In 1949, J. Paul Williams and Walter H. Clark conceived the idea of founding a society of social scientists and religious scholars interested in studying religion from the joint perspectives of their professional fields. The first meeting of the Committee for the Social Scientific Study of Religion was held on 17 September 1949. A constitution was adopted in 1956 officially naming the organization the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR). Its stated objectives were to encourage research in religion by scientific methods, stimulate communication between students of religion and social scientists, facilitate cooperation between individuals engaged in the scientific study of religion, and disseminate information about research being conducted on religious institutions and religious experience. Upon incorporation in 1964, a paid executive secretary (now executive officer) was employed to administer the organization. The SSSR publishes a quarterly journal and a monograph series. Meetings are held annually in October, in conjunction with the Religious Research Association.
The collection contains correspondence, minutes, publications, and other records of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, concerning its annual meetings, publications, and general administration.
Gift of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1978.
Scope and Content
Series 1, Administrative Subject Files, 1949-1996, contains material relating to the general administration of the organization, including correspondence files of past presidents, copies of constitutions and bylaws, photographs of leaders, and information on the SSSR's history, interorganizational relations, and amicus briefs for "brainwashing" cases. The records are arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically thereunder.
Series 2, Executive Officer Files, 1958-1996, contains correspondence and reports, arranged alphabetically by type of document and chronologically thereunder.
Series 3, Executive Council Files, 1959-1994, contains minutes of meetings, arranged in chronological order.
Series 4, Annual Meetings Files, 1951-2000, 2008, contains programs, minutes of business meetings, and scattered papers. It is arranged in chronological order.
Series 5, Financial Records, 1951-1995, contains reports of the SSSR's income and expenses, arranged in chronological order.
Series 6, Editorial Files, 1964-1996, contains correspondence, minutes, and reports related to the editing of SSSR publications, arranged alphabetically by type of document and chronologically thereunder.
Series 7, Committee Records, 1964-1996, contains correspondence, minutes, and reports of SSSR committees, arranged alphabetically by name of committee and chronologically thereunder.
Series 8, Publications, 1961-2001, contains issues of the organization's journal, newsletters, membership directories, and monographs, arranged in chronological order by title.