Protestant Educators

Picture of Edna M. Baxter

Edna May Baxter (1890-1985). A Methodist, she was the first woman to serve full-time as a teacher of religious education in a theological seminary, where her interests included early childhood education, curriculum development, the teaching of the Bible to children and youth, and multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-national relations.

Biography

Early Life and Education

Edna May Baxter was born on June 30, 1890, in Nichols Township, NY, one of three children and the only daughter of Fred H. Baxter and Mary Lurcock Baxter. Her father was descended from Scottish-Irish ancestors who settled in the American colonies in the 18th century. Her mother's family came to the United States from Kent, England, in 1828. At the age of nine she moved with her family to Athens, PA, where she attended the local public schools and graduated in 1909. At an early age she became very interested in teaching, qualified for a Pennsylvania teacher’s certificate, and taught elementary grades for three years. She was very active in the Methodist Episcopal Church and considered a full-time religious vocation. For several summers she volunteered in a program to provide New York City children with a “fresh air” experience in her town, and she went by train to Manhattan to accompany the children.

In 1913 Miss Baxter entered Folt’s Mission Institute in Herkimer, NY, to prepare for Christian service in the Methodist Church. She graduated in 1915 and was invited to teach Bible at the school. After a period of probation she was licensed and consecrated as a Deaconess by Bishop Joseph Berry in 1916 at the annual session of the Wyoming Conference of the Methodist Church. She earned the B.A. degree in Religious Education at Boston University in 1921. In Boston she was greatly influenced by Walter Athearn, and she worked as a youth director at the Church of All Nations. In 1923 she received the M.A. degree from Northwestern University, where her thesis was entitled “A Program of Religious Education for a Typical Rural Community.” Garrett Biblical Institute awarded the B.D. degree to her three years later; she was the only woman in her class. During her years of graduate study in Illinois she had directed an experimental program in the rural churches of Lake and McHenry counties and she taught summer sessions for clergy at Garrett, Cornell and Hamline.

According to an arrangement with Dean Edward Knight of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, when she joined the faculty, she was to continue her graduate study for the Ph.D. degree at Yale, the University of Chicago, Union Theological Seminary, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, as well as at Hartford.

Miss Baxter studied under some outstanding religious educators, such as Luther Weigle, William Clayton Bower, George Betts, and Harrison Elliott. In addition to completing the course requirements, she spent several summers in France and Geneva learning French so that she could pass the language exam. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on “A Study of the Ideas of God Held by Protestant Teachers of Religion.” Nevertheless, the Ph.D. degree was not awarded to her because of the objection of one or two men on the Hartford campus, apparently because they did not think that the degree should be given to another member of the faculty. Her studies continued: at the Yale University School of Education, and in the summer of 1937 she took courses at the School of Drama and Speech in London, England.

Career

Professor Baxter spent her entire career on the faculty of the School of Religious Education of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, beginning as an instructor in 1926 and becoming the first woman to be promoted to a full professor (in 1944) and head of a department. She retired in 1960 as Professor Emerita. Soon after she came to Hartford she founded the Knight Hall Nursery School in order to help students understand how to work with children and their parents, but also to meet the needs of seminary and neighborhood families. For twenty years she also led a Saturday School of Religion for the training of students in teaching elementary grades. She gave increasing attention to supervision, student practice teaching and group work. In addition, Baxter taught in summer sessions at Garrett Biblical Institute, Northwester University, Union Theological Seminary, Teacher’s College, Tufts College, Yale Divinity School and other institutions. She was also on the faculty of many leadership training schools and summer conferences, such as: Geneva Point Center, Lake Winnepesaukee (NH); Star Island (off Portsmouth, NH); Conference Point Camp, Lake Geneva (WI); Mount Sequoyah (AR); Lake Junaluska (NC); institutes of the Methodist Women’s Society for Christian Service; and workshops sponsored by city, county or state councils of churches.

As early as 1921 she became a member of the Religious Education Association; she served on its Board of Directors (1946-1956), was elected a vice president for a term in the 1940s, and was a member of the editorial committee for its journal, Religious Education. She attended several of its national conventions and served as a resource leader at the R.E.A.’s Golden Anniversary Convention in Pittsburgh in 1953. Her leadership of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the R.E.A. made it one of the most successful in the country. She was also a member for sixteen years of the editorial staff of The Journal of Bible and Religion, published by the National Association of Bible Instructors, which was the predecessor of the American Academy of Religion. She was a member of the board of education, New York Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Women’s Board of Japan International Christian University, and the committee of the Ewha Women’s University of Seoul, Korea.

Edna Baxter served as chairman of children’s work for the Connecticut Council of Churches for twenty- five years and helped to create the publication, Thoughts of God for Boys and Girls. Other organizations included the professors and research section of the International Council of Religious Education (later a part of the National Council of Churches); the Progressive Education Association; Zonta International; the American Association of University Women; the Hartford Women’s College Club; and Appalachian Mountain Club. She was a long-time member of the United Methodist Church of Hartford, and helped to develop a church library that was named in her honor.

In 1942 she was inducted into the honorary educational society, Delta Kappa Gamma, and she was featured in a chapter on her life in a book by the society in 1971, Pioneer Women Teachers of Connecticut edited by Helen Sheldrick. Her career was presented in a special issue of Religious Education on “Pioneers of Religious Education of the 20th Century,” edited by Boardman Kathan and published by the Religious Education Association in 1978. She was also listed in various editions of Who’s Who and World’s Who’s Who of Women. A prize for proficiency in religious education was named in her honor at Hartford Seminary.

Travels and Writings

Helen Sheldrick, in her chapter on Baxter, referred to her as “Teacher, lecturer, writer, world traveler, and church educator.” Professor Baxter was, indeed, a world traveler. She spent many summers in Europe, including England, Scotland and Scandinavia, and in 1928 made her first trip to the Middle East and Greece. In 1935 she was granted her first sabbatical leave in order to travel to Japan to lecture at the Japan Kindergarten Union. Visits and meetings in Manchuria, Korea, China, the Philippines, Iraq, Palestine and India- where she met such leaders as Tagore and Gandhi- followed this. There were other trips to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy and the Middle East. In 1932 she took part in an international conference on progressive education in France. In 1942 she lived in Jerusalem at the American School of Oriental Research and devoted some attention to archaeology. In 1958 she led one of the groups at the World Conference on Christian Education in Tokyo. She also lectured at the Bible Lands Conference in Haifa, attended by Arab Christians. Many of her trips were facilitated by her continuing contacts with former students who lived all over the world.

These travels contributed much to her writings. Some of her books, articles and curriculum materials grew out of her international experiences and adventures, whether they were on “Bible Lands Today,” or the growth and development of religion and the Bible. Her focus in many publications was on inter-cultural, inter-racial and inter-religious understanding. One course was on Jewish-Christian relations; another on our “Negro neighbors;” yet another one grew out of helping children to understand the problems of workers and laborers in the United States. She wrote a lead article for Muslim World in January 1951.

Her writings can be divided roughly into three periods. First, in the 1920s and 1930s she wrote articles on children’s work for various denominational and inter-denominational publications. For example, she contributed to the Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, which was replaced in 1939 by Children’s Religion, both published by the Congregational Churches. Her focus in many writings was on the teaching of preschool and elementary pupils and the use of creative activities in the classroom. This first period culminated in the publication of her favorite book, How Our Religion Began, which was planned as a course for Juniors and Jr. High young people.

In the second period, in the 1940s and continuing into the 1950s, she was a prolific author of reviews for The Journal of Bible and Religion and the journal, Religious Education. She had written some book reviews in 1939 and 1940, but now she was invited to prepare an annual review-article, in which she dealt with a number of books and resource materials in her field of interest. The teaching of the Bible and children’s ministry were the two areas that commanded her attention, and she often explored the relationship between the two.

In the third period, in the 1950s and 1960s, there appeared three substantial books and some articles, in which she reflected upon the experiences of a long career. In one article she sketched the history of the Knight Hall Nursery School; in several others she offered insights on the status of the field of religious education and the practitioners in it.

In 1984 Edna Baxter wrote an autobiography, Ventures in Serving Mankind, which offered insight on her early life and education, chronicled her extensive travels around the world, and added some information about her retirement years. One would wish that she had devoted more than a brief paragraph to the Ph.D. controversy, and that she had spent more time talking about her many courses, students and colleagues at Hartford Seminary. The title reflected her own life-long desire to be of service to people. However, the bibliography is incomplete and doesn’t include her many contributions to the journals, Religious Education and The Journal of Bible and Religion. Among her many students and colleagues were: Helen Edick and Helen Khoobyar, who joined her on the faculty; Edith Welker, who edited Thoughts of God for Boys and Girls; as well as Ruth Conant, Barbara Peck, Phyllis Maramarco, Rosemary Roorbach, Betty Stone, Jane Inderstrodt, and many others too numerous to mention. Baxter died on October 16, 1985 in Hartford, CT. with her memorial service led by the Rev. William Inderstrodt at the Methodist Church in Hartford.

As for the Ph.D. controversy, the archives at Hartford Seminary reveal the following sequence of events:

  • March 8, 1926. Baxter wrote to President Mackenzie about a possible vacancy at Hartford: “I am interested in continuing graduate study either at Yale or Columbia for a Ph.D.”
  • May 7, 1926. Telegram from Mackenzie offering her an appointment as an Instructor.
  • May 7, 1926. Letter from Dean Edward Knight of the School of Religious Education: “While nothing is said about you also being a candidate here for the degree of Ph.D., I am sure that would be possible should you desire it.”
  • May 13, 1929. Resolution by the Board of Trustees, Hartford Seminary Foundation: “VOTED, to enroll Miss Baxter as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree on condition that she conform to the customary practice of reverting to the position of Instructor until the degree is secured. It is understood she would automatically return to her position of Associate Professor on receiving the degree.”
  • March 1, 1933. Letter from Dean Stolz of the School of Religious Education, informing her that she has sustained the exam in French for the doctorate.
  • Sometime before Sept. 1933 she was notified that she was denied the Ph.D. degree despite completing all the requirements. When she prepared biographical information on Oct. 20, 1952, she wrote: “According to arrangements with Dean Knight, I was to work in other schools as well as the Hartford school, and work for the Ph.D...the Foundation decided it could not be awarded to a faculty member."
  • Sept. 2, 1933. Baxter’s letter to President Robbins Barstow of the Hartford Seminary Foundation regarding plans concerning her Ph.D. degree: “In view of the fact that my situation was caused by Foundation action rather than through my own school, I am writing to you for advice.”
  • Sept. 8, 1933. Letter from President Barstow to Baxter, approving of her continuing graduate work at Yale and also a sabbatical: “I am sure that these courtesies are the very least that could be expected from us by way of partial compensation for the unfortunate complications which, as you say, were through no fault of yours.”

Contributions to Christian Education

There were many areas where Edna Baxter did pioneering work, which affected several generations of students and leaders and had a profound influence on the shape of Christian education in the 20th century.

She was a pioneering woman in the field of religious education; not only the first woman to serve on the faculty of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, but also the first full-time teacher in religious education in any seminary in North America. (Sophia Lyon Fahs was part-time at Union Theological Seminary in New York City as director of the Union School of Religion, and Mary Ely Lyman had joined Union’s faculty at the same time but in the field of Bible.) Baxter broke new ground and blazed a trail for many others who were her students and colleagues.

She never lost sight of the purpose and goals of religious education and infused it with new methods and creative approaches, whether it was in the rural churches of northern Illinois, the inner city of Boston, the Hartford campus and other institutions, or on the world stage. As she neared retirement in 1959 she delivered the address at the alumni banquet on “Religious Education as I see it,” and recalled the history of the profession and the challenges facing it.

The status, training and credentialing of the religious educator remained life-long concerns. She rose to prominence when this ministry within the church had become professionalized, and she was an ardent advocate, facilitator and friend.

Without overlooking the importance of teaching a predominantly male clergy the art and science of religious education, she demonstrated a continuing concern for women in the field through her mentoring, advising and supervising. She inspired and motivated a large cadre of women who went into the field.

She believed strongly in the fellowship or camaraderie of religious educators and was the guiding spirit behind the Greater Hartford Chapter of the Religious Education Association. The archives of the R.E.A. on this chapter’s activities testify to her outstanding leadership.

Her teaching extended far beyond the bounds of the Hartford campus and included many venues where graduate professional study or leadership training of the laity took place. She was a guest speaker and resource person at innumerable churches and conference centers, and at conventions and conferences both at home and overseas.

She was an early pioneer in utilizing the best methods of religious education in rural or town and country churches. This grew out of her work in northern Illinois while she was a graduate student in the Chicago area and this led to her M.A. thesis and to an unpublished manual for ministers and other leaders in rural churches. She pioneered in the development of nursery schools, having founded the Knight Hall Nursery School soon after her arrival at Hartford. Many articles and resource materials came from her typewriter on pre-school education, and in 1952 she wrote an historical sketch of the school which appeared in the seminary bulletin.

She applied the best of progressive education to the teaching of religion, including a “lab school,” practice teaching, demonstration classes, home-school cooperation and child development as the basis for curriculum- making. The nursery school, for example, provided a ready-made setting for the education of parents regarding the growth and development of their children.

In all her work she emphasized the relationship between church and home. Even in her books on the Bible and learning to worship she stressed the role that parents played and how important it was for them to be trained as well as the teachers. She wrote in the introduction to her book, The Beginnings of Our Religion, that it “may serve as a book for the home.”

She pioneered in curriculum development, especially on the elementary level. At a time when the uniform lessons and quarterlies were at their peak, she was dissatisfied with traditional Bible stories and designed courses that brought together the best of biblical scholarship, archaeological research and sound educational methodology.

One of her outstanding innovations was a course for 5th and 6th graders on “Children and Labor Problems,” and one on “Living and Working in Our Country.” These courses introduced economic and social issues, including those of child labor, migrants, miners, workers in cotton, unions and strikes, housing, cooperatives, and living with people of other races. She told Helen Sheldrick: “I have tried to connect Church education with all areas of life, especially where human relationships were concerned... To me, the Christian faith is related to all of life.”

She also did ground- breaking work in the area of inter-cultural, inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, enriched by her many visits to other countries. Among her resources was a teacher’s guide for a book on the Middle East, “Bible Lands Today,” published by Friendship Press. She worked to improve relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

She was a master in developing creative approaches to teaching, using dramatics, choral speech, story- telling, music, games, arts and crafts, and creative worship. She prepared thousands of pages of syllabi and course outlines that would embody the most creative methods and techniques.

Finally as a member of the editorial staff or committee of two prestigious journals, The Journal of Bible and Religion and Religious Education, she contributed many articles and reviews of books and other resources available in the field of religious education.

On a personal note, I was not a student of hers, but was familiar with her work and writings. We met for the first time when I was on the staff of the Northern New England School of Religious Education at Geneva Point Center in New Hampshire. She had complimented me on my leadership of a creative worship experience using the Bible and the daily newspaper. Years later, as General Secretary of the Religious Education Association, we corresponded on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the journal, Religious Education, and on the 75th anniversary of the R.E.A. In preparing to edit the special issue of the journal on “Pioneers of Religious Education in the 20th Century,” I interviewed her at her home in Avery Heights. My impression is that she was a very challenging teacher, who would be very much at home at a Unitarian Church or at a conservative Baptist one. Also, that philosophical inquiry was not her main focus. She told Helen Sheldrick: “My philosophy is best expressed in the work I have tried to accomplish.” After reading her papers and archives at Hartford Seminary I am greatly impressed by her life and work. Edna Baxter was a remarkable and resourceful woman who made her mark in a man’s world. At a time when some women were emerging as editors, authors and directors- especially in children’s work- she rose to the highest level of her profession. She did this as a teacher in an outstanding school of religious education, as a lecturer much in demand, as an author of books, articles and reviews, and as a citizen of the world who sought to promote better relations among peoples, cultures and nations. I am glad that her story can be told as an inspiration for future generations.

At her memorial service on November 9, 1985, a tribute was printed in the bulletin, as follows: “Edna M. Baxter, born 95 years ago in Nichols Township, NY, devoted her life to expanding the horizons of religious education and faith for herself and others. Motivated by an insatiable desire for knowledge and a deep love for children and youth, she studied, wrote, and promoted learning and understanding wherever she could. Her pioneer spirit carried her into many institutions of higher learning, both in the United States and abroad, where she often taught as well as studied. Although consecrated as a Deaconess by Bishop Berry in 1916 and a life-long member of the United Methodist Church of Hartford, Miss Baxter was willing to share her wisdom and experience with all who sought to improve themselves and the world. The waves of her influence touch the shores of many nations of the world, both through her own contacts and through the lives of thousands of students and friends who benefited from her teachings. It is fitting that her name is listed in several national and international journals, including the International Who’s Who and the World’s Who’s Who of Women. But among all of her achievements and honors, the name of ‘Prof. Baxter’ is indelibly written in the hearts and spirits of all who knew and loved her. Her active mind, generous love, and vital spirit were with her until her death.”


Bibliography

Books

  • Baxter, E. (1984). Ventures in serving mankind: An autobiography. Allison Park, PA: Pickwick Publications.
  • Baxter, E. (1968). The beginnings of our religion. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1965). Learning to worship. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1960). Teaching the New Testament. Philadelphia: United Church Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1951). Junior teacher’s guide in Bible lands today. New York: Friendship Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1941). Junior teacher’s guide on Jewish-Christian relationships. New York: Friendship Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). How our religion began. New York: Harper and Brothers.
  • Baxter, E. (1938). Children and the changing world. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1938). Living and working in our country. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1935). Children and labor problems. Boston: Pilgrim Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1935). Friendship enterprise with our Jewish neighbors. Boston: Pilgrim Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1933). A study of the ideas of God held by Protestant teachers of religion. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Hartford Seminary.
  • Baxter, E. (1930). Junior teacher’s work and study book. Philadelphia: Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church.
  • Baxter, E. (1924). A manual for ministers and other leaders of religious education in town and country. Unpublished manuscript.
  • Baxter, E. (1923). A program of religious education for a typical rural community. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Northwestern University.
  • Baxter, E. (1963). ? .In K. Cully (Ed.), Westminster Dictionary of Christian Education (pp. ?-?). Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
  • Baxter, E. (1955). ? .In L. Loetscher, (Ed.), Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (pp. ?-?). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). Chapters on Jane Addams and Muriel Lester. In Philip H. Lotz (Ed.), Creative Personalities, Vol. II (pp ?-?). New York: Association Press.

Articles

  • Baxter, E. (1962). [Review of the Beacon Scientific Series]. Religious Education, 57 (4), 308, 310.
  • Baxter, E. (1961). The relation of the old religions to culture. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 27 (2), 5-13.
  • Baxter, E. (1961). [Review of the book The Bible companion]. Religious Education, 56 (1), 74.
  • Baxter, E. (1960). Religious education as I see it. Hartford Seminary Foundation Bulletin, 29, 23-35.
  • Baxter, E. (1960). [Review of the book 3’s in the Christian community]. Religious Education, 55 (5), 391.
  • Baxter, E. (1959). [Review of the book Teaching children in the church]. Religious Education, 54 (6), 551.
  • Baxter, E. (1959). [Review of the report Ghana assembly of the international missionary council]. Religious Education, 54 (4), 391-392.
  • Baxter, E. (1959). The parish minister of Christian education. Religious Education, 54 (4), 337-344.
  • Baxter, E. (1959). [Review of the book The use of audio visuals in the church]. Religious Education, 54 (2), 208.
  • Baxter, E. (1959). [Review of the book Worship and the modern child]. Religious Education, 54 (2), 204-205.
  • Baxter, E. (1958). Appreciation of President Russell Henry Stafford. Hartford Seminary Foundation Bulletin, 24, 46-48.
  • Baxter, E. (1957). Communication with children. Children’s Religion, 18 (5), 12-14.
  • Baxter, E. (1957). [Review of the book Dimensions of character]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 25 (1), 78-80.
  • Baxter, E. (1956). [Review of the book The gift of power]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 24 (3), 237.
  • Baxter, E. (1956). [Review of the New program of Christian education of the Protestant Episcopal church]. Religious Education, 51 (2), 150-153.
  • Baxter, E. (1955). [Review of the book Democracy in the home]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 23 (4), 325.
  • Baxter, E. (1955). [Review of the book Jesus, our friend]. Religious Education, 50 (2), 143-144.
  • Baxter, E. (1955). [Review of the book Children’s sermons]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 23 (2), 158.
  • Baxter, E. (1955). [Review of the book The teaching ministry of the church]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 23 (2), 153-154.
  • Baxter, E. (1954). [Review of the book Spiritual values in camping]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 22 (4), 293.
  • Baxter, E. (1954). [Review of the book Great Protestant festivals]. Religious Education, 49 (3), 237.
  • Baxter, E. (1954). [Review of the book Ways youth learn]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 22 (1), 78.
  • Baxter, E. (1953). Materials for teachers of religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 21 (3), 180-186.
  • Baxter, E. (1953). The practical field of preparation in the Hartford school of religious education. Hartford Seminary Foundation Bulletin, 15, 8-10.
  • Baxter, E. (1953). Recent books for religious educators. Religious Education, 48 (2), 94- 100.
  • Baxter, E. (1952). [Review of the book Understanding children’s Play]. Religious Education, 47 (5), 356.
  • Baxter, E. (1952). Resources for religious teaching. Journal of Bible and Religion, 20 (2), 90-96.
  • Baxter, E. (1952). The Knight Hall nursery school: An historical sketch. Hartford Seminary Foundation Bulletin, 13, 27-32.
  • Baxter, E. (1952). The place of content in Christian teaching. Religious Education, 47 (5), 347-352.
  • Baxter, E. (1951). God’s way is one of order. The Muslim World, 41 (1), 1-4.
  • Baxter, E. (1951). Emphases in books in religious education. Religious Education, 46 (1), 51-54.
  • Baxter, E. (1951). Relevant to teachers of religion. Journal of Bible and Religion, 19 (1), 20-24.
  • Baxter, E. (1950). [Review of the book The drama of ancient Israel]. Religious Education, 45 (1), 60.
  • Baxter, E. (1950). Enriching resources for education in religion. Journal of Bible and Religion, 18 (1), 36-41.
  • Baxter, E. (1949). Tufts college laboratory school for teachers of children. Religious Education, 44 (5), 302-306.
  • Baxter, E. (1949). [Review of the book Children’s religion]. Religious Education, 44 (2), 125.
  • Baxter, E. (1949). Varied resources for educators in religion. Journal of Bible and Religion, 17 (1), 23-30.
  • Baxter, E. (1949). Trends in books in religious education. Religious Education, 44 (1), 38-40.
  • Baxter, E. (1948). [Review of the book The Pastor and the children]. Religious Education, 43 (4), 252-253.
  • Baxter, E. (1948). Varied resources for religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 16 (1), 46-50.
  • Baxter, E. (1948). A teacher’s diary: A morning in nursery school. Children’s Religion, 9 (1), 8-9, 18.
  • Baxter, E. (1948). Some questions raised in the Middle east. Journal of Bible and Religion, 16 (4), 197-200.
  • Baxter, E. (1947). Providing experiences for the training of religious educators. Religious Education, 42 (4), 207-211.
  • Baxter, E. (1946). The Easter message for children. Child Guidance for Christian Living, 5 (4), 150-151.
  • Baxter, E. (1946, December 21). Observing Christmas. The Christian Leader, 128, 585.
  • Baxter, E. (1946). Religion and Social Action: A Panel Discussion. Religious Education, 41 (4), 222-227.
  • Baxter, E. (1946). Books for religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 14 (4), 214-218.
  • Baxter, E. (1945). The birds Christmas tree. Child Guidance in Christian Living, 4 (12), 544.
  • Baxter, E. (1945). Resources for religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 13 (4), 205-211.
  • Baxter, E. (1944). Making children aware of the Jewish origins of their faith. Child Guidance in Christian Living, 3 (11), 490-491.
  • Baxter, E. (1944). Resources for religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 12 (4), 237-242, 270.
  • Baxter, E. (1943). Teachers prepare for tomorrow’s world. Child Guidance in Christian Living, 2 (10), 529-531.
  • Baxter, E. (1943). New resources for religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 11 (4), 215-221.
  • Baxter, E. (1943). The importance of the Bible in the present crisis as variously viewed by religious educators. Journal of Bible and Religion, 11 (1), 31-35.
  • Baxter, E. (1942, September 5). Cultivating social awareness. The Christian Leader, 124, 527-529.
  • Baxter, E. (1942). [Review of the book Effects of instruction in cooperation on the attitudes and conduct of children]. Religious Education, 37 (3), 184-185.
  • Baxter, E. (1942). [Review of the book The youth problem and the education of the Catholic girl]. Religious Education, 37 (2), 122-123.
  • Baxter, E. (1942). Teaching young children about Jesus. The Christian Home, 1 (5), 28- 29.
  • Baxter, E. (1942). Religious education books. Journal of Bible and Religion,10 (4), 217- 221.
  • Baxter, E. (1942). Teaching religion in war time: Editorial. Journal of Bible and Religion, 10 (1), 43-44.
  • Baxter, E. (1941). Getting acquainted with our Negro neighbors. Children’s Religion, 2 (14), 8-10.
  • Baxter, E. (1941). Parents and teachers working together. The Christian Home, 1 (1), 12-14.
  • Baxter, E. (1941). Current books in religious education. Journal of Bible and Religion, 9 (4), 239-242.
  • Baxter, E. (1941). Modern versions and arrangements of the Bible. International Journal of Religious Education, 17 (6), 14-16.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). Jesus and older children. First Steps in Christian Nurture, 15 (1), 5-7.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). [Review of the books Beginnings of life and death, primitive faiths, the child of the sun, boys and girls living as neighbors]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 8 (2), 122-123.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). The counselor and social events. The Epworth Herald, 51 (6), 171- 172.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). A counselor. The Epworth Herald, 51 (4), 106-107, 128.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). Temple of the gods. Cargo, 5 (12), 9-10.
  • Baxter, E. (1940). Long, long ago. Cargo, 5 (11), 2-4.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). [Review of the book Beginnings of life and death]. Religious Education, 34 (2), 116-117.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). Christmas list - drama, worship, stories. The Pilgrim Highroad, 8 (3), 59-60.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). [Review of the book Progress and religion]. Religious Education, 34 (3), 184.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). [Review of the book Beginnings of life and death]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 7 (3), 156.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). Music for children during lent. The Church School Journal, 71 (4), 192.
  • Baxter, E. (1939). [Review of the book Children’s worship in the church school]. Religious Education, 34 (2), 121.
  • Baxter, E. (1937). Building a church. The Elementary Magazine, 11 (10), 546-547.
  • Baxter, E. (1937). Beginning with the natural world. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 21 (3), 102-103.
  • Baxter, E. (1937). Becoming acquainted with Jesus through dramatics. The Elementary Magazine, 11 (1), 15-19.
  • Baxter, E. (1937). Becoming acquainted with Jesus through dramatics. The Elementary Magazine, 11 (2), 75-78.
  • Baxter, E. (1935). Rural intermediate youth in camp. International Journal of Religious Education, 11 (11), 22-23, 34.
  • Baxter, E. (1935). Prayer in the nursery. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 19 (1), 11-13.
  • Baxter, E. (1934). Observing Christmas. The Elementary Magazine, 8 (12), 618-619.
  • Baxter, E. (1934). The teacher in the nursery school. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 18 (2), 48-49.
  • Baxter, E. (1934). The social development of the nursery child. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 18 (11), 409-412.
  • Baxter, E. (1934). Juniors and some labor problems. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 18 (7), 269-271.
  • Baxter, E. (1933). The Christmas tree. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 17 (12), 503.
  • Baxter, E. (1933). Lord, teach us to pray. The Church School Journal, 65 (9), 418-420.
  • Baxter, E. (1933). How some Juniors became acquainted with the Chinese. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 17 (7), 311-318.
  • Baxter, E. (1933). How a community came to have a church. International Journal of Religious Education, 9 (9), 20-21, 23.
  • Baxter, E. (1933). Experience-centered teaching with specific courses. The Guide, 2 (3), 3-6.
  • Baxter, E. (1932). Education and the prohibition problem in Connecticut. International Journal of Religious Education, 8 (8), 25-26.
  • Baxter, E. (1931). A friendship enterprise with the Hebrews. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 15 (6), 274-281.
  • Baxter, E. (1931). A friendship enterprise with the Hebrews. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher, 15 (7), 327-330.
  • Baxter, E. (1931). Learning to teach from the home. First Steps in Christian Nurture, 4 (1), 20-23, 32.
  • Baxter, E. (1929). Let us live with our children. The Elementary Magazine, 3 (9), 433- 436.
  • Baxter, E. (1925). Worship for rural children. Sunday School Journal, 57 (5), 287-288, 291.
  • Baxter, E. (1924). Daily vacation church schools on the Chicago northern district. Sunday School Journal. 56 (6), 329-331.

Reviews of Major Books by Edna M. Baxter

  • Miller, H. (1970). The beginnings of our religion. [Review of the book The beginnings of our religion]. Religious Education, 65 (5), 455.
  • Edick, H. (1966). Learning to worship. [Review of the book Learning to worship]. Religious Education, 61 (4), 306.
  • Jenkins, R. (1960). Teaching the New Testament. [Review of the book Teaching the New Testament]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 28 (4), 469-470.
  • Rivenburg, N. (1939). How our religion began. [Review of the book How our religion Bbegan]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 7 (4), 218.
  • Tibbetts, N. (1939). How Our religion began. [Review of the book How our religion began]. Religious Education, 34 (4), 249.
  • Curtis, M. (1938). Children and the changing world. [Review of the book Children and the changing world]. Journal of Bible and Religion, 6 (4), 237.

Writings About Edna Baxter

  • Baxter, E. (1984).Ventures in serving mankind: An autobiography. Allison Park, PA: Pickwick Publications.

    In these memoirs the author recalled her early life and education, her teaching career, her many travels throughout the world, and her retirement years.

  • Kathan, B. W. (1978). Pioneers of religious education in the 20th century. Religious Education, 73 (5-S), 147-149.

    Baxter was included in a special issue of the journal of the Religious Education Association as one of the outstanding Protestant educators of the 20th century, with a brief summary of her influence and contributions to the field.

  • Sheldrick, H. (1971). Pioneer women teachers of Connecticut, 1767-1971. Hartford, CT: Alpha Kappa State, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

    A chapter in this volume honored Baxter as one of the modern pioneer women teachers and, based on in-depth interviews, gave insights regarding her life and career.

Other Resources About Her Life and Work

  • The papers, manuscripts, correspondence and other archives of Edna M. Baxter are located at the library of the Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman St., Hartford, CT 06105-2260. Tel. (860) 509-9561. E-mail: library@hartsem.edu.
  • Books by Edna M. Baxter, along with biographical material, can be found in the Baxter Library, United Methodist Church, 571 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT 06105. Tel. (860) 523-5132.

Excerpts from Publications

Baxter, E. (1968). The beginnings of our religion. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press. pp. 9-10.

Because an appreciation of the Bible and its religion is so dependent upon an understanding of the development of biblical thought (particularly of human relations, worship and God); lay teachers, parents, and young people may find this book of great value for themselves. By far, the most thrilling approach to the bible is that of the development of its religion and its history. The study of the Bible in a developmental way clears up obscurities, gives perspective on primitive concepts, and leads to an appreciation of the nobler religious heights reached by the prophets and Jesus.

Baxter, E. (1966). Learning to worship. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press. pp. 53-54.

Planned worship experiences ought to emphasize and stimulate an awareness of God’s relation to all of life and to his will as supreme in all of man’s decisions and activities. One realm after another should come under the testing of God’s will and spirit. Children and young people respond better when worship services relate their understanding of God to concrete aspects of life where they are living it.

Baxter, E. (1960). Teaching the New Testament. Philadelphia: United Church Press. p. vii-viii.

Christians regard the Bible as a revelation to men of God and His will for them made supremely in the New Testament in the coming of Jesus as the Christ. It seems wise, therefore, that the first approaches to the religious life in childhood should be made by way of establishing a relationship to God. As a part of New Testament study concepts of God as the Creator and Ground of all life and meaning, as a God of love who seeks men in sacrificial love for them, will need to be nurtured throughout life in terms that can be understood by growing minds.

Baxter, E. (1939). How our religion began. New York: Harper and Brothers. p. 1.

When we pass the various churches and synagogues it may remind us that people do not all think alike about religion. If we travel to other countries we will find enormous temples and unusual religious customs practiced by millions of people, quite different from those of our own churches and synagogues. Today we believe that all peoples in all lands have been seeking God and trying to find answers to their questions about the mysteries of the universe and about life. As time passed and their knowledge grew, we find peoples’ answers to their questions changing. At the same time as their ideas of the world changed, their customs of worship and their ideas of God has slowly changed.


Recommended Readings

Books

Baxter, E. (1968). The beginnings of our religion. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

This book was written especially for teachers of young people in churches in order to convey an understanding of the history, culture and literature of the Bible. The author explores the growth and development of the Hebrew experience of God, worship and life. Many of the chapters deal with the early history of the Hebrews, with the final chapters on the prophets, Psalms, and the transition to the New Testament.

Baxter, E. (1966). Learning to worship. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

The purpose of this book is to guide both parents and teachers in their effort to help lead children in worship. Part One covers the meaning and practice of worship, while Part Two contains services of worship and resources. The author is convinced that children must learn how to worship, and there is a strong emphasis on the teaching process, along with many practical suggestions for worship settings, themes, and creative methods.

Baxter, E. (1960). Teaching the New Testament. Philadelphia: United Church Press.

This book grew out of many years of supervising graduate students in fieldwork in the Saturday School of Religion and her many courses in Religious education. Part One is devoted to the content of the New Testament, and Part Two includes a variety of methods for the use of the New Testament in teaching youth and children at different age levels.

Baxter, E. (1939). How our religion began. New York: Harper and Brothers.

This book was planned as a textbook for a complete course for pupils of ages 11-16, but reviewers have considered it more useful as a source book. It is full of valuable supplementary materials for any course in the history and development of the Hebrew religion or as a background to the understanding of the prophets.

Articles

Baxter, E. (1961). The relation of the old religions to culture. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 27 (2), 5-13.

Based on her extensive travels and study, the author discussed the importance of possessing knowledge of various religions in order to understand the cultures and nations in Asia and Africa

Baxter, E. (1960). Religious education as I see it. Hartford Seminary Foundation Bulletin, 29, 23-35.

In her address at the alumni banquet in 1959 the author discussed the historical background of religious education, the need for training, and the problems facing the practitioners.

Baxter, E. (1959). The parish minister of Christian education. Religious Education, 54 (4), 337-344.

The author called attention to the development of the vocation of the local minister or director of Christian education and explored the many dimensions of the position in working with boards or committees, lay people, adult groups, as well as with children and youth.

Baxter, E. (1952). The Knight Hall nursery school: An Historical Sketch. Hartford Seminary Foundation Bulletin, 13, 27-32.

The author looked back over twenty-five years to assess the accomplishments and learning’s of a pioneering nursery school which she had organized.

Biographical

Baxter, E. (1984).Ventures in serving mankind: An autobiography. Allison Park, PA: Pickwick Publications.

In these memoirs the author recalled her early life and education, her teaching career, her many travels throughout the world, and her retirement years.

Sheldrick, H. (1971). Pioneer women teachers of Connecticut, 1767-1971. Hartford, CT: Alpha Kappa State, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

A chapter in this volume honored Baxter as one of the modern pioneer women teachers and, based on in-depth interviews, gave insights regarding her life and career.


Author Information

Boardman W. Kathan

Boardman W. Kathan is a native of New Haven, Connecticut, and was ordained in 1956 by the Chicago Association of the Congregational Christian Churches (now a part of the United Church of Christ). He is the General Secretary Emeritus for the Religious Education Association and serves as the archivist for the R.E.A. and the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, which has merged with it. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Yale University Divinity School, he has pursued graduate studies at New York University, the University of Connecticut and Hartford Seminary. He also received a Fulbright Scholarship for studies at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

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