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New York State Council of Churches Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MFA
Date: Mar 1969

Biographical History

The New York State Council of Churches is an outgrowth of the mid-nineteenth century State Sunday School Association which was incorporated in 1889 as the New York State Sunday School Association. In 1930, its field no longer being limited to Sunday schools, the organization's name was changed to the New York State Council of Religious Education. In the late 1930's, this group joined with a State Council of churches, then in its infancy, and after the merger in 1938 became known as the New York State Council of Churches.

Today, the New York State Council of Churches is an organization of twenty-one Protestant denominations in the state, active in the fields of Christian education, youth programs, legislation and migrant worker welfare. It serves pastors through training programs, is the recognized state agency for Protestant chaplain appointments for New York State institutions and gives aid to town and country churches in building Christian communities.

The program, budget and leadership of The Council is determined by action taken at the Annual Assembly which consists of 121 delegates from constituent denominational groups and 70 additional delegates appointed by councils of churches at the city or county level. Constituent bodies are further represented through membership on the Board of Directors and in program divisions. A staff of seven at the State Council office in Syracuse includes (1) a General Secretary, (2) an Associate General Secretary, and (3) a Director of Endowment Development and Press Secretary as well as program directors for (4) Christian Education, (5) Life and Work, (6) Church Planning and Mission and (7) Church Planning and Development, the last named office combined with that of Director of Leisure Time Commission.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Administrative files contain meeting minutes, mailings, notes, memos, reports, summaries, and other assorted items relating to administrative functions of the organization.

The New York State Council of Churches Records, consisting of correspondence, mimeographed material and a small number of manuscripts, is divided into three groups according to office of origin, titled Associate General Secretary's Office, Division of Christian Education and Division of Church Planning & Mission. There are also two general groups, Administrative files and Correspondence, general.

The material from the Associate General Secretary's Office includes the correspondence of Theodore L. Conklin, associate general secretary of the Council, typescript minutes of meetings, manuscripts by Theodore L. Conklin, Dean M. Kelley, Harry Confoy, Paul W. Rishell, Lewis N. Powell and Arthur Mielke, and miscellaneous mimeographed material such as memoranda, minutes, agenda, and reports. All the material is arranged alphabetically by subject and pertains to New York State legislative issues and bills, the New York State 1967 Constitutional Convention issues, annual meetings, committee meetings, staff meetings, Business Administration Commission meetings, legislative seminars, Human Rights Commission activities, Legislative Commission activities, legislative seminars, migrant ministry activities, public relations and development and related subjects. Also included are a chronological file of mimeographed material, 1966-1969, issued by The Council and a file of the State Council Reporter, 194}1968, published by the Council. Folders containing correspondence are appropriately labeled. Significant correspondents include Leon M. Adkins, Jr., 1963-1966; James E. Allen, Jr., 1963-1966; Edwin T. Dahlberg, 1959-1963; J. Ralph Davie, 1954-1958; Robert R. Douglass, 1966; James A. Farley, 1966; Lawrence J. Holt, 1964-1967; Lee A. Howe, Jr., 1960-1961; Robert F. Kennedy, 1966; John V.P. Lassoe, Jr., 1965-1967; Stuart MacMacklin, 1959-1964; Arthur Mielke, 1965-1967; Bishop Malcolm Peabody, 1956-1959; Dutton S. Peterson, 1958-1964; Fred N. Poulton, 1965; Paul W. Rishell, 1957-1966; Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1960-1967; William E. Smith, 1959-1960; Ralph W. Sockman, 1958; John H. Terry, 1966-1967; Anthony J. Travia, 1959-1966 and A. Pennington Whitehead, 1953-1954.

Correspondence, general contains general correspondence, not part of any specific department.

The Division of Christian Education material, 1954-1968, consists of mimeographed material and one letter, arranged alphabetically by subject. The subjects covered are related to the division's Adult Commission, Children's Commission, Higher Education Commission, Leadership Education Division, Youth Commission and Youth Security Commission. Memoranda, minutes of meetings and reports are included.

The Division of Church Planning Mission material, 1966-1968, consists of a small group of mimeographed reports.

Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically within each series.


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.

1970: Collection may not be used without the written permission of the general secretary of the New York State Community of Churches (formerly the New York State Council of Churches). Any such written permission documents will be retained by SCRC.

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

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to New York church and clergy. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

New York State Council of Churches -- Archives.


Christianity and politics.
Church and state.
Civil rights.
Domestic relations -- New York (State)
Drug addiction.
Federal aid to education.
Lobbyists -- New York (State)
Lotteries -- Law and legislation -- New York (State)
Migrant labor.
Prayer in the public schools -- Law and legislation -- New York (State)
Religion and state.
Religion in the public schools.

Genres and Forms

Bills (legislative records)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Phonograph records.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

New York State Council of Churches Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of New York State Council of Churches, October, 1968, 1970, 1977.

Table of Contents

Administrative files

Associate General Secretary's Office

Correspondence, general

Division of Christian Education 1934-1968

Division of Church Planning and Mission 1934-1968

Selected index to correspondence


Selected index to correspondence

The index below lists individuals alphabetically, followed by the name of the folder in which their correspondence, either incoming or outgoing, may be found. It is not comprehensive and does not list all persons appearing in the collection.