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.

Collection Details

Record Group
Waldo Beach papers
Beach, Waldo
0.7 Linear Feet, 300 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

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.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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Collection is open for research.

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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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

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

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

Biographical/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.

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)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


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.