Since 1902, Pacific School of Religion has hosted the Earl Lectures and Leadership Conference, an event that features influential religious speakers and also addresses critical theological, pastoral, and social topics for students, ministers and the community.
The lectures were first recorded on reel to reel audio tape in 1950, when they were also broadcast on the radio. Cassette tapes were latter created in the 1960s for sale and distribution, landing in various theological libraries. Previously, printed forms of the lectures were often made available, as with the Theoldore Roosevelt lectures in 1911.
From the 50th anniversary program in 1952:
Edwin T. Earl, a resident of Oakland, was a member of the First Congregational Church there. His brother, Guy C. Earl, prominent attorney, was a member of the Pacific School of Religion Board of Trustees. John Knox McLean, first president of Pacific School of Religion, interested Mr. Earl in the need for bringing outstanding Christian clergymen and laymen to the Bay Area. In 1901, fifty years ago, Mr. Earl established the E.T. Earl Lectureship Foundation to
"Aid in securing at Berkeley, the seat of the University of California as the center of secular learning for California, the adequate presentation of Christian truth, by bringing to Berkeley year by year, eminent Christian scholars to lecture upon themes calculated to illustrate and disseminate Christian thought and minister to Christian life."
Booker T. Washington, Henry Van Dyke, John R. Mott, Walter Rauschenbusch, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilfred T. Grenfell, William Howard Taft, S. Parkes Cadman, William Allen White, Henry Agard Wallace, Lloyd C. Douglas, Bishop Stephen Neill, and Toyohiko Kagawa are just a few of the outstanding personalities who have appeared as Earl Lecturers.
Students of the University and residents of our entire area have learned and profited by the wisdom and Christian example of these world famous clerics and laymen who have been brought to Berkeley by the Pacific School of Religion through the vision of John Knox McLean and the financial generosity of Edwin T. Earl.
Many thanks to the following Pacific School of Religion individuals who enabled this collection to be brought together and uploaded: Laurie Isenberg, Director of Community and Continuing Education; Kay Schellhase, Archivist; and Iakopo Yan Lan, manager of the audio-visual department for many years.
For a current activities and a list of speakers since 1988, see www.psr.edu/earl-lectures.