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William Johnson Everett Papers

Call Number: RG 330

Scope and Contents

This collection is a comprehensive archive of the works and writings of William Johnson Everett (William Wade Everett, III until 1982) a Christian ethicist broadly interested in the formation of Christian symbols, meanings and values—especially those informing marriage, work, family, and citizenship—in an age of transformation. As organized by Everett, the collection moves from his published writings into unpublished writings, teaching materials, sermons, liturgical texts—from the more formal and professional into the spiritual and personal, at times revealing their vocational interrelation. The collection includes correspondence with colleagues and friends in his field of study and ends with a brief file providing biographical information. The collection has been maintained in the order given it by William Johnson Everett in 2022.

Series I, Publications, contains the published writings of William Johnson Everett, dating from 1966 – 2021. The series begins with a subseries for books, ordered chronologically, beginning with his 1970 dissertation. After the subseries “Books,” are journal articles, and occasional writings such as letters to the editor and newspaper and magazine articles, written as late as 2020. The series ends with a folder of collected book reviews and a folder of poetry written by Everett. For an in-depth narration of William Johnson Everett’s corpus of writing, the evolution of his ideas, and his progression towards creative expression, see Making My Way in Ethics, Worship, and Wood (2021) in box 2 folder 6.

Series II, Unpublished Writings, contains two subseries—“Essays and Articles” and “Memoranda, Reports, and Proposals”—dating from 1962 – 2015. The essays and articles arranged chronologically begin with material from Everett’s undergraduate years at Wesleyan University and seminar papers written during doctoral study at Harvard University. Later material largely consists of presentations and lectures for various conferences and institutions. The memoranda, reports, and proposals consist primarily of reports evaluating academic work.

Series III, Reviews of William Johnson Everett’s Work, contains materials dating from 1980 – 2000. The series initially proceeds chronologically organized by published text, beginning with reviews of Disciplines in Transformation (1979) ending with reviews of The Politics of Worship (2000). Two final folders contain miscellaneous and unpublished reviews and responses.

Series IV, Presentations and Workshops, contains presentations and workshops given at various institutions, including theological schools and church gatherings, between the years of 1962 – 2021.

Series V, Teaching Materials and Syllabi, contains materials dating from 1983—with the inception of the OIKOS Project on Work, Family, and Faith founded with Sylvia Johnson Everett—until 2006. The gathered lectures and syllabi provide an overview of Everett’s teaching at Candler School of Theology, Andover Newton Theological School, and other institutions, such as the University of Cape Town. The OIKOS Project subseries highlights the educational outreach work of William and Sylvia between the years of 1983 – 1990, containing correspondence, newsletters, presentations, and liturgies relating to the project, including a series of DVDs from 1987.

Series VI, Sermons, reaches from the beginning of Everett’s theological education at Yale Divinity School in 1963 to sermons preached late in his retirement in 2021. The sermons are organized roughly chronologically and divided by the place in which they were preached.

Series VII, Liturgies and Worship Materials, contains materials composed and made for public worship dating from 1982 – 2022. The subseries “Roundtable Worship,” dating from 2001 – 2002, introduces and provides liturgies from worship around a wooden table (often made by Everett himself) centered on themes of reconciliation inspired by his experiences in South Africa and First Nations and Native American patterns of dialogue. Further liturgies are organized by the place of worship and their place within worship: songs, calls, invocations, and prayers. The series ends with a folder on various furnishings made by William Johnson Everett.

Series VIII, Professional Correspondence, dates from the year of William Johnson Everett’s graduation from Wesleyan University in 1962 to 2019—covering his academic career from its inception. The correspondence is arranged in three ways successively: by subject relating to his various publications proceeding chronologically, by individual, and finally alphabetically. All correspondence arranged alphabetically, as well as correspondence from Gerd Decke, Ulrich Duchrow, and Wolfgang Huber, is restricted and will become open to researchers in 2035.

Series IX, Organizational Involvement, is divided into three topical folders with material dating from 1973 – 1998: professional materials relating to his work in the Society of Christian Ethics, church-related organizational involvement, and a folder containing materials related to his civic work advocating for custody law reform in Wisconsin in the 1980s.

Series X, Biographical Documentation, is a single folder containing William Johnson Everett’s CV, speeches given at his departure from Candler School of Theology, Emory University in 1994, and materials relating to his retirement from Andover Newton Theological School in 2001—providing an overview of the entirety of his academic career and multiple interpretations of its intellectual and communal impact.


  • 1962 - 2022


Language of Materials

In English, with some materials in German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research with the exception of some correspondence restricted until 2035.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William Johnson Everett, 2022


  1. I. Publications, 1966-2021
  2. II. Unpublished Writings. 1962-2015
  3. III. Reviews of William Johnson Everett's Work, 1980-2000
  4. IV. Presentations and Workshops, 1962-2021
  5. V. Teaching Materials and Syllabi, 1982-2006
  6. VI. Sermons, 1963-2021
  7. VII. Liturgies and Worship Materials, 1982-2022
  8. VIII. Professional Correspondence, 1962-2019
  9. IX. Organizational Involvement, 1973-1998
  10. X. Biographical Documentation, 1991-2022


3.75 Linear Feet (9 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection contains published and unpublished books, articles, and presentations by the Christian ethicist William Johnson Everett, dating from 1962 to 2022, as well as correspondence relating to his professional life. It provides a comprehensive overview of Everett’s academic career at theological institutions throughout the United States and the development of his thought on various themes relating to politics, ecclesiology, and their interrelation.

Biographical / Historical

William Johnson Everett, was born William Wade Everett, III in Washington, DC in 1940. The middle child of three, his childhood was marked by both the capital city and the family farm in Virginia—places which deeply influenced his intellectual trajectory towards the study of government, pluralism, and later in life, ecology.

Everett graduated from Wesleyan University in 1962, received a Bachelor of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 1965, and continued in doctoral studies at Harvard University, receiving his PhD in 1970. Throughout his career, William Johnson Everett engaged themes present in the beginning of his education and academic output, bridging ecclesiology, ethics, and the relationships of the church to major social, economic, and political institutions.

Although coming from a Baptist background, Everett taught at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese's St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1969 – 1984. In 1983 he jointly founded the OIKOS project with his wife Sylvia Johnson Everett—an organization which probed the relationship of work, family, faith, and the land in contemporary society.

From 1985 – 1994 he taught at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Sabbaticals during this time took him to Germany and India, providing inspiration and research for his work examining relationships between religion and the development of federalism in the United States, India, and a Germany undergoing re-unification.

From 1996 – 2001 William Johnson Everett taught at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts where Sylvia also worked as a resident artist. During this time, and through their joint vocation at the school, Everett engaged the relationship among theology, the arts, and worship. A number of visits to South Africa enabled him to explore and write about the religious, cultural, and ecological dimensions of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Upon retirement from Andover Newton in 2001, interests present throughout Everett’s career flowed into his committed artistic practice, manifest in his woodworking, creative writing, and liturgical writings.

Guide to the William Johnson Everett Papers
Abigail Kromminga
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Dacs)

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