LeRoy G. Kerney papers, 1936-1988

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kerney, LeRoy G.
Title: LeRoy G. Kerney papers, 1936-1988
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 334
Extent: 10.47 cubic ft. (11 boxes)
Abstract:Contains correspondence, papers, articles, subject files, and photographs that document LeRoy G. Kerney's career as a professional chaplain.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Pitts Theology Library in advance to access this collection.

Student records in series 11 are restricted. Consult the archivist for details.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


[after identification of item(s)], LeRoy G. Kerney Papers, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Aimee Morgan, 2007.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

LeRoy George Kerney, professional chaplain and clinical pastoral educator, was born in LaPorte City, Iowa on January 1, 1923. The son of an Evangelical United Brethren minister, Kerney was ordained an Elder of the Iowa Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1948. He served EUB parishes in Naperville and Manhattan, Illinois, before joining the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

Kerney received the B.A. from Westmar College (LeMars Iowa) in 1945, the B.D. from the Evangelical Theological Seminary (Naperville, Illinois) in 1947, and the M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1963. He completed clinical pastoral training in the late 1940s at Elgin State Hospital (Elgin, Illinois), Episcopal Hospital (Louisville, Kentucky), Manteno State Hospital (Manteno, Illinois), and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital (Washington, D.C.).

Kerney began his career as a professional chaplain at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in 1948. From 1949-1955, he was Protestant Chaplain at Manteno State Hospital. In 1955, he became Professor of Pastoral Care at the Texas Medical Center’s Institute of Religion in Houston. He remained there until August 1963, when he returned to the Washington, D.C. area as Supervisory Chaplain at the Clinical Center, National Institute of Health. Kerney retired from the Clinical Center in 1988.

Kerney was a founding member of the American Protestant Hospital Association’s College of Chaplains, serving as the College’s President in 1971. In 1988 he received that organization’s Distinguished Service Award and delivered the annual Russell Dicks Memorial Lecture. Kerney also belonged to the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and supervised clinical pastoral education for students at Manteno State Hospital, the Institute for Religion, and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. He taught courses at several institutions, including the Institute of Religion, Houston; McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago; and George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He was a member of the National Capital Presbytery and served on its Committee on Specialized Ministries.

Kerney died on January 13, 1989. He and his wife, Virginia Diebel Kerney, were the parents of two daughters, Suzanne and Sarah.

Biographical Source: “Curriculum Vitae.” Box 1, Folder 2. LeRoy G. Kerney papers, MSS 334, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.

Biographical Source: “Distinguished Service Award and Obituary.” Box 1, Folder 3. LeRoy G. Kerney papers, MSS 334, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.

Scope and Content Note

The papers of LeRoy G. Kerney document his career as a professional chaplain, including his education at the University of Chicago, his work at the Institute of Religion in Houston, TX, his tenure as the Director of Spiritual Ministry at the National Institute of Health (1963-1985), and his involvement with professional associations such as the American Protestant Hospital Association’s College of Chaplains (now the Association of Professional Chaplains) and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Kerney’s files include correspondence; papers, articles, and sermons; notes on classes taken at the University of Chicago and taught at the Institute of Religion and elsewhere; subject files; and photographs.

The papers do not include much information about Kerney’s educational background prior to his study at the University of Chicago; nor is there much on Kerney’s family life or Kerney’s post-retirement activities. Most notably, there is little material related to Kerney’s presidency of the College of Chaplains.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 11 series: (1) Biographical Materials, (2) Education, (3) Institute of Religion, Houston, TX, (4) National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, (5) Professional Organizations, (6) Correspondence, (7) Writings, (8) Writings by Others, (9) Subject Files, (10) Photographs, and (11) Restricted Materials.

Description of Series