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Alexander G. Ruthven Papers, 1901-1961 (majority within 1906-1951)

65.4 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Zoologist, college professor, president of University of Michigan, 1929-1951. Professional files relating to his career with the University Museum and as a professor of zoology, and presidential files containing correspondence, reports, speeches, and other University materials, including budget and legislative files, material relating to changes in University administration, his relationship with faculty, students and alumni, and photographs.

The Alexander Ruthven papers consists of two series of records. The first is the papers of Ruthven as president of the University of Michigan, 1929 to 1951. The second, and smaller, series is the files maintained by Ruthven as a zoologist with the University Museum and as professor of zoology. This latter series dates largely from 1908 to 1929 but also includes collected earlier files from the 1870s.


Clarence Cook Little papers, 1924-1929

14 linear feet

President of the University of Michigan, 1924-1929, educational reformer, geneticist and cancer researcher, also interested in a range of reform movement including birth control, eugenics, international peace, and immigration. Papers include correspondence, speeches and reports concerning all phases of his career as president of the University of Michigan and his civic and reform activities.

The C.C. Little papers document a wide range to topics, events, administrative actions, policy developments during Little's tenure as president of the University of Michigan. The collection contains mainly reports and replies to letters but very little incoming correspondence. However, the researcher may use these replies as clues to other collections in the library which contain the individual correspondent's papers.

The chronological ordering of the papers makes subject access somewhat difficult. To selective indexes of correspondents and subjects found in the papers provide some assistance in using the Little papers. The following discussion of the papers follows the structure of the subject index.

The growth of the university which had begun at the close of World War I continued to be felt during President Little's tenure. New buildings completed earlier were handling classroom and laboratory needs, so attention now turned to living accommodations and the athletic department's needs (Sec. II). The period of the 1920s was one of increased interest in theories of progressive education. President's Little's primary interest was in educational policy arising from such theories. Thus, academic and departmental proposals and reorganizations (Sec. III of the subject index) form a major part of his papers. He made fewer administrative changes (Sec. I of the subject index). The twenties are also remembered as a time of social ferment in the country and this was reflected in campus life, with more attention being paid to regulating student social mores and the use of alcohol and cars (see Secs. I and IV of the subject index).

Although President Little oversaw the reorganization of some administrative offices, his attention was mainly focused on educational policy, his primary interest. This is reflected in materials on admissions policy, freshman orientation, continuing education of alumni, and the re-organization of the university into two separate units.

A few months after President Little took office, the "Day Report", so named because Edmund Day, Dean of the School of Business Administration chaired the committee which drew it up, was completed. It was the result of an exhaustive study of athletics, physical education and recreation in the university and led to changes in the Board in Control of Athletics, development of women's and intramural athletics, and gave impetus to the financing and building of the stadium (opened in 1927).

President Little's concern with developing students of good moral character resulted in regulation of the use of cars and alcohol, thought to be related twin evils, and the initiation of planning for dormitories, where all students would live under university supervision.

The major building projects that came to fruition during the Little Administration were the Stadium and the Women's League Building. Construction work at the Law School and the School of Education represented on-going projects begun in earlier administrations, while plans for a natural science museum were just beginning to take shape.

During President Little's tenure, schools and departments established earlier continued to grow, while some projects, such as the Creative Arts Fellowship, were brought to a close. The financing and governance of the Lawyers' Club presented on-going difficulties. Compensation for and the role of "outside work" in Medicine, Engineering, and Education required continued attention. The university contributed to scientific research through the Hobbs Expedition to Greenland which also showed the value of the university's fledgling radio program in maintaining communication with such distant projects.

With the appointment of Samuel Trask Dana as Dean, the School of Forestry was established in the spring of 1927. At that time the state was faced with the problems of cutover lands and the collapse of the lumbering industry. In 1927 the School of Forestry provided leadership in dealing with these problems by sponsoring two conferences which brought together owners and operators in the lumbering industry, state officials, and forestry experts to consider solutions.

The School of Education continued its growth with the addition of an elementary school building. The completion of that building in 1929 enabled the School to provide K-12 education under the supervision of its faculty. Some attention was given also to providing pre-primary education, but nothing came of this during Little's tenure.

The university and its academic life did not escape the impact of the societal upheavals of the "roaring twenties". Perhaps more so at the University of Michigan because of President Little's active role in several of those issues, as is reflected in his correspondence. He was an officer in the American Eugenics Society, a vocal proponent of both population control and the "betterment of the human race", and also served as chairman of the Michigan chapter of the League of Nations Non-partisan Association.


John Sundwall Papers, 1921-1944

5 linear feet

Public health physician and director of the Division of Hygiene, Public Health, and Physical Education at the University of Michigan, 1921-1941, papers include correspondence, administrative reports and studies, working files, minutes of meetings attended, manuscripts of writings, and photographs.

John Sundwall was an important figure in public health education, and his papers reflect his broad interests in this area. As a University of Michigan administrator and educator and as an involved member of various professional groups, Sundwall was a thoughtful leader in discussions pertaining to the kind of education and course offerings individuals in various public health positions should receive. More an educator and administrator than a researcher, Sundwall was a responsible and dedicated thinker in the development of public health as a respected profession.

The John Sundwall papers, covering the years 1921 to 1944, consist mainly of records maintained by Sundwall in his capacity as director of the University of Michigan Division of Hygiene and Public Health. There are no papers prior to his coming to Michigan in 1921 and only scattered papers after 1941 when the School of Public Health was established.

The Sundwall collection consists of correspondence, administrative reports and studies, working files, minutes of meetings attended, manuscripts of writings, and photographs.

The collection has been grouped into the following series: Biographical/background information, Correspondence, University of Michigan Division of Hygiene and Public Health, University of Michigan Topical, Organizations, Topical file, Writings, and Photographs.


Margaret Bell papers, 1919-1956

6 linear feet

Correspondence and other files of Margaret Bell, chairman of the Department of Physical Education for Women of the University of Michigan, and physician in the University Health Service. Materials relate to University activities, conferences and speeches, copies of articles and other writings, and photographs.

The papers support the work and activities of Margaret Bell as Professor of Physical Education, Chairman of Department of Physical Education for Women, and a physician in Health Services at the University of Michigan from 1923 to 1956, and are divided into two sub-groups of personal activities and those specific to the University of Michigan.

The strength of the papers is found in the correspondence and reports which show the growth of physical education programs for women at the University and the identification of issues important to physical education and health in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, with the correspondence, speeches, and publications of Margaret Bell. Historical records about the Women's Athletic Building and the Women's Athletic Association are also important.

Significant correspondents include: Amos Alonzo Stagg, John Dewey, and Elmer D. Mitchell, as well as other physical education professionals: Elizabeth Halsey, Ernest Jokl, Julian Smith, Ruth Glassow, Jay B. Nash, Charles Harold McCloy, Mable Lee, Vance Blanchard, and Charles Forsyth.

Topics of special note include the article, "Athletic Competition for Women," written for AAU March, 29, 1954, as well as other articles about the physiological effects of exercise and sport for women. During the 1950s and early 1960s college women participated in playdays and sportsdays, rather than the organized intercollegiate athletic programs of the present day. There was concern that women were not physically capable of such strenuous demands of full-court basketball and were limited by the rules to half-court play during the 1950's, with two rovers being added in the 1960's.


Shirley Wheeler Smith Papers, 1881-1959

15 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Vice-president and secretary of the University of Michigan; correspondence; research materials for his biographies of university presidents; files relating to activities on the Ann Arbor City Council; course notes from classes at the University of Michigan; and photographs.

The Shirley Wheeler Smith papers include a combination of personal and professional materials. Much of Smith's career with the U-M is documented in the official records of the University, most notably in the records of the Secretary's Office and the papers of the presidents under whom he served (Angell, Hutchins, Burton, Little, and Ruthven). Even so, these papers contain much material relating to the business affairs of the U-M. The extensive correspondence files (with partial index) demonstrate wide influence in all phases of University operations as he corresponded with presidents, faculty, members of the board of regents, and other university personnel. Also documented in the collection is Smith's activities with the city of Ann Arbor and with other community organizations.

The collection has been arranged into the following series: Correspondence; Research for writings; Topical files; Ann Arbor City Council; Papers (by date); Personal and miscellaneous; and Photographs.