McMillan reflects, “by the mid-1960s, the climate for youth-oriented, antiestablishment newspapers had quickly become fertile” (p. 31). Student-created publications, in the forms of newspapers and newsletters, functioned as timely mouthpieces for college, university and divinity students across America. These informative and controversial publications provided literary spaces for student commentary on social, economic, political and religious concerns. Freedom of expression and the quest for meaningful dialogue were two of several motivations behind the creation of these publications. Student newspapers and newsletters challenged the missions, regulations and administrations of schools as these underground publications pushed the boundaries of school-sanctioned expression and the patience of university administrators. 

Berkeley Divinity School: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective

August 1 - December 21, 2018

Berkeley Divinity School was founded in 1854 in Middletown, Connecticut. The Episcopal Seminary was established as an educational institution “where students from the various streams of Anglicanism could learn, worship, live and minister alongside one another.” The school received its name from George Berkeley, bishop of Cloyne, Ireland and a noted educator, missionary and philosopher. For over 160 years, the school has prepared ministers and educators for work in the Episcopal Church. Berkeley moved to New Haven in 1928 and formally affiliated with Yale Divinity School in 1971.

Andover Newton Theological School

Founded in 1807, Andover Newton Theological School was the result of the merger of Andover Theological Seminary and Newton Theological Institution. This exhibit, on display until April 30, 2018, highlights the history of the school and spotlights items from the Andover Newton collection including: archival documents on the founding, publications of student organizations, original handwritten correspondence, promotional films and examples of material culture on student life.

Missionary Journeys: Stories of Adventure and Peril from the Day Missions Collection

June-October 2017

Prior to the advent of modern transportation, missionaries faced journeys of enormous peril and adventure as they sought to spread the gospel. Using documentation from the Divinity Library’s renowned Day Missions collection, this exhibit provides glimpses into the stories of several individuals who traveled to the Middle East, Oceania, China, and elsewhere.

Missionary Portrayals of World Religions

June-October 2015

This exhibit was prepared in conjunction with the June 2015 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity, the theme of which was “Religion and Religions in the History of Missions and World Christianity.” Shown here are selections from the exhibit that illustrate how world religions were portrayed by missionaries to their supporters and the public at home during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

An Ecumenical Community of Students: Archival Documentation of the Worldwide Student Christian Movement

June-October 2014

The Yale Divinity Library is the epicenter of the universe for archival documentation of ecumenical student Christian movements. It holds historical records of more than fifteen organizations that were student Christian movements or support agencies for the movements, dating from the 1880s to the present, as well as personal papers of various leaders of the movements. This exhibit traces the history of development of student Christian movements in the United States and worldwide, illustrating the various stages with archival documentation.

Spreading the Word: A Selection of Missionary Posters, Games, and Ephemera from the Day Missions Collection

November 2013 - May 2014

During the height of the missionary movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, tens of thousands of American missionaries went abroad, seeking to spread their Christian beliefs and rituals while bringing with them their devotion to Western civilization. This exhibit focuses on two aspects of "Spreading the Word" including the use of materials such as posters, broadsides, and tracts. These items were used to convey the message of the missionaries to the people with whom they were working. Additional materials and events encouraged the American public to understand and support the missionary enterprise, including missionary exhibitions, concerts, publications, calendars, collection boxes, artifacts, cards and games.

Yale Divinity School Milestones, 1822-2012

October 2012 - January 2013

2012 marks the 190th anniversary of the establishment of the Yale Divinity School in 1822, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Divinity School's move to its present campus at 409 Prospect Street. This exhibit documents some of the early faculty members of the Divinity School, its first campus in central New Haven and the development of the new campus, and the deans who have served the School over the decades.

Christianity in Nepal: Documentation from the Day Missions Collection

February-July 2012

This exhibit features materials from the archives of the United Mission to Nepal, the International Nepal Fellowship, and the Nepal Church History Project . These collections, received by the Divinity Library in 2008, document the opening of Nepal to Christian organizations in the early 1950s and their programs in the areas of health services, education, rural development, and industrial development.

Eight Decades of Women at Yale Divinity School: Milestones and Recollections

2010 exhibit available as PDF.

Christian Responses to Charles Darwin, 1870-1900

February-June 2009

This exhibit commemorating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth focuses on Christian responses to Darwin shortly after the publication of The Origin of Species.


Communications from the Field: Missionary Postcards from Africa

The images provided by missionary postcards provide a glimpse into the Christian missionary enterprise and its impact on society. They illustrate the customs, methods, and technology disseminated by the missionaries, provide depictions of indigenous life, and shed light on the culture of the missionary enterprise in the early 20th century.


Early African American Missionaries

PDF document.


From Psalm Book to Hymnal: Selections from the Lowell Mason Collection

January-March 2000

Excerpts from an exhibit at the Yale Divinity School Library held January 18-March 30, 2000.

The Centennial of the Boxer Rebellion in China

Photographs and documents from the collections of the Yale Divinity School Library that illustrate the impact of the Boxer Rebellion on the missionary movement in China.

Victorian Missionary Periodicals

September 1999- January 2000

Excerpts from an exhibit at the Yale Divinity School Library held September 15, 1999 - January 15, 2000.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 10:48am