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Boisen, Anton T(heophilus) 1876-1965

BOISEN, Anton T(heophilus) 1876-1965


Born October 29, 1876, in Bloomington, IN; died October 1, 1965, in Elgin, IL; son of Hermann Balthazar (a professor of languages and botany) and Louise (Wylie) Boisen. Education: Indiana University—Bloomington, graduated, 1897; studied forestry at Yale University; Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, graduated, 1911; studied at Episcopal Theological Seminary and Andover Theological Seminary; additional graduate study at Harvard University.


Ordained Presbyterian minister, 1911; Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, member of a rural survey in Tennessee and Missouri, 1911-12; pastor for five years at rural churches in Iowa, Kansas, and Maine; Young Men's Christian Association, overseas worker in France for nearly two years; Interchurch World Movement, director of a rural survey in North Dakota, prior to 1920; Boston Psychopathic Hospital, Boston, MA, social worker; Worcester State Hospital, Worcester, MA, chaplain, 1924-30; Elgin State Hospital, Elgin, IL, chaplain and trainer in clinical pastoral education, 1932-35, 1942-45. Chicago Theological Seminary, instructor, beginning 1924, resident, 1938-42. Teacher of clinical pastoral education classes in Boston as early as 1925; Council for the Clinical Training of Theological Students, founder, 1930.


Lift up Your Hearts, Pilgrim Press (Boston, MA), 1926, revised edition published as a booklet, "Hymns of Hope and Courage, with Services, Prayers, and Readings for Public and Private Worship," edited by Cecil Michener Smith, 1931.

My Own Case Record (memoir), 1928, revised edition published as Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, Harper (New York, NY), 1960.

The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, Willett, Clark and Co. (Chicago, IL), 1936.

Problems in Religion and Life: A Manual for Pastors, with Outlines for the Co-operative Study of Personal Experience in Social Situations, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press (New York, NY), 1946.

Religion in Crisis and Custom: A Sociological and Psychological Study, Harper (New York, NY), 1955.

Author of shorter works, including coauthor of a forestry bulletin and a church report of a rural survey in Missouri. Contributor of about forty articles to religious magazines and scientific journals.

The Boisen Files reside in the Boisen Room of the library, Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL; other manuscripts are stored in the archives of the Menninger Foundation, Topeka, KS.



Boisen, Anton T., Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, Harper (New York, NY), 1960.


Pastoral Psychology, September, 1968, Henri J. M. Nouwen, "Anton T. Boisen and the Study of Theology through 'Living Human Documents'."

Psychiatry, November, 1977, "Anton T. Boisen's 'Psychiatric Examination: Content of Thought' (c. 1925-31): An Attempt to Grasp the Meaning of Mental Disorder."*

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