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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
The collection is arranged in 5 series.
The collection consists of correspondence, memos, publications, reports, press clippings, press releases, sermons and speeches retained by the Rev. John D. Cannon, University Chaplain at Columbia University, 1966-1969.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site.
This collection has restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); John D. Cannon Papers; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Other Finding Aids
No additions are expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed CML 4/03/2017-05/26/2017.
Finding aid written CML 08/31/2017.
2017-09-13 xml document instance created by Christopher M. Laico.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
John Dyson Cannon (1934-2014) was born in St. Alban's, England. Until 1940, he lived in a London suburb, when the first of the German blitzes destroyed much of the city, and children were sent for safety to the United States. Upon arrival in America, he lived with his foster parents in Kennebunk, ME. In 1952, he graduated from Mt. Hermon School for Boys in Mt. Hermon, MA, followed by Harvard College (1956), and Union Theological Seminary, New York City (1959).
In 1959, Rev. Cannon was ordained a priest by Bishop Horace W.B. Donegan (1900-1991). He first served as an assistant to the rector at Saint Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church in Manhattan, NY. In 1963, Rev. Cannon began his chaplaincy ministry at Columbia University serving as Assistant Chaplain in the Protestant Office (1963-1964), Acting University Chaplain (1964-1966), and University Chaplain (1966-1969).
In the course of his tenure at Columbia University, Rev. Cannon was considered a new breed of clergyman, whose liberal politics and theology fostered a strong orientation toward progressive social action. In this regard, he was closely identified with many campus protest organizations. To illustrate, Rev. Cannon supported the creation of the Student Homophile League, now the Columbia Queer Alliance, protested the Vietnam War and racial inequality. He also recommended the elimination of the University Chaplaincy and the University's relationship with the Episcopal Church. These preceding actions and other projects such as the establishment of the Postscrypt, a coffee house located under St. Paul's Chapel created tensions between Rev. Cannon and the university administration. In October 1968, citing "a real barrier" with the administration and the "powerful pressures" placed upon the chaplain's office, Rev. Cannon announced his plans to resign before the end of the academic year upon the completion of a report undertaken by the Committee on Religious Life. This committee chaired by Rev. Cannon and formed by the University President engaged in an extensive, comprehensive review of religious programs, procedures, and policies at Columbia University.
After Columbia University, Rev, Cannon served a brief tenure at the Academy for Educational Development. Beginning in the mid-1970s, he worked as an assistant to Bishop Paul Moore, Jr. (1919-2003). In 1975, Rev. Cannon became the tenth Rector of Saint John's Church in Greenwich Village, NY. By 1985, he had returned to chaplaincy and teaching at St. Paul's School in Concord, NH. Rev. Cannon retired from the ministry in 1995.