Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of correspondence, estate and financial papers, and miscellaneous printed material reflecting Harrington's religious and political activities. General correspondence, 1936-1989, contains information concerning religious matters including the Community Church of New York and the Unitarian Universalist Association; and political affairs such as Harrington's work with the United World Federalists, the Liberal Party of New York and the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1967. Handwritten and typescript copies of his sermons are present along with the research materials used in their creation. Sermon topics include war, politics, poverty, segregation and race relations, sexuality/gender issues, and nuclear arms. The collection also contains estate and financial papers, and miscellaneous printed material including a topical file of print and near-print ephemera.
The Donald S. Harrington papers are arranged in six series:
Correspondence to and from Donald Harrington, 1936-2000. The majority of the correspondence illustrates the life of a minister and his congregation: birth, death, marriage, sermons, committees, events in the church, and outside events that the church was involved with. There are also topical issues that the correspondent was asked to get involved with, including political issues. Also included are scattered financial materials.
Among some of the people that the correspondence reflect include; Dr. Wirt A. Warren, Paul Blanchard, Dr. Edwin Borchard, L.J. Botwin, Kathleen Cleveland, Maurice A. Dawkins, Katherine Dovacs Dohanos, Dr. Robert Burns Dunn, Dr. Frederick May Eliot, James T. Farrell, Noel H. Field, John T. Flynn, Alexander Gabriel, Dr. Eugene Gonda, Charlotte S. Gross, Miriam Gold, George Gordon, William Green, Rudolph Halley, John Haynes Holmes, Harry Paxton Howard, Rev. Clarence V. Howell, Homer Jack, James Avery Joyce, Samuel Krompsh, Jack and Grais Laws, John Lindsay, Milton Mayer, Charles McCormick, Dr. Rev. Dale DeWitt, George E. Moesel, Dominick F. Pachella, Victor J. Papenek, Dr. Daniel A. Poling, Mrs. Henriette Posner, Blossom Reich, Ralph C. Roper, A. William Saar, Edward Santon, Harold S. Sloan, Norman Thomas, Linscott Tyler,
Some of the organizations in the correspondence series include: All Nations Fellowship Alliance, American Unitarian Association, Antioch College, Committee of Inquiry into Forced Labor, Community Hostel, Constitutional Convention 1948, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Friends of Democracy, Friends of Russian Freedom, India Society of America, Institute of International Relations, Institute on Intercontinental Studies, Japan International Christian University, League of Women Voters, Murray Hill Association NYC, National Film Cooperative, Peoples Liberal Church of Chicago, United Commission on World Order, United Service Committee, United World Federalists, Worker's Defense League and others.
Sermons preached by Donald Harrington, 1939-1982. Each folder contains handwritten copy and typed copy of scripts, notes used in preparation of writing and the church service bulletin. Sermons do not follow the common lectionary.
Sermons from 1939-1949 have the following topics: fear, revolution, Hitler, prayer, poisonous gas, democracy, children, war, the Bible, marriage, R. Tagore, materialism, science and religion, India, Europe and Russia, Japan, free enterprise, education, nuclear bombs, socialized medicine, the Soviet Union, FDR memorial, social security, atomic age, labor unions and pacifists.
Sermons from 1950-1959 have the following topics: economic crisis, Israel, China, prayer, money, motherhood, race relations, Passover, changing sex roles, bombs, salvation, Soviet Union, The Seven Story Mountain, sin, Eisenhower, the Cold War, the United Nations, taoism, welfare state, alcholism, Buddism, communists, Korea, mental health, Eastern religion, science and religion, creation, truth, Bible, raditation, peace, marriage, freedom, racial integration, India, the Dead Sea Scrolls, forgiveness, Suez crisis, liberals, Pope Pius XII, American Indians, and Soviet/American relations.
Sermons from 1960-1969 include the following topics: New York State Constitutional Convention, seperation of church and state, hippies, Martin Luther King Jr. memorial service, Israel, Robert F. Kennedy, god vs. evil, the Cold War, Black Power, love and marriage, The Great Society, judgement and forgiveness, sex, urbanization, freedom and responsibility, abortion, the John Birch Society, Parents Without Partners, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bob Dylan and Folk Music, the Cuban Crisis, Tagore, Berlin Crisis, science and religion, Wm. Shakespere, moral dilemas, American Jews, being born again, Vatican Council, prayer, salvation, Red China and the United Nations, faith vs. belief, Channukah, peace, Albert Schweitzer, Buddism.
Sermons from 1970-1979 deal with the following topics: friendship, letter writing, democracy, sin, racial integration, American Indians, Japan, China, Korea, Israel, women's liberation, World Peace, United Nations support, elections, Vietnam, homosexuality, good vs. evil, President Nixon and Watergate, President Nixon and detente, God within, racism, saving New York City, meditation, the world economy, religion and science, freedom and morality, death, South Africa, Bible, Black Spirituality, trade unions, Black History, American Indians, Rev. Jim Jones, World Peace.
Sermons from 1980-1984 topics include: liberal religion, Olympics, born again, American Indian, prayer, Moral Crisis, Blacks and other minorities, freedom, peace, Black achievement, election, resurrection, nuclear holocaust, Church vs. State, Central America.
Other writings by Donald Harrington. It includes lectures, essays, manuscripts and book and drama reviews. Lectures were given at both political and church-related functions, in addition to addresses made at college campuses. Essays were submitted for publication to various places. Manuscripts are included of books that were proposed to be published. It is unclear whether they were published or not. Book reviews were submitted to various church-related publications. Notes for classes taught are also a part of this series.
- circa 1980-1982
Topical files of things that interested Harrington. Mostly clippings from newspapers, with portions of text underlined with comments. There are also brochures, pamphlets and various other memorabilia. As an example here is a brief list of some topics: John Stienbeck, sterilization, Starr King School, Space Shuttle, students, Sugar Act Amendments, 1971 (South Africa), summer, the Supreme Court. The topics vary widely.
Memorials and funerals preached by Harrington, 1966-1980. Sermon, obit, bulletin and notes from the families of the deceased are included. They are sorted chronologically.
This includes the following: financial material, estate information, photographs, printed material from various organizations, various correspondence, lawsuits and court cases that Harrington was involved with, information about the Community Church, Unitarian Universalist Association and the World Federalists Association.
The financial material contains bank account information, insurance, stock purchases and retirement accounts and income tax returns. The estate information of Vilma S. Harrington, who died in 1982, contains bank accounts, medical information, income tax returns and correspondence with lawyers. There is also estate information of non-family members. Many parishioners in Harrington's church named him as their executor.
Harrington was also involved in various law suits over the years and some of this material is included. In some of these cases Harrington is a defendant, in others, he is a witness.
Both the Community Church and UUA material concerns information about those organizations. It is mostly published newsletters, magazines, bulletins and other material used in the running of the organizations.