|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in five series by content type: Coursework and personal material, Teaching resources, Writings, Speaking engagements, and Publicity and events.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains professional and personal materials of Reverend Doctor Katie Geneva Cannon, the first African-American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church and a foundational voice of womanist theology. The collection includes Cannon's coursework and early personal and biographical material, including report cards, awards, papers, exams, and notes, as well as a CV, reunion materials and event programs, and doodles and other artwork created by Cannon. This collection also contains teaching resources, including syllabi and exams, student work, workshop materials, articles and readings, bibliographies, and notes; writings by Cannon, including published and draft forms of articles, chapters, and notes and correspondence related to her writings; lectures, addresses, sermons, and correspondence and publicity materials related to speaking engagements; as well as materials related to conferences Cannon attended, and magazines, clippings, and other publications compiled by Cannon, often including articles by or about her.
Burke Library record group:
Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship (AWTS)
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list.
Some materials may be closed during digitization in mid-2021.
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, Katie G. Cannon papers, 1955-2018, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Katie Geneva Cannon papers, Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia PA 19147-1516 USA.
Katie Geneva Cannon Research Collection, Union Presbyterian Seminary, William Smith Morton Library, 3401 Brook Road Richmond, VA 23227.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The bulk of this collection was donated by Bridgett Cannon, Katie G. Cannon's niece, and received in August 2020, accession AWTS-2021-001. Earlier donations of material were received from Katie G. Cannon in 2014, accessions 2014-005 and 2014-009.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Materials were minimally processed: original folders with titles (provided by Cannon or her niece Bridgett Cannon) were kept when possible; some material was re-housed in acid-free folders, and all folders were placed in acid-free boxes. The finding aid, including a folder-level inventory and series-level descriptions, was created by Leah Edelman in 2021.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Katie Geneva Cannon, the first African American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, was a minister, professor, and foundational voice of womanist theology. Cannon was born on January 3, 1950 in Kannapolis, North Carolina to Emanuelette Corine Lytle Cannon and Esau Cannon. She earned a BA from Barber-Scotia College in 1971 and an MDiv from the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in 1974, and became the first African American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, by the Catawba Presbytery, in 1974. Cannon was also the first African American woman to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Union Theological Seminary, in 1983. Cannon served on the faculties of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA (1984-1992) and Temple University (1992-2001), among others, before joining the faculty of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA in 2001. Cannon was the Annie Scales Rogers Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Union until her death in 2018. She founded the Center For Womanist Leadership at Union in 2018.
Cannon is the author of Black Womanist Ethics (1988); Katie's Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community (1995); and Teaching Preaching: Isaac Rufus Clark and Black Sacred Rhetoric (2002), and editor of Inheriting Our Mothers' Gardens: Feminist Theology in Third World Perspective (1988); Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader (2011); and The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology (2014), among other works. Cannon served as President of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and received numerous awards for her work, including Spelman College's Distinguished Professor Award, the Lucy Craft Laney Award at the Black Presbyterian Bicentennial Celebration, the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s General Assembly Excellence in Theological Education Award, the American Academy of Religion's Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Union Medal, the highest award of distinction presented by Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Cannon lectured widely on theological and ethical topics as a pioneering voice in womanist theology, which examines the intersection of feminism, racial identity, religion, and oppression, and centers and affirms the experience of Black women. Cannon died in Richmond, VA from acute leukemia on August 8, 2018 at age 68.