William A. Orton Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The William Aylott Orton Papers span a period from 1922 to 1952, the majority of the material covering Orton's long history at Smith. The collection does not contain very much material, a total of three folders. Most of the material is comprised of articles, speeches, and publications. There is an occasional letter or two and some photographs.
The majority of the biographical materials are composed of newspaper articles on Orton and his activities. He was very active in the Smith community and beyond, so quite a few articles summarize his speeches and opinions. A few articles, for example, reveal his interest in the way radio broadcasting and movies were changing and developing. Orton also contributed many opinions to newspapers, and these are included in this series.
Orton was a very prolific writer. Many of the articles he contributed to magazines and journals are contained in the second series, and the materials cover a period from 1924 to 1946. He wrote articles for The American Journal of Sociology, The International Journal of Ethics, the American Economic Review, and the Journal of Social Forces, to name a few. He wrote a particularly controversial article for the Atlantic Monthly, entitled "The Thirteen-Year-Old Level." In this article, he talks about how advertising in the radio broadcasting industry negatively affected the popularity of radio as well as hampered the demand for radio sets. In addition to these articles, this series contains copies of chapel talks given by Orton in 1938 and news releases about the publication of Orton's books.
The photographs are primarily composed of formal portraits of Orton, and all seem to have been taken in the late 1930's. There is also one photograph of Orton's twin sons standing in front of John M. Greene hall.