Yale University Library News

Celebrating the History and Special Collections of Andover Newton Theological School at Yale

Vintage postcard of the Andover Newton Theological School at Yale
December 18, 2017

In 1807, Andover Theological Seminary began offering graduate coursework for students preparing for the Christian ministry. Founded by New England Congregationalists, the school was a harbinger for graduate education in the United States. Prior to Andover’s founding, American Protestant ministers attended undergraduate colleges and then went on to work under the tutelage of active clergy appointed to local churches and parishes. Andover helped changed this model of education by offering graduate coursework for prospective clergy. 

The original faculty of Andover had left Harvard College over theological concerns related to growing academic interest in Unitarianism. The faculty were intent on creating their own space for graduate education, establishing a department of divinity and raising funds for the creation of the first endowed professorship in North America. Andover was the first seminary to offer a formal graduate degree with courses that included the Bible, Church History, Doctrinal Theology, and Practical Ministry. This model became a curricular example for Protestant seminaries and divinity schools throughout the United States. 

In 1825, Newton Theological Institution was founded as a Baptist seminary built upon the same curricular model as Andover and committed to supplying ministers in towns and cities throughout New England. In 1965, Andover Theological Seminary and Newton Theological Institution merged to form Andover Newton Theological School. The School has been located on “the Hill” in Newton Centre, MA and is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches USA. 

In July, 2017 Andover Newton Theological School and Yale Divinity School agreed to a formal affiliation. Students will begin their theological education at Yale Divinity School and Andover Newton’s special collections and archives will become part of collections of the Divinity Library. This exhibit will celebrate the arrival of the archive at the Divinity Library and will spotlight the institutional history and vast special collections and archives of Andover Newton Theological School. 

This exhibit is housed in five cases throughout the Divinity Library and is available to view during operating hours. This exhibitions runs November 13, 2017 through to June 4, 2018. It was curated by: Christopher J. Anderson, Special Collections Librarian and Curator of the Day Missions Library.