Series Descriptions


2.5 Total Linear Ft.

A. General
1.5 Linear Ft. Contents List

Correspondence, lists and reports are arranged alphabetically by subject. Within Appointments and Appropriations and Sabbatical Leaves categories material is arranged chronologically by academic year. Documents in the general files reflect the management relationship between the president and the faculty. Appropriation, appointment, conference and sabbatical requests, though fairly routine, reflect department, staff and professional development. Letters from Acting President Henry Wild, Dean Carroll Maxcy and Professor George E. Howes provide insight into college operations while Garlfield served as U.S. Fuel Administrator during WWI. Continued evaluation of the curriculum is also evident in this material.

B. Faculty Committees (1909-1933)

.5 Linear Ft. Contents List

This material includes correspondence, minutes, reports and applications. Committees are arranged alphabetically and files are arranged chronologically within each committee.

The membership of the Committee on Admissions consisted of the Dean and the heads of major departments. This committee reviewed admission requirements, entrance examinations, course credits and conditions.

The Committee on Admissions and Curriculum was a joint committee that met occasionally to address matters relating to both committees. One such issue brought before this committee was the substitution of American history for ancient history in the list of courses required for admission.

Among the three items from the Committee on Administration is a letter from Garfield regarding resolutions of the committee on administrative rule changes in 1912.

The Advisory Committee, created in 1909, was originally known as the Scholarship Committee. The Advisory Committee consisted of five faculty members and concerned itself with matters regarding student scholarship and standing. This file contains only one document, dated Sep. 28, 1925, which states the origin of the committee.

Minutes from Feb. 8, 1922 and March 17, 1922 meetings comprise the Conference Committee file. The Committee was apparently appointed to consider faculty appointments and promotions.

The Committee on Curriculum oversaw extensive changes in the curriculum beginning in 1910. Material regarding departmental curricula, honors courses and foreign study make up the bulk of these files. (See also Theodore Clarke Smith Correspondence)

The Committee on Prizes established rules, judges and awards for a variety of prizes including the David A. Wells Prize, the Van Vechten Prize, the Clark Prize and the Lathers' Prize. These files contain essays and correspondence from contestants. Of particular interest is the David A. Wells prize which was created according to the will of David A. Wells, with a prize of $500 awarded for the best essay written by a senior or recent graduate that discussed specified subjects relating to economics.

A Select Committee of five was appointed in 1924 to consider the size of the college and possible methods to limit numbers. Two members of the Conference Committee, two members of the Admissions Committee and one member from the faculty at large served on this committee. The file on this committee contains one letter detailing the charge of the committee and a list of its members.

Several reports regarding the number of students receiving scholarships are included in the material of the Committee on Scholarships. Correspondence discusses students in need of scholarships and increasing scholarship stipends.

T.C. Smith C. Smith, Theodore C. Correspondence
(1903, 1922-1934)

.5 Linear Ft. Contents List

This sub-series is arranged chronologically with separate files for Sabbatical Leaves and the James A. Garfield Biography.

Theodore Clarke Smith was professor of American history at Williams from 1903 to 1938. He served on the Committee on Curriculum (1911-1927) and the Advisory Committee (1911-1935) that dealt with matters concerning student scholarship and standing (see also Faculty Committees). T.C. Smith was an early supporter of curriculum reform and strongly advocated the proseminar requirement and Honors courses. He wrote extensively on these subjects and several of his articles were published in the Williams Alumni Review and academic journals. Smith was also the official biographer of James A. Garfield; his Life and Letters of James Abram Garfield was published in 1925. Much of the correspondence in this sub-series is related to these topics.

T.C. Smith's correspondence with Harry Garfield is very frank and honest. His opinions regarding curricular issues, departments and faculty members are freely given. Smith had a high regard for Garfield even though they did not always agree. The mutual respect of the two men is apparent.

The correspondence of T.C. Smith also includes solicited and unsolicited reports. Included here are statistical reports pertaining to history courses--the number of students in courses, curriculum reports on course offerings and faculty--and reports from the Committee on Curriculum. Among the unsolicited reports are a summary of the work of the Curriculum Committee, 1911-1927, a memorandum supporting the authority "to create new professorships" written in June 1928, and a report on the status of German exchange students written June 15, 1931. Other significant documents in this sub-series include: "Reflections on Completing the Biography of James A. Garfield" written in 1925, and "The Curriculum During the Garfield Administration" written in Feb. 1934.

D. New Curriculum (1910-1912)

10 Folders Contents List

Chronologically arranged files contain surveys, statistics, handwritten notes, correspondence, marked copies of the "New Curriculum" and subsequent revised curriculums and schedules.

As part of the planning process for a revised curriculum, Garfield surveyed the faculty regarding the amount of work required of students in their courses. Responses to this survey can be found in this series. The new curriculum was proposed by President Garfield and submitted to the faculty in May 1910. According to Garfield's plan, courses would be organized into major groups with prerequisites that forced students to advance on to more difficult material. Three courses were required in the junior year to complete a major sequence thereby abolishing excess electives. Garfield's notes include diagrams of this plan. Garfield worked to gain the support of the faculty by involving them in a review of the plan. The material in this series includes faculty reactions to the curriculum proposal. After a year of intense discussion and deliberation, the curriculum was accepted by a majority vote in April 1911. The new curriculum, instituted the following academic year, drew student protests that intensified as the year progressed. Amendments to the curriculum and modified Administrative Laws were announced in May 1912. A copy of Garfield's address to the student body outlines the changes that were made. Faculty reactions to the changes are also found in this series.

Harry A. Garfield Records, 1908-1934

Williams College Faculty

Series List
Scope and Content
Biographical Chronology