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Discover Recent Gifts to the Archives - Issue 1 (Fall 2013)

It is with great thanksgiving that I would come into the presence of Almighty God for the preservation of my life through the terrific battle of yesterday. In the morning I followed my regiment into the battlefield. In crossing the road a shell came very near striking me on the head. Not seeing either of the surgeons in the field I went in amidst the fire of the enemies artillery to inquire of the Colonel the locality of the hospital. When talking to the Colonel a shell came right near the head of the Colonel making for us both a narrow escape. As I did not intend leaving the regiment without orders or without my Colonel’s knowing my whereabouts, I reported myself for duty in the battlefield. Colonel told me my place was in the hospital…I started for the hospital. The skirmishers were in front of our regiment which was about 100 yards in advance of the 1st line of battle in which the 3rd [regiment] was. In passing the second line of battle I made another escape from a shell. Proceeding a few steps further my attention was attracted by the cry, ‘Where is the doctor.’ I think he was hurt by the shell that came near hitting me. He was not wounded seriously. His little finger was severely cut & the gravel was driven into his face, so deep that he bled profusely. I helped him across the fields to the hospital. The tramp was not unaccompanied with dangers. The shells were ploughing up the ground about us. I got my patient safely to our division hospital, but there being others who were in worse condition than my man, I washed his wounds & tied them up till he could be attended to. Here under this hill I spent a day which is so full of misery & suffering & personal danger that I would not if I could portray the bloody scene. The wounded men poured in upon us all day. I with other Chaplains of our division made myself useful as I could. I think I was the only Chaplain who attempted to perform a surgeon’s duty by washing and tying up those who were waiting for the most severe cases to be attended first…Thus I worked all day, not forgetting to improve the sad occasion, by referring to the bleeding men the physician of souls… Battle Field near Fredericksburg Sabbath 1 P.M. Dec. 14th 1862

Items from the collection of John Pomeroy, PTS Class of 1861 and Civil War chaplain

The above excerpt is from one of the letters back home of John Jay Pomeroy (PTS Class of 1861), who volunteered to serve as a chaplain with a Pennsylvania regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War. One of the most recent gifts to Special Collections was a box of his Civil War letters, together with the folding travel desk on which they were written and other memorabilia, including an autograph book with photos of his classmates from the Class of 1861. These items were the gift of his descendant, George R. Pomeroy (PTS Class of 1963), whose class is celebrating their fiftieth reunion this fall. Several other gifts have come our way recently as well.

Jane Minton, granddaughter of William Harris Templeton (PTS Class of 1850), has donated eighteenth century manuscript sermons of her ancestor James Grier (1750-1791), who underwent a religious conversion under the preaching of George Whitefield, studied theology with John Witherspoon at Princeton, and served as pastor of the Deep Run Presbyterian Church near Doylestown, PA, and of his younger brother, Nathaniel Grier (1760-1814), pastor of the Church in the Forks of the Brandywine in Chester County, PA, who in the days before the existence of Princeton Seminary trained many young men for the ministry. There is also a very interesting set of mid-nineteenth century sermons written in a form of phonetic shorthand and dating to the time William Harris Templeton was serving as a missionary among the Native Americans of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma.

Marie Melrose, daughter of Paul Cunningham Melrose (PTS Class of 1915), has donated a set of materials about the Presbyterian mission on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Before going as a missionary to Hainan, the father of Paul Melrose had been a seminary classmate of J. Ross Stevenson, who would later become a president of PTS; and Paul Melrose, who was born and grew up on Hainan, became a seminary classmate of later PTS president John A. Mackay. The collection includes a transcript of the memoirs of Margaret Rae Melrose, the mother of Paul Melrose, who served at the Hainan Mission from 1890 until 1940, as well as a collection of photographs from the history of the mission dating from 1890 through the 1950s.

Dayle Gillespie Rounds, associate dean for continuing education at PTS, has given us ten boxes of materials from the files of her father, former PTS president, Thomas W. Gillespie. Dr. Gillespie was the fifth president of Princeton Theological Seminary, serving from 1983 until 2004. Under his administration the Seminary saw the beginning of several major academic programs, including the Program for Asian American Theology and Ministry, the Institute for Youth Ministry, the Center for Barth Studies, the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology, and the Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching. He also placed an emphasis on increasing diversity within the Seminary community, including an increase in the number of women and of African American and Latino/a students and scholars, and the invitation for the Hispanic Theological Initiative to locate on the Princeton Seminary campus. Several new chairs were endowed, including chairs in theology and science, homiletics, and theology and the arts; and the John A. Mackay Chair in World Christianity was initiated.

The new materials added to the Thomas W. Gillespie Collection include a collection of his addresses and articles; a large collection of his sermons, including those given in the parish as well as those preached in Miller Chapel; farewell addresses to the graduating classes; well-organized notebooks of sermon illustrations; datebooks and planning calendars that document his many activities and involvements; course notes for courses he took while a student at Princeton Seminary, as well as for graduate courses he took elsewhere, including those at Claremont Graduate School, where he earned his doctorate in New Testament; course notes for the courses in New Testament that he taught at Princeton Seminary; and selected correspondence relating to his appointment at PTS and to his retirement.

We have also received the papers of Abigail Rian Evans, PTS professor of practical theology emerita. Much of her work over the years has focused in the field of bioethics and health ministries, and the papers are rich in materials covering topics such as the church and mental illness, addiction, holistic health, organ transplants, reproductive choice, euthanasia, AIDS, death and dying, working with persons with disabilities, parish nursing, and older adult ministry. There are also records of the National Capital Presbytery Health Ministries (which she founded), sermons and liturgies (including liturgies for services of healing), course outlines and bibliographies, and a collection of materials on women in pastoral ministry.

Finally, we have also received from John H. Sinclair (PTS Class of 1947), a long-time Presbyterian missionary to Latin America and former Secretary for Latin America of the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations, a large box of material gathered in preparation for the writing of his Spanish-language biography of former PTS president John A. Mackay.