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Edler G. Hawkins collection

 Collection — Box: 1-24
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0043

Scope note

Edler G. Hawkins (b. 1908 d. 1977) was Pastor of St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in the Bronx, New York for over thirty years. Under his stewardship the congregation grew to over one thousand members. As Pastor, Rev. Hawkins was very active in the Bronx community and in responding to concerns in this increasingly diverse neighborhood. He demanded and worked for better housing and equal opportunities for minorities. His concern for the community led him to run for a New York State Assembly position in 1948, which he did not win. However, Rev. Hawkins was able to pursue his aims through leadership roles in the United Presbyterian Church (UPC). He served on many committees within the UPC including the Council on Race and Religion and the Presbyterian Economic Development Corporation. In 1958 he was elected the Moderator of the Presbytery of New York, where he served for two years. In 1960 he ran unsuccessfully for the national position of General Assembly Moderator, losing by only two votes. He was then named Vice Moderator in an act of fellowship by the newly elected Moderator. Rev. Hawkins was elected Moderator of the UPC in 1964. He was the first African American to hold all three Moderator positions. He traveled extensively in official UPC capacities, both nationally and internationally.

In 1971, Rev. Hawkins resigned as Pastor of St. Augustine Presbyterian Church, and began teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was the first African American on the faculty of the Seminary. In addition to theology, he taught classes in African American literature and history.

The Edler G. Hawkins Collection documents much of his life’s work and spans from 1933 until his death in 1977. The majority of this collection is comprised of sermons, lectures, and other writings by Rev. Hawkins. The collection contains some documentation related to organizations he was active in and committees he served on, including his terms as Vice Moderator and Moderator of the UPC. Also, there are lecture notes of classes he taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, news articles about him, programs from events he attended and participated in, some correspondence, and a few photographs.


  • Creation: 1933-1977
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1933 - 1977


Biographical timeline

Biographical timeline

1908 June 13
Edler Garnett Hawkins born to Albert and Annie (Lee) Hawkins in the Bronx, New York. He was one of seven children
Graduated with a Bachelor or Arts degree, magna cum laude from Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, New Jersey
Graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, New York
1938 April
Became pastor at St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in the Bronx, New York
Appointed Chairman of the Bronx Citizens Committee for the Improvement of Domestic Workers
1944 January 30
Married Thelma Burnett
Ran unsuccessfully for a New York State Assembly seat
Daughter Renee born
Daughter Ellen born
Elected Moderator of the Presbytery of New York City, served for two year
Named Vice Moderator of the United Presbyterian Church after an unsuccessful run for Moderator
Awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity from Bloomfield College
1964 May 21
Elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church
1964 July & August
As Moderator of the UPC, traveled to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Meets with Pope Paul VI, Emperor Haile Sellassie and other religious and political figures.
1971 February
Resigned as Reverend of St. Augustine Presbyterian Church
1971 September
Began teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary as a Professor of Practical Theology. He was the first African American faculty member in the Seminary.
1977 December 18
Died after an illness in Princeton, New Jersey. Buried at Fairlawn Cemetery in New Jersey


11 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged in nine series: 1. Personal Papers; 2. Writings about Hawkins; 3. Correspondence; 4. Writings by Hawkins; 5. Writings by Others; 6. Princeton Theological Seminary; 7. Organizational Affiliations; 8. Photographs; and 9. Fragile Items.

Edler G. Hawkins collection
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Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


404-978-2109 (Fax)