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History of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary: Home

This guide contains resources about Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and its precursor institutions. Content will be regularly added to further enhance it.


Image of the Seminary from the 1920s


This history of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (formerly known as Garrett Biblical Institute and Garrett Theological Seminary) is filled with many exciting events, influential people, and profound developments. As the second theological institution of Methodism in America, it has a long, rich history, beginning in 1853. It is the product of mergers with The Chicago Training School (1934) and Evangelical Theological Seminary (1974).

The resources within this guide will guide you through some of the most impactful elements of this history. This guide is meant as a starting point to further research, through The Styberg Library's Archives/Special Collections and elsewhere.

A Brief History

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is the result of the interweaving of three institutions. These institutional histories live on in our core values of critical and creative reason, evangelical commitment, and prophetic participation in society.

  • Garrett Biblical Institute, the first Methodist seminary in the Midwest, was established in 1853 by largely the same church people who founded Northwestern University. Its founders hoped that the school would shape mind and spirit toward an educated ministry.
  • The Chicago Training School, established in 1885, was an important force for women in ministry and for developing service agencies throughout Chicago. Chicago Training School merged with Garrett Biblical Institute in 1934.
  • Evangelical Theological Seminary, located in Naperville and founded as a seminary of the Evangelical Church (later the Evangelical United Brethren Church) in 1873, joined with Garrett Theological Seminary in 1974 to form Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

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