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Guide to the Records of the Interfaith Council of Washington Square College

New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2641

New York University Archives

Collection processed by Robin Eaton.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 22, 2018
Finding aid written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Abbie Auster for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description.  , October 2018

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Washington Square College. Interfaith Council
Source: New York University. School of Social Work
Title: Records of the Interfaith Council of Washington Square College
Dates [inclusive]: 1948-1970
Abstract: The records in this collection date from 1948 to 1970. The majority of records are those that were kept by the Interfaith Council secretary from its inception in 1956 through its final dissolution in 1970. The records reveal the composition and evolution of religious community life at New York University in the mid 20th century. In 1967, an IFC self-study recommended that the IFC's role be re-examined. In 1970, it was dissolved and superceded by a Committee on Faith and Life at NYU, established under the Office of Student Affairs. Collection materials consist of minutes, correspondence, publicity materials, and brochures.
Quantity: 4.25 Linear Feet in 6 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, and 1 record carton.
Location: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.
Language: All materials in this collection are in English.
Call Phrase: RG.39.4

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Historical Note

In 1947, New York University rented and renovated 2 Washington Square North as a religious center with quarters for the Christian Association (later re-named the University Christian Foundation), the Jewish Culture Foundation, the Newman Club, and the Library of Hebraica and Judaica. Between 1948 and 1956, the building was maintained by the House Committee which consisted of representatives from the clergy, professors, and students involved in the Washington Square religious organizations. This committee was responsible for setting policies regarding the use of the building and insuring its proper maintenance.

The Board of management also operated between 1948 and 1956. This board consisted of clergy, faculty, and student representatives. Chaired by Dean Thomas Pollock of Washington Square College, the board was responsible for setting general policies regarding the religious groups on campus and for coordinating their activities.

In March 1956, as the result of the University Self-Study, President Carroll Vincent Newsom established the Interfaith Committee. It immediately replaced the Board of Management and a few months later, when a resident manager was appointed, the House Committee was dissolved. Members of the Interfaith Committee (the name was changed in 1957 to the Interfaith Council) were appointed by the president of the university. The IFC consisted of 12 members, including three from the NYU Board of Chaplains, three religious directors, three faculty members at large, and three students. The goals of the IFC were to develop ties and cooperation between the religious groups on campus and between the religious groups and the university, to encourage student attendance at religious services, and to study the needs of religious groups to adjust the university budget to accommodate them.

During the 1940s and early 1950s there was an Interfaith Council at the Altschul House on the Heights campus. It was dissolved before the IFC at Washington Square was created and was reactivated in 1969 -- just as the Washington Square IFC was dissolved. The Washington Square and University Heights religious groups were in contact with one another but other than occasional courtesies (such as when Washington Square first moved in to 2 Washington Square North the Altschul House at the Heights sent them a couch), the two campuses' religious organizations were not connected.

The IFC employed a secretary and a resident manager. These were full-time positions which ran from September through June. They were usually taken by part-time students.

The IFC began with only the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish organizations as its members. In the 1960s, its character changed to include Hindu, BaHai, and other groups. In its first few years, the IFC sponsored ecumenical discussions, art shows, and dinners. In the late 1960s, it sponsored a series of lectures on the draft and aided the Gay Liberation group in disputes with the university administration.

In 1961, the IFC adopted a resolution to support the building of the "Interfaith Triangle Center at Washington Square." This was to consist of three separate buildings for the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish groups located in a triangle around the Loeb Student Center on Washington Square South. This proposal was in response to the need felt for greater space. They believed that the close proximity of these three buildings would maintain the opportunity for interfaith cooperation while providing each group with more space.

In the summer of 1964, the Catholic Center at 58 Washington Square South was opened. They continued to keep one room at 2 Washington Square North in order to maintain their ties with the other groups. The University Christian Foundation and the Jewish Culture Foundation were never able to build their buildings. In late 1978, the School of Social Work moved into 2 Washington Square North, the JCF moved into new quarters in Loeb Student Center, and the UCF moved into a room in 21 Washington Place.

In 1967, in recognition of the profound changes in the student body since the IFC's inception in 1956, the IFC proposed that a new self study be conducted. Its goal was to explore ways of including a wider range of religious groups in interfaith activities, to create a closer relationship between the religious groups at the Heights and at Washington Square, and also to examine the role of religion in the entire university. This study was carried out during the 1969-1970 academic year. In 1970, the IFC was dissolved and a Committee on Faith and Life at NYU under the Office of Student Affairs was created.

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Scope and Contents

This collection of records date from 1948-1970 and were created by the former Interfaith Council at New York University. The materials from the Interfaith Council at Washington Square include the IFC's meeting minutes, activities, publicity, correspondence, building business, and correspondence from the university administration. The bulk of the records are from 1956 through 1969. The records consist of minutes, correspondence, publicity materials, and brochures.

The records are those kept by the IFC secretary from its inception in 1956 through its final dissolution in 1970. The records of the IFC can provide valuable information to the researcher about the various religious groups at the Washington Square campus. The changes in the IFC's member organizations and in the types of programs they sponsored illustrate an important aspect of NYU student life over an eleven year period (1956-1967). This collection illustrates the change in religious composition and consciousness of the Washington Square student community and provides the researcher with evidence of the changes which took place in the issues with which the student body was concerned.


This collection is arranged into eight series as follows:

Series I: Predecessors of the Interfaith Council, 1948-1956

Series II: Interfaith Council Meetings, 1956-1970

Series III: Reports, 1957-1969, undated

Series IV: Budget, 1957-1968, undated

Series V: Correspondence, 1956-1970

Series VI: Activities, 1957-1970, undated

Series VII: Personnel and Space, 1955-1970, undated

Series VIII: University Administration, 1957-1967

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Wingate, Isabel Barnum
  • Newsom, Carroll V. (Carroll Vincent), 1904-1990
  • Pollock, Thomas Clark, 1902-1988

Document Type

  • Publicizing.
  • Brochures.
  • Minutes (administrative records)

Subject Organizations

  • New York University. School of Social Work
  • New York University. Office of Student Affairs
  • University Christian Foundation
  • National Conference of Jews and Christians (U.S.)
  • Newman Club
  • New York University. Library of Judaica and Hebraica

Subject Topics

  • Students -- Religious life

Subject Places

  • Washington Square (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

In 1980, when moving into the offices in 2 Washington Square North, which had previously been occupied by the Interfaith Council, the New York University School of Social Work found the Interfaith Council collection and gave it to New York University Archives.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Interfaith Council are maintained by New York University. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from New York University Archives. Please contact or (212) 998-2641.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date; Records of the Interfaith Council of Washington Square College; RG 39.4; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University.

Separated Materials

Sixteen inches of duplicate material was removed from the collection and discarded. Photographs have been separated from the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the New York University School of Social Work, 1980. There is no accession number associated with this collection.

Processing Information

Processing decisions made prior to October 2018 have not been recorded.

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Container List

Series 1: Predecessors of the Interfaith Council, 1948-1956

Scope and Contents note

Contains the minutes and correspondence relevant to the operation of the House Committee and the Board of Management. These two bodies governed 2 Washington Square North between 1948 and 1956, prior to the creation of the IFC.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 House Committee
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Board of Management

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Series 2: Interfaith Council Meetings, 1956-1970

Scope and Contents note

Contains minutes and correspondence relating to IFC meetings between 1956 and 1969. It has an incomplete file of lists of members of the IFC and individual members of the different religious organizations that belonged to the IFC. This series also includes minutes and correspondence relating to IFC sub-committee meetings, meetings of the Catholic Center, University Christian Foundation, and the meetings of the Directors of the various groups and of the Student Presidents of the individual groups.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 4 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 5 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 6 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 7 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 8 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 9 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 10 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 11 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 12 IFC Meeting Minutes
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Member Organizations and Committee Member Lists
Box: 2 Folder : 2 IFC Research Subcommittee
1958, 1963
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Catholic Center Minutes
Box: 2 Folder : 4 University Christian Foundation Meeting Minutes and Organizational Information
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Directors and Student Presidents Meetings

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Series 3: Reports, 1957-1969, undated

Scope and Contents note

Consists of religious surveys of student religious life and organizations conducted by non-NYU sources, information pertaining to the religious preference cards distributed with registration materials and returned to the IFC, the two self studies (1956 and 1967-69) which profoundly affected the IFC, reports about the plans for a new tri-partite religious center, annual reports on religious activity at Washington Square, and a survey conducted by NYU of religious activity on other college campuses with brochures issued by these institutions.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Religious Surveys Conducted by Outside Organizations
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Religious Preference Cards
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Self Study
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Self Study
Box: 2 Folder : 10 New Religious Center
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Annual Reports on Religious Activity at Washington Square
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Survey of Religious Activities on Other Campuses I
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Survey of Religious Activities on Other Campuses II

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Series 4: Budget, 1957-1968, undated

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence and computer summary sheets of the yearly expenses and budget of the IFC. This series covers from 1957 through 1968, but it is not complete. Requisitions and invoices which contain substantive information and petty cash procedures are included. There is also a file of IFC magazine subscriptions and bills.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 IFC Budget
Box: 3 Folder : 2 IFC Budget
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Requisitions and Invoices, Petty Cash Procedures
Box: 3 Folder : 4 IFC Magazine Subscriptions and Bills

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Series 5: Correspondence, 1956-1970

Scope and Contents note

Contains incoming and outgoing correspondence regarding meetings, activities, publicity, and organizational details. It is arranged chronologically by year for the years 1956 through 1970. Correspondence for 1965 and 1966 is missing. There is a separate file for correspondence and copies of memos which were set aside for Dr. Isabel Wingate, a faculty member who was chairman of the IFC from 1963 to 1964.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 5 IFC Correspondence
Box: 3 Folder : 6 IFC Correspondence
Box: 3 Folder : 7 IFC Correspondence
Box: 3 Folder : 8 IFC Correspondence I
Box: 3 Folder : 9 IFC Correspondence II
Box: 4 Folder : 1 IFC Correspondence
Box: 4 Folder : 2 IFC Correspondence
Box: 4 Folder : 3 IFC Correspondence I
Box: 4 Folder : 4 IFC Correspondence II
Box: 4 Folder : 5 IFC Correspondence
Box: 4 Folder : 6 IFC Correspondence
Box: 4 Folder : 7 IFC Correspondence
Box: 4 Folder : 8 IFC Correspondence
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Dr. Isabel Wingate, Faculty member and Chairman of IFC, 1963-1964

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Series 6: Activities, 1957-1970, undated

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence and publicity for the various activities run by the IFC. General publicity for the various religious groups at NYU is also included. Activities such as the IFC Dinner, Brotherhood Week, and the Art Shows have been placed in individual folders in this series. Annual calendars and weekly schedules for the IFC and Loeb Student Center are also included.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Activities
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Publicity for Religious Organizations at NYU
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Publicity for Religious Groups in Washington Square College Catalog
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Art Show
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Activities, Correspondence, and Publicity
Box: 5 Folder : 6 UNESCO Citizen's Consultation Program
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Brotherhood Week
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Brotherhood Week
Box: 6 Folder : 1 IFC Dinner
1957-1958, 1960-1962
Box: 6 Folder : 2 IFC Dinner
Box: 6 Folder : 3 IFC Dinner
Box: 6 Folder : 4 National Conference of Christians and Jews, Information and Activities
Box: 6 Folder : 5 IFC Weekly Schedules
Box: 6 Folder : 6 IFC Calendar
Box: 6 Folder : 7 IFC Calendar
Box: 6 Folder : 8 Loeb Student Center Activity Schedules

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Series 7: Personnel and Space, 1955-1970, undated

Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence and memos regarding IFC employees (resident manager and secretary) and the use, maintenance, and security of 2 Washington Square North.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 7 Folder : 1 Personnel
Box: 7 Folder : 2 Room Use, Rules and Procedures
Box: 7 Folder : 3 Building Security
Box: 7 Folder : 4 Building Maintenance and Use
Box: 7 Folder : 5 Building Maintenance and Use
Box: 7 Folder : 6 Building Maintenance and Use

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Series 8: University Administration, 1957-1967

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence, mimeographed, and printed material from the university administration about general university matters.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 7 Folder : 7 University Administration Information
Box: 7 Folder : 8 University Administration: Memos and Correspondence
Box: 7 Folder : 9 Reports of the (University) President
Box: 7 Folder : 10 NYU Senate Report

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