Humanist Archive
Meadville Lombard Announces Humanist Archive

UU Humanist books and artifacts needed to expand current collection  

Chicago, IL, February 18, 2013 – Meadville Lombard Theological School announced today the formation of a dedicated Humanist Archive. Meadville Lombard is calling on Unitarian Universalists and Humanists to donate sermons, monographs, essays, photographs, correspondence, pamphlets, audio, video, and books to the collection.

The Humanist Archive will be housed within the Wiggin Library at the school. The new materials will build on the current Humanist collection and make them accessible to students, scholars, and the greater Unitarian Universalist Community.

“The formation of this archive is critical to telling the story of the Humanist movement within Unitarian Universalism,” said the Rev. Dr. Neil Gerdes, Meadville Lombard Library Dean and HUUmanist Board Member. “Humanism is integral to both the past and the future of our faith.” 

Notable Humanists found in the current archive include: John Dietrich, the Father of Religious Humanism; Lewis McGee, an African-American Unitarian minister, activist, and Humanist leader; and Kenneth Patton, a minister, leader in the development of liturgical materials including ritual, music, art in worship, and a naturalistic  humanist. 

“A living history is in part fueled by ongoing scholarship,” said Dr. Nicole Kirk, Schulman Professor of Unitarian Universalist History at Meadville Lombard. “By collecting these books and artifacts, we will be able to expand on the current archive to create a Humanist resource center.”

The dedicated archive was formed through conversations with the HUUmanists, an association of Unitarian Universalist Humanists.

“I hope that the Humanist Archive will become an important and interactive resource for those wishing to study Humanism, particularly religious Humanism,” remarked Dr. John Hooper, President of HUUmanists. “Ideally it will ultimately become a key component of an integrated program that will provide an option for future ministers, chaplains, religious educators, and secular practitioners to pursue a religious Humanist track in their professional training."

"I believe that the existence of a unique and useful Humanist Archive at Meadville Lombard will help draw 'spiritual but not religious' students to the institution - those who have come of age in a time when traditional religious approaches are waning," says Dr. Hooper. 

The library was established in 1844 as a cornerstone of the newly founded Meadville Theological School, and later renamed the Wiggin Library. In addition to many materials in Unitarian and Universalist history and theology, the Wiggin Library collection includes resources related to areas of philosophy, nineteenth-century American culture and thought, comparative religion, and social ethics. Additional resources cover topics such as ecology, religion, and science.

To learn more about donating materials to the Humanist Archive, call or email John Leeker, Archivist, at (773) 256-3000 x629.

Meadville Lombard Theological School educates students in the Unitarian Universalist tradition to embody liberal religious ministry in Unitarian Universalist congregations and wherever else they are called to serve. Meadville Lombard does this to take into the world our Unitarian Universalist vision of justice, equity, and compassion.