Gilkey, Charles Whitney, 1882-1968

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The Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and representative of the University of Chicago, Charles W. Gilkey was born in Massachusetts on 3 July 1882. His parents were James H. Gilkey, and Mary Lottie Johnson. Gilkey's brother James Gordon also entered the ministry and became a reverend.

Educated in the United States, Gilkey also pursued graduated studies in Europe:

Harvard, A.B. 1903, A.M. 1904

Union Theological Seminary, B.D., 1908

Universities of Berlin and Marburg, 1908-1909

United Free DH. Coll. Glasgow, 1909-1910

New Coll. Edinburgh and Oxford University 1909-10

Hon. D.D. Williams 1925; Hillsdale College, 1925; Yale, 1927; Brown, 1928; Harvard, 1929; Colby, 1931

In 1910 the Hyde Park Baptist Church ordained Gilkey as their pastor and he remained there for 18 years. He married Geraldine Brown, a graduate of the University of Chicago (1911) on 26 July 1915. Together they had a daughter, Mary Jane, and a son, Langdon Brown. The family lived in Hyde Park, Chicago during the school year and summered in Maine.

Gilkey acted as a Trustee of the University of Chicago from 1919-1929. In 1928 he accepted the position of Dean of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel of the University, which he would hold until 1947. Gilkey aimed to make Rockefeller Chapel a place of multi-denominational worship with a strong core of participants. This was a difficult task, he admitted, because the students stayed at the university only four years.

Gilkey also served as the Associate Dean of the Divinity School and represented the University in the position of the "Professor of Preaching of the University of Chicago Divinity School" at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Chicago, Toronto, Wellesley, Stanford, Purdue, Harvard, Wellesley, and the University of Washington. The University appointed Gilkey the Barrows Lecturer to India, 1924-1925

Geraldine devoted herself to the YWCA as the national president and served as the vice-president of the United Council of Church Women in addition to opening the Gilkey home to students at the University.

Gilkey announced his retirement in June 1947. The Gilkey's retired to Massachusetts from which they continued to travel and lecture. A student scholarship, the "Charles and Geraldine Gilkey Fund" was established to honor him and his wife. Mr. Gilkey passed away in Massachusetts in March 1968.

From the guide to the Gilkey, Charles Whitney. Papers, 1923-1941, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Blaine, Anita McCormick. Correspondence and papers, 1828-1958. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn William James Jr. papers, 1857-1960 (inclusive), 1911-1959 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Gilkey, Charles Whitney, 1882-1968. Papers, 1923-194 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Letters and Sermons, 1902-1954. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits, ca. 1852-ca. 2004 Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Gilkey, Charles Whitney. Papers, 1923-1941 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Sperry, Willard Learoyd, 1882-1954. Papers, 1902-1955 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
creatorOf Gilkey, Charles Whitney, 1882-1968. Papers, 1923-194 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Blaine, Anita McCormick. person
correspondedWith James, William, 1882-1961 person
associatedWith Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960. person
associatedWith Rosenwald, Julius, 1862-1932. person
associatedWith Sperry, Willard Learoyd, 1882-1954. person
Place Name Admin Code Country


Birth 1882

Death 1968



Ark ID: w62238mn

SNAC ID: 3288583