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Norman Vincent Peale Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: Dec 1994

Biographical History

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was an American Protestant preacher and author, best known for his The Power of Positive Thinking.

Born in Bowersville, Ohio, Peale attended Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology. He was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1922 but changed his affiliation to Reformed Church in America in 1932. Soon after, he became pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan a post he kept for 52 years. All of Peale's projects were equally long-lived: his radio program, "The Art of Living," ran from 1935-1989, and in 1945, with his wife Ruth, he founded the popular Guideposts magazine which he served as editor for nearly fifty years and which is still published today.

With psychoanalyst Smiley Blanton, Peale set up a religio-psychiatric outpatient clinic next door to Marble Collegiate Church, with Blanton handling psychiatric issues and Peale religious issues. The two co-wrote several books, including Faith Is the Answer (1940). By 1951 the clinic had evolved into an independent organization, the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, with Peale as president and Blanton as executive director. Peale was also a co-founder in 1947 of the Horatio Alger Association.

Over his career Peale wrote hundreds of sermons, articles, and papers and wrote or co-wrote more than forty inspirational or religious books. In 1963 a film, One Man's Way, based on his life and work was produced, and in 1984 Peale received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to theology.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Norman Vincent Peale Papers are divided into four series: Correspondence, Subject files, Manuscripts, and Personal files. The material is further divided as follows:

For further information see the individual series descriptions below.

Unprocessed additions

There is also a substantial amount of unprocessed material accessible only with special permission. Please contact the repository listed above for more information.

Arrangement of the Collection

The majority of material is arranged chronologically and within that alphabetically. See individual series descriptions below for more details.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Written permission of George Hart required to view materials in this collection.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the Ruth S. Peale Papers.

Subject Headings


Blanton, Smiley, 1882-1966.
Carnegie, Dale, 1888-1955.
Kresge, Stanley Sebastian, 1900-
LeSourd, Leonard E.
Oursler, Fulton, 1893-1952.
Peale, Norman Vincent, 1898-1993.
Peale, Ruth Stafford, 1906-
Thomas, Lowell, 1892-1981.

Corporate Bodies

American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry.
Marble Collegiate Church (New York, N.Y.)
Reformed Church in America -- Clergy.

Associated Titles

Guideposts (Pawling, N.Y.)


Christian life.
Christianity and politics.
Clergy -- United States.
Clergy as authors.
Devotional literature.
Mental health -- Religious aspects.
Pastoral counseling.
Peace of mind -- Religious aspects.
Psychology, Applied.
Radio in religion.
Religious newspapers and periodicals.
Sermons, American.
Success -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Norman Vincent Peale Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

I. Correspondence

II. Subject files

III. Manuscripts

IV. Personal file