Reinhold Niebuhr Timeline: Declines position at Yale

Reinhold Niebuhr Timeline: Declines position at Yale

Correspondence with UTS President Henry Sloane Coffin

Union Theological Seminary
Broadway at 120th Street
New York

President's Room
December 2, 1929

Professor Reinhold Niebuhr
Union Theological Seminary

My dear Dr. Niebuhr:
Dean Weigle came to me and asked me whether I had any objection to his offering you a Chair of Christian Ethics at Yale. I told him certainly not. I thanked him for his frankness in coming to me and told him that I was going to be equally frank in saying that I would do my utmost to prevent you from leaving us.

I write this letter merely to ask you not to do anything without coming to see me. I shall have, I trust, a definite proposition to make to you but it may be some weeks be- fore I can make it officially as the Board does not meet until January.

Meanwhile let me say, what you certainly must know, that we all here consider your work a brilliant contribu- tion to the Seminary and, what is more, that we know that you have added to the spiritual vitality of the institution. For all this we love you and want you to stay with us.

Faithfully yours,
Henry Sloane Coffin

Reinhold Niebuhr Papers: Library of Congress, Manuscript Reading Room

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Paul Elie

is senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage.

Jean Bethke Elshtain

is an author and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Robin Lovin

is Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and the author of Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism.