In 1909, Professor Ismar J. Peritz of Syracuse University conceived the idea of forming a new organization for professors and scholars. Its purpose was to stimulate scholarship and teaching in religion. From those early beginnings more than 100 years ago, the American Academy of Religion has grown to be the world's largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion, with some 9,000 members in North America and abroad. The AAR neither endorses nor rejects any religious belief or practice. The American Academy of Religion's mission is to promote such reflection through excellence in scholarship and teaching in the field of religion. As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion has about 9,000 members who teach in some 900 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad. The Academy is dedicated to furthering knowledge of religion and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. This is accomplished through Academy-wide and regional conferences and meetings, publications, programs, and membership services.
The collection contains committee records and meeting minutes, financial reports, annual meeting records, administrative files, as well as original prints of books and journals.