|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
Table of Contents
Container ListView All
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 9 series: 1. Correspondence, 1998-2004; 2. Education and biographical, circa 1971-1996; 3. Courses and career, 1988-2005; 4. Sermons, 1979-2015; 5. Lectures, 1983-2005; 6. Professional organizations, 1985-2015; 7. Writings, 1983-2005; 8. General, 1960-2004; 9. Accessions, circa 2012-2019.
Scope and Contents
The collection contains addresses and sermons, publications, correspondence, coursework and teaching material, memorabilia, and other related materials that reflect the life, work, and thought of Emilie Townes as a womanist theologian.
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.
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: Emilie M. Townes papers, 1960-2019, series #, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Townes donated her papers in March 2005, with additions in 2006, 2016, and 2019. Accession AWTS-2020-001 was added to the collection in 2021.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
An attempt was made to maintain original order of this collection. Limited adjustments of order have been made for clarity when adding additions which needed to be interpolated into the collection. Material on discs in Series 3 was printed out. Folded materials were flattened. Newspaper clippings were photocopied on acid free paper. Staples, rubber bands, and metal clips were removed. All materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. In 2021, accession AWTS-2020-001 was added to the collection by Leah Edelman. The finding aid was created by Patricia E. LaRosa in 2006, revised with additions by Ruth Tonkiss Cameron in 2006, revised with additions by Andrew Sweet and Rebecca Nieto in 2016, and edited with additions by Leah Edelman in 2021.
2021-07-12 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Emilie Maureen Townes was born on August 1, 1955 in Durham, North Carolina. She was raised in a strong tradition of church on Sunday, first at United Methodist, and then in the Baptist tradition. She obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and recognized her call to ordained ministry in the American Baptist Church, while working at her field education site at Hyde Park Union Church in Chicago, and as a Doctor of Ministry degree student at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Emilie was ordained as a Baptist minister on June 22, 1980. She graduated with a D.Min degree from the University of Chicago in 1982. Emilie also taught as an Adjunct professor at Chicago Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. From 1983 to 1987 Townes was Adjunct Professor of Ethics and Society, involved in Field Education and also with administration in the Office of Ministry Programs at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was Interim pastoral leader of Christ the Redeemer Metropolitan Community Church from 1986-1989 during her doctoral studies in the joint Garrett Evangelical Seminary/Northwestern University program. She earned her Ph.D. there in 1989. Her Doctoral dissertation was based on the work of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the turn of the century activist in anti-lynching campaigns and co-founder of the NAACP. Townes taught at Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, MO, 1989 -1999, and was named full Professor of Christian Social Ethics in 1998. She joined the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in 1999 as the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics. She then held an appointment as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African-American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School, and as of 2013, is the Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society.
Townes speaks regularly at conferences and churches and is involved in numerous professional associations, including as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and the Society of Christian Ethics, 2012-2016. She served as the first African American woman elected to be president of the American Academy of Religion in 2008. She received a Doctorate of Human Letters from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and also Honorary doctorates from Washington and Jefferson College and Franklin College. Townes' primary focus, in both speaking and writing, is the African American woman in the church, and the oppressive forces of race, sex, and sexuality in the church and in society.