|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two roughly chronological series: Series 1: CORE; and Series 2: Union Theological Seminary.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains material related to Union's Core experimental religious education program including handwritten notes, meeting agendas and planning guides, annotated drafts and proposals for curriculum structure, seminary memoranda addressed to Langston and other relevant group leaders, writings by CORE student members, program evaluations, and group readings by theme, as well as photographs from the Core retreat from 1970 with a card written by Langston identifying subjects in the images. This series also contains materials relating to student activism, specifically at Union and Columbia surrounding Vietnam, student responses to the Black Manifesto, bail funds for incarcerated members of the Black Panther Party, President John C. Bennett's involvement with campus activism, as well as non-Columbia related materials on political mobilization on a global scale. Other UTS-related materials include runs of the student publication, Plastic Bag and Mini Bag (including issues from 1970, heretofore not included in the Burke's archive), Union Commission materials, memoranda and administrative press releases to the campus community in light of direct actions on campus, as well as Langston's personal and academic writings, readings, and writings by peers and mentors, all collected as part of Langston's coursework at Union. Finally, this collection also includes photographs taken during Langston's time at Union, including a rally to free the Panther 21, and street shots of the Morningside Heights neighborhood.
Burke Library record group:
Union Theological Seminary Archives: UTS 1, papers of faculty and students
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
The following boxes are located offsite: Series 1, Box 1 and Series 2, Box 1-2. Please note that requests for use of boxes held in offsite storage must be made three business days in advance.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, UTS1: David Langston papers, 1968-1971, series #, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
These materials were among a large amount of unprocessed material that was organized in 2016-2017 with funds provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The David Langston Papers were donated to the Burke Archives by Dr. Langston in August 2012.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Acidic items were separated from one another by interleaving with acid-free paper as needed. Any items in an advanced state of deterioration were placed in Mylar envelopes. Issues of Plastic Bag were maintained in their original plastic cases, but encapsulated in acid-free folders to prevent further deterioration. The finding aid was created by Rebecca Nieto in 2017 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-10-25 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Dr. David Langston is a scholar of American literature and theology whose time as a graduate student at Union was impacted by the surge in campus activism and social justice-oriented direct actions in the Vietnam era. He was born in Albany, Oregon on October 3, 1944. He earned his B.A. from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1967 with a major in History, and double minor in English and philosophy. Langston decided to pursue his academic interest in the philosophy of religion at Union Theological Seminary beginning in September of 1967, earning his Master of Divinity in May, 1971. Langston entered UTS as a Rockefeller Fellow, a fellowship intended to support students who were not commited to careers in ministry through their seminary educations. During his studies at Union, Langston was involved with the initial year of Union's Core experimental program, an initiative composed of approximately a dozen students who held regularly meetings and discussion groups around themes concerning faith, politics, philosophy, and exegetical praxis, and wrote collaboratively on topics issued for the National Council of Churches' Faith and Order Colloquium. The Core program was intended to provide a space for Union students committed to exercising activist practices through their work in theology and religion. Langston fastidiously kept documentation on student demonstrations, publications, working groups and initiatives as a result of his consistent involvement with student activism at Union during this period. As Langston himself states, the materials collected in his papers give evidence to various on-campus efforts surrounding social justice organizing during this time. Langston's collection of primary documents recounting Union during these years were used as source material for his and McKeown's book as well as David Cline's dissertation, Revolution and Reconciliation, which focuses specifically on the Student Interracial Ministry's impact on student and community activism at Union. After graduation, Dr. Langston earned his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford University in 1977, and has been teaching and writing in various academic capacities since, most recently as Professor of English and Communications at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Berkshires.