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Donald (1919-1994) and Vera (1922-2014) Ward Papers

Identifier: 31/6/125

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Donald and Vera Ward Collection fills 62 boxes and spans the years 1919-2014. The collection is divided into separate portions for Donald and Vera.

Donald Ward’s personal materials section, dating from 1919 to 1994, includes baby books, including a lock of hair; childhood scrapbooks; materials from Ward’s travels as a young man through Europe with his grandmother, Emma Ward; Lake View High School Yearbooks; diaries, documents, report cards, and a diploma documenting his education at Northwestern University; personal correspondence with family, friends, and Vera Ward; his memoir "7-M Man" and other writings done while in hospice care; and records, condolence letters, and wake programs from his death.

Donald Ward’s professional materials (radio/television/academia) span the 1930s-1990s, and consist of scripts, correspondence, promotional materials, photographs, materials pertaining to specific shows, music, writings, and freelance documents related to Ward’s time as a radio announcer, television personality, magician, and freelancer, as well as correspondence and other papers documenting his time at Yankton College and Alaska Pacific University as President and Vice President, respectively.

Donald Ward’s religious materials span the period 1944-1994, and include correspondence, certificates, writings, assignments and papers from the Chicago Theological Seminary, notes, dissertations, photographs, sermon pamphlets, clippings, and bound Meetinghouse column writings from Ward’s career as a congregational minister.

Donald Ward’s sermons span the 1950s-1990s, and consist of both paper and bound collections of sermons from throughout Ward’s religious life, including general sermons written by Ward, bound sermons from the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and the published book Great Preaching, which includes an article written by Ward.

Vera Ward’s personal materials span the years 1919-2014. This section includes papers, correspondence, and photographs from Ward’s early life, her time at Northwestern, and her retirement and later life.

The Vera Ward professional materials section contains materials from Ward’s acting career, including programs, photographs, news clippings, and correspondence.

The Donald and Vera Ward personal and professional materials section includes papers related to both Don and Vera’s life, including significant correspondence between the two, papers related to their wedding, and other assorted family materials. It also includes papers from the time that Don and Vera worked together onscreen in Comic Capers and Breezy, Don, and Vera.

The Donald and Vera Ward oversized artifacts and media section includes multimedia artifacts as well as artifacts too large to fit into the boxes containing professional or personal materials. The oversized artifacts include large photographs, puppets from two of the Wards’ television programs, and scrapbooks. The multimedia artifacts include slides mainly featuring family photographs, LPs, DVDs, VHS tapes, tape reels, and an extensive collection of cassette tapes containing Donald Ward’s numerous sermons.


  • 1919-2014


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


62 Boxes

Language of Materials



Donald and Vera Ward were married graduates of Northwestern University with influential careers in the middle of the 20th century in Chicago-based radio, television, theatre, and the ministry. Donald’s successful and varied career spanned radio and television, Christian ministry, and higher education. Although her husband left the world of performing arts to become a Congregational pastor in 1959, the stage and screen remained Vera’s life’s work: she appeared in several acclaimed plays and television advertising campaigns and founded multiple theatre programs through the churches at which her husband ministered. The collection spans the period 1919-2014 and contains personal and biographical materials, correspondence, press clippings, photographs, written works, scripts, artifacts, and audiovisual materials.


The papers of Donald Ward are organized into: personal materials; professional materials (organized by date); religious materials (organized by date); and sermons (organized by date). The papers of Vera Ward are organized into: personal materials (organized by date); and professional materials (organized by date). These are accompanied by groups of materials for both Donald and Vera Ward: personalprofessional materials (organized by date); oversized artifacts and media; and cassette tape lists.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Donald and Vera Ward papers were donated to Northwestern University Archives by Mari McCarty in 2013-2015 (accession nos. 13-126, 13-209, 14-31, 14-36, 14-96, 14-100, 14-144, 14-148, and 15-6).

Guide to the Donald and Vera Ward Papers
In Progress
Frannie Trempe, 2014-2015; Rosie Jo Neddy, 2015-2016; Skyler Poel, 2016-2017.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US