Tribute to Channing R. Jeschke, Candler School of Theology Librarian

Read the full article on the Emory website:

Professor Emeritus Channing Renwick Jeschke (December 28, 1927 – January 13, 2016) was the Margaret A. Pitts Professor of Theological Bibliography and director of the library at Candler School of Theology from 1971 until his retirement in 1994. His distinguished career and his contributions to Candler were recognized when he was awarded the Centennial Medal in 2014 on the occasion of the school’s 100th anniversary. He was also a long-time member of Central Congregational UCC in Atlanta.

Born to William Marion and Vera Mabel (Voll) Jeschke in Buffalo, New York, Channing attended Oberlin College for his B.A. (1949), Yale University for his B.D. (1952), the University of Chicago for his Ph.D. (1966), and Columbia University for his M.S. in librarianship (1967). He and Carol Louise Ahrens married on June 24, 1955, and they celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary the summer before Channing’s death.

He was ordained for ministry in the United Church of Christ (1952), served as chaplain at the Taft School (Watertown, Connecticut; 1952-1955), and was a minister in the North Illinois Synod of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1955-1961). He served on the library staff at the Union Theological Seminary (1961-1966) and then on the faculty of the Berkeley Divinity School (New Haven, Connecticut; 1966-1971). He was hired as theological librarian by Candler School of Theology in 1971 at the associate professor rank, promoted to professor in 1979, named the Margaret A. Pitts Professor of Theological Bibliography in 1984, and awarded emeritus status by Emory University upon his retirement in 1994.

During the interview process, Channing had asked the faculty what sort of library they wanted, and one of them declared that they wanted a library as fine as that of Yale Divinity School. It was clear that Dean Jim Laney and his faculty had high expectations for Candler’s library. In about a year (September 1972) the new librarian learned that the Hartford Seminary Foundation would be revising the nature of theological education at their school from that of preparing students for ministry to working with those already engaged in ministry. This, along with Channing’s sense that Emory University was garnering more attention from national foundations, led him to believe that there might be the possibility that Hartford’s library could be purchased for Candler.