Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Alexander Taggart McGill Papers, 1833-1851

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, August 1997

Summary Information
Title: Alexander Taggart McGill papers
Creator: McGill, Alexander Taggart, 1807-1889
Inclusive dates: 1833-1851
Extent: 43 items
Abstract:
The McGill papers are a small, but informative series of letters addressed to Alexander Taggart McGill from fellow Presbyterian ministers. The letters are concerned primarily with facets of the life of the Presbyterian Church, particularly in western Pennsylvania, including ministerial relations, church politics, and theology.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1983. M-2088.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Alexander Taggart McGill papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.


Biographical/Historical Note

Alexander Taggart McGill was born at Canonsburg, Pa., on February 24, 1807, the son of John and Mary Taggart McGill. After graduating from Jefferson College, then at Canonsburg, Alexander entered the Associate Presbyterian (Seceder) Seminary in Canonsburg, but for reasons of health, was forced to suspend his studies. Venturing south, McGill taught school at the Baldwin Academy in Milledgeville, Ga., and later studied law, gaining admittance to the Georgia bar in 1830. He was also appointed by the state legislature Surveyor of the Cherokee Land Reservation. In 1831, he returned to Canonsburg to resume his preparation for the ministry, and in 1835 was ordained by the Associate Presbyterian Synod at Carlisle, Pa., and installed as pastor of four small congregations.

The decade of the 1830s was a period of crisis in Presbyterian loyalties, and in 1838, McGill left the Associate Synod, transferring his membership to the Old School Presbytery of Carlisle. From 1842 to 1852, and 1853-1854, he was Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government at Western Theological Seminary (now Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) in Allegheny, and for one year, 1852-53, he taught at Columbia Seminary in South Carolina. In 1854, the General Assembly (Old School) appointed him Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Seminary, N.J., a chair he held until his retirement in 1883. He was author of many books and pamphlets, including several discussing the position of the Presbyterian Church with respect to slavery.

McGill became Moderator of the General Assembly (Old Style) in 1848, and was Stated Clerk from 1850 to 1870. His honorary degrees included a D.D. from Marshall College (1842) and an L.L.D. from the College of New Jersey (1868). He was married on May 18, 1837, to Eleanor A. McCulloch of Lewistown, Pa., and was father of three sons and three daughters. Nine years after Eleanor McGill died on March 6, 1873, McGill remarried to Catherine Bache Hodge of Princeton, who died on July 3, 1884. McGill died in Princeton on January 13, 1889.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The McGill papers are a small, but informative series of letters addressed to Alexander Taggart McGill from fellow Presbyterian ministers. The letters all correspond to McGill's years in western Pennsylvania, between the time of his return from the south in 1831 and his departure for New Jersey in 1854. This period coincides with McGill's change in denominational ties, however nothing in the collection relates directly to that switch.

The letters are concerned primarily with facets of the life of the Presbyterian Church, particularly in western Pennsylvania, including ministerial relations, church politics, and theology. Of particular note are letters documenting ties between several of the Presbyterian synods, which, in legend at least, detested one another. Perhaps reflecting McGill's own trajectory between synods, these letters suggest a greater degree of cross-fertilization between synods than has traditionally been suggested.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Associate Presbyterian Church.
    • Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
    • Literature--Societies, etc.
    • Presbyterian Church--Clergy.
    • Presbyterian Church--Doctrinal and controversial works.
    • Western Theological Seminary (Allegheny, Pa.)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   58,Small Collections Folders   9-17
    Alexander Taggart McGill papers,  1833 August 14-1851 January 18 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    A substantial collection of correspondence of Alexander Taggart McGill is located in the Department of History and Record Management Services of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Philadelphia Pa.

    McGill, Alexander Taggart. The presence of God a people's prosperity. (Philadelphia, 1841). C2 1841 Ma

    McGill, Alexander Taggart.An inaugural address, delivered before the board of directors. (Pittsburgh, 1843). C2 1843 Ma

    Princeton Theological Seminary.Discourses at the inauguration of Rev. Alexander T. M'Gill, D.D. (Philadelphia, 1854) C2 1854 Pr

    McGill, Alexander Taggart. Sinful but not forsaken. (N.Y.: 1861). C2 1843 Ma

    McGill, Alexander Taggart.The hand of God with the black race. (Philadelphia, 1862). C2 1862 Ma

    McGill, Alexander Taggart. Life by faith. (Philadelphia, 1862). C2 1843 Ma

    McGill, Alexander Taggart.American slavery, as viewed and acted on by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. (Philadelphia, 1865). C2 1865 Ma

    Partial Subject Index
    American Tract Society
    • 3 November 1846
    Arminianism
    • 3 July 1846
    Associate Presbyterian Church
    • passim
    Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
    • passim
    Books--Prices
    • 11 June 1835
    Building
    • 21 January 1845
    Carlisle (Pa.)--Description and travel
    • 14 Feburary 1838
    Churches--New York (State)--New York
    • 11 June 1835
    Cumberland (Pa.) Presbyterian Church
    • 24 May 1844; 24 December 1847
    Dayton (Ohio)--Description and travel
    • 23 December 1846
    Dickinson College
    • 14 Feburary 1838
    Kentucky--Description and travel
    • 29 January 1847
    Literature--Societies, etc.
    • 29 March 1836; 31 July 1846; 21 August 1850
    Lord's Supper
    • 17 July 1838; 8 July 1844
    Marriage
    • 14 February 1838
    Missions--China
    • 15 July 1843
    Presbyterian Church--Clergy
    • passim
    Presbyterian Church--Doctrinal and controversial works
    • 3 April 1836; 17 July 1838; 20 July 1847; 24 December 1847
    Presbyterian Church--History
    • 3 April 1836; 17 July 1838
    Presbyterian Church--Missions--China
    • 15 July 1843
    Psalmody
    • 14 December 1843
    Scotland
    • 14 August 1833
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes
    • 15 January 1851
    Western Theological Seminary (Allegheny, Pa.)
    • 26 September 1843; 24 December 1847; 15 January 1851