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Inventory of the William "Will" Noffke Papers, 1953-1998
GTU 2001-8-01  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William "Will" Noffke Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1953-1998
    Accession number: GTU 2001-8-01
    Creator: Noffke, William
    Extent: 57 linear ft.
    Repository: The Graduate Theological Union.
    Berkeley, California
    Abstract: William "Will" Noffke was a Bay Area radio host. He interviewed spiritual and political leaders on various programs, including The Meeting of the Ways, New Dimensions and New Horizons. His papers include administrative materials, background information on the interviewees and organizations, and 2,000 reel to reel tapes and cassettes of radio shows.
    Shelf location: 5/C/3-5/F/6
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Source and Date



    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William "Will" Noffke Papers, GTU 2001-8-01, The Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of William Noffke.


    William "Will" Noffke, 1929 - 1997, was a radio-host whose life work documents the cultural and religious changes which began to emerge in the 1960s in California. Originally a New York City Off-Broadway set designer, he settled in the San Francisco Bay Area where over the course of two decades, 1970 to 1990, he hosted and produced radio programs on KQED-FM and KPFA-FM, as well as in his own performance space and bookstore, Shared Visions, in Berkeley, California.
    As a radio host he interviewed hundreds of spiritual leaders and luminaries who expressed new cultural perspectives and inspired innovation, including Joseph Campbell, Buckminster Fuller, Jacob Needleman, Fritjof Capra, Robert Hillman, Reshad Field, Ram Dass, Jean Houston, Werner Erhard, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marilyn Ferguson, Mark Satin, Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg. While Noffke's range of conversations and panels, in this regard, included many religious leaders from a diversity of spiritual traditions, including Krishnamurti, it also included politicians, such as John Vasconcellos, health practitioners and physicians, such as Andrew Weil, indigenous leaders, social activists, and local flower children, of diverse traditions, knowledge, and sensibilities.
    From 1972 to 1974, Noffke hosted "The Meeting of the Ways", a radio program on KQED-FM. It was a program featuring interviews that gave voice to the diverse spiritual constituency that had assembled under a local umbrella organization by the same name. "Meeting of the Ways" also staged a number of celebratory events in the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco during that time period. From 1975 to 1979, Noffke co-hosted, with Michael Tom at KQED-FM, a popular Saturday night radio program called "New Dimensions". From 1979 to 1990, Noffke produced and hosted his own show, "New Horizons", on KPFA-FM.
    Among his other activities, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Dancer's Workshop of San Francisco, and belonged to the Melvana Foundation. Noffke, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1997, described his spiritual path in his own words as "Vedanta/Sufi/Taoist!-unity of existence!"

    Scope and Content

    The Noffke collection includes 2,000 audiotapes and cassettes (some duplicates) that span two decades of radio interviews embracing a rich diversity of subject matter and personalities. His papers include administrative materials that reflect his role as producer and radio host, such as scripts of interviews and publicity material. Also included are resource materials from different organizations and individuals he assembled in the course of researching and preparing interviews. Noffke's correspondence reveals his work as an idealistic networker and loving friend. Among his papers are handwritten manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, newsletters, periodicals, a large collection of ephemera, including posters, pamphlets, brochures, flyers, and publicity materials.
    When the Graduate Theological Union Library first received his donation, some of his collection, primarily ephemera but some correspondence, was removed from the Noffke Papers and filed into the New Religious Movements Organizations: Vertical Files Collection (GTU 99-8-1). See that collection for further Noffke material. Noffke materials in the Vertical Files Collection are identified by his name on any file folder containing items and on the Container List in the finding aid.


    The collection has been organized into seven series: Correspondence, Programs, Personalia, Proagram Resources, Periodicals, Posters, and Audiotape collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of htis collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    United States--Religion--1965
    Sects--United States--History--Sources
    Cults--United States--History--Sources
    Buddhism--United States--20th Century
    Divine Light Mission--United States
    Hinduism--United States--20th Century
    Islam--United States--20th Century
    Metaphysical Movements--20th Century
    Neopaganism--United States--20th Century
    Occultism--United States--20th Century
    Satanism--United States--20th Century
    Sikhism--United States--20th Century
    Sufism--United States--20th Century
    Taoism--United States--20th Century
    Unification Church--United States
    Yoga--Religious aspects
    Zen Buddhism--United States--20th Century
    Lewis, Samuel L., 1896-1971