Goddard Library History


Goddard Library

In the providence of God, and as a result of the visionary leadership of Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. Harold J. Ockenga, not to mention the philanthropic encouragement of J. Howard Pew, the Conwell School of Theology in Philadelphia and the Gordon Divinity School in Wenham, Massachusetts united to “establish within a strong evangelical framework, an independent, interdenominational school”. The united schools became known as the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

On October 8, 1971, the seminary celebrated and dedicated the opening of a new library named in honor of Burton L. Goddard. By this time, Dr. Goddard had devoted 31 years of continuous service to Gordon College and Divinity School. In an outdoor ceremony held on the campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Dr. Harold J. Ockenga, paid tribute to Goddard’s “exceptionally keen mind and spirit of rarely found humility.” Dr. Ockenga continued by extolling Dr. Goddard’s virtues, stating that “his one all consuming passion is that he might exalt his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and be of service to those with whom he labors.” Dr. Goddard, completely overwhelmed by the honor and tribute, mentioned in his speech that his “thoughts went to the faculty,” and that “this is the achievement of a team, and not an individual.”

Goddard Library Mission

GroupWhile remembering the faithful, productive, and Christ-honoring life of our namesake; we certainly never want to forget our mission. The primary mission of the Goddard Library – the main Gordon-Conwell library – is to serve and support the training of theological students from an evangelical perspective. While our primary service community is the students and faculty at the South Hamilton campus; Goddard Library also serves distance students through the SemLink and Doctor of Ministry programs, and branch campuses in Boston, Charlotte, and Jacksonville. The library serves those involved in vocational ministry in the New England area, and the general public as well.

Goddard Library Collections

The Goddard Library owns several special collections including hundreds of rare books. Many of these collections are cataloged and searchable using the online catalog. The Adventual Library documents the history of the Millerites and of Adventism and contains extensive publications on biblical prophecy. The library and the personal papers of Dr. Harold J. Ockenga are owned by the library and stored in the Academic Building. The Roger Babson Bible Collection documents the history of the Bible and contains five incunabula (i.e. books published within the first 50 years of printing). While some collections are not yet accessible, there are plans to make these available to the research community as time permits.

We are humbled to be serving the Lord at the Goddard Library. The providential hand of the Lord in our rich heritage inspires our mission to serve the seminary community, using our many collections and resources, to advance the Kingdom in the context of global Christianity to the glory of God.