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From Morton Scott Enslin

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Author: Enslin, Morton Scott (Crozer Theological Seminary)

Date: October 26, 1951

Location: Chester, Pa.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education


The students in L. Harold DeWolf’s Seminar in Systematic Theology reviewed a number of theological journals, among them the Crozer Quarterly.1 Preparing to give the presentation on the Crozer journal, King wrote a letter to Enslin, his former teacher and the editor of the journal, inquiring about the history of the publication. Enslin’s minuscule handwriting makes portions of his letter in response nearly illegible.

Dear Mr. King,

Your good letter reached me. It is pleasant to hear from you and to learn of your work at Boston University. Please give my most cordial greetings to Professors Brightman and DeWolf.

I am interested in your historical discussion of Crozer Quarterly in connection with the course in contemporary American theology. I think that you will find about all the real historical data in the complete file of the Quarterly itself. I presume that at Boston University or Harvard there is a complete file. It was started with the January issue in 1924. Dr. Pollard was the first editor. It was the result of a feeling by the faculty at that time, under the direction of Dr. Evans, that such a journal was needed. Andover and Rochester were invited to join in the project but found it impossible to accept. Accordingly Crozer has continued it alone from the start.2 The several editors who have successively directed it have been: Edward B. Pollard, Spenser B. Meeser, A. Stewart Woodburne, R. E. E. Harkness, and Morton S. Enslin. You will find from a study of the various numbers that generally each editor had some column or department in which he gave expression to his own slant or policy for the journal.

Book reviews have always been a part of the Quarterly. In recent years they have become a very important section. And the publishers are eager to have their books in our paper. We have had many indications from here (or the Library of Congress) and abroad that our pages are widely used as a source of standard review. Reviewers are entirely free from editorial pressure as regards the [tone] and slant of their reviews.

We have had a bit wider field of interest than many so-called “theological” journals, and a glance at back issues will show the wide field in which our authors and reviewers have worked.

Until Jan 1950 the price was kept at the [original] figure $1.50; then it was raised to $2.50. It has never been financially self-supporting and was not intended to be. Its aim was to provide a journal of liberal authors and general values at a figure ministers on limited salary could afford, and we have regarded it in part a missionary effort. I also feel that it has been of value to the Seminary [through] the resultant [publicity], as it is widely found in the libraries of universities and colleges here and abroad.

I shall be interested to see the result of your study if you have to present it in written form.

[signed] Morton S. Enslin

Mrs. Heacock is still away from the office in consequence of the broken ankle she suffered last July; hence my letter is long hand. I hope that you can decipher it.

1. See L. Harold DeWolf, Syllabus, Seminar in Systematic Theology, 13 September 1951–15 January 1952, MLKP-MBU.

2. King used the preceding three sentences, with minor adjustments, in his presentation. See King, “Crozer Quarterly,” 12 December 1951, p. 93 in this volume.

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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