The Vertical Files Collection is part of the New Religious Movements Research
Collections in the Graduate Theological Union Archives. These materials were collected over a
22-year period by successive library staff people. The collection includes such materials as correspondence, newsletters,
pamphlets, brochures, events flyers, promotional material, newsclippings, or research papers.
California has historically been a center for the development and practice of
non-traditional or alternative religious movements. In the 1960s, there was a large
growth of new religious ideas, philosophies, groups, and organizations. The Graduate
Theological Union, a consortium of nine Protestant and Catholic seminaries in Berkeley,
California, focused early on the study of this phenomenon establishing the Center for the
Study of New Religious Movements in 1977. The Center's purpose was to study as an
academic discipline the developing religious movements and groups which were new to the
United States or had grown significantly since 1960. To this end, the Center in
cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union Library developed an alternative
religions resource library and brought research scholars to the GTU. Materials for the
resource library were collected from and about hundreds of groups and organizations in
California and across the United States. Periodicals and books were also added to the
resources. The Center sponsored inter-disciplinary conferences, symposia, and forums
recording the proceedings in print and/or audiocassette tape form. Grants were provided
for individual scholars to come use the resource library and write research papers in
Berkeley. (See also: The Center for the Study of New Religious Movements Collection, GTU
91-9-3.) When the Center closed in 1983, the GTU Library Reference Staff continued to
collect from and about new religious movements until 1998 when the decision was made to
cease collecting. Books and periodicals were added to the general GTU Library catalog,
GRACE. Files were set up for over 800 groups and organizations. These files were arranged
alphabetically by organization name and kept in locked file cabinets on the main floor of
the Library. It is these files which form the New Religious Movements Organizations
Vertical Files Collection.
44 boxes; 44 linear ft.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the
Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological
Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Collection is open for research.