The bulk of the materials are from Dennis Haas' tenure as chaplain with a few records from Roger Lee Eldridge's time. The files are generally in alphabetical order and contain chapel bulletins, budgets, and programs/speakers; files of college committees on which Haas served; files of liaison committees between the town and the college; numerous records of the Inner-City work study/seminar project from 1965-71; and historical information about Herrick Chapel and the people who used it.
In addition to attending to the religious needs of the college students, Grinnell College chaplains have been intimately and actively involved with social issues. Included in the collection are materials relating to Black students on the Grinnell campus, conscientious objectors and men seeking to avoid the draft, and an off-campus student coffeehouse. The Inner-City project may be an early example of Grinnell students caring for people less privileged than they and attempting to both learn about them and to assist them, much as students of the 1990s have participated in the I Have a Dream and the Alternative Break programs.
Grinnell College has had an active chapel program since the college began. In more modern times there was a dean of the chapel who functioned as chaplain. Winston L. King, also a professor of philosophy and religion, served from 1949-1962 and Howard Burkle, a professor of religion, was acting dean from 1958-60. In October 1963 Roger Lee Eldridge was installed as the first college chaplain, and he was succeeded in 1966 by Dennis Haas who served in that capacity until 1996. Both Eldridge and Haas were professors of religious studies. Deanna Shorb became chaplain upon Haas' retirement. Currently the Chaplain's Office is within the Office of Student Affairs; earlier in Mr. Haas' tenure it was independent and the chaplain reported to the president