Skip to main content

Norman E. Thomas Papers

Call Number: RG 112

Scope and Contents

The papers have been retained in the scheme of organization in which they were received. Series I, Correspondence, is divided into chronological segments. Series II, Published Writings of Norman E. Thomas, is divided into three sub-series:Book-length works, Articles and Chapters in Symposia, and Book Reviews. Series III, Unpublished Writings and Lectures is divided into two sub-series: Public lectures, and Book manuscripts. Series IV contains materials for courses taught by Thomas throughout his career, arranged alphabetically by course topic. Series V consists of the extensive subject files compiled by Thomas. The letter codes preceding topics are Thomas's classification system, somewhat based on the Library of Congress system.. Series VI provides documentation related to various institutions with which Thomas was involved during the course of his career. Series VII contains biographical information about Thomas.


  • 1953-2011


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Norman E. Thomas


  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Published Writings
  3. III. Unpublished Writings and Lectures
  4. IV. Course-Related Material
  5. V. Documentation Files by Subject
  6. VI. Documentation Files by Institution
  7. VII. Biographical Documentation


38 Linear Feet (87 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, course-related material, and subject files document the work of Norman E. Thomas. Norman E. Thomas is a prominent missiologist, theological educator, and historian of world Christianity. A Yale graduate, he served as a missionary in Africa, missions administrator for the United Methodist Church, Director of the Mission and Evangelism Program and Boston University School of Theology, and Professor of World Christianity at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio prior to his retirement.

Biographical / Historical

1932 March 29
Born in Manchester, NH
Received B.A. from Yale College
Received M.Div. from Yale Divinity School
Pastor of Errol Heights United Methodist Church, Portland, OR
National Director of Christian Education and Youth Work, The United Methodist Church, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). Administered a teacher training and curriculum development program for 1,400 teachers of Bible in elementary and secondary schools, and for volunteer teachers and youth leaders in 300 congregations.
Urban Secretary, Christian Council of Rhodesia. Developed new program of joint church action by Protestant and Catholics in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)'s towns and cities.
Received Ph.D. in Social Ethics and Sociology of Religion, with concentration in African studies, from Boston University
Senior Lecturer and Dean of Students, United Theological College, Salisbury, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia).
Visiting Lecturer in Religion and Society, Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA
Dean of Studies and Associate Director, Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation, Kitwe, Zambia
Staff Associate, the Africa Task Force, Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, New York
Visiting Lecturer in Missions, Yale Divinity School
Visiting Professor of Humanities and International Studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
Director, Mission and Evangelism Program, and Lecturer, Boston University School of Theology
Vera B. Blinn Professor of World Christianity, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH

Processing Information

Place names were modernized in the description, with the name originally used in the collection material or in an older version of the finding aid in parenthesis: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” or “Benin (Dahomey)”.

Guide to the Norman E. Thomas Papers
Compiled by Cecelia Jones and Martha Lund Smalley
2003, 2010, 2013
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

409 Prospect Street
New Haven CT 06511 US
(203) 432-5301

Opening Hours