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Biographical Note

Scope and Content


Preferred Citation

Restrictions on Access

Subject Terms

Container List [ + ]

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Guide to the Roger Stilman Guptill Papers

Prepared by Mark C. Shenise, Associate Archivist

United Methodist Archives and History Center
General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church


Overview of Collection

Record Creator: Guptill, Roger Stilman
Title: Roger Stilman Guptill Papers
Date Span: 1894 - 1973 Click here to view the finding aid format suitable for requesting material at the Archives.
Abstract: Guptil was an American minister, missionary, and educator. His mission work was in the Belgian Congo and afterwards he was on staff with the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He later taught at Gammon Theological Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. The material documents his work on the mission field and at Gammon.
Extent: 0.45 cubic feet

Biographical Note

Roger Stillman Guptill was born in Berwick, Maine on July 20, 1888, the second son of Frank Stillman and Hila Pinkham Guptill. He was educated in Berwick and graduated from Berwick High School in 1907. He recieved a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bates College in 1911, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Boston University in 1914, a Master of Arts degree from Hartford Seminary in 1927, and a Doctor of Divinity degree from LaGrange College in 1967.

He was ordained a deacon in the Maine Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1912. After graduating from Boston University, he served as a missionary in the Belgian Congo for twelve years, until a serious illness forced him to return to the United States. The next twelve years, he served with the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church and several pastorates in New England. In 1938, he became the Stewart Missionary Foundation Professor of Missions at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, where he taught for a period of twenty-two years. Guptill was also the secretary for the Stewart Missionary Foundation for Africa. After retirement, he taught several years at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia, before moving to the Penney Retirement Community at Penney Farms, Florida. Guptill died on June 15, 1973 and was buried on the grounds of Penny Farms.

In 1914, Dr. Guptill was married to Constance Sanborn, who died in 1960. He then married Ethelyn Cook. Guptill was survived by three birth children and a stepson.

Scope Note

This collection documents the ministry of Roger Stillman Guptill both on the mission field and his subsequent teaching and administrative positions at Gammon Theological Seminary. Though not extensive, the collection gives a clear window into Guptill's life. The Methodist Episcopal Church had a strong connection between African missions and Gammon Theological Seminary. It was at this institution that a number of African-American and African Nationals were trained for full-time ministry in both the United States and Africa.

The first seriesilluminates the early stage of Guptill's adult life when he was sent as a missionary by the Methodist Episcopal Church to Africa's Belgian Congo. Topics include observations on general Congo mission work as well as a detailed account of Guptill's own mission work in the area. He also wrote and published a biography on Melville B. Cox.

Within this series documents a point of transition which takes place regarding Guptill's shift in career appointments after service with the local and general church. He was the editor and manager of a serial called " The Foundation." This was published under the auspices of Gammon Theological Seminary, which Guptill was a faculty member. "The Foundation" was a quarterly publication printed in the interest of Gammon Theological Seminary, alumni, The Stewart Missionary Foundation for Africa, and the School of Missions. The serial published news on African missions, alumni, campus events such as lecture series, as well as articles on philosophical and practical theology. Guptill was an important participant in many of the above mentioned organizations.

Given this transitional point, the second seriesbegins to expand the scope of, and enter into, a new phase of Guptill's work at Gammon. Here we have a number of items directly related to both the Stewart Missionary Foundation for Africa and Gammon Theological Seminary. Topics include institutional histories, a biography on William Fletcher Stewart who founded and endowed the Stewart Missionary Foundation, various opinions about the feasibility and value of starting the Foundation, Stewart Foundation School of Missions, charters and by-laws, courses of study, and a constitution and by-laws of the Friends for Africa.

The third series, Africa, gives the largest picture of that which profoundly influenced Guptill's life. The series contains information on the development of the Congo mission, a history of Methodist missions in Africa, general information about the continent, biographical material which includes Henry M. Stanley, World Service, African studies, medical missions, the beginnings of Protestant mission work in hte Congo, native education, native economics, native literature, and a missionary conference report.


Materials have been arranged in the following manner.

Series: Africa
Series: Papers
Series: Stewart Missionary Foundation for Africa
subseries: Gammon Theological Seminary
subseries: Stewart Missionary Foundation

Preferred Citation

When citing material from this collection please use the following format: Direct reference to the item or its file folder, Roger Stillman Guptill Papers, United Methodist Church Archives - GCAH, Madison, New Jersey. Do not make use of the item's call number as that is not a stable descriptor.

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding this collection.

Index Terms

Subject Names - Personal
Booth, Newell Snow
Brewster, Dorothy D
Brewster, Harold M
Crawford, Dan
Hallock, Constance M
Hartzler, Eva Coates
Junod, H. A
Lerbok, Anna
Parks, Edward L
Piper, Arthur Lewis
Piper, Maude
Roberts, Noel
Springer, Helen
Springer, John McKendree
Stanley, Henry Morton
Subject Topics
Theology. Study and teaching.
Subject Geographic
United States
Church bulletins
Seminary Professor

Container List

Series: Africa
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1342-4-5: 9 Manuscripts 1960
1342-4-5: 10 "Dear Friends" letters 1926-1948
1342-4-5: 11 Hymnal: Nyimbo Shya Kulumbanya 1918
1342-4-5: 12 Publications 1909-1925
1342-4-5: 13 Publications 1938-1960
1342-4-5: 14 Pamphlets and leaflets Undated
1342-4-5: 15 Miscellaneous Undated

Series: Papers
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1342-4-5: 1 Publication: Belgian Congo Diary, 1914-1926 1973
1342-4-5: 2 Publications 1932-1960
1342-4-5: 3 Serial: The Foundation 1944-1949
1342-4-5: 4 Address 1939
1342-4-5: 5 Leaflets 1916

Series: Stewart Missionary Foundation for Africa
Sub-series: Gammon Theological Seminary
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1342-4-5: 8 General 1898-1920
Sub-series: Stewart Missionary Foundation
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1342-4-5: 6 Correspondence 1894
1342-4-5: 7 General 1894-1921