Biography / Administrative History
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Douglas G. Adams collection
Bulk Dates: 1945-2007
Collection number: GTU 2008-1-01
Adams, Douglas G. (1945-2007)
25 linear feet (36 boxes, two folios);
31 images, 5 documents and 2 audio-visual files
Graduate Theological Union. Library.
Abstract: Douglas Glenn Adams (1945 April 12 - 2007 July 24) was professor of Christianity and the Arts at Pacific School of Religion
for 31 years and member of the core Graduate Theological Union faculty. He was an international scholar in religion and the
arts, worship, dance and humor. He authored hundreds of articles and a dozen books, inspired and mentored thousands of students,
and lectured and conducted workshops throughout the US.
Physical location: 8/B/1-8/C/5
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research. A few personal and confidential materials in Box 16 are restricted for 10 years (June 29,
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.
Douglas G. Adams collection, GTU 2008-1-01. Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.
Materials were largely collected from his office at Pacific School of Religion. Some materials were donated from his home.
Biography / Administrative History
Douglas Glenn Adams was a much loved professor at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) and Graduate Theological Union who passed
away in 2007 at the age of 62. He educated and inspired students, professors, and professionals in worship and the arts for
over 30 years.
"We found Doug to be a man with much to say," writes Bruce Walter Barton on October 16, 1978. Over his career, Adams lectured
and conducted workshops at over 800 churches and church conferences, both nationally and internationally. Humor and enthusiasm
fill his work. His dissertation on Congregational Dancing is dated on April 1. He remarked on several occasions, "Christians
should die laughing. Keep your best humor for your deathbed." (from "Early pulpit levity recalled; humor tears down man's
idols," Phoenix Republic, June 29-30, 1974).
He was born in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1945. He received a BA from Duke University in 1967, a Bachelor in Divinity and MA from
Pacific School of Religion in 1970, and a Doctorate in Theology from Graduate Theological Union in 1974. He was a Smithsonian
Fellow in Art History during 1974-1975.
Prior to his teaching career, he served as pastor to two congregations: College Heights Church, United Church of Christ, San
Mateo, 1970-1972; and Richmond Beach United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington, summer pastor 1974.
Following the Smithsonian fellowship, he taught religious studies and American art at the University of Montana. In 1976 he
became professor in worship and arts at Pacific School of Religion. His focus for the next 31 years was teaching students
art and religion, sacred dance and to make worship lively.
Former PSR President William McKinney notes that Adams' best received books were
Transcendence with the Human Body in Art: George Segal, Stephen De Staebler, Jasper Johns, and Christo (1991) and
The Prostitute in the Family Tree: Discovering Humor and Irony in the Bible (1997). One of his final projects, a collection of essays on Stephen De Staebler's
Winged Angel, entitled
Space for Faiths, was published January 2011 as the 22:1 issue of
arts: Arts in Religious and Theological Studies.
Adams wrote hundreds of articles and was featured in major newspapers on his favorite topics. According to McKinney, Adams'
proudest achievement was founding the Center for the Arts, Religion and Education (CARE) in 1987, an affiliated center of
the Graduate Theological Union, raising over $6 million.
Adams died of esophageal cancer on July 24, 2007. His wife Margo died in 2005.
Scope and Content of Collection
Materials include his writings, edited works, lectures, audio-visual materials, glass slides and research. Some periods are
more complete than others, with much of the material from the seventies.
The materials did not arrive in a coherent order and contained multiple copies of most everything. The processor arranged
the collection as follows: Series 1, Biographical; Series 2, Correspondence; Series 3, Writings, Sermons and Lectures; Series
4, Sharing Company Publications; Series 5, Academic Work, Sub-Series A, Courses and workshops, Sub-Series B, Faculty, Pacific
School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union; Series 6, Art and Religion; Series 7, Dance and Religion; Series 8, Worship;
Series 9, Subjects; Series 10, Audio Recordings; Series 11, Video and Film; Series 12, Glass Slides.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Wit and humor in the Bible.
Wit and humor--Religious aspects--Christianity.
Christian art and symbolism--Study and teaching.
Jewish art and symbolism--Study and teaching.
Art and religion--Study and teaching.
Art, Modern--20th century--United States.
Figurative art--United States.
Religious dance, Modern.
Women and religion.
Christian art and symbolism.
Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, Calif.) -- Faculty
Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, Calif.) -- Faculty
United Church of Christ -- Clergy
De Staebler, Stephen 1933 -
Dillenberger, Jane 1914 -
Dillenberger, John 1918 - 2008
Hogue, Harland E. 1908 - 1999
Polanyi, Michael, 1891-1976
Segal, George 1924 - 2000
Taylor, Margaret Palmer 1908 - 2004
Center for Arts, Religion and Education (Berkeley, Calif.)
Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, Calif.)
Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, Calif.)
Sacred Dance Guild
Multiple copies of journals and articles were discarded along with tapes of commercial music. Duplicate copies of books were
added to sale books.
The following were discarded:
Dr. A. Caliandro,
How to Stop Judging Yourself. 27 min UC-30 Color Video cassette, 5/15/78.
Davon Michael Kari,
A bibliography of sources in Christianity and the arts. [typed version]. GTU has BR115.A8 K36 1995.
Norman Vincent Peale, "How Faith can Work Wonders" 28 min UC-30 Color Video cassette, 4/7/78.
Norman Vincent Peale, "How to Keep a New Start Going" 27 min, UC-30 Color Video cassette, 4/7/78.
The following were added to the GTU library materials or as or to separate archives.
Church Teacher and
Church Educators were added to GTU's periodicals. Extra copies were discarded.
Oneonta Rhythm Choir scrapbook, separate archival collection.
A set of audio tapes by Harland Hogue were added to Harlan E. Hogue Oral History Collection, GTU 97-12-02:
- The Great Awakening, 1976 October 10
- The Second Awakening, 1976 October 17
- The Puritans 1976 October 2
- Slavery and the Church, 1976 October 24
- The Imprisoned Splendor, 1988 June 19
- Sermons: Declaration of Interdependence, Integrity in Worship, 1988 June 3, 1989 January 29
- Hosea, the Hebrew Prophets, 1988 March 6
- Overcoming the Barriers, 1988 May 1
- The Re-Digging of Old Wells, 1988 May 29
- Sermons: The Vital Center, Two Sides of Christian Faith, 1988 October 23, 1988 July 24
- A Celebration of Thanksgiving, Kathryn Kit Hogue 1917-1995, 1995 September 16