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Home >> Amherst College Archives & Special Collections >> Materials Concerning President Alexander Meiklejohn, 1923-1948 MA.00086
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Materials Concerning President Alexander Meiklejohn, 1923-1948
1.0 linear foot 2 archives boxes (1 linear ft.)
Collection number: MA.00086

Abstract:
Materials generated by the Board of Trustees of Amherst College relative to the presidency (1912-1924) and resignation of Alexander Meiklejohn.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection was opened for research use by the Amherst College Trustees in 1982. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Historical Note

Alexander Meiklejohn was an educator, innovator, philosopher, and advocate for liberal social reform and first-amendment freedoms; he served as president of Amherst College, 1912-1924. Born in England in 1872, he was brought to the United States in 1880 at the age of eight, educated in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and graduated from Brown University in 1893. He took his M.A. at Brown and in 1897 received his doctorate in philosophy from Cornell University. He taught philosophy and metaphysics at Brown and was dean from 1901 to 1912. He became president of Amherst College in 1912 and served until 1924. His resignation from the presidency came about because of increasingly contentious relations with the faculty and because of the Trustees' concerns about the continuing poor management of his personal finances. After Amherst, Meiklejohn went to the University of Wisconsin to teach philosophy; while there, he established an experimental college. In 1938, he joined the School of Social Studies in San Francisco, where he was involved in the area of adult education. Meiklejohn was welcomed back to Amherst College on several occasions. He was selected by President John F. Kennedy to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was presented by Lyndon B. Johnson shortly after Kennedy's death. Alexander Meiklejohn died in 1964 at the age of 92.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Materials generated by the Board of Trustees of Amherst College relative to the presidency (1912-1924) and resignation of Alexander Meiklejohn.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection was opened for research use by the Amherst College Trustees in 1982. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation note

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in Amherst College Trustees Material Concerning President Alexander Meiklejohn [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives
Language
English
Related Archival Materials note

  • Alexander Meiklejohn Papers
  • News Clippings Concerning the Resignation of President Alexander Meiklejohn, 1923-1924
  • General Files: Alumni Council
  • Non-alumni biographical files: Meiklejohn (ca. 1 linear foot)
  • Inaugurations Collection

Bibliography

Wilson, Douglas C. "The Story in the Meiklejohn Files." Amherst, Fall 1982 and Spring 1983. [Also reprinted in Wilson, Passages of Time: Narratives in the History of Amherst College, pp. 100-135. Amherst College Press, 2007.


Contents List
Series 1: Printed Reports of Trustee Committees



Series 1, PRINTED REPORTS OF TRUSTEE COMMITTEES, consists of reports issued by three different College committees charged with investigating various aspects of the Meiklejohn presidency:

  • "Rugg" Committee: Special Committee of the Board of Trustees of Amherst College to Confer with the President. Appointed May 28, 1921. Members were Arthur P. Rugg, Chairman; Arthur L. Gillett; Dwight W. Morrow; George A. Plimpton. The purpose of the committee was to confer with President Meiklejohn with reference to the financial relations between the College and President Meiklejohn personally.
  • "Rounds" Committee: Special Committee, appointed June 3, 1922, Pursuant to a Vote of the Executive Committee of the Trustees. Members were Arthur C. Rounds, Chairman; Stanley King; Edward T. Esty. This committee was appointed to report to the Executive Committee of the Board as to the existing powers of the Board, the President and the faculty with respect to appointments, promotions and dismissals of members of the faculty, educational policy and curricular requirements of the College, and administration of the College in general. The committee was also to report on current and past practice in these matters and make recommendations regarding procedure to be adopted for the future.
  • "Plimpton" Committee: Special Committee of the Board of Trustees of Amherst College, appointed May 26, 1923. Members were George A. Plimpton, Chairman; Edward T. Esty; Arthur L. Gillett; Stanley King; Dwight W. Morrow. Committee was appointed, after the Rugg and Rounds reports had been presented to the Board, to secure a definite expression of opinion from the faculty as to the advisability of President Meiklejohn continuing as chief administrator of the College.

Rugg Report, 1923 Mar 2 (Proof); 1923 May 26 (Proof); President Meiklejohn's comment, 1923 Mar 9 and Supplemental Statement of the Rugg Committee, 1923 May 23
1923 Mar-May

Box 1: folder 1
Rounds Report (3 copies) signed by members of the committee
1923 May 25

Box 1: folder 2
Rounds Report, Schedules A,B,C,D,E (2 copies)


Box 1: folder 3
Plimpton Report dated 1923 Oct 20 - 2nd revision
1923 Oct 19

Box 1: folder 4
Plimpton Report (3 copies) signed on p. 25 by members of the committee
1924 May 20

Box 1: folder 5
Plimpton Committee - confidential memoranda (2 copies) - "Data used in drafting the report of the Plimpton Committee, but not incorporated in the report itself in order to avoid making the report too long"
1924 Apr 25

Box 1: folder 6
Series 2: Files of Individual Members of the Board



Series 2, FILES OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE BOARD, consists of both contemporary and subsequent papers related to the aforementioned committees, all held by individual Trustees. These include minutes and notes on work of the Plimpton Committee kept by F. S. Allis (AC 1893), Secretary, and much later retrospective material (1947-1948) generated by Stanley King.

King, Stanley. "President Meiklejohn's Resignation." Typescript, 16 pp., plus 2 carbon copies
Ca. 1948

Box 2: folder 7
King, Stanley. "President Meiklejohn's Resignation." Typescript (draft, annotated), 36 pp.
Ca. 1948

Box 2: folder 7
King, Stanley, to Paul D. Weathers, Amherst, Mass.: TLS acknowledging receipt of confidential Trustee documents to be used in preparing manuscript dealing with President Meiklejohn's resignation
1947 Sep 10

Box 2: folder 7
Allis, Frederick. "Excerpts from Memorandum written in 1923 or 1924." Typescript, 8pp., n.d., plus 2 carbon copies. (Memorandum summarizes President Meiklejohn's administration.)
Ca. 1923-1924

Box 2: folder 8
King, Stanley, to Edward T. Esty and Paul D. Weathers regarding F. S. Allis files on President Meiklejohn (3 letters)
1941 Nov-Dec

Box 2: folder 8
Faculty statements to Plimpton Committee concerning President Meiklejohn (file of F. S. Allis, Secretary)


Box 2: folder 9
Typescript copies of notes by members of Plimpton Committee during interviews with faculty members (file of F. S. Allis, Secretary)


Box 2: folder 9
Minutes and correspondence of Plimpton Committee (file of F. S. Allis, Secretary)
1923 May-Jun

Box 2: folder 10
Series 3: Records Regarding Access to Trustee Materials Concerning Meiklejohn



Custodial history:

Folders 12-22 were added to the collection in 2013 after transfer to the Archives from the Trustees Office.

Scope and content:

Series 3, RECORDS REGARDING ACCESS TO TRUSTEE MATERIALS CONCERNING MEIKLEJOHN, consists of envelopes originally used to seal the Trustee materials when their access was restricted. The envelopes served as a record of who had examined the contents. Also, 11 folders of records related to the Trustees' decision to open the records for research in 1982 at the time of the publication of Douglas Wilson's two-part article in Amherst Magazine.

Original wrappings for various materials contained in Folders 1-8, annotated by those who examined them


Box 2: folder 11
Sign-out sheet for materials previously stored in Treasurer's vault but now incorporated into this collection


Box 2: folder 11
Special Committee workbook
1982 May

Box 2: folder 12
Special Committee materials
1982 May

Box 2: folder 13
Rugg Report
1923 May 26

Box 2: folder 14
S. King report re: Meiklejohn's Resignation


Box 2: folder 15
Dwight Morrow letter to Ernest Hopkins
1923 Aug 26

Box 2: folder 16
Edward Esty-Stanley King correspondence
1941

Box 2: folder 17
Rounds Report
1922 Jun 3

Box 2: folder 18
Access to Meiklejohn Papers
1982

Box 2: folder 19
Amherst Magazine article (pt. 1 of 2)
1982 fall

Box 2: folder 20
Donald Meiklejohn correspondence
1982-1983

Box 2: folder 21
Douglas Wilson article, Amherst Magazine ("The Story in the Meiklejohn Files") - responses
1982-1983

Box 2: folder 22

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Allis, Frederick S. (Frederick Scouller), 1913-, (AC 1935)
  • Amherst College. Trustees.
  • Meiklejohn, Alexander, 1872-1964
  • Plimpton, George A. (George Arthur), 1855-1936, (AC 1876)
  • Rounds, Arthur C.
  • Rugg, Arthur Prentice, 1862-1938


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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