Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is an independent seminary in New York City. The school is located in Manhattan between Claremont Avenue and Broadway, 120th to 122nd Streets. The seminary was founded in 1836 under the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., and is affiliated with nearby Columbia University.
In the 20th century, Union was World renowned as a center of liberal Christianity and neo-orthodoxy, in addition to being the birthplace of the Black Liberation Theology, Womanist Theology and Mujerista Theology movements. Union houses the largest theological library in the Western Hemisphere. Though the seminary is more often referred to by the shorter, informal, description "Union Theological Seminary, New York" the full incorporated name is as above.
The brick and limestone English Gothic architecture, by Francis R. Allen (1844-1931) and Collins, completed in 1910, includes the tower (pictured), which adapts features of the crossing tower of Durham Cathedral. The Seminary is also adjacent to Teachers College, Barnard College, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Manhattan School Of Music and has cross-registration and library access agreements with several of these schools. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 23, 1980. Some sections of the campus are now on long-term lease to Columbia University.
The Burke Theological Library, which is the largest theological library in the western hemisphere, contains holdings of over 700,000 items. The Library is recognized as one of the premier theological libraries in the world and includes extensive holdings of unique and special materials, including Greek census records from 20 CE, a rare 12th-century manuscript of the Life of St. Boniface, a 1520 imprint of Martin Luther’s first published writing, and one of the first African-American hymnals, published in Philadelphia in 1818.
In 2004 Union's famed Burke Library became fully integrated into the Columbia University Library system which holds over 10 million volumes. The Library is named in honor of Walter Burke, a generous benefactor to the Library who served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Seminary from 1976 to 1982.