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Richard "Doc" Heaton papers,1965-1992

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC-65

Scope and Contents

This collections contains the papers of Professor of Religion Richard "Doc" Heaton.

Series I contains papers related to his work at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, including course materials, study abroad, departmental communication, and campus events.

Series II contains papers related to social and religious organizations, including FIGHT, the General Ordination Examinations of the Episcopal Church, and assorted local groups.


  • Creation: 1965-1992


Biographical Note

Richard L. Heaton was born in Geneva, Illinois. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1945 and then a Bachelor of Divinity from the Yale Divinity School in 1948. Heaton earned a M.A. from Columbia University and the Union Theological Seminary in 1956, and later attended the University of Edinburgh, receiving his Ph.D. in 1961. During this time, Heaton was active in the U.S. Navy in an ROTC program training to be a chaplain. He served as a minister to the First Church of Christ in Bethany, Conn., and as a ministerial consultant for the Planned Parenthood Federation in New York City. He was director of the Student Christian Association and an instructor of religion at Vanderbilt University. Heaton was involved nationally as the executive secretary of the Inter-seminary Movement and director of the Inter-seminary Committee, and internationally with the WorldΓÇÖs Student Christian Federation in the 1950ΓÇÖs. For two years while finishing his doctoral dissertation, Heaton had regular pastoral and preaching responsibilities at Aberdour and Dalgety Parish Curches in Fife, Scotland, while giving occasional lectures at the University of Edinburgh.

Heaton married Elizabeth Reinhardt of Wheaton, Illinois and had five children -- Christopher, Murray, Frances, Becky, and Bethany ΓÇÖ86.

It was in 1961 that Professor Heaton came to Hobart and William Smith to begin his professorial career in religious studies and teach and co-direct the well-known ΓÇ£Western CivilizationΓÇ¥ course.

Heaton was an active member of many academic committees while at the Colleges, including the Middle States Evaluation, which initiated the 3-3-3 course load and trimester system. He was the first advisor of Farm Club and Farm House. During the ΓÇÿ70s and ΓÇÿ80s, ΓÇ£DocΓÇ¥ Heaton was chair of the religious studies department, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Calcutta during his sabbatical in Serampore, India, in 1981. Heaton organized and directed the first Geneva, Switzerland, term abroad program in 1985 and published multiple book reviews and manuscripts.

Outside the Colleges, Heaton was well known for his dedication to the Geneva community as he served on the Board of Education and was the president of the Geneva Homes Improvement Corporation, a local citizens group incorporated to improve and acquire housing for low income families. Later, Heaton was instrumental in the organization and establishment of a certified hospice in Ontario and Yates counties. For his vision, leadership, and devotion to this program and the organization of a large body of volunteers, Richard Heaton was awarded the Margaret Bonney Homecare Award in 1994.

Doc Heaton retired from the Colleges in 1994 and died in 1998.

Information taken from


1.2 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. College Papers
  2. Social & Religious Engagement Papers


Box 1-2: Archives Storage, Range 21A, Section 1

Custodial History

This collection was donated by James (Jamie) Matthews '83. Mr. Matthews purchased Doc Heaton's former home at 73 Snell Road Geneva, NY 14456. The papers were left in the home by Heaton's family.


Richard "Doc" Heaton papers, 1965-1985: A Finding Aid
Brandon Moblo
September 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Archives and Special Collections Repository

Warren Hunting Smith Library
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva New York 14456 U.S.A. US (United States)