Scope and Content
Title: New Religious Movements Organizations: Vertical Files Collection,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1955 - 1998
Accession Number: GTU 99-8-1
Center for the Study of New Religious Movements, Graduate Theological Union
Extent: 44 boxes; 44 linear ft.
Graduate Theological Union
Berkeley, California 94709
Abstract: 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.
Shelf Location: 5/A/1 - 5/C/3, Record Group 4, Subgroup I
Collection is open for research.
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.
[Identification of item], New Religious Movements Organizations: Vertical Files
Collection, GTU 99-8-1, The Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.
Transferred to the GTU Archives in 1999.
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.
Scope and Content
The Vertical Files Collection is part of the New Religious Movements Research Collections in the Graduate Theological Union
. The materials were collected over a
22-year period by successive library staff people. The staff received material in various
ways through that period, either directly from organizations, or given to the GTU Library
by interested persons who had collected on specific organizations. The collection
includes such materials as correspondence, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, events
flyers, promotional material, newsclippings, or research papers. Each file varies as to
the included amount, type, and dates of material. Files may include a very few items, or
be more extensive. No file is comprehensive for any organization. Files do not include
internal organization records (i.e., administrative files, financial records, legal
documents, etc.) Significant donations of collected materials were made by William Noffke
and Arthur Carl Piepkorn. Will Noffke (1929-1997), was a radio-host whose lifework documents the cultural and religious changes which began to emerge in the 1960s
in California. (See also: William ("Will") Noffke
Collection, GTU 2001-8-01). Arthur Piepkorn (1907-1973) was the author of the four volume
Profiles in Belief: The Religious Bodies of the United States and Canada
Arthur Carl Piepkorn Collection, GTU 89-5-015). The Library Staff transferred selected
materials from these donations to the Vertical Files. Where a significant amount of
original Noffke or Piepkorn donated material is found in an individual file, their name will appear on the file folder and in the container listing below.
This collection is organized into two series: Organization files; and Subject files.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Piepkorn, Arthur Carl, 1907-1973
Noffke, Will (William), 1929-1997
Buddhism--United States--20th Century
Hinduism--United States--20th Century
Islam--United States--20th Century
Metaphysical Movements--20th Century
Neopaganism--United States--20th Century
Occultism--United States--20th Century
Satanism--United States--20th Century
Sikhism--United States--20th Century
Sufism--United States--20th Century
Taoism--United States--20th Century
Zen Buddhism--United States
Zen Buddhism--20th Century