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Social Ethics Pamphlet Collection

Call Number: RG 73

Scope and Contents

The Social Ethics Pamphlet Collection is divided into three series:

  1. I. Corporate Bodies
  2. II. Topical Files
  3. III. Student Papers

The subject areas most extensively documented by the Collection are as follows:

  1. Race relations: The majority of the material related to race relations deals with the relationship between African Americans and white Americans, but there are also significant holdings that address antisemitic, anti-Asian, and anti-immigrant sentiments in American society.
  2. Communism and subversive activity: A notable group of materials pertains to the use of the Communist threat as a tool by political and industrial interests to discredit the labor and civil rights movements. The potency of the Communist threat in the public mind is well documented.
  3. Labor and industrial relations: Significant materials document the growing labor movement of the 1930s and 1940s as well as the political response of industry; the propaganda war between labor and industry is well documented. The collection reveals Pope's particular interest in labor relations in terms of issues of economic justice and enfranchisement.
  4. Ecumenical and individual church organizations: Materials representative of numerous Protestant denominations and Catholic Church agencies provide a profile of movement toward church cooperation during this era, and the engagement of the Christian community with social issues. The most extensive holdings are from the Congregational Christian Churches and the United Church of Christ. Beyond printed material related to social issues, there is also significant documentation of the ecclesiastical battle surrounding the merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and Evangelical and Reformed Church, forming the United Church of Christ.
  5. Judaism, Israel-Arab conflicts, Jews in America: There are four areas of emphasis within this subject category: 1) the relations between the Jewish and Christian communities in America, 2) the American Jewish labor movement, 3) Jewish life in America (particularly the activities of Hillel and B'nai Brith), and 4) the Zionist movement and the inception of the state of Israel. Some documentation relating to the Holocaust is available amidst materials relating to European war refugees and international relief.
  6. World War, 1939-1945: The focus of these materials is not the military aspects of the conflict, but rather the societal and human costs of the war. Efforts to assist refugees and provide economic relief to war areas are documented. Peace movements in the U.S., primarily before 1942, are also documented.

In addition to these broad subject areas, there is also significant documentation related to specific societal phenomena such as agriculture and rural life, alcoholism, birth control, cooperative societies, mental health and medical care;

Series I, Corporate Bodies, includes material from more than one thousand different organizations representing all points on the political and religious spectra. A sample entry, below, indicates the categories utilized to describe material contained in this series:

  1. Corporate body: Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service
  2. Geographical location: New York, NY [headquarters of organization]
  3. Inclusive dates: 1948 [i.e. publication dates]
  4. Subjects: Race relations; Armed Forces [Library of Congress subject headings]
  5. Name changes, etc.: [includes pseudonyms]
  6. Physical location: Box 9 Folder 8
  7. Summary: Contains typescript "Memorandum of inquiry into the effect of discrimination and segregation on the morale and development of Negro soldiers."

Series II, Topical Files, also includes some documentation from corporate bodies, but these files have been kept in their original, topically arranged, format. The topics covered in this material include:

  1. Academic freedom
  2. Africa
  3. African Americans
  4. Aged
  5. Agriculture
  6. Alcoholism
  7. American periodicals
  8. Anti-Catholicism
  9. Antisemitism
  10. Armed Forces
  11. Arts and Society
  12. Birth control
  13. Broadcasting
  14. Catholic Church--apologetic works
  15. Catholic Church--controversial works
  16. Child care
  17. Children
  18. Christian communities
  19. Christian education
  20. Church and social problems
  21. Church and the world
  22. Church work with students
  23. City missions
  24. Civil rights
  25. College students
  26. Communism
  27. Community organization
  28. Conscientious objectors
  29. Conservatism
  30. Cooperative societies
  31. Correctional institutions
  32. Crime
  33. Drug abuse
  34. Economic policy
  35. Ecumenical movement
  36. Education
  37. Evangelicalism
  38. Environmental protection
  39. Family
  40. Fascism
  41. Freedom of religion
  42. Gambling
  43. Hispanic Americans
  44. Homosexuality
  45. Immigrants
  46. Indians of North America
  47. International organization
  48. International relations
  49. International relief
  50. Israel-Arab conflicts
  51. Japanese-Americans
  52. Jews
  53. Judaism--relations--Christianity
  54. Juvenile delinquency
  55. Korean War, 1950-1953
  56. Labor movement
  57. Law
  58. Marriage
  59. Migrant labor
  60. Medical care
  61. Medical ethics
  62. Mental health
  63. Missions to Jews
  64. Nativism
  65. Nuclear disarmament
  66. Peace movements
  67. Poverty
  68. Propaganda
  69. Prostitution
  70. Protest movements
  71. Public housing
  72. Race relations
  73. Radicalism
  74. Refugees
  75. Religion and culture
  76. Religion and international affairs
  77. Religion and politics
  78. Rural conditions
  79. Science--Moral and ethical aspects
  80. Sects
  81. Sino-Japanese conflict--1937-1945
  82. Social legislation
  83. Southern States
  84. Subversive activities
  85. United States--politics and government
  86. United States--social conditions--1933-1945
  87. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975
  88. Women
  89. World politics
  90. World War, 1939-1945
  91. Youth
  92. Zionism

There is extensive documentation in this series of the "us" versus "them" mentality in American society during this era, in all its various manifestations. Material in this series can be linked with related materials in Series I through subject heading searches.

Series III, Student Papers, contains 143 typescript term papers prepared by Yale Divinity School students. Prof. Pope encouraged his students to collect primary documents and conduct survey and interviews in connection with their research for these papers. This collected data is of objective value, even beyond the students' interpretation of it, and in many cases samples of primary source material are included with the paper.


  • 1919-1972
  • Majority of material found within 1938 - 1958

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Liston Pope


  1. I. Corporate Bodies
  2. II. Topical Files
  3. III. Student Papers


52 Linear Feet (131 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Collection includes pamphlets, brochures, typescripts, booklets, comic books, posters, cartoons, letters, memoranda, offprints, etc., documenting various aspects of social issues in America and throughout the world during the mid-twentieth century.

Biographical / Historical

Pope's 1938 introductory course in Social Ethics was described as follows in the Bulletin of Yale University Divinity School: "... an examination, in the light of sociological facts, of contemporary problems of industry, race, property distribution, the family, etc., and a consideration of the social and ethical implications of various forms of economic and political organization. Secular proposals for social reconstruction [are] investigated, and particular attention devoted to the relevance of the Christian ethic to the social order."

In this course, and in others such as "Contemporary Social Systems", "The Church and Social Classes", "The Church and Labor", and "Christianity and Communism", Pope and his students addressed social issues from both descriptive and analytic perspectives, engaging topical areas both as discrete societal issues and events, and as wide-ranging phenomena impacting the character of American society. Pope systematically collected primary source materials from hundreds of different organizations and on many different topics to support his teaching - materials as wide ranging as daily newspapers from World War II relocation camps for Japanese-Americans, virulent antisemitic propaganda, a comic book depicting America's possible fate under Communism, and literature for and against the National Health Insurance program proposed by President Truman in 1948.

Custodial History

These materials were collected or created during the period 1938-1973 by Liston C. Pope, Dean and Professor of Social Ethics at the Yale Divinity School, and his students.

Guide to the Social Ethics Pamphlet Collection
Compiled by W. Robert Chapman, Stephen G. Ray, 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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