|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series in original order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains handwritten lecture notes taken by a student (possibly Joshua Leavitt) in Professor Taylor's courses in 1822; file titles were taken from headings provided in the notes. This series also contains one bound manuscript volume of Taylor's "Mental Philosophy."
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: Box 1. 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.
Collection materials are brittle and may necessitate restriction in handling and copying. Please consult staff for assistance with use.
Item Description, UTS1: Nathaniel W. Taylor papers, , box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Legacy documentation suggests that notes were taken by a student named Joshua Leavitt in 1822, though this is unconfirmed. The transcriptionist of "Mental Philosophy" is unknown, but this volume is impressed with an Auburn Theological Seminary bookplate, suggesting it came from that seminary's special collections.
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
Manuscript and lecture notes were cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-14. The Taylor papers were among a large group of unprocessed material that was organized in 2016-2017 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; materials were placed in new acid-free envelopes and an archival document box. The finding aid was created by Rebecca Nieto in 2017 and edited by Leah Edelman in 2020.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Nathaniel William Taylor was a prominent Protestant theologian, professor, and founder of Yale Divinity School. Born on June 23, 1786 in New Milford, Connecticut, Taylor occupied an influential place in Protestant history in New England, as well as in the history of religious studies at Yale University. After graduating from Yale College in 1807 (he had entered when he was only fourteen years old), Taylor became a pastor at the First Church of New Haven in 1812. Taylor eventually returned to Yale and, under the mentorship of college president Timothy Dwight, founded a Theological Department at the university, which would later become Yale Divinity School. Upon the school's creation in 1822, Taylor became the seminary's first Dwight Professor of Didactic Theology. Taylor was admired in his role both as a teacher and leader within the new seminary, blending rhetorical skills with philosophical ideas.Taylor also presided over the School's rhetorical society, which brought together students for evening debates that he moderated and judged. Many of these debates centered on the "peculiar institution" of slavery and its maintenance in American society at that time, with Taylor often judging in favor of the institution, a stance he would later recant.
Taylor was an early supporter of revivalist theology during the Second Great Awarkening, and played a major role in repudiating Calvinistic leanings across several denominations, particularly the concept of determinism in "Old Calvinist" camps. Taylor and Dwight's concomitant embrace of this aspect of revivalism (which prioritized human freedom over omnipotence) led to the formation of New Haven Theology, also called Taylorism. Taylor and Dwight's leanings were complimented by the theology of significant figures in the Awakening such as Charles Finney, and animated the trend of theological liberalism across New England congregations during his lifetime. Nathaniel W. Taylor was the author of a number of lectures, books, and practical sermons, all published posthumously. He died on March 10, 1858 at the age of 71.