|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series in chronological order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains handwritten subject notes and working materials from Clark's research for her book "Founding the Fathers: Early Church History and Protestant Professors in Nineteenth-Century America" (2011), including notes from significant time spent at Burke Library pursuing this research; reviews and publicity about "Founding the Fathers;" as well as papers, presentations, and later work.
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 is open for research.
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, AWTS: Elizabeth A. Clark collection of research materials, circa 2000-2020, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated by Randall Styers (executor of the Clark estate) in December 2022, accession AWTS-2023-008.
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 Clark) 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 description, was created by Leah Edelman in 2023.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Elizabeth A. Clark was the John Carlisle Kilgo Professor Emerita of Religion and Professor of History at Duke University, and a scholar of Late Antiquity and early Christian history. Clark was born in 1938 in Port Chester, New York, and moved nine years later to the small town of Delhi, New York. She attended Vassar College where she received a bachelor's degree in Religion in 1960, and later pursued graduate studies at Columbia University, where she studied Christian history and obtained her MA in 1962 and her PhD in 1965. Her doctoral dissertation focused on Clement of Alexandria's use of Aristotelian philosophy in the context of philosophical transmission. In 1964, she joined the faculty of Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia (now the University of Mary Washington), where she was hired to establish a Department of Religion. During her time at Mary Washington, Clark offered courses in a number of fields, spanning Christianity, Judaism, and more. In the late 1960s and 1970s, her work in the women's movement (she was co-founder of the Fredericksburg, Virginia chapter of NOW and on the stump for the ERA), spurred her to turn her attention to women in early Christianity, and to developing one of the first-ever courses on "women and religion." In 1977, she edited the sourcebook Women and Religion: A Feminist Sourcebook of Christian Thought (Harper and Row) with Herbert Richardson, wrote a number of important studies on the role of wealthy, ascetic Roman women in early Christianity, and completed translations of important works such as the Life of Olympias and The Life of Melania the Younger. She taught at Mary Washington for eighteen years, serving as chair of the Departments of Religion and of Classics, Philosophy and Religion, before moving to Duke University in 1982. At Duke, Clark founded the Center for Late Ancient Studies and the reading groups LASRG (the Late Ancient Studies Reading Group) and "Religion, Culture, and Theory," and was known for shaping feminist scholarship as an active participant in the North Carolina Research Group on Medieval and Early Modern Women. Clark is the author of "The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate" (Princeton University Press, 1992), "The Lady Vanishes: Dilemmas of a Female Historian after the Linguistic Turn," "Reading Renunciation, Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity" (Princeton University Press, 1999), "History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn" (Harvard University Press, 2014), "Founding the Fathers: Early Church History and Protestant Professors in Nineteenth-Century America" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), and "The Fathers Refounded: Protestant Liberalism, Roman Catholic Modernism, and the Teaching of Ancient Christianity in Early Twentieth-Century America" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), among other works. Clark was also a founding editor of the Journal for Early Christian Studies, past president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the North American Patristics Society, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Uppsala (2003) and Yale University (2013). In 2003, she received the Distinguished Career Award from the American Society of Church History and she earned the Distinguished Service Award of the North American Patristic Society in 2006. In 2010, she received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the Duke University Graduate School. The Center for Late Ancient Studies, founded by Clark, was renamed in her honor by the Board of Trustees of Duke University in 2018. Clark passed away in September 2021. (with credit to: https://eacclas.duke.edu/elizabeth-a-clark/)