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James Clark Whitaker papers, 1930-2000

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/ghmbr

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Whitaker, James Clark, 1913-2000.
Title: James Clark Whitaker papers, 1930-2000
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 211
Extent: 20.4 cubic ft. (64 boxes)
Abstract:Consists of handwritten journals, typed memoirs, correspondence, class notes, handwritten and typed papers and sermons, newspaper clippings and a printed memoir.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Pitts Theology Library in advance to access this collection.

Restricted: Class notebooks and Reflections containing names of counseling patients. Sanitized photocopies are available.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


[after identification of item(s)], James Clark Whitaker Papers, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Joan S. Clemens, 2001.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

James C. Whitaker was born on July 22, 1913 in Black River, Louisiana. He received his B.A. from Asbury College in 1933; a B.D. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University in 1936; a S.T.M. from Drew Theological Seminary in 1966; and a M.S. in Educational Psychology in 1984 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Whitaker served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy during World War II. From 1935 to 1961 he served as pastor to several churches in the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church (U.S.). He actively supported desegregation of the New Orleans public schools in the late 1950s and early 1960s, however, his liberal views were not popular with the Louisiana Conference. He transferred to the Northern New Jersey Conference in 1961 where he remained until his retirement in the late 1970s. In 1982, at the age of 70, Whitaker pursued a degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee and began a counseling career.

Whitaker was profoundly influenced by the writings of Soren Kierkegaard about whom he wrote his thesis in the 1960s. He was also influenced by the writings of H. Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich and many other theologians and philosophers. This influence is prevalent in the journal of reflections Whitaker maintained from the late 1940s until 1998 as well as in his letters to friends and family. He also participated in layman study groups that engaged in scholarly theological discussions.

Whitaker and his wife, Mozelle Renshaw, had two children. He died on September 21, 2000 at the age of 87.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of handwritten journals, typed memoirs, correspondence, class notes, handwritten and typed papers and sermons, newspaper clippings and a printed memoir. The material is divided into eight subseries: Biographical, Calendars and schedules, Class and miscellaneous notes, Papers and other writings, Reflections - journals, Reflections and letters, Sermons and prayers, and Miscellaneous.

The first subseries contains biographical information about James C. Whitaker. The material includes his own description of his papers and spiritual journey, a resume, transcripts, and Whitaker's obituary, funeral program and a copy of the eulogy delivered at his funeral. The second subseries consists of Whitaker's handwritten schedules and a set of small pocket calendars he used from 1961-1997.

Class and miscellaneous notes is a larger subseries that contains spiral bound notebooks with Whitaker's class notes from 1961 to 1985. Researchers must note that he recycled these notebooks so a notebook may contain class notes from the 1960s and class notes from the 1980s. He also used his class notebooks for church meeting notes and study group notes. Most of the notes are dated but in a few cases it is difficult to determine when or for what event notes were taken. Between 1982 and 1985 Whitaker was enrolled in psychology and counseling courses. These courses included practicums in which he counseled clients. The notebooks contained the names of his clients, information which cannot be made public for legal reasons. Whitaker also wrote some of his most insightful reflections regarding his own mental and spiritual health in these same notebooks. The notebooks are restricted but photocopies with the full names of clients removed are available for researchers to use.

The fourth subseries consists of papers and other writings. These papers were primarily written to fulfill class assignments but a few papers were written for other reasons. This grouping also contains copies of the Counselor's Corner, a piece Whitaker wrote for his church newsletter, as well as some of his poetry and his collection of Søren Kierkegaard quotes.

The heart of the collection is contained in subseries five and six. Whitaker began writing his reflections on his theology and what he learned in his reading and course work in 1946. The first subseries consists of his journals and the chaplain's log he maintained in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1945. He began writing his reflections in small pocket-size spiral notebooks. In the early 1970s he switched to notebook paper size spiral notebooks, however, the format change was not consistent. Researchers may have to switch between notebooks to follow his line of thought although in some cases it appears that Whitaker wrote on different subjects in different notebooks. Names of his counseling clients also appear in Whitaker's journal from 1982 to 1985, but the names are not used as frequently as in the class notes. For this reason, only the pages that contain confidential names were removed from the notebooks and replaced with photocopies with the names removed. The journals subseries also contains a two volume work of Whitaker's reflections entitled On Becoming One's Own Self: Reflected Existence, edited by Henri N. Levinspuhl. The sixth subseries continues the reflections in the form of letters and handwritten reflections on scrap or blank paper. In the 1990s Whitaker acquired a computer and began typing his reflections using a word processor. Printouts of his work are in the final folder.

The seventh subseries consists of Whitaker's sermons and prayers. The sermons are in two major groupings. The first group of sermons were handwritten and kept in small spiral notebooks and indexed by title and scripture. The second grouping are handwritten or typed sermons that were kept in folders. Most of the sermons are not dated and it is not apparent when or where they were preached. This sub-series also contains a small collection of written prayers for various occasions.

The final subseries is a group of miscellaneous material that consists primarily of clippings. There are considerable clippings and correspondence regarding Whitaker's role in the desegregation of public schools in New Orleans in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The remaining clippings are about Whitaker or church related events in the families life in Louisiana, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Also included are photographs of James and Mozelle Whitaker and a Chinese tapestry that was given to Whitaker to use as an altar cloth when he was a Navy chaplain during World War II. The tapestry is approximately 200 years old.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms


Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Introduction to papers, 1998
1 2 Education information, undated
1 3 Education information - Transcripts, 1930-1984
1 4 Obituary and other material relating to Whitaker's death, 2000
Calendars and schedules
1 5 Schedules, 1950-1960
1 6-12 Schedules, 1970-1971
1 13 Schedules, 1973-1974
61 Calendars, 1961-1997
Class and miscellaneous notes
2 1 Wesleys, 1961 September-1962 January
2 2 Social Ethics, 1961 September-1962 January
2 3 Church at Worship, 1961 October-1962 January
2 4 Dietrich Monhoeffer, includes Charles Reich article from the New York Times, 1962, 1970
2 7 Theology of Prayer, 1962 February-May
2 5 Church Ministry to Adults, 1962 June-1963 January
2 6 Theology of Schleiermacher, 1962 September-December
2 7 Theology of Prayer, 1962 February-May
3 1 German, 1962-1964
3 2 German translations and notes on Schroer and Kierkegaard, 1962
3 3 German translations and notes on Schroer and Kierkegaard, 1962
3 4 German translations and notes on Schroer and Kierkegaard, circa 1962-1970
3 5 Theology of Paul Tillich, 1963 January-May
3 6 Theology of Rudolf Bultmann and Theology of Evangelism, 1963
3 7 Mansfield College, Oxford, 1963 August
3 8 Kierkegaard studies with notes from periodic re-reading of original notes, 1963-1990
23 6 Kierkegaard, Basic Theology Course, 1964
4 1 Mass Culture and Christian Faith, 1965 April-May
4 2 Mass Culture and Christian Faith, 1965
4 3 Undated Kierkegaard notes; Self and Society in Contemporary Existentialist Thought; Pocono Preaching Mission, 1966-1967
4 1 Blaise Pascal notes, 1967
4 4 Theology as History, 1967 February-May
4 5 Philosophy and Theology, 1967 October-1968 January
4 6 Types of Dialogical Theology and other class notes, 1967-1976
26 4 Ontology and Ethics in Contemporary Theology, 1968 October-1969 January
4 7 Problem of History and other class notes, 1968-1969
3 6 Problem of History and other class notes, 1969, undated
5 1 Westfield Study Group and other notes, 1969 April-July
5 2 Problem of the Self in Western Thought; Christian Faith and Natural Law, 1969 October-1970 January
4 8 Philosophical Analysis and Theological Understanding and other class notes, 1969-1971
5 3 Christianity and Race Relations; Three Kinds of Language, 1970 February-May
4 4 Paul notes, 1970 March-1971 May
5 4 Paul Ricoeur; Richard Niebuhr and other class notes, 1970-1971
5 5 Troeltsch and Weber; Faith at Work Conference; Evangelism, 1971 January-May
5 6 Foundations of Evangelism, 1971 July
5 7 Foundations of Evangelism, 1971 July-August
5 8 Foundations of Evangelism, 1971 August
5 8 Other notes, 1971 September-1972 February
4 5 Consultation on Racism, 1971 October
6 1 Evangelism; Youth group notes; other notes, 1971 November-1972 May
2 7 Gospel of John, 1978 September-October
3 7 Westfield Study Group, 1979
6 2 Teachings of Jesus; Religion and Culture in Japan; other notes, 1979 July-1981 May
5 5 Paul Tillich's Theology and Ethics, 1980 June
6 3 Theology and Ethics of Paul Tillich; God as Being or God as Becoming, 1980 June-1981 February
6 4 Christian Vocation; Discovering the Old Testament; How the New Testament Came into Being, 1980 June-1981 March
4 5 Questions in regard to Paul Tillich, 1980 July
4 8 God as Being or...Becoming; Contemporary Process Theology, 1980-1981
6 5 Theories of Personality; Ephesians, 1981 September-December
30 6 Creative Writing class notes; Miscellaneous notes, 1981 September-1982 January
6 6 Theory and Practice of Consultation; Group Dynamics; Seminar on Behavioral Therapy, 1982 January-March
6 7 Reality Therapy; Behavior Therapy, 1982 March-June
31 4 Church notes and Comprehensive Exam, 1982 April
7 1 Practicum "My Counseling Notebook" [Photocopy], 1982 August-1983 June
7 2 Career Development and Research; Pre-Practicum; Seminar; Other notes, 1982 September-1983 March
7 3 Statistics; Alcoholism and Alcohol Education; Seminar, 1983 January-March
7 4 Counseling Practicum; Families in Crisis; Statistics; Seminar, 1983 March-April
7 5 Psychopathology and Social Deviance, 1983 September-December
7 6 Practicum II [Photocopy], 1983 September-1984 March
7 7 Social Planning, 1983 September-November
8 1 Group Processes, 1984 January-March
8 2 Family Therapy, 1984 January-February
8 3 Internship [with personal reflections] [Photocopy], 1984 March-May
6 7 Cognitive Therapy, 1984 November-1985 January
9 [Restricted counseling notebooks and 1st photocopies], 1982-1984
Papers and other writings
10 Class papers and miscellaneous papers, 1959-1971
11 Class papers and miscellaneous papers, 1971-1996, undated
12 1-14 Class papers and miscellaneous papers, undated
12 15-17 Counselor's Corner, 1976-1993, undated
12 18-21 Poetry, 1930-1932, 1975-1996
60 [Kierkegaard quotes on note cards], undated
Reflections - journals
23 1 Chaplain's log, 1944-1945
13 Small notebooks, 1946-1950 July 14
14 Small notebooks, 1950 July 14-1953 June 17
15 Small notebooks, 1953 June 17-1955 June 10
16 Small notebooks, 1955 June 10-1958 January 24
17 Small notebooks, 1958 January 24-1960
18 Small notebooks, 1961-1963 January 3
19 Small notebooks, 1963 January 3-1966 January 7
20 Small notebooks, 1966 January 7-1968 January
21 Small notebooks, 1968 January 3-1973 February
22 Small notebooks, 1973 February-1985
4 7 Small notebooks, 1969 August-September
23 2 Small notebooks, 1970 May 1-November 22
5 4 Small notebooks, 1971 July
23 3-7 Small notebooks, 1972 April-December 7
23 5 Small notebooks (skips in date range), 1972 October 6-1974 June 23
24 Small notebooks, 1972 December 7-1974 February 17
25 Small notebooks, 1974 February 17-1975 February 14
26 Small notebooks, 1975 February 15-1976 May 9
27 Small notebooks, 1976 May 11-1977 August 25
28 Small notebooks, 1977 August 25-1978 October 21
29 Small notebooks, 1978 October 21-1980 June 11
30 Small notebooks, 1980 June 11-1982 August 18
31 Small notebooks, 1982 August 18-1985 October 14
32 Small notebooks, 1985 October 15-1987 May 4
33 Small notebooks, 1987 May 5-1989 June 15
34 Small notebooks, 1989 June 16-1992 February 14
35 Small notebooks, 1992 February 14-1994 November 21
36 Small notebooks, 1994 November 23-1998 October 6
64 1 Small notebooks, 1998 October 6-2000 August 15
37 On Becoming One's Own Self: Reflected Existence, 2 volumes, edited by Henri N. Levinspuhl, 1999
38 [Restricted reflections and 1st photocopies], 1982 May-1985 October
Reflections and letters
39 Reflections, 1945-1969
40 Reflections, 1970-1971
41 Reflections, 1972-1977
42 Reflections, 1977-1989
43 Reflections, 1990-2000, undated
44 Reflections, undated
45 Reflections, pages removed from 3 ring binders, circa 1987-1994
Sermons and prayers
46 Sermon binders: Index, Vol. 1-5, circa 1945-1967
47 Sermon binders: Vol. 6-10, circa 1949-1958
48 Sermon binders: Vol. 11-14, circa 1946-1957
49 Sermon binders: Vol. 15-19, circa 1946-1959
50 Sermon binders: Vol. 20-24, no vol. number, circa 1943-1979
51 1 Sermons and meeting notes, 1970-1971
51 2 Miscellaneous sermon notes, 1946
52 Unbound sermons with individual folder titles, 1972-1997, undated
53 Unbound sermons, 1942-1996
54 Unbound sermons, 1965-1988
55 Unbound sermons, 1976-1994, undated
56 Unbound sermons, undated
57 1-5 Unbound sermons, undated
57 6 Funeral sermons, 1961-1992, undated
58 1-4 Prayers, 1961-1992, undated
59 Note cards with scripture references, undated
58 5 New Orleans school integration, 1957-1960
58 6 New Orleans school integration, 1961-1962
58 7 New Orleans school integration, undated
58 8 New Orleans school integration [original clippings], 1960-1962, undated
58 9 Newspaper clippings - Louisiana, 1949-1975, undated
58 10 Newspaper clippings - New Jersey, 1961-1992
58 11 Newspaper clippings - Tennessee, 1984-1991
58 12 Newspaper clippings - [originals], 1949-1992, undated
58 13 WWII Chaplain services, 1944-1945
58 14 [Loose material sent to Pitts after funeral. Contains notes and explanations by family members], 1959-2000
62 Photographs of James and Mozelle Whitaker, circa 1950s
64 Chinese altar cloth, undated
64 2 Wherever Our Feet Take Us, by Anna Whitaker Smith, 2007