Franklin H. Littell Collection

In 2010, the Franklin H. Littell Papers and Library were donated to Temple University’s Special Collections Research Center. The collection, which has been the focus of a two-year-long archival processing and digitization project, will be open for research in June 2014.

Portrait of Franklin H. Littell, 1979



Franklin H. Littell: Beyond the Classroom

On view on the first, mezzanine, and ground floors of Paley Library, February - August 2014

Explore the concepts of extremism, religion and religious liberty through the life and work of Franklin H. Littell.



Franklin H. Littell (1917-2009), emeritus professor of religion at Temple University, was a devoted teacher and ordained Methodist minister, committed to action beyond the classroom and pulpit. Although his activities and affiliations changed over time, he maintained strong beliefs in interfaith understanding and religious liberty.

A pacifist and social activist, Littell worked closely with the National Council of Methodist Youth during the 1930s and early 1940s. After World War II, from 1949 to 1959, he devoted himself to the reconstruction of Germany and work with the Protestant Churches. He was a proponent of the Christian laity and an advocate for new religious movements. He was also an historian, political commentator, and supporter of the State of Israel.

Littell warned vigorously against the dangers of political extremism in all its forms and believed in the power of interfaith cooperation in preventing humanitarian tragedies such as genocide. Perhaps his most lasting contributions were made during the second half of his life, which was devoted to teaching the world the lessons of the Holocaust and the detrimental societal implications of a people’s loss of freedom to practice their faith without persecution.  He authored one of the earliest Christian assessments of the Holocaust, The Crucifixion of the Jews (1975).

Consisting of correspondence; research materials and writings; planning, organizational and administrative records; ephemera and printed materials; collected reference and other papers, the Franklin H. Littell Papers document many aspects of his life and work. His primary interests of religious liberty; anti-extremism; interfaith cooperation; church history; Methodism; ministry and the laity; teaching and education, especially religion in education; and the study and memorialization of the Holocaust and German Church Struggle are woven throughout more than 300 linear feet of records. The papers, which span his entire life, offer evidence of his participation and leadership in many activities and organizations with wide-reaching impact.



A portion of the Franklin H. Littell papers has been digitized to offer researchers online access.

Currently, manuscripts of Littell's speeches, lectures, and articles dating from 1940 to 1968 are available, with later years available soon. Manuscripts of his syndicated column, "Lest We Forget," and correspondence and administrative records relating to his work with the National Council of Methodist Youth from 1936 to 1944, will be also be mounted shortly.