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  1812-1861       1862-1911       1912-1961         1962-1999      2000-2012  

A Princeton Seminary Timeline 1912 -1961



Princeton Theological Seminary Centennial Celebration



Joseph Ross Stevenson elected as second president of Princeton Theological Seminary



Payne Hall erected as a place for missionaries to come with their families when on furlough. The land was donated by Professor and Mrs. Charles Erdman and James S. Post, a Trustee from


1908 to 1937.

The building and its furnishings was paid for by Mr. and Mrs. Calvin N. Payne.



Harry Emerson Fosdick preaches "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" from the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church of New York City



J. Gresham Machen publishes Christianity and Liberalism



Auburn Affirmation urges tolerance in the church for alternative explanations of Christian doctrine



Scopes trial in Tennessee on the teaching of evolution in public schools. General Assembly, under its moderator Charles Erdman, appoints a Commission of Fifteen to study “causes making for unrest” in the Presbyterian denomination.



The Commission of Fifteen rejects the view held by Machen and others that it was impossible for conservatives and liberals to live together in the same church and assert that “the Presbyterian system admits diversity of view when the core of truth is identical.”

Trustees ask General Assembly to investigate division at the seminary.



A study committee of the General Assembly recommends reorganization of Princeton Theological Seminary



Charter of Princeton Theological Seminary amended to place it under a single board of control. Machen, a number of faculty colleagues, and approximately 1/3 of the students withdraw to form the new Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.



Re-Thinking Missions report urging the recasting of Christian missions in the light of “the many changes in the world during the past century” was commissioned and later published in 1932.



Westminster Choir College relocates to Princeton. Muriel Van Orden Jennings, the first woman to graduate from PTS, receives her degree.  Jennings is awarded the Th.B., which would become the M.Div. degree, as well as the Th.M.



Miller Chapel relocated to its present site and refurbished.

Conservatives set up an Independent Board for Presbyterian Missions as an alternative to the denomination’s official board.



General Assembly directs independent board to cease functioning within the denomination and that all Presbyterians sever their ties to this board.



Presbytery of New Brunswick suspends Machen’s ordination



Machen and fellow conservatives form their own ecclesiastical body, the Presbyterian Church of America (three years later the name is officially changed to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church). Machen elected first moderator.



 John Alexander Mackay chosen as third President of Princeton Theological Seminary



John Mackay appointed to fill the Seminary’s first professorship in ecumenics



Tuition charges ($50 per year) instituted for the first time at Princeton Theological Seminary



Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. U.S. enters World War II.



10-day Institute of Theology begun, set for the end of June each year, for the continuing education of pastors



Accelerated program begun at Princeton Theological Seminary to help meet demands for military chaplains. Theology Today begins publication. Tennent School of Christian Education merges with Princeton Theological Seminary, bringing in a larger number of women to the Seminary. Old Hun School campus acquired by Princeton Theological Seminary to accommodate the Christian education program and to provide housing for women and married couples and a new gymnasium facility for all students. This is now called the Tennent Campus.



World Council of Churches is formed, with its first assembly held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands



Princeton’s first female trustee, Mary Elizabeth White Miller, is appointed.  She serves until 1957.



National Council of Churches is formed in New York City



Opening of Mackay Campus Center.  Jane Molden receives an M.R.E. degree and becomes the first African American woman to graduate from the Seminary.



John Mackay, as moderator of PCUSA, issues a "Letter to Presbyterians" warning of dangers of McCarthyism



PCUSA affirms the ordination of women as ministers of the Word and Sacrament



Speer Library dedicated, named for PTS trustee and missionary statesman Robert L. Speer



Merger of United Presbyterian Church in North America and the PCUSA to become the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA)



James Iley McCord becomes fourth president of Princeton Theological Seminary


For a short narrative history of Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as portraits, historic photographs, and writings by early Princeton Seminary authors, see the Special Collections website: