McMurry Richey papers, 1935-1985

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Richey, McMurry Smith
Dr. McMurry Richey was a faculty member of the Duke Divinity School and long-time director of the school's continuing education program. His papers cover a variety of topics, including materials related to continuing education, Duke Divinity School's annual convocation, the church and society, ethics, race relations, Duke's integration, and poverty.
15 Linear Feet
Collection ID:
University Archives Record Group:
29 -- Papers of Faculty, Staff, and Associates
29 -- Papers of Faculty, Staff, and Associates > 02 -- Individuals


Scope and content:

This collection is divided into nine series, each representing a different aspect of Dr. Richey's work.

The Convocation and Pastor's School papers series covers the planning, publicity, correspondence, speaker invitations, and other aspects of the annual convocation held at Duke.

The Continuing Education series covers Richey's work as director of continuing education for the Divinity School and includes research and publications on continuing education, lecture notes, workshop materials, materials concerning other continuing education programs, correspondence, and memoranda.

The Curriculum Committee series has materials related to the Divinity School curriculum and the revision process it underwent during Richey's time at Duke.

The Junior Seminars series covers the syllabi and lesson plans for various sections of Junior seminars.

Reports, Research and Correspondence covers Richey's research into a variety of topics, including the church, race, poverty, the ministry, and lectureships as well as correspondence with professional colleagues and ministers on the same.

Early Course Materials and Student Work consists of Richey's graduate work, notes, and (ungraded) copies of work completed by Richey's students. Also included are materials related to race relations, integration of Duke University, reactionary exteremism, and social reform.

Ethics contains notes on different ethical systems and were likely used as lesson outlines for teaching.

Laity and Related Topics is an accumulation of publications and correspondence surrounding the interaction of lay people with theology and the ministry.

Church and Society Programs contains materials examining the links between the church, ethical sytems, business, poverty, and race.

Biographical / historical:

After graduation from the Duke Divinity School, McMurry "Mac" Richey entered the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Ordained elder in 1943, he served pastorates until 1947 (Central Methodist, Asheville; Cullowhee; Kerr Street, Concord; and Brevard Street, Charlotte). Throughout his career, Richey took strong stands on social, political and economic issues. He made prophetic and sometimes unpopular witness on race, war and labor. For instance, speaking out for workers' interests and rights to organize in mill-owned Concord earned him a short appointment and a premature relocation.

He then moved to the University of Houston where he served as director of Methodist Student Work, director of religious activities and instructor in philosophy and religion before returning to Duke for a Ph.D. in religion.

After completion of his doctorate, Richey taught theology, Wesley studies, and religious education at Duke Divinity School. From 1972 on, he served as director of continuing education, and for nearly 15 years organized, promoted and led student and pastor study-seminars to Mexico. Conversations between the Mexican and U.S. church and the interpretation of Latin American Christianity became a centerpiece of Richey's life and work. He retired in 1983.

Biographical information taken from

Acquisition information:
The McMurry Richey papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in January, 1986.
Processing information:

Processed by: Matthew Schaefer, January, 2014

Accessions described in this finding aid: UA 86-6

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.

Theology -- Study and teaching
Duke University. Divinity School
Richey, McMurry Smith
Continuing education -- United States
Southern States -- Race relations
Durham (N.C.) -- Race relations


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Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48-hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

Terms of access:

Copyright for official University Records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], McMurry Richey papers, Duke Univeristy Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.