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Letter from William Sloane Coffin, Jr. to Reinhold Niebuhr, October 24, 1960.
William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Michael Pomeranz 09, On the University Chaplaincy

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In the early 20th Century, Yale stopped requiring her students to attend chapel and established the Chaplaincy. Holding that office two generations later, William Sloane Coffin saw a great opportunity. Coffin was a product of the New England Protestant establishment, like Dwight and Bushnell, but eschewed their conservatism. A forceful critic of segregation and the American war in Vietnam, Coffin spoke out on national issues regularly. The letter from Coffin - addressed affectionately to "Reini," and signed by Coffin's own hand - considers Niebuhr's preaching at Yale near Election Day, 1960. In it, Coffin invites his teacher and mentor to speak explicitly on religion and politics. This document shows Coffin's activities as a Chaplain and Niebuhr's interest and involvement in politics.