Crozer Theological Seminary

Coordinates: 39°51′21″N 75°22′17″W / 39.85583°N 75.37139°W / 39.85583; -75.37139
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Old Main
Old Main Building, Upland, Pennsylvania, November 2009
Crozer Theological Seminary is located in Pennsylvania
Crozer Theological Seminary
Crozer Theological Seminary is located in the United States
Crozer Theological Seminary
Location21st St. and Upland Ave., Upland, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°51′21″N 75°22′17″W / 39.85583°N 75.37139°W / 39.85583; -75.37139
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
Architectural styleItalianate
NRHP reference No.73001626[1]
Added to NRHPJune 18, 1973

The Crozer Theological Seminary was a Baptist seminary located in Upland, Pennsylvania, and founded in 1868. It was named after the wealthy industrialist, John Price Crozer.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a student at Crozer Theological Seminary from 1948 to 1951,[2] being elected student body president[3] and graduating with a Bachelor of Divinity degree.[4]

In 1970, the seminary merged with the Rochester Theological Seminary, forming the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York and the seminary's Old Main building was subsequently used as office space by Crozer Hospital (now part of the Crozer-Chester Medical Center.) The Old Main building is a three-story, F-shaped, stucco-coated stone building with three pavilions connected by a corridor with flanking rooms. Each of the pavilions is topped by a gable roof and cupola, the largest cupola being on the central pavilion.[5] The seminary's grounds are now the Crozer Arboretum.

The Old Main building in Upland was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[1]


Crozer Chester Medical Center Campus Map
Crozer Hall
Lewis House
Vedder House

The Seminary began as the Normal School of Upland, established and built by the president of the board of directors of the American Baptist Publication Society, John Price Crozer.[6] [7] After the outbreak of the American Civil War, the school was closed.[8]

Crozer allowed the Union army to use the building as a hospital during the Civil War. The hospital contained a thousand beds and accommodated 300 nurses, attendants and guards. The patients were almost exclusively Union soldiers except for after the battle of Gettysburg, in July 1863, when the number of wounded and sick Confederate army soldiers left on the battlefield required their acceptance at the hospital. During the war, more than 6,000 patients were treated. Many of the dead from the hospital were some of the first burials at nearby Chester Rural Cemetery.[9]

After the war, the building was repossessed by Crozer and subsequently sold to Colonel Theodore Hyatt for use as the Pennsylvania Military Academy until 1868.[10][11]

Crozer died in 1866. When Old Main was vacated by the Pennsylvania Military Academy his family converted the school to the Crozer Theological Seminary in his honor. His son recruited faculty for the new mission,[12] It served as an American Baptist Church school, training seminarians for entry into the Baptist ministry from 1868 to 1970. [13] Henry G. Watson was named its first President in 1869.

In 1970 the school moved to Rochester, New York, in a merger that formed the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.[14] The old seminary building was used as the former Crozer Hospital (now the Crozer-Chester Medical Center). The building is currently used as administrative offices for the Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Name Tenure
Henry G. Weston 1869–1909
Milton G. Evans 1909–1934
James H. Franklin 1934–1944
Edwin E. Aubrey 1944–1949
Sankey Lee Blanton 1950–1962
Ronald V. Wells 1962–1970


The multi-acre campus contains the Crozer Arboretum and the following buildings:

  • Humpstone
  • President's House
  • Pollard House
  • CHEC
  • Evans House
  • Crozer Hall
  • Neisser House
  • Lewis House
  • Vedder House
  • Davis House
  • Sunnyside House
  • Westin House
  • Franklin House

Pearl Hall[edit]

Pearl Hall Library

Pearl Hall is a serpentine stone library on the campus which opened on June 4, 1871.[15] The building was sponsored by William Bucknell, the benefactor of Bucknell University, in memory of his late wife Margaret Crozer, the daughter of John Price Crozer. In addition to the $30,000 cost of the building, Bucknell also gave $25,000 for the cost of books and $10,000 for an endowment fund.[16]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Nojeim, Michael J. (2004). Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 179. ISBN 0-275-96574-0
  3. ^ Frady, Marshall (2002). Martin Luther King Jr.: A Life. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-303648-7.
  4. ^ Downing, Frederick L. (1986). To See the Promised Land: The Faith Pilgrimage of Martin Luther King, Jr. Mercer University Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-86554-207-4
  5. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania". CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Archived from the original (Searchable database) on 2005-09-14. Retrieved 2012-01-07. Note: This includes Pennsylvania Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks (June 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Old Main" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  6. ^ Jordan, John W. (1914). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Its People. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 462–464. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  7. ^ Ashmeade, Henry Graham (1884). History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. p. 432. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  8. ^ Cope, Gilbert (1904). Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania. New York: The Lewis Publishing Company. p. 7. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  9. ^ "About Us - Chester Rural Cemetery". Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  10. ^ Cope, Gilbert (1904). Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania. New York: The Lewis Publishing Company. p. 8. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Crozer Theological Society". Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  12. ^ Brackney, William H. (2004), A genetic history of Baptist thought : with special reference to Baptists in Britain and North America, Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, p. 369, ISBN 978-0-86554-913-5, OCLC 260116581, retrieved 2009-10-06
  13. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2021, p. 630
  14. ^ Dugan, George (1970-05-17), "BAPTIST SEMINARY PLANS TO MERGE; Crozer Theological to Join With School in Rochester", The New York Times, p. 36, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2009-10-06
  15. ^ Ashmead, Henry Graham (1884). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H Everts & Co. p. 434. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  16. ^ Jordan, John W. (1914). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Its People. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 463. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  17. ^ King, Martin Luther Jr.; Carson, Clayborne (1998), "Chapter 3: Crozer Seminary", The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr., New York City: Warner Books, ISBN 9-780-4465-2412-4, OCLC 39399036, retrieved 2020-10-26 – via Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, Stanford University

External links[edit]