Richard Glenn Gettell Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Richard Glenn Gettell Papers date from 1880-1989 and consist of correspondence, writings, education records, subject files, financial and legal documents, memorabilia, Gettell family materials, autobiographical and biographical materials, sound recordings, and photographs. These materials primarily document his personal and professional life from 1924 until his death in 1988 and contain information about his secondary, undergraduate, and graduate education; Merchant Marine service; work as an economist and educator; and hobbies and travels.
Correspondence (1930-1986) consists of personal letters to Gettell as well as letters by him. Correspondents include relatives (particularly mother, Nelene Groff Knapp Gettell), friends, professional colleagues, and Mount Holyoke College trustees, faculty, staff, alumnae, and students. Topics discussed in these letters include his experiences at Amherst College, plans for graduate studies, employment prospects, and decision to separate from his first wife, Eunice Burdick Gettell.
Writings (circa 1923-1988) consist of Gettell's published articles, reports, and speeches, unpublished materials, and correspondence and legal documents relating to his works. Most of his publications reflect his work as an economist. Unpublished materials include original verses (many written for Landonia Gettell) and typescripts, scores and lyrics for his original musical, The Saucerer's Apprentice, written under the name "Glenn Richards" in 1952-1953.
Education Materials (1880-1883, 1906, 1924-1982) consist of correspondence, course records, transcripts, report cards, diplomas, certificates, financial records, programs and newspaper articles primarily concerning his studies at Amherst College (1929-1933) and the University of California (1935-1937, Ph.D. 1940). Of note in the Amherst materials are letters relating to his involvement with the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, debate and musical organizations, and the football team. Materials for his graduate work in economics and political science include syllabi, notes, readings, and papers for course records and his dissertation. Education materials also include historical documents about Alpha Delta Phi (1880-1883) and a copy of a 1906 magazine from Gettell's high school that contains several caricatures of African-Americans. There is also post-graduation correspondence relating to Amherst (including the College's decision to admit women in 1973) and an article that Gettell wrote about one of his former University of California professors, Ira B. Cross (1950).
A significant portion of the collection documents Gettell's work as an economist for the United States Department of Commerce Bureaus for Foreign and Domestic Commerce and Labor Statistics (1933-1935), the Textile Price Branch of the United States Office of Price Administration (1941-1943), the United States Army Air Force (1943-1956), Time, Inc. (1945-1953), the United States Council of the International Chamber of Commerce (1947-1957), the Texas Company (1953-1957), and the Haas Community Funds (1969-1970). These materials include letters by and to Gettell, copies of many speeches, articles, reports, surveys, and studies by him, and a variety of personnel records. In addition, Sound Recordings (Series 22, 1948-circa 1953) in the collection are of speeches by and interviews of Gettell in his role as chief staff economist for Time, Inc. There are also correspondence and other documents concerning his youthful service in the Merchant Marine (1927-1928) on three voyages to the South Seas, Australia, and Hawaii.
Materials concerning Gettell's career as a teacher and college administrator include correspondence, course records, articles, notes, memorabilia, and tributes. His teaching activities at Harvard University (1938), Wellesley College (1938), Yale University (1938-1941), and the Columbia University School of Business Administration (1947-1948) are documented by correspondence about each position as well as syllabi, examinations, lecture notes, and lists of students. Materials from his tenure as President of Mount Holyoke College (1957-1968) primarily consist of correspondence, notes, memorabilia, newspaper articles, and retirement tributes. Of particular note are a scrapbook, poster, thank you notes, and other documents made or collected for the Gettells by Tamara Brooks Knell, music professor and Director of Choral Singing at Mount Holyoke from 1967-1970. Most of these materials reflect the Gettells' interest in the Mount Holyoke College Chamber Singers, a group formed and directed by Knell. There are also three letters by Knell: a thank you note (circa 1968) to the Gettells for their kindness toward her and two letters (February and June 1975) describing experiences of Knell and her husband, Foreign Service officer David Grimland during and after the 1974 military coup and Turkish invasion in Cyprus. These documents also include letters and telegrams congratulating him on his appointment as President, his personal correspondence with Mount Holyoke trustees, and notes written by Gettell after he accepted the position at Mount Holyoke reflecting his thoughts, and questions about his new role and home.
Subject Files (1924-1968) contain correspondence, applications, contracts, scripts, programs, brochures, newspaper articles, memoranda, lists, tickets, membership cards, and badges. Most of these materials reflect Gettell's personal interests and activities such as his membership in the Boy Scouts of America (1924-1925), participation in a World Tour Travel Contest sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle (1925), interest in joining a Caribbean-East Indies anthropological and medical expedition to the South Sea as part of his preparation for graduate work (1931-1932), and hobby of deep-sea fishing (1961-1968). Another file (1946-1966) concerns the Gettells' interest in the Encampment for Citizenship, a summer camp for young adults founded by Algernon D. Black in 1946 through the New York Society for Ethical Culture. There are also materials documenting Gettell's financial involvement in several musical theatre productions in New York City (1952-1954) or at the Melody Fair summer concert hall in North Tonawanda, New York.
Financial and Legal Records (1912, 1930-1988) include tax returns, lists of investments, birth and death certificates, wills, leases, agreements, passports, and memoranda. Of note is Gettell's notarized statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (1947) concerning his occupancy of an apartment in Washington, D.C, in "a house where Communist Party meetings" had taken place. Some of the financial records concern the estate of his father, Raymond G. Gettell, who died in 1949.
Autobiographical and Biographical Materials (1912-1988) consist of Gettell's baby book, his curriculum vitae and other biographical summaries, correspondence, articles, notes, and obituaries. These materials include his "Check list for periodic stock-taking" from the 1930s and documents concerning his physical and mental health (1952, 1954, 1967, 1988) and death (1988-1989). Memorabilia (1932-1976, n.d.) consists of passes, notes, lists, cards, certificates, publications, tickets, receipts, an address book, and insignia. These items include one of Gettell's World War II ration books, Christmas cards that he wrote and illustrated, and documents reflecting his travels.
Gettell Family Materials (1895, circa 1909-1949, 1965, n.d.) consist of correspondence, articles, notes, and an invitation relating to members of Gettell's family. These items include biographical notes, an obituary, and tributes concerning his father and two notes (1920s) to his mother from Lyla Young, wife of the governor of California.
Photographs (circa 1906-1986) chiefly consist of formal portraits or informal snapshots of Gettell alone or with others (1914-1970). These images include photographs taken as a young man and later photographs from his years at Time, Inc. or Mount Holyoke College. Informal photographs include those taken on fishing trips and other vacations or at Mount Holyoke. Photographs of Gettell with others document both is professional activities and personal life. There are images from his work with United States Air Force during World War II, on speaking engagements while working for Time, Inc., and his inauguration as President of Mount Holyoke (1957). Other photographs are of Gettell's family members, particularly Landonia Gettell. These images include photographs taken on the Gettell's 1948 wedding trip to California and the Caribbean. Additional photographs are of other people as well as places (circa 1920s-1986). These images include photographs of participants in the ABC (A Better Chance) program at Mount Holyoke (1965), members of the Mount Holyoke Class of 1961 at reunions (1981, 1986), the Gettells and others at the Encampment for Peace (circa 1946), and Gettell's residences in California and New York City (circa 1920s-1956).
Oversize (Folio) Material (1948-1961) contains oversize items described as part of other series in the collection. The container list description of these items includes an indication that they are shelved in Folio. Among the materials in this series are a photograph album (1948) documenting the Gettell's trip to the Caribbean on their honeymoon and a color portrait of Gettell as Mount Holyoke's President (circa 1961).
This collection is organized into twenty-four series:
The arrangement of these papers established by Richard Glenn Gettell and Landonia Gettell has been retained. Researchers should note that letters by or to Gettell and copies of his writings are part of many series in the collection. Explanatory notes by Landonia Gettell are filed with relevant materials in the collection and in the Register folder at the front of Box 1.