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Yale Religion in Higher Education Program Records

Call Number: RG 182

Scope and Contents

Though fragmentary and of uncertain provenance, this collection provides valuable documentation of the Religion in Higher Education program at Yale, primarily from the 1920s through 1966. The files were found in a YDS basement storage area and it is not entirely clear whether they were all from one source.

Series I is designated at J.Edward Dirks Files and contains documentation relating both to his work at Yale and as Secretary of the University Commission of the World Student Christian Federation. There are also J. Edward Dirks papers in YDSL Record Group No. 30, Miscellaneous Personal Papers Collection. Series II, Course Materials, covers the era when Clarence Shedd was the primary faculty member at YDS in the area of religion in higher education. An additional 36 linear feet of Clarence Prouty Shedds Papers are found in YDSL Record Group No. 35. The Resource Materials in Series III date from both the Shedd and Dirks eras. They were most likely from a central file in the Yale office of the religion in higher education program.

In addition to their relation to other papers of Dirks and Shedd, these records relate to several other collections at the Yale Divinity Library, including the Archives of the World Student Christian Federation (YDSL RG 46); the Archives of The Danforth Study of Campus Ministries (YDSL RG 62), which was based at YDS and directed by Kenneth Underwood 1962-1966, the Archives of the Religious Education Association (YDSL RG 74), the Archives of the National Association of College and University Chaplains and Directors of Religious Life (YDSL RG 167), as well as the records of various iterations of the North American student Christian movement.


  • 1928-1966
  • Majority of material found within 1946 - 1966

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited in the Library in the 1960s


  1. Series I, J. Edward Dirks Files, 1946-1966
  2. Series II, Course Materials, 1929-1962
  3. Series III, Resource Files, 1928-1966


6.5 Linear Feet (16 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


These records relate to the Religion in Higher Education program at Yale. Yale was an important center for Masters and Doctoral level studies in this field during the mid- twentieth century.

Biographical / Historical

Clarence Prouty Shedd was among the first notable figures in Yale's emphasis on religion in higher education. Shedd was appointed Lecturer on Student Work in 1923 and was a fellow of National Council of Religion in Higher Education. He went on to become the Stephen Merrell Clement Professor of Christian Methods at Yale Divinity School until his retirement in 1955. Arriving at Yale in 1955 was J. Edward Dirks, who was Associate Professor Religion in Higher Education from 1955 to 1958 and Stephen Merrell Clement Professor of Christian Methods from 1958 to 1967. Dirks was also on loan from Yale as Secretary of the University Commission of the World's Student Christian Federation. He served as Editor of The Christian Scholar and as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Christian Fellowship. The Religion in Higher Education Program at Yale was most active during the 1940s through 1960s.

Processing Information

Place names were modernized in the description, with the name originally used in the collection material or in an older version of the finding aid in parenthesis: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” or “Benin (Dahomey)”.

Guide to the Yale Religion in Higher Education Program Records
George A. Keddie and Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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