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Leland Boyd Henry Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: EFB
Date: Nov 1970

Biographical History

Leland Boyd Henry (1895-1968) was an American clergyman and social activist. Born June 3, 1895 in Buffalo, New York, the son of Charles Edward and Eva Boyd Henry. he graduated from Buffalo Central High School in 1914. He then entered Syracuse University where he participated in a variety of activities and was successively reporter, associate editor, managing editor and editor of the campus newspaper, the Daily Orange.

In 1918 Dr. Henry graduated from Syracuse, married Ruth Van Arsdale, a classmate, and entered the United States Army as a sergeant with the 39th Infantry in France. There he served on the Marne and in the Argonne and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Upon release from military service he entered Drew Theological Seminary, from which he received the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1922, and spent the following year in further study at Cambridge University. When he returned to the United States he served as a minister at Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church in Buffalo, the church at Newfane and the Corn Hill Methodist Episcopal Church of Rochester, all in New York State.

In 1930 Dr. and Mrs. Henry became members of the Protestant Episcopal Church and Dr. Henry sought admission to its priesthood. In September he began work as an educational assistant at St. Paul's Church in Rochester and was ordained to the priesthood in 1931. In 1932 he became rector of St. Luke's Parish in Brockport, New York, and in 1937 was called to serve as assistant to the rector at St. George's Church in New York City, a position he held until 1942 when he entered the military chaplaincy. He spent the early part of the war teaching in chaplains' schools but during its later stages served as chaplain on the hospital ship St. Mihiel in the Atlantic and Pacific.

Upon his return to New York in 1946 Dr. Henry was appointed executive secretary of the Social Service Commission of the Diocese of New York, which in the same year was renamed the Christian Social Relations Commission. The National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church appointed him as its observer at the United Nations beginning in 1949. Dr. Henry was a logical choice for this post because of his great concern for problems of world order and his active involvement in seeking creative solutions.

In 1955 Dr. Henry was appointed to the Human Rights Commission of New York City. During his tenure he was actively involved in attempts to improve housing for low-income families and his efforts in this direction brought him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Lincoln University.

Dr. Henry's wife, Ruth, died in 1947 and in 1950 he married his second wife, Beatrice M. Hetzler. A year later he became rector of St. Mary's Church in Scarborough, New York, where he served until his retirement in 1965. He continued with the diocesan commission on a part-time basis until 1957 when he resigned as executive director.

In June 1968 Dr. Henry was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree by Syracuse University. He died three months later on August 31, 1968.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Leland Boyd Henry Papers consist of writings, memorabilia and printed material.

Writings include sermons, speeches and a study guide. Sermons are dated according to Dr. Henry's own system, by the Sundays of the church year beginning with the Advent season, with the place of delivery noted in each instance. A series of sermons delivered on holidays not included in the church follows. A folder of sermon research material also is included. In almost every instance the sermons are original typescripts revised.

Speeches, mostly revised transcripts, all originate in the period when Dr. Henry was executive director of the Commission on Christian Social Relations of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

The study guide, 1946, was prepared by Dr. Henry for use by church groups in studying the Christian basis for concern about problems of world order. It is a mimeographed copy.

The speeches and the study guide especially reflect Dr. Henry's concern for the implications of the Christian faith for social problems. Although the sermons deal with all the major themes and concepts of the Christian faith, they also reflect his particular social concern.

Memorabilia includes biographical materials, confirmation instruction, orders of worship and miscellaneous items. The biographical materials consist of ten scrapbooks which contain photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, playbills, invitations and a few letters. The confirmation materials are outlines used by Dr. Henry to instruct confirmation classes of young people and adults. The orders of worship were used by Dr. Henry in conducting church services and are arranged chronologically. The miscellaneous materials contain bulletins, programs of Christian Social Relations conferences and a copy of the first newsletter of the Commission on Christian Social Relations.

Printed material consists of books and pamphlets from Dr. Henry's library. The collection consists of copies of the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, published sermons, reports of church conferences and educational materials. Speeches are arranged alphabetically by title.

Arrangement of the Collection

Sermons are arranged in church calendar order and within that chronologically by year. Where a sermon was delivered more than once, it will be found under the Sunday on which it was first delivered. A series of sermons delivered on holidays not included in the church year are arranged chronologically by the date of the holiday and within that order by the dates on which they were first preached. A miscellaneous series of sermons is arranged alphabetically by title. Memorabilia is subdivided by type and within that arranged chronologically. Printed material is subdivided by type and arranged alphabetically by author or title within that.


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.

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.

Subject Headings


Henry, Leland Boyd, 1895-1968 -- Archives.

Corporate Bodies

Episcopal Church, Clergy.
Methodist Episcopal Church, Clergy.


Church and the world.
Clergy -- United States.
Episcopalians -- United States.
Sermons, American.

Genres and Forms

Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Leland Boyd Henry Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Leland Boyd Henry, 1969.

Table of Contents



Printed material