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Benjamin Fletcher Wright Papers, 1949-1969
17 boxes (4.65 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 32

Abstract:
Fifth President of Smith College, Professor of Government. Contains official records of the Office of the President, correspondence, speeches, legal documents, press releases, minutes, memoranda, reports, and newspaper articles.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the College Archives with one exception. Materials regarding the Board of Counselors (Box 8) are permanently closed. Permission to view those materials can be granted only by the President of Smith College.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Smith College owns the copyright to all the material generated by the Office of the President and other offices on campus. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Benjamin Fletcher Wright, president of Smith College 1949-1959, was born February 8, 1900, in Austin, Texas. He was the son of Benjamin F. and Mary (Blanford) Wright. His lifelong interest in political science, especially government, became evident early in life with his fascination for Thomas Jefferson in grammar school. He followed that passion through the University of Texas, where he earned his BA and MA degrees in 1921 and to Harvard, where, in 1925, he earned his Ph.D.

He was a member of the University of Texas faculty from 1922 to 1926. In 1926, he married Alexa Rhea, and they had two children: David and Janet (Mrs. Paul E. Jones Jr.). Wright taught at Harvard from 1926 until coming to Smith in 1949. While at Harvard, he served as chairman of the Government department and served on the special Harvard Committee on General Education. He was one of the authors of the renowned report published by the Committee titled, "General Education in a Free Society" (1945).

During his decade as the fifth president of Smith College, Wright made notable contributions to the honors program and the interdepartmental majors program. He consistently fought for the value of intellectual and educational freedom in the face of McCarthyism and widespread anti-Communist propaganda. Under his administration, the college's endowment was substantially increased, faculty salaries raised and college plant and facilities enlarged. In 1961, Wright Hall was dedicated in his honor.

After leaving Smith, Wright spent a year as a fellow at the center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science, at Stanford University in California. The following year he returned to the University of Texas as a professor of government where he taught until the year before his death on November 28, 1976.

Wright held honorary degrees from Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, American International College and Pittsburgh University. The following are a selection of his published titles: The Merit System in the American States (1923), Source Book of the American Political Theory (1928), American Interpretations of Natural Law (1942), General Education in a Free Society (with others 1945), Consensus and Continuity 1777-1787 (1958), editor: The Federalist (1961).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Office of the President: Benjamin Wright Papers consist of 4.65 linear feet and are primarily related to his official duty as President of Smith College from 1949-1959. Types of material include correspondence, speeches, legal documents, press releases, minutes, memoranda, reports, and newspaper articles. The papers are arranged in alphabetical order by subject.

Major subjects found in these papers include issues of Communism and Intellectual Freedom (Committee for Discrimination in Giving, Massachusetts Commission on Communism and U.S. House of Representatives, Un-American Activities Committee); The Four College Cooperation; The Seven College Conferences and Junior Year Abroad.


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

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the College Archives with one exception. Materials regarding the Board of Counselors (Box 8) are permanently closed. Permission to view those materials can be granted only by the President of Smith College.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Smith College owns the copyright to all the material generated by the Office of the President and other offices on campus. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Preferred Citation

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

Benjamin Fletcher Wright Papers, Box #. Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

These papers were transferred to the College Archives from the Office of the President after Wright left the College in 1959.

Processing Information

Processed by Mariah Leavitt.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: nyoung@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/archives
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
A
1949-59

Box 1: folder 1
Academic Departments, General
1949-59

Box 1: folder 2
Academic Departments: Art
1950-59

Box 1: folder 3
Academic Departments: History
n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
Academic Departments: Music: General
1949-55

Box 1: folder 5
Academic Depts: Music: Chamber Singers
1951-58

Box 1: folder 6
Academic Departments: Music: Glee Club (see also Alumnae Clubs)
1949-58

Box 1: folder 7
Academic Depts: Physical Education
c. 1947-52

Box 1: folder 8
Academic Departments: Physics
(solar energy)1949

Box 1: folder 9
Academic Depts: Sciences (visiting ad hoc committee on sciences)
1958-59, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Academic Departments: Theater
1950-54

Box 1: folder 11
Academic Departments: Zoology
1950-59

Box 1: folder 12
Alumnae Association
1949-59

Box 1: folder 13
Alumnae Clubs
1954-59, n.d.

Box 1: folder 14
Alumnae Association: Cleveland SC Clubs Lecture Series
1949-58

Box 1: folder 15
Alumnae Council
1950-58

Box 1: folder 16
1949-59

Box 1: folder 17
Alumnae Biographical File (proposed)
1954-56

Box 1: folder 18
American Asso. of University Professors
1950-56, n.d.

Box 2: folder 1
American Asso. of University Women
1951-59

Box 2: folder 2
Ames, Blanche Ames
1956-57

Box 2: folder 3
Amherst College
1950-59

Box 2: folder 4
Anniversary 1950 (75th) and Inauguration:Congratulatory Messages
1950

Box 2: folder 5
Anniversary (75th) and Inauguration: Fund
1949-57, n.d.

Box 2: folder 6
Anniversary (75th) and Inauguration: Observance Committee
1948-50

Box 2: folder 7
Archives and Sophia Smith Collection
1949-54, n.d.

Box 2: folder 8
Assemblies
1949-59, n.d.

Box 2: folder 9
B
1950-56

Box 2: folder 10
Beard, Mary Ritter
1950-54

Box 2: folder 11
Bennington College
1950

Box 2: folder 12
1950-54

Box 2: folder 13
Buildings and Grounds: General
1947-57

Box 2: folder 14
Buildings and Grounds: Carlile Carillon
1949-54

Box 3: folder 1
Buildings and Grounds: Cutter and Ziskind, General
1955

Box 3: folder 2
Buildings and Grounds: Cutter and Ziskind, General
1956-59, n.d.

Box 3: folder 3
Buildings and Grounds: Cutter and Ziskind: Ziskind Charitable Trust
1954-57

Box 3: folder 4
Buildings and Grounds: Cutter and Ziskind: Correspondence Pro-Style
1955-56

Box 3: folder 5
Buildings and Grounds: Cutter and Ziskind: Correspondence Anti-Style
1955-56

Box 3: folder 6
Buildings and Grounds: Dormitories (proposed)
1949-54

Box 3: folder 7
Buildings and Grounds: Helen Hills Hills Chapel
1951-59, n.d.

Box 3: folder 8
Buildings and Grounds: Lamont House
1952-53

Box 3: folder 9
Buildings and Grounds: Lamont House
1954-55

Box 3: folder 10
Buildings and Grounds: Little Chapel Dismantling
1955-1956

Box 3: folder 11
Buildings and Grounds: Riding Ring
1953-56

Box 3: folder 12
Buildings and Grounds: Wright Hall
1957-1959

Box 3: folder 13
C
1949-56

Box 3: folder 14
Calendar
1953-54

Box 3: folder 15
Carnegie Corporation of New York
1950-59

Box 3: folder 16
Carnegie Endowment for Int'l Peace
1950-52

Box 4: folder 1
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
1952-59

Box 4: folder 2
Chaplain, Office of
1949-58

Box 4: folder 3
Charter, Amendment to
1958

Box 4: folder 4
Civil Liberties Union of MA
1950-53, 1959

Box 4: folder 5
Class of 1949-59
1949-59

Box 4: folder 6
Coeducation
1952

Box 4: folder 7
C.E.E.B. Social Studies
1952-55

Box 4: folder 8
Commencements
1950

Box 4: folder 9
Commencements
1951

Box 4: folder 10
Commencements
1952

Box 4: folder 11
Commencements
1953

Box 4: folder 12
Commencements
1954

Box 4: folder 13
Commencements
1955

Box 4: folder 14
Commencements
1956

Box 4: folder 15
Commencements
1957

Box 4: folder 16
Commencements
1958

Box 4: folder 17
Commencements
1959

Box 4: folder 18
Committees, College: Board of Admission
1949-58

Box 5: folder 1
Committee on Classroom Equipment
1955-57

Box 5: folder 2
Committee on Committees
1950-1958

Box 5: folder 3
Committee, Conference
1952-57, n.d.

Box 5: folder 4
Committee (Faculty-Trustee), Conference
1950-57

Box 5: folder 5
Committee on College Education ofFaculty Children
1947-58, n.d.

Box 5: folder 6
Committee on Educational Policy
1954-56

Box 5: folder 7
Committee on Faculty Offices
1952-59

Box 5: folder 8
Committee on Foreign Students
1950-57, n.d.

Box 5: folder 9
Committee on Graduate Study
1950-59, n.d.

Box 5: folder 10
Committee on Lectures
1949-50

Box 5: folder 11
Committee (Central) Planning
1951-57

Box 5: folder 12
Committee (Central) Planning
1958-59, n.d.

Box 5: folder 13
Committee (Faculty) Planning
1956-57

Box 6: folder 1
Committee (Faculty) Planning
1958-59, n.d.

Box 6: folder 2
Committee on Special Assistance in Written English
1949-54, n.d.

Box 6: folder 3
Committee on Teacher Training (ad hoc)
1956

Box 6: folder 4
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Chronology and Literature

see also Mass. Commission on Communism

1954

Box 6: folder 5
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Writings by Aloise Buckley Heath
1954

Box 6: folder 6
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Clippings
1954

Box 6: folder 7
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Corr. With Aloise Buckley Heath
1954

Box 6: folder 8
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
Feb 1954

Box 6: folder 9
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
1-9 Mar 1954

Box 6: folder 10
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
10-31 Mar 1954

Box 6: folder 11
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
Apr 1954

Box 6: folder 12
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
May 1-June 17 1954

Box 6: folder 13
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
18-30 Jun 1954

Box 7: folder 1
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
Jul 1954

Box 7: folder 2
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Correspondence re. Committee
Aug-Dec 1954, n.d.

Box 7: folder 3
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Investigation into charges, Correspondence and background on named faculty
1954

Box 7: folder 4
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Investigation into Charges, Corr.with Attorney General, Govt.Documents
1954

Box 7: folder 5
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Investigation into charges, Corr.with College Attorney, John H. Finn
1954

Box 7: folder 6
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Investigation into charges, Trustee-Faculty Committee
1954

Box 7: folder 7
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Official response, Alumnae Asso.
Jun-Dec 1954

Box 7: folder 8
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Official response, Chapel Speech By B.F. Wright
4 Mar 1954

Box 7: folder 9
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Official response, Quarterly article
Spring 1954

Box 7: folder 10
Committee for Discrimination in Giving:Official response, press releases and form letters
1954

Box 7: folder 11
Communism in Colleges
1953-54

Box 7: folder 12
Conference (proposed) on Redefinition of Values
1951-52

Box 7: folder 13
Counselors, Board of

See Restricted Material



Box 7: folder 13
D
1949-58, n.d.

Box 8: folder 1
Day School/Nursery School: General
1950-59

Box 8: folder 2
Day School/Nursery School: Visiting Committee
1953-55

Box 8: folder 3
Dean, class
1954-56

Box 8: folder 4
Development: General
1949-57

Box 8: folder 5
Development: General
1958-59

Box 8: folder 6
Development: Kersting, Brown & Co. Report
1958

Box 8: folder 7
Development: Kersting, Brown & Co. Report
1958-59

Box 8: folder 8
E
1952-56

Box 9: folder 1
Eastman, Eva Hills

see also Student Counselor

1950-57, n.d.

Box 9: folder 2
Employment Office
1950-58

Box 9: folder 3
F
1950-59, n.d.

Box 9: folder 4
Faculty, General
1950-57

Box 9: folder 5
Faculty Club
1952-57

Box 9: folder 6
Faculty, Emeriti
1953-57

Box 9: folder 7
Faculty Housing
1953-59, n.d.

Box 9: folder 8
Faculty Salaries: Correspondence
1955-58

Box 9: folder 9
Faculty Salaries: Scales
1946-59

Box 9: folder 10
Faculty, Secretary of
1953

Box 9: folder 11
Form Letters to Alumnae, Parents, etc.
1950-52

Box 9: folder 12
Four College Cooperation: General
1949-59

Box 9: folder 13
Four College Cooperation: Astronomy Department
1953-59, n.d.

Box 9: folder 14
Four College Cooperation: Committee for New College (Hampshire)
1958-59

Box 9: folder 15
Four College Cooperation: Committee on
1955-57, n.d.

Box 9: folder 16
Four College Cooperation: Cresap- McCormick & Paget Exploratory Survey
1954

Box 9: folder 17
Four College Cooperation: Non-Western Studies Committee
1957-59

Box 10: folder 1
Four College Cooperation: Radio
1950-59

Box 10: folder 2
G
1949-55

Box 10: folder 3
Genetics Experiment Station

see also Blakeslee, Albert F.

1949-55, n.d.

Box 10: folder 4
Ginling College
1947-55

Box 10: folder 5
H
1951-56

Box 10: folder 6
Harvard University
1950-59

Box 10: folder 7
Honorary Degrees
1950-54

Box 10: folder 8
Honorary Degrees
1955-56

Box 10: folder 9
Honorary Degrees
1957-59, n.d.

Box 10: folder 10
Honors Program
1950-59

Box 10: folder 11
Houses
1953-56, n.d.

Box 10: folder 12
I
1950

Box 10: folder 13
Infirmary
1950-1959

Box 10: folder 14
Institute of International Education
1949-59

Box 10: folder 15
J
1949-55

Box 10: folder 16
Junior Year Abroad: General
1950-56

Box 10: folder 17
Junior Year Abroad: England
1952-54

Box 10: folder 18
Junior Year Abroad: France
1949-58, N.D

Box 10: folder 19
Junior Year Abroad: Geneva
1949-50

Box 11: folder 1
Junior Year Abroad: Geneva
1951-59

Box 11: folder 2
Junior Year Abroad: Germany
1950-55

Box 11: folder 3
Junior Year Abroad: Italy
1949-59

Box 11: folder 4
Junior Year Abroad: Mexico
1951-53

Box 11: folder 5
Junior Year Abroad: Spain
1950-57

Box 11: folder 6
Junior Year Abroad: Toronto
1952-55

Box 11: folder 7
Juniper Lodge
1951-59, n.d.

Box 11: folder 8
K
1950-57

Box 11: folder 9
L
1950-56

Box 11: folder 10
Laundry
1955

Box 11: folder 11
Library
1950-59

Box 11: folder 12
Library, Friends of the
1950-52

Box 11: folder 13
M
1949-59

Box 11: folder 14
Massachusetts Commission on Communism

see also Committee for Discrimination in Giving

1954-56, n.d.

Box 11: folder 15
Massachusetts House of Representatives
1950-52

Box 11: folder 16
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1951

Box 11: folder 17
Massachusetts, University of
1955-58

Box 11: folder 18
McCarthy, Sen. Joseph: Visit to Smith
1952

Box 12: folder 1
Mount Holyoke College
1950-58

Box 12: folder 2
Mountain Day
1955, n.d.

Box 12: folder 3
Museum of Art: General
1949-53

Box 12: folder 4
Museum of Art
1954-59

Box 12: folder 5
Museum of Art: Poussin "Venus and Adonis," authenticity
1954-57

Box 12: folder 6
N
1949-57

Box 12: folder 7
Neilson of Smith (Margaret Farrand Thorp)
1951-56

Box 12: folder 8
New England Association of Colleges And Secondary Schools
1949-57

Box 12: folder 9
New England Colleges Fund
1955-57

Box 12: folder 10
News Office
1951-58

Box 12: folder 11
Northampton: General
1949-59

Box 12: folder 12
Northampton: Academy of Music
1949-58

Box 12: folder 13
Northampton: Arcadia
1949, n.d

Box 12: folder 14
Northampton: Civil Defense Organization
1950-58

Box 12: folder 15
Northampton: Clarke School for the Deaf
1947-57

Box 12: folder 16
Northampton: Fire Truck
1951-58

Box 12: folder 17
Northampton: Industrial Realty Development Corporation
1950

Box 12: folder 18
Northampton: St. John's Church
1935-55

Box 12: folder 19
Northampton: Tercentenary
1950-54

Box 12: folder 20
O-P
1949-58

Box 12: folder 21
Public Relations
1947-57

Box 12: folder 22
Purchasing Office
1951-56

Box 12: folder 23
R
1949-57, n.d.

Box 13: folder 1
Radcliffe College
1950-59

Box 13: folder 2
Rally Day
1949-54

Box 13: folder 3
Rally Day
1955-59

Box 13: folder 4
Reader's Digest
1953-54

Box 13: folder 5
Registrar
1950-55

Box 13: folder 6
S
1949-59

Box 13: folder 7
Scholarships and Student Aid: General
1950-55

Box 13: folder 8
Scholarships and Student Aid: Chester Bowles Asian Scholarship
1956-58

Box 13: folder 9
Scholarships and Student Aid: General Motors Scholarship Plan
1955

Box 13: folder 10
Scholarships and Student Aid: Northampton-Hatfield Scholarships
1951-58

Box 13: folder 11
Scholarships and Student Aid: Proctor and Gamble Scholarship
1955-57

Box 13: folder 12
Scholarships and Student Aid: Scott Paper Co. Foundation Award
1955-56

Box 13: folder 13
School for Social Work
1949-59

Box 13: folder 14
Seven College Conference
1949-50

Box 13: folder 15
Seven College Conference
1951-54

Box 14: folder 1
Seven College Conference
1954-56

Box 14: folder 2
Seven College Conference
1957-59

Box 14: folder 3
Shaffer, Mary Mills
1952-53

Box 14: folder 4
Sophia Smith Collection

See Archives

1952-53

Box 14: folder 4
Student Counselor

see also Eastman, Eva Hills

1956-59

Box 14: folder 5
Students
1953-59

Box 14: folder 6
Student Government Association: General
1950-59, n.d.

Box 14: folder 7
Student Government Association: Curriculum Committee
1950-57

Box 14: folder 8
Students, Male
1952-59

Box 14: folder 9
Student Organizations
1949-56, n.d.

Box 14: folder 10
Student Publications
1952-59

Box 14: folder 11
Students, Dean of
1954-58

Box 14: folder 12
Studies
1949-59, n.d.

Box 14: folder 13
Symposium: The American Novel at Mid-Century
1955

Box 15: folder 1
Symposium: Art and Morals
1952-60

Box 15: folder 2
T
1956

Box 15: folder 3
Tuition increases
1946-58

Box 15: folder 4
U-V
1950-56

Box 15: folder 5
U.S.: General
1957-58, n.d.

Box 15: folder 6
U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee, Correspondence With
1949

Box 15: folder 7
U.S. House of Representatives UAC,Background Materials
1952-3

Box 15: folder 8
U.S. House of Representatives UAC,Trustee-Faculty Committee
1953

Box 15: folder 9
U.S. House of Representatives UAC,Corresp. Re. Investigation And Testimony
1952-Apr 53

Box 15: folder 10
U.S. House of Representatives UAC, Corresp. Re. Investigation And Testimony
May-Dec 53

Box 15: folder 11
U.S. House of Representatives UAC, Press Releases and Clippings
1953

Box 15: folder 12
U.S. House of Representatives UAC, Publications re. Education
1953

Box 15: folder 13
U.S. Navy
1951

Box 15: folder 14
U.S. Office of Education: Federal Security Agency Questionnaires
1951-52

Box 15: folder 15
Vassar College
1950-58

Box 16: folder 1
Vocational Office
1949-58

Box 16: folder 2
W
1951-57

Box 16: folder 3
Wellesley College
1949-59

Box 16: folder 4
Women's College Board
1951-59

Box 16: folder 5
Women's Placement Bureau, Inc.
1949-51

Box 16: folder 6
Woodrow Wilson Foundation
1952-59

Box 16: folder 7
World University Service
1949-59

Box 16: folder 8
Y-Z
1950-57

Box 16: folder 9
Yale University
1950-54

Box 16: folder 10
RESTRICTED MATERIAL



Counselors, Board of: General
1949-51

Box 17: folder 1
Counselors, Board of: General
1955-56

Box 17: folder 2
Counselors, Board of: General
1957

Box 17: folder 3
Counselors, Board of: General
1958-59, n.d.

Box 17: folder 4
Counselors, Board of: Chapel Committee
1958

Box 17: folder 5
Counselors, Board of: Davis Ctr. Cttee
1957-58

Box 17: folder 6
Counselors, Board of: Health and Infirmary Committee
1953-58

Box 17: folder 7
Counselors, Board of: Music Committee
1951-58

Box 17: folder 8
Counselors, Board of: Museum Comm.
1955-59

Box 17: folder 9
Counselors, Board of: Public Relations C.
1958-59

Box 17: folder 10
Counselors, Board of: Theater Committee
1957-59

Box 17: folder 11
Counselors, Board of: Vocational Cttee.
1957-58

Box 17: folder 12

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
  • Smith College--Presidents.
  • Wright, Benjamin Fletcher, 1900-

Contributors
  • Smith College. Office of President.


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