Guide to the Waldo Beach Papers, 1949-1986


Waldo Beach was a professor of Christian Ethics in the Duke University Divinity School between the years 1946-1986.

The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, typescripts and printed material concerning civil rights, politics and other ethical issues and ranges in date from 1949-1986.

Descriptive Summary

University Archives, Duke University
Beach, William Waldo, 1916-2001.
Waldo Beach papers 1949-1986
Language of Material
0.7 Linear Feet, 300 Items
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection includes correspondence, memoranda, typescripts and printed material primarily concerning ethics. Major subjects include civil rights and research in politics and ethics. Individual files include a proposal to the Danforth Foundation to improve teaching, correspondence concerning residential development in Duke Forest, conferences on Human Values and Public Policy, and cooperative research in the areas of politics and ethics. Items of note include a copy of an undated typescript, "A President Named Jimmy" , by James D. Barber, a pamphlet produced by the Durham Community Planning Council titled "Durham's Assets in the Arts" , and first-hand accounts of the January 3, 1964 sit-in in Chapel Hill. The collection ranges in date from 1949-1986.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Collection is open for research.

warning Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, Memorabilia, 1949-1986
Correspondence, Ralph Bucy Sermons, 1973-1980
Civil Rights Sit-ins, 1964
James David Barber on President Carter, undated
Danfurth Foundation Project Proposal, 1971-1975
Duke Forest Development, 1972
Human Values and Public Policy Conference, 1976
Institutional Self Study, Department of Religion, 1965
Interseminary Church and Society Program, 1967-1970
National Council on Churches, Commission on Race, 1961-1962
State Politics and Christian Ethics Research Group, 1965
Ethics and Politics Research Group, 1966
Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, 1967-1971
Vigil Material, 1968
Printed Matter - Issue of The Whetstone, 1966

Historical Note

William Waldo Beach was born in 1916 in Middletown, Connecticut. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1937 and his B.D. and Ph.D. from Yale in 1940 and 1944, respectively. He was ordained as a minister of the United Methodist Church. Beach taught at Antioch College before joining the faculty Duke's Divinity School in 1946, where he served as Director of Graduate Studies from 1959-1969 and specialized in Christian ethics, racial politics, ecology and technology. He supervised the dissertation of the first black Ph.D. graduate of the Duke Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and fought for racial integration in the Duke Chapel. He also served appointments at the Union Theological Seminary, the Pacific School of Religion, Colorado College, Northwestern University and Texas Christian University. In 1969, his book Christian Community and American Society was published by Westminster Press. The longest-tenured professor in the history of the Divinity School, Beach retired from Duke in 1986. He was also an active composer and sang with the Durham Civic Choral Society for over 40 years. He died in 2001.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Biographical Reference Collection, 1972-2004 (Duke University Archives)
  • Photograph Collection, 1861-2006 (Duke University Archives)
  • Chapel Sermons, 1954-1987 [sound recording] (Duke University Archives)
  • Paul Ramsey Papers, 1934-1984 and undated (Rare Books, Manuscripts and Special Collections Library, Duke University)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Waldo Beach Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


The Waldo Beach Papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Wood, January 2007

Encoded by Kimberly Sims, January 2007

Accession A91-120 is described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and our local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.