The records of University Chaplain James E. Avery date from 1960 through 1986 and fill sixty boxes. The bulk of the records date from the period of Avery's Northwestern chaplaincy, 1973-1986. They are divided into six categories: Avery's biographical and educational materials, pastoral and personal correspondence, administrative subject files, Church in the Chapel records, Quaecumque files, and records pertaining to religious and special services performed by the chaplain or his associates.
Biographical and educational materials include a folder of clippings and other biographical items and a larger volume of correspondence, notes, and coursework from Avery's undergraduate and graduate studies.
Pastoral and personal correspondence dates from 1971 through 1986 and fills more than two boxes. Entirely incoming, the correspondence largely concerns personal matters, often intimate, related to Avery by close friends. Some of the correspondence, written by those he counseled in a pastoral role, is sensitive in nature. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
Administrative subject files are arranged alphabetically by topical headings and occupy more than twenty boxes, a considerable portion of the series. They concern the formal and routine work of the chaplain and staff of Northwestern's Alice S. Millar Chapel and Religious Center. The chaplain's office administered religious affairs on campus and was closely involved with the work of the Office (later Division) of Student Affairs as well as other Northwestern units. As a consequence, the files found here relate not only to the chaplaincy and campus religious concerns but also to academics, alumni, university administrators and faculty, curricular matters, social and political concerns, committees, residence halls, and other matters.
The Church in the Chapel, an interdenominational Christian congregation including members of the Northwestern community and local residents, was established in 1971. This congregation formed the core of regular worshippers at the Alice S. Millar Chapel. Northwestern's University Chaplain served as pastor to the group. (For additional information see University Archives Series 0/23/1, Records of the Church in the Chapel.) Records found here concern administrative matters relating to the congregation.
Records relating to the journal Quaecumque fill about five boxes and include files pertaining to articles, authors, and topics of interest to the publication's editors. Files are arranged alphabetically by proper names and topical headings.
Records on religious and special services are voluminous, filling twenty-five boxes. The bulk relates to weekly Sunday services, filed individually and arranged chronologically. These records include service programs, sermon texts, and other pertinent materials. Following are chronologically arranged folders containing similar items relating to Northwestern baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies. Completing this category are files on memorial services and weddings conducted by Avery or at Alice Millar Chapel.