The Edmund Perry Papers fill three boxes and span 1953 to 1999. The bulk of the papers consist of Perry's correspondence, both personal and departmental, from the 1970s. Highlights of the collection include Perry's correspondence with religious leaders from around the world regarding the Department of Religion's comparative religions focus and their own religious faiths. Building this program was a primary interest of Perry's throughout his long career at Northwestern and much of the correspondence in this series documents his efforts in that area. The series is divided into four subseries: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Student Files, and Publications and Presentations.
Biographical Materials span the dates 1954 to 1999, with the bulk of the materials dating after 1970. Early materials include newspaper clippings and University press releases about Perry's involvement in local and national Methodist Church activities. The general file contains obituaries written upon Perry's death in 1998, programs from memorial services that were held at the time, and copies of the speeches that were given at the University's memorial service. Perry's long academic career is documented by a file containing biographical data forms, vitae and vita supplements. Efforts honoring Perry upon his retirement and after his death are documented in folders relating to a planned Festschrift for Perry, events surrounding his retirement, and fundraising for an honorary chair and lectureship named for Perry. These files are arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically within each folder.
Correspondence files span the dates 1955 to 1999 and include general files and subject files with originals of incoming and carbons of outgoing correspondence. General correspondence includes both personal and University-related correspondence, reflecting the overlapping nature of Perry's work and the wide range of concerns that occupied him during his years at Northwestern. Subject correspondence pertains to Perry's work for the American Association of University Professors; a proposed Journal of Religion and Religions; and the Phi Eta Sigma honorary society. General correspondence files are arranged chronologically by folder and within each folder. Subject correspondence files are arranged alphabetically by correspondent's surname and then chronologically within each folder.
Publications and Presentations files span the dates 1953 to 1984 and include articles and papers written by Perry and speeches and a sermon written and presented by Perry.
Student files span the dates 1957 to 1982 and contain correspondence, student work (mostly graduate level) and evaluations written by Perry. These files are restricted and can be used only with permission of the University Archivist.