1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Dodeka Records

 Literary and philosophical society, Providence, R.I.

 Records, 1903-1999

 Size: 1 linear foot

 Catalog number: MSS 387

 Processed by: Lori Salotto, June 2000

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Dodeka is an interdisciplinary study group that meets several times a year to share conversation and listen to papers given by its members. There is no specification of subjects for the talks, but generally they explore some moral or ethical theme.

            Dodeka was started on June 29, 1903 by Rev. T. Calvin McClelland of Newport. He invited a group of Congregationalist ministers to his home for discussions on various subjects. From there it has expanded to include men and women from a variety of backgrounds. It is believed that the name comes from the Greek root for twelve. It is probable that twelve was the original number of members, though it later came to signify the time of the day for the meeting.

Return to top

Scope and content:

            This collection ranges in date from 1903 to 1999. It includes meeting notices, minutes of meetings, membership lists, correspondence, by-laws, notes, and newspaper clippings. The most interesting items are copies of papers that were given as talks at each Dodeka meeting.

Return to top


            These records were originally put on deposit by Arthur Wilson on June 23, 1975. Additional material was added to the collection in 1991 by Dr. Ridgway Shinn and at this time the deposit was converted to a gift to the library. Dr. Shinn made an additional donation in June 2000.

Return to top

Processing note:

            The collection was originally processed by Cindy Bendroth in January 1991. Additional material was added in June 2000 and the original material was re-foldered and re-boxed.

Return to top


Box 1, folder 1. By-laws, 1936, 2008

Box 1, folder 2. Correspondence, 1925-1934 and undated

Box 1, folder 3. Correspondence, 1967-1990

Box 1, folder 4. Correspondence, 1990-1995

Box 1, folder 5. Correspondence, 1995-1999

Box 1, folder 6. History: notes and pamphlet, 1989, 1993

Box 1, folder 7. Lectures: Dr. Henry Nau Memorial, 1969

Box 1, folder 8. Meeting notices, 1968-1979

Box 1, folder 9. Meeting notices, 1980-1990

Box 1, folder 10. Meeting notices, 1990-1994

Box 1, folder 11. Meeting notices, 1995-1997

Box 1, folder 12. Meeting notices, 1997-1999, 2005-2007

Box 1, folder 13. Membership, 1903-1995, 2005-2006

Box 1, folder 14. Summary of minutes, 1903-1931

Box 1, folder 15. Minutes, 1920-1936

Box 1, folder 16. Minutes, 1936-1964

Box 1, folder 17. Minutes, 1965-1971

Box 1, folder 18. Minutes, 1972-1990

Box 1, folder 19. Minutes, 1990-1995

Box 1, folder 20. Minutes, 1995-1999

Box 1, folder 21. Notes and newspaper clippings, 1985 and undated

Box 1, folder 22. Record book, 1903-1920, including minutes, roll, finances, by-laws, and membership

Box 1, folder 23. Talks, 1967-1990

            "On Rhode Island College," Ridgway F. Shinn, Jr., October 30, 1967

            "Social Inertia: Curse and Blessing," Otto Hoffer, Spring 1971

            "What makes civilization tick?" Otto Hoffer, March 1976

            "You Always Hurt The Ones You Love: Conflict in Social Change Groups," Beverley Edwards, October 1978

            "Theodore Parker and the Transcendental Rhetoric," Charles Nichols, May 26, 1979

            Untitled, Jerry Baker, October 1983

            Untiled, Arthur Geogeban, November 17, 1983

            "The Cherry Tree," Otto Hoffer, October 18, 1986

            "In Defense of Creation," Ridgway F. Shinn, Jr., January 21, 1988

            "Homelessness: The American Tragedy of the 1980's," Rev. Dr. George E. Peters, March 21, 1988

Box 1, folder 24. Talks, 1990-1992

            "Religious Liberalism in a Postliberal Age," Rev. A. Ralph Barlow, January 18, 1990

            Erskine Childers and "The Riddle of the Sands," Knight Edwards, February 15, 1990

            "What in the World is Cultural Pluralism," William G. McLouglin, 1991

            "A Century of Wolley Family History: A Ministry, A Mystery, A Legacy, and A Tragedy," George E. Peters, October 21, 1991

            "The Revival of Political Economy: A Vision of Reality for Preachers," Rev. Joseph Dye, November 21, 1991

            "Corporate Democracy and the Faith Community - Speaking Truth to Power!" Donald Rasmussen, January 16, 1992

            "Free Trade--Fair Trade," Harl E. Ryder, February 20, 1992

            "On Being United Methodists: Concerns and Challenges in the Connection," Ridgway R. Shinn, Jr., March 16, 1992

Box 1, folder 25. Talks, 1992-1994

            "Medicine as Ministry: Reflections on a Sabbatical in India," Rev. David F. Shire, September 21, 1992

            "Won't it Ever End?: Persistent and Protracted Problems of Modern America," J. Stanley Lemons, September 16, 1993

            "Travels with Thomas Merton," Thomas E. Ahlburn, October 18, 1993

            "The Fall and Rise of Chauvinism in the 20th Century,": Otto Hoffer, November 18, 1993

            "The Present Condition of and Ongoing Vitality within the American Mainline Religious Tradition," Dennis R. Knight, January 24, 1994

            "'The Dream' in Formation: Reflections on the Life Story of Benjamin Elijah Mays," George E. Peters, September 15, 1994

            "A Free Church: Is It Really Free?: A Review of the Concept of Liberty Among Baptists Which May Provide Some Guidance in the Culture Wars of the Later 20th Century," Donald R. Rasmussen, November 17, 1994

            "Reflections on the Preamble Controversy of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches," Ridgway R. Shinn, Jr., March 20, 1995

            "Physician-Assisted Suicide, A Symposium: Death Made Too Easy or an Act of Profound Compassion," Rev. David Shire, 1995

            "Men Have Forgotten God"(Alexander Solzhenitsyn), Carol A. Mumford, May 15, 1995

Box 1, folder 26. Talks, 1995-1997

            "Are You a Pilgrim or a Puritan?" Rebecca Spencer, November 16, 1995

            "Inside the Rush of Technology: an Engineer's Perspective," J. Louis Nielsen, February 15, 1996

            "The Ellipse of Transcendence in American Theology," A. Ralph Barlow, March 18, 1996

            "The Praise of Nostalgia: Some Notes on Reading The Wife of Lot Legend," Marguerite Dorian, April 18, 1996

            "The Friend," Tom Ahlburn, September 16, 1996

            "Christian Faith and Politics," Kurt Kirhoff, October 17, 1996

            "Some Thoughts about Fugard's 'Road to Mecca' in its View of a Apartheid and the Role of Women and the Church in the Struggle for Freedom," Rev. Jonathan R. Almond, January 16, 1997

            "Who Kidnaped My Discipline: The Confusion of a Neutral in the Cultural Wars," Judy Mitchell, February 17, 1997

            "Spiritual Psychology: Toward an Integrative Model of the Whole Person," David S. Elliott, March 20, 1997

            "On the Merits of Being Mongrel," Otto Hoffer, May 1997

            "Elsa's Story," Otto Hoffer, April, 1997

Box 1, folder 27. Talks, 1997-1999

            "Jefferson v. Frost"--A Discussion of the Relationship of Church and State in American Society in the Late-Twentieth Century," Thomas W. Ramsbey, January 1998

            "Unexpected Questions: Portraits in Constructive Theology," Janet Cooper Nelson, February 1998

            "Adrift on a Sea of Sorrows: Charting the Personal Odyssey of Grief," Joy A. Williams, March 1998

            "Having Cakes and Eating Them," Harl Ryder, April 20, 1998

            "Creeds and Statements of Faith in the Free Church Tradition," Donald R. Rasmussen, September 1998

            "Remarkable Women of the First Unitarian Church," 1998

            "Some Ethical Dilemmas in Doing Biography," November 16, 1998

            "Two Tales from Rehoboth: A Sin for New England (A story of terror and famine from 1676) and Filibustered into Freedom (A battle for the pulpit in 1791)," David F. Shire, January 18, 1999

            "Lies, Truths, and Amazing Grace," Rebecca Spencer, February 18, 1999

            "The 1960s Revisited: The Genesis of Student Unrest," Homer Trickett, March 15, 1999

            "Plain Glass or Smoke: An Exploration," Thomas A. Wilson, April 15, 1999

Return to top


Literary Societies - Rhode Island

End of finding aid - return to top