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Edward Curtis Dahl Papers

Call Number: RG 169

Scope and Contents

The Edward Curtis Dahl papers consist of 13 linear feet of material divided into 6 series:

Correspondence in Series I pertains to personal, academic and professional matters, and extends from 1937 through 1986. It includes letters of a personal nature from Amos WIlder and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and a great deal of correspondence pertaining to Dahl's career. Biographical materials in Series II include numerous newspaper clippings related to Dahl's career transitions, early photos from Eden Mills, VT, and obituaries and eulogies.

The bulk of the collection consists of hundreds of sermons are arranged in two subseries, chronological from 1939 to 1984, and a topical series, presumably arranged by Dahl himself, and generally arranged alphabetically. These subseries variously include notes for sermons, working drafts and "pulpit copies." This is a substantial collection covering a long era, and would seem to have historical significance, given its range and depth.

The publications of Series IV consist of drafts, manuscripts, and copies of Dahl's contributions to the ministerial and devotional press, including extensive devotions, and in particular a thirteen part series for Pulpit Digest concerning the Christian funeral. Dahl was also an ongoing contributor of meditations to Church Educator. Although this collection does not contain copies or drafts, save one, Dahl also had several sermons published in Pulpit.

Pastoral materials in Series V include various folders of notes and miscellany on given themes (humor, Bible study, etc.), and extensive prayer and quotation files, from which Dahl apparently drew when developing sermons, devotions, etc.. In addition, annual minister's reports, dated intermittently from 1939 through 1980, contain a plethora of detailed information regarding everyday Congregational ministry during those decades. Finally, personal materials include a limited amount of matter pertaining to extra-professional and alumni associations

These papers may be of considerable interest to students of Congregational pastoral ministry from the 1940's through the 1970's, or to historians concerned with religious life in the mid-twentieth century. The collection offers an abundance of detailed documentation of an extensive and very accomplished career in parish ministry in New England and elsewhere.


  • 1939-1986


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Chistopher and Edward Dahl Families, and Mary Dahl.


  1. I. Correspondence, 1939-1986, n.d.
  2. II.Biographical Materials
  3. III. Sermons, 1939-1980
  4. IV. Publications
  5. V. Pastoral Materials
  6. VI. Personal Materials


13 Linear Feet (32 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The E.C. Dahl Papers provided documentation of the life and work of a YDS graduate who was a Congregational minister. They contain correspondence, biographical materials, sermons, publications, and pastoral materials. Edward C. Dahl was ordained by the Congregational Church in 1941, and served churches in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Wisconsin, New York, and New Hampshire. He authored numerous articles and sermons in various ministry publications, including Pulpit, Pulpit Digest, Church Educator and Advance. He died in 1993, survived by his wife, daughter Mary and sons Christopher and Edward.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Curtis Dahl, son of Professor George Dahl and Elizabeth Curtis Dahl was born in New Haven, CT on April 5, 1916. His father was professor of Old Testament at the Yale Divinity School. E.C. Dahl attended schools in New Haven, and then Harvard College, graduating Magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1938. He attended Union Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School, graduating Magna cum laude from the latter in 1941.

Prior to graduation from YDS, Edward Dahl served during the summers of 1939 and 1940 as a student pastor in Eden Mills, VT, a resort community near the Canadian border. Correspondence and photographs suggest this was an especially pleasant and memorable period of time for young Dahl. Following graduation from Yale Divinity School, he spent the summer of 1941 in postgraduate study at both Union Theological Seminary and Mansfield College in England.

Upon his return, he chose pastoral ministry over the academy, accepted a call to Trinitarian Congregational Church in East Northfield, Mass., and was ordained in October of 1941. He spent the next three years in service to that congregation, and in 1944 accepted a call to Centre Congregational Church in Bratteleboro, VT. This position was followed in 1952 by a call to the First Church of Christ, Congregational, New Britain, CT. In 1962, Dahl accepted a position at the Fist Congregational Church of Appleton, WI, and in 1967 to the Garden City Community Church, Garden City, NY. Finally, in 1972, Dahl accepted a call to the Union Congregational Church of Petersborough, NH, where he served until his retirement in 1980.

During the course of nearly forty years of Congregational ministry, Edward Dahl also published extensively in devotional and ministerial publications, including numerous meditations for Church Educator, and a particularly well-received thirteen installment series on "The Christian Funeral" for Pulpit Digest. He also served on numerous local, state and national committees and boards within the Congregational (UCC) Church, and as President of the Yale Divinity School Alumini Association from 1965-67.

Guide to the Edward Curtis Dahl Papers
Compiled by Brian K. Phillips and Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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