Inventory of the Donald G. Brockett Collection

Marie Dunlap
Graduate Theological Union Archives
Graduate Theological Union
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, California, 94709
Phone: (510) 649-2523/2501
Email: archives@gtu.edu
URL: http://gtu.edu/library/information/special-collections
© 2009
Graduate Theological Union. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Donald G. Brockett Collection

Collection number:

Graduate Theological Union Archives

Graduate Theological Union

Berkeley, California
Processed by:
Marie Dunlap
Date Completed:
2009
Encoded by:
Marie Dunlap
© 2009 Graduate Theological Union. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Donald G. Brockett collection
Dates: 1950-1975
Identifier/Call Number: GTU 2009-8-01
Creator: Brockett, Donald G., 1937-1986
Collection Size: 1 linear foot (1 box)
Repository: The Graduate Theological Union. Library.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Abstract: Donald G. Brockett, 1937-1986, was a Congregational minister. While a seminarian at Andover Newton Theological School, Brockett participated in efforts to integrate the Boston public schools, volunteering as a teacher in the Freedom School Movement in 1964. He served various parishes before assuming the pastorship of the Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church in Suisun City, California, in 1971, a position he held until the mid-1980s. The collection comprises correspondence, photographs, and audio tapes, most of which were written, recorded, or collected by Donald G. Brockett, documenting his religious and intellectual development and pastoral work in Massachusetts and California. Although the bulk of the correspondence was written by Brockett to his parents, the collection contains scattered letters from theologians and ministers, including Paul Tillich. Audio tapes contain sermons, lectures, messages, and conversations by Brockett and others, including John C. Bennett and Morton Kelsey.
Physical location: 5/J/4
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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.

Preferred Citation

Donald G. Brockett collection, Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

Biography / Administrative History

Donald G. Brockett, also known as Guy Brockett, was born on June 25, 1937, in Riverside, California. Brockett attended the University of Redlands in Redlands, California, graduating in 1961 with a Bachelor in Arts degree. In the fall of 1960, he traveled to Central and Eastern Europe with a group of University of Redlands students, meeting young communists with whom he would maintain correspondence. Between 1961 and 1965, he attended Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, graduating in 1965 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. While a student at Andover Newton, Brockett edited the student newspaper Hillview, and held a number of pastoral positions, including youth director at Grace Baptist Church in Arlington, Massachusetts, student chaplain at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Malone, New York. As a young seminarian, Brockett took a keen interest in the new religious and social movements that swept the 1960s, reading widely and participating in the Boston Freedom School movement in February 1964.
On July 25, 1965, Donald G. Brockett was ordained at the First Congregational Church in Riverside. He served as pastor at the First Baptist Church in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and psychiatric social worker at Lowell Mental Health Center in 1966 and 1967, respectively. Between 1968 and 1970, Rev. Brockett served as minister to youth and young adults at the First Congregational Church in Oakland, California, participating in ecumenical and integrationist efforts in the Oakland area. In 1971, he began attending classes at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, and assumed his new pastoral role as minister at the Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church in Suisun City, California, a position he held for many years until he was stricken with sarcoidosis in the 1980s. Rev. Brockett died on December 12, 1986, in Loma Linda, California, at the age of 49.

Scope and Content of Collection

Spanning the years 1955 to 1975, this collection comprises correspondence, audio tapes, photographs, slides, and other papers illuminating the personal and pastoral life of Congregational minister Donald G. Brockett. In particular, the collection sheds light on Rev. Brockett's political, intellectual, and religious development as a young seminarian and minister; his pastoral work in the Baptist and Congregational churches; and his ecumenical and integrationist efforts in Massachusetts and California. The bulk of the material in the collection was written, recorded, or collected by Rev. Brockett and mailed to his parents, Ralph H. and Margaret Brockett of Riverside. It was donated to the Graduate Theological Union Archives by Rev. Brockett's sister-in-law, Linda Brockett, in August 2009.
The collection consists of three series: Correspondence (1959-1975), Subject Files, and Audio Tapes (1955-1974). Audio Tapes have been divided into two sub-series: Reel-to-Reel Tapes (1955-1970) and Cassettes (1969-1974). Subject files are arranged topically; all other series are arranged chronologically. The bulk of the correspondence was written by Rev. Brockett to his parents, Ralph H. and Margaret Brockett, concerning his experiences as a student, seminarian, and minister in Massachusetts, New York, and California. In his letters, Rev. Brockett grapples with the new religious and social movements of the 1960s, describing and justifying his participation in the Boston Freedom School movement in 1964, as well as his ecumenical and integrationist efforts in Oakland in the late 1960s. The collection also includes scattered letters to Rev. Brockett from theologians and ministers, including Paul Tillich, Walter Brueggman, Nels Ferre, Paul Clasper, Culbert Rutenber, Rev. Jim Strathdee, Rev. Bruce Van Blair, Rev. Keith Miller, Rev. William Arthur, and Rev. Owen Miller; letters to Rev. Brockett from European pen pals; and correspondence between Margaret Brockett and her pastor, Rev. Ernest Hereen of Riverside First Congregational Church. Subject files comprise awards, certificates, cards, newspaper clippings, sermons, photographs, slides, and other personal material, as well as a short biography of Rev. Brockett written by his mother. Audio Tapes, in reel-to-reel and cassette format, consist of sermons by Rev. Brockett, Rev. Paul Yinger, and Rev. Ernest Hereen; lectures by Morton Kelsey and John C. Bennett; messages to and from Rev. Brockett and his friend, Rev. Bruce Van Blair of the Altadena Congregational Church; messages from Rev. Brockett to his parents; and conversations between Rev. Brockett and Rev. Van Blair. Messages and conversations between Rev. Brockett and Rev. Van Blair are particularly intimate, revealing details about the friends' personal and pastoral lives; spiritual and psychological conflicts; and thoughts on theology, psychology, sexuality, and ethics.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Suisun Fairfield United Church of Christ, Congregational (Suisun City, Calif.)
Congregationalists - Clergy - California
Congregationalists - Clergy - California - Correspondence
Seminarians - Massachusetts - Correspondence
Seminarians - Massachusetts

Index Terms Related to this Collection

Brockett, Donald G., 1937-1986 - Correspondence
Bennett, John C. (John Coleman), 1902-1995
Kelsey, Morton T.
Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965


Collection Contents

 

Series 1:  Correspondence, 1959-1975

Physical Description: 17 file folders
Box/folder: 1 : 1a

To Donald Brockett from European pen pals, 1950-1963

Box/folder: 1 : 1b

Correspondence, 1959

Box/folder: 1 : 2

Correspondence, 1960 April-August

Box/folder: 1 : 3

Correspondence, 1960 September-1961 January

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence in this folder concerns Brockett's trip to Europe with a group of University of Redlands students.
Box/folder: 1 : 4a

Correspondence, 1961

Box/folder: 1 : 4b

Letter from Paul Tillich to Donald Brockett, 1961 March 23

Scope and Content Note

In this letter, Tillich replies to Brockett's questions about Christian development and the problem of justice in relation to divine providence.
Box/folder: 1 : 5

Correspondence, 1962

Box/folder: 1 : 6

Correspondence, Margaret Brockett and Ernest Hereen, 1962-1963

Scope and Content Note

Includes letters from Rev. Hereen to Margaret Brockett and letters from Margaret Brockett to son Donald G. Brockett.
Box/folder: 1 : 7

Correspondence, 1963

Scope and Content Note

Letter of December 1 discusses 1963 Civil Rights protests in Williamston, N.C., in which Andover Newton faculty and students participated. Includes letter from Nels Ferre.
Box/folder: 1 : 8

Correspondence, 1964

Scope and Content Note

Letters of February 13 and March 5 discuss Brockett's participation in the Boston Freedom School movement.
Box/folder: 1 : 9

Correspondence, 1965

Scope and Content Note

Includes letters from Culbert Rutenber and Rev. William Arthur.
Box/folder: 1 : 10

Correspondence, 1966

Box/folder: 1 : 11

Correspondence, 1967-1968

Scope and Content Note

Includes letter from Bruce Van Blair.
Box/folder: 1 : 12

Correspondence, 1969

Box/folder: 1 : 13

Correspondence, 1970

Box/folder: 1 : 14

Correspondence, 1971

Scope and Content Note

Includes letter from Paul Clasper.
Box/folder: 1 : 15

Correspondence, 1972-1975

Scope and Content Note

Includes letters from Walter Brueggman and Rev. Keith Miller.
 

Series 2:  Subject Files, 1932-1986

Physical Description: 5 file folders
Box/folder: 1 : 16

Awards, certificates, and cards, 1950-circa 1971

Box/folder: 1 : 17

Biography, circa 1986

Box/folder: 1 : 18

Newspaper clippings, school report, brochure, and book, 1932-circa 1963

Scope and Content Note

Includes The Minstrel Pleasure Chest, by Arthur Le Roy Kaser, Syracuse, N.Y., 1932.
Box/folder: 1 : 19

Sermons, 1970-1973

Box/folder: 1 : 20

Photographs and Slides, 1963-1970s

 

Series 3:  Audio Tapes, 1955-1974

Physical Description: 29 audio tapes
 

Subseries A:  Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1955-1970

Physical Description: 11 reel-to-reel tapes
Box/reel: 1 : 1

Reading, "Renascence," by Paul Yinger, 1955

Box/reel: 1 : 2

Sermon and Ordination Service, Donald G. Brockett, First Congregational Church, Riverside, California, 1965 July 25

Box/reel: 1 : 3

Sermon, Donald G. Brockett, First Congregational Church, Riverside, California, and Ordination Paper, Donald G. Brockett, 1965

Box/reel: 1 : 4

Message to parents, recorded by Donald G. Brockett, 1965 August 9

Box/reel: 1 : 5

Message to parents, recorded by Donald G. Brockett, 1965 September 3

Box/reel: 1 : 6

Sermon, "The Pharisee in All of Us," Donald G. Brockett, Malone, New York, 1965 October 14

Box/reel: 1 : 7

Message to parents, recorded by Donald G. Brockett, 1965 November 8

Box/reel: 1 : 8

Sermon, Donald G. Brockett, circa 1965

Box/reel: 1 : 9

Sermon, "God the Gift Giver," Donald G. Brockett, circa 1965

Box/reel: 1 : 10

Two Sermons, Ernest Hereen, First Congregational Church, Riverside, California, circa 1966

Box/reel: 1 : 11

Sermon, Paul Yinger, and message to Donald G. Brockett, recorded by Bruce Van Blair, 1970

 

Subseries B:  Audio Cassettes, 1969-1974

Physical Description: 19 cassettes
Box/cassette: 1 : 1

Conversation between Donald G. Brockett and Bruce Van Blair, circa 1969

Box/cassette: 1 : 2

Conversation between Donald G. Brockett and Bruce Van Blair, circa 1969

Box/cassette: 1 : 3

Message to Bruce Van Blair, recorded by Donald G. Brockett (side A), and message to Donald G. Brockett, recorded by Bruce Van Blair (side B), circa 1969

Box/cassette: 1 : 4

Message to parents, recorded by Donald G. Brockett, circa 1969

Box/cassette: 1 : 5

Lecture, "The Way in Which We Can Know God," Morton Kelsey (side A), and message to parents, recorded by Donald G. Brockett (side B), circa 1969

Box/cassette: 1 : 6

Message to Bruce Van Blair, recorded by Donald G. Brockett (side A), and message to Donald G. Brockett, recorded by Bruce Van Blair (side B), circa 1970

Box/cassette: 1 : 7

Sermon, Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1972 September 24

Box/cassette: 1 : 8

Sermon, "Counting the Costs," Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973 January 1

Box/cassette: 1 : 9

Sermons, Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973 February 3 and undated

Box/cassette: 1 : 10

Sermon, "The Light Came," Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973 February 18

Box/cassette: 1 : 11

Sermon, "The One Who Showed Him Kindness," Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973 February 25

Box/cassette: 1 : 12

Sermon, "A World to Play In," Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973 March 4

Box/cassette: 1 : 13

Sermon, Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, probably 1973 May 13

Box/cassette: 1 : 14

Sermons, Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973 June 3 and 8

Box/cassette: 1 : 15

Sermon, Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church (side A), and sermon, probably delivered by Eugene Nelson (side B), 1973 June 3 and undated

Box/cassette: 1 : 16

Sermon, Donald G. Brockett, Suisun-Fairfield First Congregational Church, 1973, July 22

Box/cassette: 1 : 17

Message to Donald G. Brockett, recorded by Margaret Brockett, 1974, September 26

Box/cassette: 1 : 18

Lecture, John C. Bennett, "Ethical Decisions in a Complex World," 1974 October 15