|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
The collection is arranged in one series in rough chronological order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains working papers, correspondence, clippings, and other related materials which tell the story of the ordination of eleven women as Episcopal priests on July 29, 1974, from the planning stage to the immediate responses and later anniversaries of the event, including papers relating to Women's Ordination Now.
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.
The following boxes are located offsite: Box 1-2. 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, AWTS: Ann Robb Smith papers, 1970-2004, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Ann Robb Smith donated her papers to the Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship in October 1999 with another addition in 2006. Some of the material donated consists of records from the Women's Ordination Now support group.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
When the Burke Library acquired Ann Robb Smith's papers, an attempt was made to maintain the original order. For ease of access and of preservation there has been some separation of correspondence, clippings and articles. Folded materials were flattened. Newspaper clippings were photocopied onto acid free paper. Staples and metal clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips or interleaving of acid free paper. All materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. Some memorial service programs from 2002 – 2004 are in this collection as acid free copies only, the originals remaining in the possession of Ann Robb Smith. The finding aid was created by Ruth Tonkiss Cameron in 2006, revised with additions by Patricia LaRosa in 2006, revised by Ruth Tonkiss Cameron in 2008, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-08-24 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Ann Robb Smith was one of three children of Henry Jr. and Gertrude Robb, and was a resident of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She married Kaighn Smith, an obstetrician-gynecologist and former professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical School. They had three children and four grandchildren. Ann was a member of the Women's ordination planning group prior to the ordination of eleven women deacons to the Episcopal priesthood, known as the Philadelphia 11. At that ordination she was the lay presenter of Sue Hiatt for ordination. The Philadelphia 11 were ordained at the Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia on July 29, 1974 by Bishops Robert L. DeWitt, former Bishop of Pennsylvania, Daniel Corrigan, former head of the Church's domestic missions, Edward Welles, retired bishop of West Missouri and Bishop Ramos. The eleven ordinands were: Merril Bittmer, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Alison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield, Jeannette Piccard, Betty Schiess, Katrina Swanson, Nancy Wittig. Two priests: William A Wendt of St Stephen and the Incarnation Church and L. Peter Beebe of Oberlin, Ohio were brought to trial in church courts for permitting women ordained in Philadelphia on July 29, 1974 to function as priests. Responses from church and press led to the establishing of the Women's Ordination Now group to support those women whose ordination at Philadelphia was put under scrutiny and also to support the 3 ordaining bishops and priests who invited the women to celebrate the Eucharist. Ann Robb Smith was a member of the National Advisory Committee of Women's Ordination Now. She was ordained to the priesthood and was the Assistant at the Church of the Advocate. She died in 2021.