|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
Table of Contents
Container ListView All
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in four series: Correspondence; Teaching and course materials; Research; and Personal.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains Embree's correspondence, including a substantial amount with individual publishing houses, the editors of the Encyclopedia of Asian History and Sources of Indian Tradition, and the Kashmir Study Group; materials related to Embree's teaching, including seminar notes, syllabi and class plans, assignments, booklists, and student work; materials related to Embree's scholarly work, including writings and drafts, conference materials, research notes and sources (including photocopied materials), index cards, subject files, and book reviews; as well as personal materials of Ainslie Embree and family, including photographs, postcards, interviews, primary school materials, and a pamphlet for Embree's memorial service.
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 contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list.
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: Ainslie Embree papers, 1936-2017, series #, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
The Ainslie Embree papers were among a large group of unprocessed materials that were organized in 2018 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated by Suzanne Embree, Ainslie Embree's widow, and received in 2017.
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. Files wrapped in brown paper were transferred to folders and one of the folders was separated into several smaller-sized ones. The finding aid was created by Daniella Cádiz Bedini in 2019 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, updated by Tess Gallagher Clancy in 2020, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Ainslie Embree (1921-2017) was a leading scholar of modern South Asian history and notable for his influence on the introduction of the field into United States university curricula. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, on January 1, 1921 to Ira Thomas Embree and Margaret Embree (née Langley), Embree attended Dalhousie University in Halifax and graduated in 1941. Although he considered himself a pacificist, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was assigned to Britain's Royal Air Force in England during WWII. After the war, Embree continued his studies at Dalhousie University and at Pine Hill Divinity Hall (now the Atlantic School of Theology), and was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Canada in 1946. Embree later studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he met his wife, Suzanne Harpole. The couple married in 1947, and after both pursuing graduate studies at Dalhousie University, moved to India to teach at Indore Christian College through the United Church of Canada. The couple lived in India, where both son Ralph and daughter Margaret were born, from 1947-1957. In 1957, Embree accepted a position to work with sinologist William Theodore de Bary to establish a program dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent within the Department of History at Columbia University; this program became one of the world's most highly regarded programs for South Asian studies. Embree received his PhD in history from Columbia University in 1960, and taught in the History Department from 1958-1969, at Duke University from 1969-1973, and again at Columbia University from 1973-1991. While at Columbia, Embree also served as Director of Contemporary Civilization of the undergraduate Asian civilization program; as Chairman of the Middle East Languages and Cultures Department and the History Department; as Director of the Southern Asian Institute; and as Acting Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. After retiring in 1991, Embree continued scholarly activities including teaching, research, and writing at Columbia, Brown University, and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
Embree is the author of Sources of Indian Tradition (1958); Charles Grant and British Rule in India (1962); India's Search for National Identity (1972); Imagining India (1989); and Utopias in Conflict: Religion and Nationalism in India (1990); and editor of the Encyclopedia of Asian History (1989); Sources of Indian Tradition (1988); and Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching (1997), among other works. Embree served as president of the American Institute of Indian Studies, and president of the Association of Asian Studies. He also served as Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the American Embassy in Delhi from 1978-1980 during the administration of US President Jimmy Carter; as consultant to the American ambassador in India, Frank Wisner, from 1994–1995; and as Chair of the South Asian sections of the American Council of Learned Societies and of the Social Science Research Council. Embree received numerous awards for his work, including an honorary Doctor of Letters from Columbia University in 2009, and Columbia University's Mark Van Doren Award (1985), a student-selected commendation. Embree died in Maryland on June 6, 2017 at age 96.