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Margaret A. Farley papers

Call Number: RG 29

Scope and Contents

The Margaret Farley papers include materials related to courses she taught, committee work on stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization, sex-selection and other topics, writings, presentations, subject files, and biographical documentation. There is correspondence interspersed among the different series; letters related to publications, events, projects, etc. are included with the other available documentation.The organization of this collection benefitted greatly from the work of Prof. Farley's assistant Jamie Manson over the past several years.

The Course Materials of Series I include materials on Feminist Theological Ethics, History of Christian Theological Ethics, Sexual Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Medical Ethics, among others. Series II documents Farley's involvement in various committees and projects. The Writings of Series III, arranged in chronological order, provide an overview of her interests and areas of expertise. The Presentations/Lecture/Talks of Series IV are arranged by title. Resources accumulated by Farley in the course of her research, writing, and teaching are available in Series V, divided into three categories: an alphabetical sequence of topical files arranged by Farley, an alphabetical file containing resources on specific theologians, and a miscellaneous category that contains materials received with the collection that Farley had not arranged in a specific order.

Topics documented by this collections are wide-ranging, from the Georgetown University homosexual group controversy to pornography, hookup culture, views on homosexual clergy and many aspects of sexual and medical ethics. The research materials include opinions from various points of view, and serve as a general inventory of conversations covering controversial topics over the course of several decades.


  • 1958-2019
  • Majority of material found within ( 1970-2008)


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Margaret Farley, 2018.


The collection is arranged in six series:

Series I: Course Materials

Series II: Committee Project Materials

Series III: Writings

Series IV: Presentations/Lectures/Talks

Series V: Resource/Subject Files

Series VI: Biographical Documentation


23 Linear Feet (56 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Margaret Farley Papers include materials relating to Farley's career as a Christian Ethics professor and her research, writings, and course materials relating to subject fields such as sexual ethics, history of Christian ethics, medical ethics, and more.

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Farley, born on April 15, 1935, is a renowned authority in the areas of the history of ethics, feminist ethics, phenomenology and ethics, medical ethics, sexual ethics, ethics and spirituality, and responses to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. She is Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, where she taught from 1971 until 2007. She earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Detroit before coming to Yale, where she received the M.Phil degree in 1970 and her Ph.D. in 1973. Farley is a member of the Catholic Sisters of Mercy and a previous president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. She was one of the first Catholic faculty members at Yale Divinity School and the first woman to receive tenure. Her accolades include receiving the John Courtney Murray Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America in 1992, serving as president of the Society of Christian Ethics, the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion in 2008, and honorary doctorates from numerous colleges and universities. A Festschrift in honor of Farley A Just and True Love: Feminism at the Frontiers of Theological Ethics, edited by Maura A. Ryan and Brian F. Linnane was published in 2007. Though Farley retired in 2007, her research continues.

Farley's most recent books include Compassionate Respect: A Feminist Approach to Medical Ethics. Madeleva Lecture. (Paulist Press, 2002), Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (Continuum 2006), and Changing the Questions: Explorations in Christian Ethics (Orbis, 2015). Her work Just Love was denounced by the Vatican’s doctrinal office in 2012. Documentation related to this controversy is included in her papers. In addition to her extensive publishing of articles and books, Farley has served on the editorial boards of journals and served as Co-director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Bioethics Center 1998-2007, Director of Yale Divinity School Women’s Initiative on Gender, Faith, and Responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa from 2001-2007, and Co-Director of the All Africa Conference: Sister to Sister (Roman Catholic Women and Responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa), 2001- 2016. She has served on numerous ethics committees, including for Yale-New Haven Hospital, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. For a full listing of Farley's publications, awards, and activities, see the CVs in Series VI, Biographical Documentation.

Guide to the Margaret A. Farley papers
Divinity Library staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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