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New York State Council of Churches Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: New York State Council of Churches.
Title: New York State Council of Churches Records
Inclusive Dates: 1934-1977
Quantity: 16 linear ft.
Abstract: Correspondence, agendas, minutes, memoranda, reports, printed material, and other papers relating to the Council's positions on such legislative issues as abortion, church and state relations, civil rights, family relations, labor, pornography, and Christian education.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

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.

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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.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically within each series.

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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.

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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.

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Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

New York State Council of Churches.


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)
Minutes (administrative records)
Phonograph records.
Sound recordings.

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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.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MFA
Date: Mar 1969
Revision history: 27 Jul 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC); 20 Mar 2013 - index to correspondence added (MRC); 5 Jan 2017 - minor code corrections (MRC); 23 Aug 2017 - rehoused, additions, updates (MS); 27 Sep 2022 - "Voice of the Rural Church" description expanded (IRP)

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Administrative files
Box 1 [General] 1968-1970 Mar (6 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1970 Apr-1971 (6 folders)
Box 3 [General] 1972-1973 (7 folders)
Box 4 [General] 1974-1977 (3 folders)
Box 4 Returned mail (2 folders)
Associate General Secretary's Office
RESTRICTED: 1970: The 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.
Box 4 History and Constitution of the Council
Box 5 Abortion law 1966-1967
Box 5 Aging, problems of the 1959-1960
Box 5 Aid to education (federal) 1961
Box 5 Aid to education (state) 1961
Box 5 Air Force Manual charge 1961
Box 5 Alcoholic beverage control laws 1963-1964
Box 5 Alcoholism 1953-1955
Box 5 Association of Council Secretaries 1962
Box 6 Baptist Commission on Social Relations 1954-1958
Box 6 Bingo undated
Box 6 Birth control 1959
Box 6 Boy Scouts of America
Box 6 Budget planning
Box 6 Business Administration Commission 1951-1965 (3 folders)
Box 7 Business Administration Commission 1966-1969
Box 7 Capital punishment 1934-1962 - includes statement on capital punishment by Theodore L. Conklin, typescript
Box 7 Centennial campaign
Champlain Valley, 350th anniversary celebration
Box 7 Correspondence 1958-1960
Box 7 Miscellaneous - includes "Out of the North Country" by Lewis N. Powell, typescript copy
Box 7 Church-state parochial schools 1959-1961
Box 8 Churchmen's International Consultation 1965-1968
Box 8 Civil rights 1963
Box 8 Civilian defense chaplains 1953-1960
Constitutional Convention Committee, New York State 1967
Box 8 Correspondence Oct 1966-Oct 1967 (3 folders)
Box 8 Minutes and meetings
Box 8 Statements by Theodore L. Conklin, Arthur Mielke and others - typescript drafts
Box 8 Position papers
Box 9 Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box 9 News clippings
Box 9 Cooperstown proposal
Denominational-interdenominational staff conferences
Box 9 Correspondence 1964-1966
Box 9 Miscellaneous
Box 9 Endowment campaign 1961-1962
Box 10 Equal Moral Standard Amendment 1963-1964
Box 10 Family justice 1965
Box 10 Finance promotion data 1954-1958
Box 10 Correspondence 1954-1962
Box 10 News clippings 1951-1965 (3 folders)
Box 10 News clippings undated
Box 11 Health and welfare
Box 11 Hospital employees 1963
Human Rights Commission
Box 11 Correspondence 1967-1968
Box 11 Report to the governor Jan-Mar 1968 - typescript reproductions, three drafts (A, B, C)
Box 11 Keuka College National Development Program 1964-1965
Legislative Commission
Box 11 Correspondence 1964
Box 12 Correspondence 1965-1966, undated (8 folders)
Box 13 Minutes and meetings 1966
Box 13 Miscellaneous 1966
Box 13 Legislative Commission releases 1955-1963 - typescript copies and reproductions (4 folders)
Box 14 Legislative Commission releases 1964
Box 14 Legislative seminars 1951-1964 (7 folders)
Box 15 Legislative seminars 1965
Box 15 Lisle Fellowship 1965-1966
Box 15 Correspondence Jun 1965-Dec 1966 (4 folders)
Box 15 Miscellaneous, - includes "Why Take A Chance" by Paul W. Rishell; typescript and printed material, revisions
Box 16 Miscellaneous
Box 16 News clippings
Committee of 100,000 Against the Lottery Amendment
Box 16 Correspondence 1966-1967
Box 16 Miscellaneous - includes memorandum opposing Lottery Amendment by Theodore L. Conklin, typescript
Box 16 National 1957-1958
Box 16 New York City 1966
State Committee Against
Box 16 Correspondence 1966
Box 17 Miscellaneous
Box 17 Mass communications
Box 17 Matrimonial and family laws 1959-1963
Box 17 Annual Assembly 1946-1962 (3 folders)
Box 18 Annual Assembly 1963-1966 (4 folders)
Box 18 Board of Directors, Executive Committee 1966
Box 18 Staff 1963-1965 (2 folders)
Box 19 Staff 1966-1968
Box 19 Trustees 1954
Box 19 Migrant Ministry - includes photographs
Box 19 Mimeographed material Dec 1966-Jun 1967 (4 folders)
Box 20 Mimeographed material Jul 1967-Dec 1968 (7 folders)
Box 21 Mimeographed material 1969
Box 21 Narcotics 1960
Box 21 National Council of Churches 1950
Box 21 New York Board of Rabbis 1958
Box 21 New York State Assembly and Senate bills relating to labor
New York State Assembly bills 1966
Box 21 Intro. 2-1432
Box 21 Intro. 1438-2889
Box 22 Intro. 2909-4053
Box 22 Intro. 4056-4673
New York State Senate bills 1966
Box 22 Intro. 23-1346
Box 22 Intro. 1349-2620
Box 22 Intro. 2661-3953
Box 23 Intro. 3954-4877
New York State Assembly and Senate joint bills 1966
Box 23 Intro. 395-4798
Box 23 New York State Legislature bill summaries 1958-1966 (9 folders)
Box 24 New York State Legislature bill summaries 1967
Box 24 New York State Women's Relief Corps Home 1959-1960
Box 24 Nominating commission 1961-1963
Box 24 Nuclear warfare
Box 24 Obscene literature 1961
Box 24 The One Hundred Club 1958
Box 24 Parental responsibility
Box 24 Penal law and criminal code
Box 24 Policy Committee 1953-1961 (2 folders)
Prayer in the schools
Box 24 Correspondence 1963-1965
Box 24 Miscellaneous - includes "Supreme Court on Prayer - the Churches React" by Dean M. Kelley and anonymous statements, typescript
Box 25 News clippings
Box 25 Public education - clippings
Public relations and development
Box 25 Correspondence 1955-1960
Box 25 Meetings and minutes
Box 25 Miscellaneous
Box 25 Racial discrimination and segregation 1958 - includes "One Country, One Classroom" by Harry Confoy; "Brothers," anonymous; typescripts
Box 25 Religious issue, presidential campaign 1960
Box 26 Annual 1948, 1951-1967 (4 folders)
Box 26 Financial 1966-1967
Box 26 Right wing extremism 1960
Box 26 Roswell Park Memorial Institute 1957
Box 26 Sex education
Box 26 Staff salaries and responsibilities
Box 26 State Council Reporter 1943-1959 - many are photocopies (3 folders)
State Council Reporter 1960-1969 - many are photocopies
Sent to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to SUMMIT, our main catalog to locate these items.
Box 27 Stillwater First Baptist Church 1955-1961
Study Committee
Box 23 Correspondence 1960
Box 27 Miscellaneous 1959-1961
Box 27 Sunday laws
Box 27 Syracuse University American Assembly 1967
Box 27 United Church Women of New York State
Box 25 Voice of the Rural Church 11/08/1959 - handwritten note on the sleeve: " Rev. Ted Conklin, 9 Convocations" (Lacquer disc) (ID#: nys_church_001)
Box 25 Voice of the Rural Church 01/10/1960 - handwritten note on the sleeve: " Rev. Ted Conklin, Rev. Leon Adkins, Annual Legislative Seminar" (Lacquer disc) (ID#: nys_church_002)
Box 27 Youth in the courts 1956-1958 - includes "Dealing with Juvenile Delinquency" by Theodore L. Conklin, typescript
Box 27 Miscellaneous news clippings
Correspondence, general
Box 28 A-G (7 folders)
Box 29 H-Q (7 folders)
Box 30 R-Z (5 folders)
Division of Christian Education 1934-1968
Box 30 General division material
Box 30 Adult Commission
Box 31 Camp and conference
Box 31 Children's Commission
Box 31 Higher Education Commission
Box 31 Leadership education
Box 31 Mentally retarded, religious training for
Box 31 Social crisis
Box 31 Vacation Church School
Box 31 Weekday religious education
Box 31 Young Citizens Camp
Youth Commission
Box 31 Minutes of meetings
Box 31 Miscellaneous material 1964-1965
Box 31 Youth Security Commission
Division of Church Planning and Mission 1934-1968
Box 32 Census, religious
Box 32 Federation
Box 32 Leisure time
Box 32 The rural church
See also "Voice of the Rural Church".
Box 32 The Church Center

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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.

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