Lynn Harold Hough Papers Finding Aid - University Library - Drew University Archives

Lynn Harold Hough Papers, 1912-1986
Finding Aid

Drew University Archives
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: 973-408-3532
Fax: 973-408-3770

Summary Information


Hough, Lynn Harold, 1877-1971

Title and dates

Lynn Harold Hough Papers, 1912-1986


Lynn Harold Hough was a Methodist minister and scholar who devoted much of his career to Drew University . Hough graduated from Drew Theological Seminary and went on to become both professor and dean. These papers document his thoughts and affairs as President of Northwestern University, as professor and dean at Drew, and as a Methodist minister. Hough was both a philosopher and a poet, he conveyed his ideas on religion and humanity in a simplified and eloquent style, which gave rise to his popularity as a preacher and his writings are still relevant to this day. The collection includes sermons, newspaper articles, photographs and correspondence.


2 cubic feet


Drew University Archives
Madison, New Jersey

Language of materials



Lynn Harold Hough was a scholar, preacher and a poet who served as President to Northwestern University in 1919, and as the first Dean of the Theological School at Drew University form 1934-1947.

Lynn Harold Hough was born in Cadiz, Ohio on September 10, 1877 . He earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Drew Theological Seminary in 1905. His first teaching position was at the Garrett Biblical Institute, which he left in 1919 to serve as President to Northwestern University . In 1920, he was invited to lecture at Drew University, and in 1928 he accepted a position to preach at The United Church of Canada. At Drew University, he was appointed professor of Homiletics and Christian Criticism of Life, and in 1934 he was appointed dean.

Lynn Harold Hough was the author of more than forty books, and the recipient of thirteen degrees, ten of which were honorary. Hough was one the most prominent Methodist ministers and writers during the first half of the twentieth century

and achieved this recognition through the eloquent and philosophical sermons he delivered across America . His sermons addressed issues of importance to the Methodist community, and included discussions on civil rights, evolution, and on American's responsibility to Europe during and after World War II. In regards to his views on civil rights, Hough advocated equality for all law-abiding citizens, and publicly denunciated the Ku Klux Klan and all bigoted organizations at a sermon in 1923; Hough was praised for his preaching of tolerance and fair play. To some, his interpretation of evolution was deemed controversial, and charges of heresy were brought against him in response to his sermon, “Charles Darwin, Evolution and the Christian Religion” given in 1925. Hough advocated that the theory of evolution did not contradict the existence of God, but rather enhanced it. However, by publicly acknowledging the theory of evolution, he upset many clerics. Hough's writings on America 's role during wartime included, “ Nine Ways of Going Wrong” (1944) and “ America in the World” (1947); these sermons stressed the importance of a morally upright America leading the world to peace.

Hough retired from active service to Drew in 1957, but continued to preach and write through 1959. In 1971, Lynn Harold Hough passed away at the age of ninety-three, one year after his wife of thirty-four years, Blanche Horton.

Scope and Content Note

The materials in this collection document the religious and scholarly affairs of Dean Lynn Harold Hough. Most of the items in this collection pertain to the sermons written by Hough between the years of 1912 and 1959. The materials consist of published and unpublished sermons, correspondence, newspaper clippings, newsletters, brochures, degrees, certificates, notes, dairy, photographs and scrapbooks.

The time period covered by these materials is 1912-1986. The items were generated in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan and also Australia and Great Britain . Topics include Methodism, the Bible, humanity, America, evolution, World War II, and the poet Robert Browning. Printed sermons detail Hough's views on these topics, and offer direct access to his philosophies. Correspondence with religious and academic figures addresses the content of Hough's many sermons, and document the reception of his ideas. Additionally, newspaper editorials reacting to the content of Hough's sermons are also included. These materials together, arranged in chronological order, illustrate the context in which Hough's views existed and shed light on Methodism in America at this time.


The Lynn Harold Hough papers are arranged into three series:

Access and Use


The Lynn Harold Hough collection is available for research.

Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information

One photocopy may be made of each document for the purpose of research. Copyright is upheld wherever printed.

Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

This collection was donated by the Lynn Harold Hough estate upon the death of Lynn Harold Hough in 1971.


For preservation purposes, all newspaper articles contained within the collection have been reproduced by photocopy onto acid-free paper; the originals have been discarded.

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials

Copies of published books written by Lynn Harold Hough are contained with in the Faculty/Alumni Publications Collection, located in the Drew University Archives. These titles are accessible through the Drew University Online Catalog:

Processing and Other Information

Processing Information

Collection processed by Emily Andresini in April 2006. Finding aid written by Emily Andresini in April 2006.

Descriptive Rules Used

Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

Sources Used

University in the Forest: The Story of Drew University by John T. Cunningham (2002) consulted for biographical note.



Preferred Citation

Identification of item; Date (if noted); Lynn Harold Hough Papers, Box and Folder Number; University Archives, Drew University Library, Madison, New Jersey

Subject Headings


Hough, Lynn Harold

Drew University


The Bible





World War II

Robert Browning

Contents List

Series 1: Sermons, Correspondence, Newspaper Articles and Brochures, 1912-1986

Series Description

The Sermons, Correspondence, Newspaper Articles, and Brochures series is comprised of published and unpublished sermons, chapel brochures, newspaper clippings, correspondence, diplomas, and ephemera. Hough's sermons address issues of concern to the Methodist and national communities, including the state of Methodism, the Bible, how the Methodist community could lead in society by example, civil rights, evolution, and World War II. Hough's essays include a 1933 critical analysis of the literary critic Irving Babbit, a 1934 address on George Washington, and Robert Browning and his poetry. Correspondence between Hough and the New York Browning Society emphasize Hough's involvement with secular organizations.

The bulk of correspondence is between Hough and ministers and scholars, and addresses Hough's sermons as well as his changes in employment. This series contains a copy of One Hundred Years of Methodism, with the foreword written by Hough, diplomas from Drew University, the College of Puget Sound, and Boston University . There are newspaper articles and letters that document the charges of heresy brought against Hough for expressing his views of evolution. The majority of newspaper articles address Hough's national popularity while tracking his career moves, and often reprint excerpts from his lectures and sermons on humanity, American democracy, and religion.


Arranged in chronological order. Items without dates grouped by topic.

Box Folder Title
1 1 July 1912-November 1920
  2 April 1922-December 1924
  3 Heresy Charge and Trial, 1925
  4 January 1926-December 1929
  5 October 1930-December 1934
  6 May 1935-December 1939
  7 March 1940-June1941
2 1 November 1942-April 1949
  2 June 1951- April 1957
  3 January 1958-March 1965
  4 February 1966-March 1986
  5 Articles by Hough in The Church School Journal on Perspectives Through History and Literature, July 5 – December 27
  6 Sermons and essays by Hough including “The Disintegration of the Mind,” undated
  7 Unpublished Sermons, 1934-1942
  8 Book of Essays, 1929-1941

Series 2: Photographs, 1934-1963

Series Description

The Photographs Series mostly depict Hough as Dean of Drew Theological Seminary at various stages throughout his career. There is a photograph of Hough's study in Mead Hall, the University's dedication of the Hough portrait, and of him teaching seminars.


Folder one arranged in original order. Folder two arranged chronologically.

Box Folder Title
3 1 Hough Portrait Photographs, (undated)
  2 Hough Portrait Photographs, 1934-1963

Series 3: Diary and Scrapbooks, 1918-1952

Series Description

The Diary and Scrapbooks series is a compilation of materials personally prepared by Lynn Harold Hough documenting his life, travels, and achievements. The diary spans from June 30, 1942 to September 21, 1942 . Hough records in his own hand, his visit to Great Britain at the invitation of the British Ministry of Information to address troop centers. There is a corresponding scrapbook that documents this trip to Great Britain in photographs, postcards and newspaper clippings. Other scrapbooks contain photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, postcards from London and Australia, chapel brochures, diplomas, ephemera, and essays written by Hough.


Arranged chronologically.

Box Folder Title
3 3 Journal, England, 1942
  4 Scrapbook, 1918
  5 Scrapbook, 1953
4   Scrapbook, England, 1942
    Scrapbook, Australia, 1941
    Scrapbook, Reviews “The Meaning of Human Experience,” 1945
    Scrapbook, 1948-1951


Last updated 08/2006 by Cheryl Oestreicher