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A Guide to the Records at the Indiana University Archives
Finding aid prepared by Shannon K. Larson.
Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management
1320 East Tenth Street
Herman B Wells Library E460
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Indiana University. Student Religious Cabinet.
.6 cubic feet (1 box)
Materials are in English.
The Student Religious Cabinet existed as a student group at Indiana University from 1938 to at least 1951. The Student Religious Cabinet’s purpose was to promote interest in religion, bring about fellowship among students of diverse religious affiliations, and sponsor activities meant to counteract religious and racial tensions. The collection contains meeting notes and attendance records from 1938 to 1951 and publications including The Voice of Religion on Indiana University Campus, Communique, pamphlets from a War-Time Victory for Brotherhood program held from 1943 until 1945, and the Campus Home Front , another student publication concerned with the war effort, published in 1943.
Collection is open for research. Advance notice is required.
The Student Religious Cabinet of Indiana University was a student organization founded in October of 1938 in order to promote interest in religion and fellowship among students of diverse religious affiliations. The group’s establishment came about as a result of President Herman B Wells’ decision to found the University Committee on Religion in December of 1937. The committee consisted of faculty members, community religious leaders and students from four major religious groups: Catholicism, Christian Science, Judaism and Protestantism. Frank O. Beck, the original Executive Secretary for this committee was an active organizer and participant in the Student Religious Cabinet, which was comprised of representatives from all of the religious student organizations on campus. The purpose of the Student Religious Cabinet echoed that of the University Committee on Religion. Both groups wanted to support and bring about unification and collaboration between all religious denominations represented on the Indiana University campus.
During the group’s existence between 1938 and 1951, the Student Religious Cabinet sponsored a variety of activities with the purpose of dispelling not only religious, but also racial tensions. Sponsored activities included but were not limited to religious conferences and seminars, Sunday morning breakfasts, chapel colloquies, peace rallies and efforts to support military troops during World War II.
In addition to sponsoring a variety of activities, the Student Religious Cabinet also published a weekly publication called The Voice of Religion on Indiana University Campus . This publication consisted mainly of event announcements and a daily schedule of activities sponsored by the group. The Student Religious Cabinet also began publishing The Campus Home Front and Communique when the United States became involved with World War II. These publications focused on building morale on campus and suggesting ways for students to get involved with wartime activities.
During the war years, the S. R. C. centered most of its activities and meetings around the war effort. For example, the group became involved with A War-time Victory for Brotherhood Program, assisted the Army and the Navy by compiling directories of religious organizations, and also organized registration for military trainees who wished to become involved in a religious organization during their training.
There are no records on the Student Religious Cabinet after 1951.
The collection is arranged in a single series, Administrative files.
The records of the Indiana University Student Religious Cabinet consist primarily of meeting notes and publications for the group from 1938 to 1951.
Drafts of the meeting minutes exist from 1938 to 1950. Many of these notes were formatted as reports to the University Committee on Religion. Minutes from the very first meeting, which took place on October 2, 1938 are included. Some interesting topics discussed by the group during these years included what attitude the Cabinet should have toward cheating on exams, how to better include African American students in the organization, as well as how to bolster morale during the United States’ involvement in World War II. A few of the many activities sponsored by the group included tea in the Union for the international students on campus, a refugee student fund, a race relations conference, and the organization of a religious program for military trainees during the summer of 1942. Another interesting event that is mentioned in a meeting note from 1942 was in regards to a Dr. Hill who spoke at a Convocation and Colloquy hosted by the Cabinet. According to one member of the Cabinet, he was the first African American man to ever address a large gathering at an Indiana University event.
A bound set of minutes covers 1940 to 1948. While the attendance sheets only span October 1941 through the summer of 1943, around forty students are listed on each roster. One topic of interest among these minutes include whether or not Japanese-American students should be admitted to the university in the fall semester of 1942. Herman B Wells was reportedly concerned with their safety, if allowed to enroll. Also of interest is the inclusion of a pamphlet listing the war time activities of the University Committee on Religion and the Student Religious Cabinet, which was created at the request of the Indiana University War History Project. Twenty-two activities are listed in this pamphlet. From writing letters to mothers of IU students who had joined the war to conducting classes on the topics of "The Issues of War and Peace," the Cabinet was actively involved in attempting to inspire morale among university students during the war.
Other materials of note include Student Religious Cabinet publications and programs. The Voice of Religion on Indiana University Campus spans from September 1941 to January 1947 and includes two basic sections: a list of upcoming events and a weekly schedule of colloquies, church services, prayer groups, etc. Additionally, other publications such as The Campus Home Front and Communique centered around the war effort seeking to build morale among students and announce opportunities for students to take part in study groups, workshops and events. Noteworthy programs represented in the collection include A War-time Victory for Brotherhood which consisted of events over a month-long period "aimed to promote understanding" of the war and its effects. These lectures, colloquies, films and prayer meetings are categorized as being either "inter-racial," "inter-national," or "inter-religious."
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in IUCAT, the IU Libraries' online catalog. Materials about related topics, persons or places can be found by searching the catalog using these terms.
See also the Frank O. and Daisy Beck papers, Collection C168 .
Completed in 2011
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