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Inventory of the Paul W. Yinger Papers, 1928-1992
GTU 93-10-01  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biographical Description
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Paul W. Yinger Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1928-1992
    Accession number: GTU 93-10-01
    Shelf location: 2/H/2 - 2/I/2
    Creator: Yinger, Paul W., 1914-1992
    Size: 32 boxes, 3 folios; 20 ft.
    Type of material: Personal papers, correspondence, notebooks, scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, worship bulletins, audiotapes
    Repository: The Graduate Theological Union
    Berkeley, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Source and Date

    Harriett Yinger, 1993


    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

    [Identification of item], Paul W. Yinger Papers, GTU 93-10-01, The Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

    Access Points


    Yinger, Paul Wesley, 1914-92
    Clergy -Correspondence
    Clergy -Family relationships
    United Church of Christ -Clergy
    Church management -History -Sources
    Pastoral theology -History -Sources
    Weddings -United States
    Marriage -Sociological aspects -Sources
    Worship programs -United Church of Christ
    Worship -Handbooks, manuals, etc.
    Chaplains -Military -Correspondence
    World War, 1939-1945 -Religious aspects
    World War, 1939-1945 -Personal narratives, American
    First Congregational Church (Riverside, Calif.)
    Piedmont Community Church (Piedmont, Calif.)
    Union Congregational Church (Upper Montclair, NJ)
    First Congregational Church (Old Greenwich, Conn.)
    Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, Calif.)
    Graduate Theological Union -History --Sources

    Names as Subjects

    Anderson, Stuart LeRoy, 1912-
    Ayres, Lew, 1908-
    Bechtel, Stephen Davison, 1925-
    Bennett, Ivan Loveridge, 1892-
    Douglas, Lloyd C. (Lloyd Cassel), 1877-1951
    Fosdick, Harry Emerson, 1878-1969
    Griffith, Leonard, 1920-
    Hogue, Harland E. (Harland Edwin), 1908-
    Hurst, Alfred Wesley
    Laubach, Frank charles, 1884-1970
    McLean, Margaret (Prendergast), 1878-
    Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971
    Oxnam, G. Bromley (Garfield Bromley) 1891-1963
    Perkins, John Alanson
    Pike, James A. (James Albert), 1913-1969
    Yinger, J. Milton (John Milton), 1916-
    Copenhaver, Marian Yinger
    Walton, Eleanor E. Yinger
    Yinger, Clement B.
    Yinger, Emma Bancroft
    Yinger, G. Dempster
    Yinger, Homer V.

    Biographical Description

    Paul W. Yinger was a United Church of Christ parish minister serving churches in California and New Jersey. He was involved in drama and public speaking. He served as an Army Chaplain in the Pacific during World War II. He had extensive correspondence throughout his career.
    Paul Wesley Yinger (1914-92) was born in Union City, Michigan, sixth of the eight children of George D. Yinger and Emma Bancroft Yinger. Both Paul's parents graduated from Albion College, and were ordained Methodist ministers. Preaching, music, and drama were always part of the talent and training of the Yinger family. George Yinger trained his four older children in music and oration. These children formed the Yinger Quartette. As the original quartette grew older, George formed the four younger children, including Paul, as the Yinger Quartette. Paul, from earliest childhood, was talented, interested, and trained in these areas, which he continued to pursue throughout his life. Strong ties among the Yinger family were always an important part of Paul's life. He decided to become a minister as were his mother, father, and three of his older brothers before him.
    Paul received his A.B. degree from DePauw University in Indiana, 1936, and B.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1939. DePauw conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1958. Paul married Harriett Knapp, January 1938. While at Union, he became acquainted with Harry Emerson Fosdick, and with Reinhold Niebuhr. In 1939, he was ordained in the Congregational Church serving as pastor in the Cleveland Park Church, Washington D.C. 1939-1943. Also during this time, Paul studied acting and voice both at the Old Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, MA, and with Margaret Prendergast McLean. Paul's and Harriett's daughter Marilyn was born in June 1942.
    During World War II, Paul volunteered as a Chaplain in the Army, attending Chaplain's School in 1943. He served as a chaplain, 1943-46. Assignments included the 880 th Airborne Engineers Battalion in New Guinea, 1944, the staff of General Douglas MacArthur after his return to the Philippines in 1945, then in occupied Japan until January 1946. While serving in New Guinea, Paul began a life-long friendship with the actor Lew Ayres (See Lesley L. Coffin, Lew Ayers: Holywood's Conscientious Objector, University Press of Mississippi, 2012). During Paul's service as a chaplain, he thought a great deal about what kind of a ministry he wanted to pursue after the war was over. He was very interested in integrating drama into a ministry.
    When Paul, having attained the rank of Major, returned from the Army after the war, the Yingers settled in California. He served on the staff of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles coordinating parish activities including radio broadcasts, drama events, and lecture series. Their son, Jay was born June, 1947. Paul studied further with Margaret McLean, developing a life-long friendship with her. He also began his "speaking engagements." Throughout his life, Paul continued to be a popular and well-known speaker at clubs, organizations, schools, etc. He developed several programs based on his life experiences, or interesting people he knew, and on great works of literature including Lloyd Douglas' The Robe, works of Mark Twain, Hugo's Les Miserables, poetry, and Christmas stories. Paul adapted The Robe,with the permission of Mr. Douglas, and presented it more than a hundred times, either as a dramatic reading with a full cast, or as his own solo reading.
    Paul served five major pastorates: Cleveland Park Congregational Church, Washington D.C. (1939-43), First Congregational Church, Riverside, CA (1947-52), Union Congregational Church, Upper Montclair, NJ (1952-60), Piedmont Community Church, Piedmont, CA (1960-71), and First Congregational Church, Old Greenwich, CT (1973-76). His habit of retaining all correspondence, both incoming letters and their attached carbon copy replies, provides a rich and valuable resource to understand the work and life of a parish minister. The correspondence provides a look at the details of church management, the pastoral needs of the people in the congregation, and, in the Yinger family correspondence, Paul's assessment of his own feelings and performance. To complete the understanding of a parish minister's life, Paul kept complete records on marriages he performed, pastor's columns he wrote for parish newsletters, worship bulletins, and notebooks on sermons, prayers, and worship and devotional material.
    Paul and Harriett traveled extensively for preaching, study, or vacation, often in combination. Travels included Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and the Mediterranean areas. He kept journals and notebooks on his travels, and often wrote newspaper articles about his experiences.
    During his years as a pastor, Paul also served as trustee on several boards including, the Pacific School of Religion (1962-85), the Aquinas Fund, the Japan International Christian University Foundation, and the Graduate Theological Union. On his resignation from the Piedmont Community Church in 1971, Paul became the Vice President of the GTU. He served as a development officer, working with the Ecumenical Associates, 1971-73. In 1973, Paul returned to parish ministry, accepting the call from First Congregational Church, Greenwich, CT. His start was delayed due to emergency by-pass surgery while on vacation in Hawaii.
    Paul retired from Greenwich and parish ministry in 1976. He continued his speaking engagements, dramatic presentations, and guest preaching, as well as serving several churches as interim minister, and cruise lines as chaplain. Paul and Harriett settled in Emeryville, CA. Their children had married, and Paul delighted in his three granddaughters. They had just relocated to Sun City West, AZ when Paul died in 1992.

    Scope and Content

    The collection was packed up from Rev. Yinger's garage at his home in Sun City West, AZ and shipped to the GTU Archives. The arrangement is as close to what Rev. Yinger kept as possible.