|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
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Using the Collection
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two series: Series 1: Academic writing and notes; and Series 2: Correspondence.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains Gillett's writings in his various capacities while at Union, including the "Detailed History of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York", a fully-indexed institutional history published in 1937, with accompanying research materials gathered from Union's archives, the director's office, alumni association files, and committee meeting minutes; as well as writings reflecting Gillett's bibliographic work and classroom lectures such as an annotated transcription of one of Gillett's lectures on propadeutics (an introductory theology course), a handwritten bibliographic classification of systematic theology, a report on the library's McAlpin Collection, minute- and roll-taking transcripts of the General Assembly of the New York Presbytery from 1889, and minutes from the Briggs trial in 1892. This collection also contains correspondence, consisting primarily of Union-related business as well as a small amount of personal correspondence, receipts, and letters regarding Gillett's memberships with the Columbia Country Club and National Lawn Tennis Association; correspondence clippings kept by Gillett relating to the trial of Reverend J.D.M. Buckner (a Nebraska pastor who was forced to retire from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1922-1923) from Emory Buckner, Reverend Buckner's son and partner in the New York law firm Root, Clark, Buckner and Howland; as well as a scrapbook presented as a gift to Gillett in 1932 upon his 40th anniversary with Union, including clippings, correspondence, and notes to Gillett from colleagues and fellow classmates.
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
The collection is open for research.
The following boxes are located offsite: Box 1-8. 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, Charles Ripley Gillett Papers, series #, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Ezra Hall Gillett Papers, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
This collection was part of a large group of unprocessed material that was organized in 2016 during an archival processing project funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The exact provenance of this collection is unknown.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Some material was cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-11. Paper 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. Published materials held in acidic binders were removed and foldered in their original order wherever possible, excepting the 1932 scrapbook, which is housed as it was compiled in situ. The finding aid was created by Rebecca Nieto in 2016 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-05-02 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Charles Ripley Gillett was born in New York City on November 29, 1855, the son of Presbyterian pastor, librarian and Union alum Ezra Hall Gillett. He attended the University of the City of New York (now New York University) from 1874 to 1876, where he studied civil engineering. In 1877 he went on to attend Union Theological Seminary, where he served as a library assistant and received his diploma in 1880. He was named a Union fellow in 1880-1881, and upon completion of his scholarship was granted funds to study in Germany for two years as part of a Union-affiliated fellowship at the University of Berlin from 1881 to 1883. Gillett's nearly half-century career at Union began in 1883 with his post as Librarian at the seminary, succeeding Charles Augustus Briggs in this post. Gillett would be Union's librarian until 1908, and Librarian Emeritus from 1929-1948. Gillett was ordained with the New York Presbytery in 1886, where he kept record of roll and minutes from general assemblies into the 1890s. Gillett wore a number of administrative hats during his career at Union, serving as Secretary of the Faculty from 1898 to 1929, Registrar from 1898 to 1900 and again from 1908 to 1924, Dean of Students from 1913 to 1929, and Alumni Secretary from 1913 to 1948. As librarian, Gillett was involved with the acquisition of funds for the McAlpin Collection, the Gillett Collection of British history and theology (begun by E.H. Gillett in 1868), oversaw the transfer of the library's 60,000 volumes to Union's newly-expanded campus on Park Avenue, and guided the development of the library's collection of books and pamphlets as Union transitioned to an interdenominational seminary at the turn of the 20th century. In addition to his extensive writings within his role as Union librarian, Gillett performed ample secretarial and transcription duties with the New York Presbytery and seemed to hold a particular interest in heretical discourses of the day, namely the heresy trial of Charles Briggs and the retirement of Reverend J.D.M. Buckner from his Methodist ministry. Gillett received his Doctorate of Divinity from the University of the City of New York in 1898, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Beloit College in 1899. Gillett resided in New York City throughout his life excepting summers at a home in Norfolk, Connecticut and winters in Pelham Manor, New York. Charles Ripley Gillett died in Norfolk on September 3, 1948.