Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) Records
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Laymen's Academy of Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) records document the activities, programming and administration of the organization from its founding in 1961 through a period of dynamic growth in the mid and late 1960s, to its change in mission and scope, and eventual decline in activity in the early 1970s. Records are organized into six series: Administration (1960-1976); Financial (1961-1974); Correspondence (1961-1970); Programs (1956-1971); Subject files (1963-1968) and Photographs (1965, N.D.).
Administration records include by-laws, Board of Directors' minutes, personnel committee minutes, annual meeting minutes, membership records, news clippings and press releases. Financial records consist of treasurer's reports, budgets, check registries, and ledgers. Correspondence consists primarily of letters by David King to and from members of L.A.O.S. expressing acknowledgement and thanks for work done. Program records make up the bulk of the collection and contain correspondence (primarily between religious leaders, local administrators and David King or, occasionally, Paul Sanders), handwritten notes, and printed materials that document programs and organizations initiated by L.A.O.S. or in which L.A.O.S. participated. Issues of political interest to the membership and their affiliated churches, and to faith workers nationally, throughout the 1960s are evident in these materials and include McCarthyism, racial unity, school desegregation, pacifism and anti-war activism.
Faith and Life Meeting records are a subseries within the Programs series that contain resource materials and questionnaires used to solicit potential meeting topics from members. Subject files contain announcements, letters, news clippings, bulletins and other reference materials pertaining to current events and issues such as role of women in the church, war relief in Vietnam, civil rights and desegregation (March on Boston, led by Martin Luther King in 1965), and regional ministries. Photographs include few snapshots of L.A.O.S.'s 1965 meeting and several prints and negatives of children (1970s) engaged in what is presumed to be a L.A.O.S.-sponsored program.