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George Aaron Barton Papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center [Contact Us]3401 Market Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

George Aaron Barton was an author, scholar, and Professor of Semitic languages. Born in Quebec, Canada, Barton became a minister in the Society of Friends in 1879, after attending the Oakwood Seminary in Poughkeepsie, New York. He continued his education at Haverford College, earning his B.A. in 1882 and M.A. in 1885. He worked briefly in the insurance field before teaching at the Friends School in Providence, Rhode Island from 1884 to 1889. He then resumed his studies at Harvard, focusing on religion, Assyriology and Semitic languages. After gaining his Ph.D. in 1891, Barton became a professor of Semitic languages at Bryn Mawr College, where he also served as college chaplain.

In 1922 Barton came to the University of Pennsylvania where he succeeded Morris Jastrow as professor of Semitic languages and the history of religion from 1922 to1931 and then as a professor emeritus from 1932 until his death. While at Penn, he also served as the director of the American School of Oriental Research in Baghdad, 1921-1934. After leaving the Society of Friends in protest of its World War I pacifist stand, Barton was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1919; he was professor of New Testament literature at the Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia from 1922 until 1937.

Internationally known for his writings on Biblical subjects, Barton was also a noted scholar of archeology, helping appraise and interpret the findings of many archeological expeditions of the Middle East. His publications on cuneiform writing included work with texts from Penn's University Museum collections as well as with other Sumerian tablets. He also became interested in biblical archeology, writing a popular text book on the subject, published in 1916. His extensive scholarly publications addressed not only Semitic languages and biblical archeology, but also translations and commentaries on biblical texts.

After Barton's first wife, Caroline Brewer Danforth, died in 1930, he later married Katherine Blye Hagy. Barton and his first wife had one adopted son.

The George A. Barton Papers, 1903-1942, concern both his personal life and his career. As a Professor whose interests and expertise crossed several disciplines, his collection includes papers relating to a variety of topics. A small portion of the collection is comprised of Barton's personal papers including letters and essays on his personal religious and political beliefs, book reviews, and lecture notes. The bulk of the collection deals with the research Barton conducted in the fields of Christianity, Archeology, and Mysticism.

Concerning the topic of Christianity the papers include: a critique of Torrey's Aramaic theory of the Gospels; numerous notes; outlines; and essays regarding the gospels and the life of Jesus. There are also notes and essays on the Apocalypse, and essays and articles on Christianity in general.

Barton's papers on archeology contain translations of texts, including Egyptian translations and those of Gudea Cylinders, A and B; essays on early man and Indo-Sumerian seals with illustrations; correspondence regarding the Hittite code and archeological finds from 1927-1928; photographs of inscriptions and tablets; and Barton's description of Herbert Clark's archeological collection.

Documenting his interest in Mysticism are notes; bibliographies; copies of students' papers, 1927; and an outline and notes for his book, entitled Mysticism. There is some correspondence regarding attempts to have the book published posthumously.

Barton's papers contain the unpublished manuscript of Mysticism (820 p., 1929), and manuscript of his published book The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad (578 p., 1928).

This collection consists of two series: Personal Papers and Manuscripts.

Transferred from Bennet Hall, 1955.

University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center
Finding Aid Author
Denise Piezynski under the direction of Theresa R. Snyder
Finding Aid Date
November 1989
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Partial inventories of Barton's papers.
Box 1 Folder 1
Letter and Essays on Barton's Quaker background and Episcopalian conversion.
Box 1 Folder 2
Incomplete article on Yahwehism and Nazism.
Box 1 Folder 3
Essay on "When does a Republic Cease to be a Republic" and correspondence concerning it.
Box 1 Folder 4
Book Reviews, 1928-1937.
Box 1 Folder 5
Notes and papers relating to Barton's classes.
Box 1 Folder 6
Miscellaneous papers of George A. Barton.
Box 1 Folder 7
Critique of Torrey's Aramaic theory of the Gospels.
Box 1 Folder 8
Notes on the four Gospels and the life of Christ.
Box 1 Folder 9
Outline of the life and teachings of Jesus.
Box 1 Folder 10
Aramaic or Greek terms employed by Jesus.
Box 1 Folder 11
Copies of "The Drama of the Great-souled Jesus".
Box 1 Folder 12
Translation of "Enoch".
Box 1 Folder 13
Notes for a speech at Woodbrooke Summer School about Psalms.
Box 1 Folder 14
Notes on the Apocalypse.
Box 1 Folder 15
Published Article, "The Apocalypse and Recent Criticism".
Box 1 Folder 16
Article on "Religious Education through Neglect" and correspondence concerning.
Box 1 Folder 17
Lamsa's article in "The Churchman" and correspondence regarding it.
Box 1 Folder 18
Chapter IX of The Heart of the Christian Message, third edition.
Box 1 Folder 19
Essays on Christianity.
Box 1 Folder 20
Essays on Religion.
Box 1 Folder 21
Essays on Mormonism.
Box 1 Folder 22
Reliefs of ancient writing.
Box 1 Folder 23
Miscellaneous copies and translations of ancient texts.
Box 1 Folder 24
Egyptian and Coptic translations.
Box 1 Folder 25
Egyptian translations of Roeder's Chrestomathy.
Box 1 Folder 26
Egyptian translations for Archeology and the Bible.
Box 1 Folder 27
Pyramid Texts.
Box 1 Folder 28
Essays on Archeological data of early civilized man.
Box 1 Folder 29
Essay "On the So-called Sumero-Indian Seals".
Box 1 Folder 30
Illustrations of Indo-Sumerian Seals.
Box 1 Folder 31
Notes on the Hittite Code.
Box 1 Folder 32
Letter from Professor James A. Montgomery concerning Hittite grammar notes.
Box 1 Folder 33
Paln Inscription and letter concerning it.
Box 1 Folder 34
Notes on Babylon and Assyria.
Box 1 Folder 35
Gudea Cylinder A.
Box 1 Folder 36
Gudea Cylinder B.
Box 1 Folder 37
Mesopotamian Paleography, Part II.
Box 1 Folder 38
Photographs of miscellaneous inscriptions and tablets.
Box 1 Folder 39
An outline and description of photographsof Palestinian cities.
Box 1 Folder 40
Barton's description of archeological collection of Herbert Clark.
Box 1 Folder 41
Correspondence regarding archeology, 1927-1928.
Box 1 Folder 42
Letters and articles from India concerning archeological finds,1927-1928.
Box 1 Folder 43
Personal notes on mysticism.
Box 1 Folder 44
Students' papers on mysticism, 1927.
Box 1 Folder 45
Students' papers on mysticism, 1927.
Box 1 Folder 46
Students' papers on mysticism, 1927.
Box 1 Folder 47
Students' papers on mysticism, 1927.
Box 1 Folder 48
Students' papers on mysticism, 1927.
Box 1 Folder 49
Students' papers on mysticism, 1927.
Box 1 Folder 50
Bibliographies concerning mysticism.
Box 2 Folder 1
Outline and description of various types of mysticism.
Box 2 Folder 2
Outline for the book Mysticism.
Box 2 Folder 3
Compilation of materials for book on mysticism.
Box 2 Folder 4
Correspondence regarding attempts to have Barton's book Mysticism published, 1949-1957.
Box 2 Folder 5

p. 1-75.
Box 2 Folder 6
p. 76-151.
Box 2 Folder 7
p. 152-249.
Box 2 Folder 8
p. 250-343.
Box 2 Folder 9
p. 344-434.
Box 2 Folder 10
p. 435-549.
Box 2 Folder 11
p. 550-617.
Box 2 Folder 12
p. 618-718.
Box 2 Folder 13
p. 719-820.
Box 2 Folder 14
p. 1-108.
Box 2 Folder 15
p. 109-200.
Box 2 Folder 16
p. 201-268.
Box 2 Folder 17
p. 269-341.
Box 2 Folder 18
p. 342-420.
Box 2 Folder 19
p. 421-499.
Box 2 Folder 20
p. 500-556.
Box 2 Folder 21
p. 557-578.
Box 2 Folder 22

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