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Horace Bushnell Papers

Call Number: RG 39
Scope and Contents
The correspondence section consists of two letters written and signed by Bushnell, their recipients unidentified. Additional Bushnell correspondence can be found in the papers of Walter Clarke, Record Group 30, which relates to the theological controversy in 1848-1854.

The diaries of Series II are a five volume record of Bushnell's impressions during his trip abroad in 1845-1846. These journals would be of greatest value for biographical research. Excerpts from them have been published in Bushnell's daughter's book, Life and Letters of Horace Bushnell.

The writings of Bushnell are divided into three sections:
  1. A. Manuscript sermons and discourses (1832-1875, n.d.)
  2. B. Published sermons and discourses (1839-1959, n.d.)
  3. C. Miscellaneous (1839-1873, n.d.)
The manuscript sermons give valuable insight into the less formal aspects of Bushnell's thought. Some of these sermons have been published in whole or in part, largely in Bushnell's posthumous volume, The Spirit in Man. Although many of them were not considered sufficiently valuable or well organized to be included in his published works as entire sermons, these unpublished writings contain material that can assist in tracing the development of his thought. In many cases the unpublished portions of the sermons contain statements of doctrine that were apparently omitted as not being of interest to the general reader.

The published sermons and discourses are largely duplicates of ones already cataloged in the Library's collection, and are included with Bushnell's papers to provide consolidated access. The miscellaneous writings of Bushnell included newspaper articles, a prayer for a wedding, and explanations of two patents obtained by him.

The material written about Bushnell during his lifetime pertains to the controversy associated with his theological beliefs. Bushnell's opposition to the rigid rationalism of his times and his attempts to redefine Christianity in terms of human experience were the cause of much accusation and debate. Additional material in this section stems from the centenary celebration of Bushnell's birth in 1902. Series V includes a letter from Amos Cheseborough to T.T. Munger, biographer of Bushnell, that traces Bushnell's genealogical descent.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Howell Cheney, 1945.
  1. I. Correspondence, 1848, n.d.
  2. II. Diaries, 1845-1846
  3. III. Writings of Bushnell, 1832-1875
  4. IV. Material written about Bushnell, 1843-1902, n.d.
  5. V. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1849-1902, n.d.
2 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
Related Names
Bushnell, Horace, 1802-1876
Language of Materials