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I. Kirkpatrick Chapel Services and Activities,, 1928-1947


  • 1928-1947

Scope and Contents

Summary: This series includes correspondence regarding securing Chapel speakers, Chapel speaker schedules, a speech given at Chapel, Chapel regulations, petitions from students against chapel regulations correspondence related to hiring a new Chaplain, and correspondence to and from the Student Counsellor, Bradford Abernethy regarding speaking engagements.

The material in this series consists of General Correspondence of the Office of Dean of Men,including letters from other colleges requesting information on how religious activities at Rutgers are structured. Also includes requests from Theological schools for the names and addresses of pre-ministerial students and lists of pre-ministerial students for the years 1942-1943, 1945, and 1946. In addition there is General Chapel Records, which includes general correspondence related to the chapel; a list of the number of available seats in Kirkpatrick Chapel, dated March 7, 1933; choir list for 1934-35; sketch of a proposed Chapel addition by C.C. Stover, Oct. 1938; a speech given at Chapel 3/20/41 by Prof. Robert Thompson entitled, Some Thoughts on Crisis in History; and a program from Wesleyan University for a Memorial Service to honor their students who died in World War II. The Letters from the Office of the Dean of Men arranging for Sunday Chapel speakers folder contains copies of letters from the Office of the Dean of Men (primarily from Dean Metzger) to prospective Chapel speakers or people who have agreed to speak at Chapel. The types of letters in this folder include invitations from the Dean to speak at Chapel, reminder letters to those who have agreed to speak, correspondence aimed at arriving at a mutually acceptable date to speak, and thank you letters with honorarium to Chapel speakers.

Letters to the Office of the Dean of Men from Chapel speakers include primarily communications addressed to Dean Metzger from people who have been invited to speak at Kirkpatrick Chapel. The types of letters in this folder include responses agreeing to speak at Chapel, letters declining to speak, correspondence to arrive at a mutually acceptable date to speak at Chapel, and follow-up letters to Dean Metzger after a speech has been given. Prospective Chapel Speakers Includes correspondence about possible future Chapel speakers as well as lists of preachers who have spoken or will be speaking at other colleges (e.g., Lafayette College, New Jersey College for Women, New York University, Harvard University, and Princeton University). The folder entitled, Schedules of Chapel Speakersfolder contains one-page listings for various date ranges showing who is scheduled to speak at Kirkpatrick Chapel. Student Chapel Regulations and Associated Records includes correspondence, a one-page listing of Chapel regulations dated 12/2/30, petitions from students and protests from local clergymen about mandatory chapel attendance, and a sample form letter that was sent to students who missed Sunday Chapel once too often. Also included in the folder are recommendations to the faculty regarding Sunday Chapel regulations made by Student Welfare Committee, October 20, 1930; lists of students who missed Sunday Chapel during Second Term, 1934-35 and 1938; and a letter from Rutgers President Clothier to Howard J. Crosby, dated September 16, 1946, stating that attendance at Sunday Chapel would now be voluntary. Correspondence: Hiring a New Chaplain includes letters to and from the Office of the Dean of Men regarding the hiring of a new Chaplain for Rutgers. The letters from the Office of the Dean of Men generally fall into two categories: those requesting information about possible people under consideration for Chaplain and those asking for names of people who should be considered for the position of Chaplain. Correspondence to and from Bradford Abernathy, the Student Counsellor, and later Chaplain after Fraser Metzger retired from the position in 1945 consists of requests to Bradford Abernethy to speak at various churches and colleges and requests to use Kirkpatrick Chapel.

One of the more interesting files in the series deals with Chapel regulations. This file provides insight into how some Rutgers students felt about mandatory Chapel attendance. It includes several student petitions protesting this regulation. Also evident from the contents of this file is how seriously the University was about mandatory Chapel attendance. Penalties were swiftly administered by the Office of the Dean of Men to those who missed chapel more than the allowed number of times.

Another file in this series contains the correspondence regarding the securing of speakers at Sunday Chapel. It is by far the largest amount of correspondence in this series and suggests that the securing of a speaker at Chapel each Sunday was one of the more important responsibilities of Fraser Metzger in his role as Acting Chaplain. By the number of letters he wrote, it appears he spent a fair amount of time on this task--another indication of the importance of Chapel to the University.

Language of Materials

From the Record Group:



(13 folders)


Arrangement: The material in each of the files in this series are arranged chronologically.

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

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