Scope and Content
Title: Paul W. Yinger Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1928-1992
Accession number: GTU 93-10-01
Shelf location: 2/H/2 - 2/I/2
Yinger, Paul W., 1914-1992
Size: 32 boxes, 3 folios; 20 ft.
Type of material: Personal papers, correspondence, notebooks, scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, worship bulletins, audiotapes
Graduate Theological Union
Source and Date
Harriett Yinger, 1993
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the
Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological
Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Paul W. Yinger Papers, GTU 93-10-01, The Graduate Theological
Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.
Yinger, Paul Wesley, 1914-92
Clergy -Family relationships
United Church of Christ -Clergy
Church management -History -Sources
Pastoral theology -History -Sources
Weddings -United States
Marriage -Sociological aspects -Sources
Worship programs -United Church of Christ
Worship -Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Chaplains -Military -Correspondence
World War, 1939-1945 -Religious aspects
World War, 1939-1945 -Personal narratives, American
First Congregational Church (Riverside, Calif.)
Piedmont Community Church (Piedmont, Calif.)
Union Congregational Church (Upper Montclair, NJ)
First Congregational Church (Old Greenwich, Conn.)
Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, Calif.)
Graduate Theological Union -History --Sources
Names as Subjects
Anderson, Stuart LeRoy, 1912-
Ayres, Lew, 1908-
Bechtel, Stephen Davison, 1925-
Bennett, Ivan Loveridge, 1892-
Douglas, Lloyd C. (Lloyd Cassel), 1877-1951
Fosdick, Harry Emerson, 1878-1969
Griffith, Leonard, 1920-
Hogue, Harland E. (Harland Edwin), 1908-
Hurst, Alfred Wesley
Laubach, Frank charles, 1884-1970
McLean, Margaret (Prendergast), 1878-
Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971
Oxnam, G. Bromley (Garfield Bromley) 1891-1963
Perkins, John Alanson
Pike, James A. (James Albert), 1913-1969
Yinger, J. Milton (John Milton), 1916-
Copenhaver, Marian Yinger
Walton, Eleanor E. Yinger
Yinger, Clement B.
Yinger, Emma Bancroft
Yinger, G. Dempster
Yinger, Homer V.
Paul W. Yinger was a United Church of Christ parish minister serving churches in California and New Jersey. He was involved
in drama and public speaking. He served as an Army Chaplain in the Pacific during World War II. He had extensive correspondence
throughout his career.
Paul Wesley Yinger (1914-92) was born in Union City, Michigan, sixth of the eight
children of George D. Yinger and Emma Bancroft Yinger. Both Paul's parents graduated from
Albion College, and were ordained Methodist ministers. Preaching, music, and drama were
always part of the talent and training of the Yinger family. George Yinger trained his
four older children in music and oration. These children formed the Yinger Quartette. As
the original quartette grew older, George formed the four younger children, including
Paul, as the Yinger Quartette. Paul, from earliest childhood, was talented, interested,
and trained in these areas, which he continued to pursue throughout his life. Strong ties
among the Yinger family were always an important part of Paul's life. He decided to
become a minister as were his mother, father, and three of his older brothers before him.
Paul received his A.B. degree from DePauw University in Indiana, 1936, and B.D. from
Union Theological Seminary in 1939. DePauw conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity
degree in 1958. Paul married Harriett Knapp, January 1938. While at Union, he became
acquainted with Harry Emerson Fosdick, and with Reinhold Niebuhr. In 1939, he was
ordained in the Congregational Church serving as pastor in the Cleveland Park Church,
Washington D.C. 1939-1943. Also during this time, Paul studied acting and voice both at
the Old Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, MA, and with Margaret Prendergast McLean. Paul's
and Harriett's daughter Marilyn was born in June 1942.
During World War II, Paul volunteered as a Chaplain in the Army, attending Chaplain's
School in 1943. He served as a chaplain, 1943-46. Assignments included the 880
th Airborne Engineers Battalion in New Guinea, 1944, the staff of
General Douglas MacArthur after his return to the Philippines in 1945, then in occupied
Japan until January 1946. While serving in New Guinea, Paul began a life-long friendship
with the actor Lew Ayres (See Lesley L. Coffin,
Lew Ayers: Holywood's Conscientious Objector, University Press of Mississippi, 2012). During Paul's service as a chaplain, he thought a great deal
about what kind of a ministry he wanted to pursue after the war was over. He was very
interested in integrating drama into a ministry.
When Paul, having attained the rank of Major, returned from the Army after the war, the
Yingers settled in California. He served on the staff of the First Congregational Church
of Los Angeles coordinating parish activities including radio broadcasts, drama events,
and lecture series. Their son, Jay was born June, 1947. Paul studied further with
Margaret McLean, developing a life-long friendship with her. He also began his "speaking
engagements." Throughout his life, Paul continued to be a popular and well-known speaker
at clubs, organizations, schools, etc. He developed several programs based on his life
experiences, or interesting people he knew, and on great works of literature including
The Robe, works of Mark Twain, Hugo's
poetry, and Christmas stories. Paul adapted
The Robe,with the permission of Mr. Douglas, and presented it more than a hundred times,
either as a dramatic reading with a full cast, or as his own solo reading.
Paul served five major pastorates: Cleveland Park Congregational Church, Washington D.C.
(1939-43), First Congregational Church, Riverside, CA (1947-52), Union Congregational
Church, Upper Montclair, NJ (1952-60), Piedmont Community Church, Piedmont, CA (1960-71),
and First Congregational Church, Old Greenwich, CT (1973-76). His habit of retaining all
correspondence, both incoming letters and their attached carbon copy replies, provides a
rich and valuable resource to understand the work and life of a parish minister. The
correspondence provides a look at the details of church management, the pastoral needs of
the people in the congregation, and, in the Yinger family correspondence, Paul's
assessment of his own feelings and performance. To complete the understanding of a parish
minister's life, Paul kept complete records on marriages he performed, pastor's columns
he wrote for parish newsletters, worship bulletins, and notebooks on sermons, prayers,
and worship and devotional material.
Paul and Harriett traveled extensively for preaching, study, or vacation, often in
combination. Travels included Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and the
Mediterranean areas. He kept journals and notebooks on his travels, and often wrote
newspaper articles about his experiences.
During his years as a pastor, Paul also served as trustee on several boards including,
the Pacific School of Religion (1962-85), the Aquinas Fund, the Japan International
Christian University Foundation, and the Graduate Theological Union. On his resignation
from the Piedmont Community Church in 1971, Paul became the Vice President of the GTU. He
served as a development officer, working with the Ecumenical Associates, 1971-73. In
1973, Paul returned to parish ministry, accepting the call from First Congregational
Church, Greenwich, CT. His start was delayed due to emergency by-pass surgery while on
vacation in Hawaii.
Paul retired from Greenwich and parish ministry in 1976. He continued his speaking
engagements, dramatic presentations, and guest preaching, as well as serving several
churches as interim minister, and cruise lines as chaplain. Paul and Harriett settled in
Emeryville, CA. Their children had married, and Paul delighted in his three
granddaughters. They had just relocated to Sun City West, AZ when Paul died in 1992.
Scope and Content
The collection was packed up from Rev. Yinger's garage at his home in Sun City West, AZ
and shipped to the GTU Archives. The arrangement is as close to what Rev. Yinger kept as