Scope & Content Note

The Frederick Rudolph Papers span all of Rudolph's adult life, from his undergraduate days at Williams, through his military service in World War II and life as a Williams academic, and into his retirement. The collection is especially strong on material from the 1960s and 1970s. Rudolph's scholarship has been concerned, in his words, with "the career of humanistic values and traditions in the United States as revealed in the life and history of educational institutions, particularly higher education." As the unofficial college historian, and very involved participant in the college community, his Papers hold interest for any Williams researcher tracing the changing nature of the college, its people and its place in higher education.

The collection is organized into eight series: I. Undergraduate Papers, II. Army Papers, III. Personal Correspondence, IV. Speeches and Writings, V. Course Material, VI. Fraternity Files, VII. Coeducation Papers, and VIII. Subject Files. Wherever possible, Rudolph's original filing structure was retained; therefore some material may be found in multiple places (e.g., F.R. filed some fraternity correspondence in personal correspondence folders, some in Sigma Phi folders, and some in the Standing Committee folders). Thus, researchers are encouraged to search the entire collection, as one particular series may not exhaust all material on a particular topic.

Series I. Undergraduate Papers. This series is divided into two sub-series: A. Williams College Correspondence and B. Academic Work. In addition, the general Scrapbook Collection houses F.R.'s scrapbook of programs, pamphlets, clippings, photographs, and correspondence documenting the activities of F.R. and the Class of 1942 during their undergraduate years at Williams. It includes material regarding athletics, social and cultural life, World War II, faculty, student groups, F.R.'s editing of the Record, etc.

A. Williams College Correspondence. Rudolph donated this portion of the Papers in July 1992. It was originally processed by Trinity Hurlbut in August 1993 (Acc. No. 1992-013). At that time, correspondence was removed from envelopes and flattened. (A sampling of envelopes was retained and is located at the end of the sub-series. Remaining envelopes were discarded.) The Williams College Correspondence contains Rudolph's letters, primarily to his parents, dealing with his adjustment to college life, fraternity rushing, his roommate, classes, and the possibility of the United States entering the war. These letters are organized chronologically.

B. Academic Work. Rudolph donated this portion in 1991. It consists of bound collections of papers written for American History and Life (his major) and English Composition courses, and loose papers from graduate school. (N.B. The undergraduate papers have comments from professors Charlie Keller and Luther Mansfield, both of whom later became his colleagues and correspondence partners.)

Series II. Army Papers. Rudolph donated this portion of the Papers in July 1992. It was originally processed by Trinity Hurlbut in August 1993 (Acc. No 1992-013). This series is divided into three sub-series: A. Correspondence from F.R., B. Correspondence to F.R. and C. History.

A. Correspondence from F.R. The majority of these letters from Rudolph are written to his parents. They are primarily concerned with his life in the army and with the war.

B. Correspondence to F.R. The letters written to Rudolph are broken into three groups: from his parents, from people at Williams, and from fellow Williams alumni in the service. His parents' letters, organized chronologically, are primarily concerned with goings on at home, and with Rudolph's well-being. Letters from students and faculty at Williams are primarily concerned with Williams events and with the war effort. Letters from fellow Williams alumni in the service deal primarily with the war and life in the service. Letters in these last groups are filed alphabetically by author.

C. History. This extended version of the official history of the 55th Medical Supply Platoon Rudolph wrote as an official responsibility during and at the end of World War II. It enables researchers to determine which of F.R.'s letters are "fakes," dated ahead in order to be mailed by friends at the old base while F.R. was en route to a new destination.

Series III. Personal Correspondence. Rudolph donated this portion of the collection in 1991. It contains letters, postcards, and memos received by F.R., of both professional and personal nature. It also contains carbon copies of many letters written by F.R. himself. Letters are not separated by sender or by subject, but are organized chronologically as F.R. had arranged them. The lines between students, friends and colleagues appear murky and the contents, especially of the first few folders, resists categorization. Researchers are encouraged to peruse the folders even if the thumbnail sketches of the contents do not seem to match up with their particular interests. F.R.'s correspondence is essentially an index of college life in the second half of the 20th century. Researchers should keep this in mind when reading the contents list—be open to finding much more in the correspondence than what is listed. Researchers should also heed cross-referencing with other parts of the Papers.

Two final notes: much of the correspondence is from former students—the most prolific letter writer by far is David Livermore (a.k.a. "Liver"), followed by Jim Barns, Larry Daloz, Bruce Beehler, and Michael Sardo. F.R.'s correspondence with Presidents Baxter, Chandler, Sawyer, and Payne is also sprinkled throughout this collection. (Note: FR has donated further correspondence up to 2005.)

Series IV. Speeches and Writings. Rudolph donated this portion of the collection in 1991. It was partially processed by S.K. Brown at that time. The collection is divided into five sub-series: A. Chronological File, 1947-1996, B. Book Reviews, C. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872, D. American College and University and E. Perspectives.

A. Chronological File, 1947-2003. This sub-series contains lectures, addresses, remarks, articles and statements made by Rudolph over a fifty-year period. It includes not only the final text, but also notes, correspondence (ranging from the initial offer to the final thank you note), F.R.'s reading copy with annotations, and critical reviews. F.R. is generally concerned with higher education from a historical perspective, often addressing contemporary situations in light of historical trends. His specialties are Revolutionary America and Williams College (so much so that he has called himself the "very unofficial keeper of the college's historical consciousness"). The speeches tend to be given at national conferences and symposiums or at Williams functions for alumni, parents, and clubs. Many times they are reprinted in journals or reworked for other speeches. The speeches and writings of the 1980s address the state of higher education, curricular reform, and technology and liberal learning, providing counsel for individual colleges and the nation at large. Indeed, while much of his work is aimed at professional educators and is published in academic journals, his ideas and writing appear in popular periodicals such as USA Today, the New York Times, and Mademoiselle Magazine.

B. Book Reviews. This sub-series contains around thirty critiques, often written for the American Historical Review. The books center around the history of higher education/educators. Some are straightforward histories of individual colleges or universities, although F.R. is more interested in the larger questions about educational and social trends (e.g. professionalism, philanthropy) and the impact or implications of a particular history. The number of reviews peaks in 1964-65 and again in 1981-82.

C. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872 is, as F.R. put it, a "portrait of the old-time classical college in its heyday." It was originally written as a doctoral dissertation at Yale University where it won two prizes, the Addison Porter Prize for readability and the George Washington Egelston Prize for scholarship. Shortly afterwards, F.R. requested publication, and was rejected by A.A. Knopf, Houghton Mifflin, Atlantic Monthly, McGraw-Hill, and Harper and Brothers. F.R. settled on Yale University Press, where his editor was David Horne and the promotion manager was Mark Carroll. MHAL was published in 1956. The book led to a Guggenheim Fellowship and F.R.'s general history of higher education, The American College and University: A History (1962).

This sub-series contains material related to both the business and the literary aspects of the book. The first half contains files regarding research, promotion, and sales. While the filing structure is basically F.R.'s, a few modifications were made. Folders now entitled "Copies of Correspondence," "Miscellaneous Correspondence with Other Researchers," and "Miscellaneous Historical Materials" are the rearranged contents of folders originally labeled "Correspondence," "Hopkins Letters," and "Miscellaneous MH." "Solicitation" folders needed to be divided for easier access (that is, F.R. himself did not distinguish between different types of solicitation). In the "Individual Solicitation" folder, letters are grouped by writer, and then chronologically within that set. When x referred F.R. to y, the two are treated as one source.

The second half of the sub-series is F.R.'s original research notes on 8.5 x 5 slips of paper. As a label in one box said: "A major part of the task of a historian is research. These are but a few of the extensive notes Mr. Rudolph took in the process of writing his work. In most cases only a part of the information assembled is used in the actual writing of the book. It is this process of selection that is one of the important parts of historical writing."

The notes are organized such that each chapter has a "Notes Cited" and a "Notes Not Cited" section. "Notes Not Cited" should not be confused with "Notes Not Used." "Notes Not Cited" are incorporated into the chapters: they are loosely paraphrased or used as evidence for a generalization rather than directly quoted. (N.B. The title "Notes Cited" is also slightly misleading because some quotations in the chapters do not have corresponding notes in the box, and vice versa.) Any researcher looking up a chapter should definitely look through the "Not Cited" notes too, since a single sentence in the published MHAL may have pages and pages of notes directly and tangentially related. In order for researchers to trace F.R.'s thought process, the notes have been preserved essentially as F.R. left them.

A note on conservation: paperclips and staples were removed and replaced with plastiklips if there were pages in the group that did not have a source note. The pages were left loose if each page had a source. (N.B. There are many loose pages without sources after chapter 8; this is not the result of processing, but rather reflects the state of the donation.)

After the "Notes Cited" and "Notes Not Cited" are "Notes Not Used." As these were in no discernable order, the notes were reorganized into groups using F.R.'s headings and then alphabetized by subject. The material is organized chronologically within each group heading.

D. American College and University was published in 1962. It was created from lectures F.R. gave at Harvard University in the early 1960s. As F.R. describes it, ACAU is intended to be a volume "to which any American might turn for an informed answer to the question, 'How and why and with what consequences have the American colleges and universities developed as they have?'" The sub-series contains a small collection of notes for the ACAU. They are grouped by F.R.'s subject headings, and arranged alphabetically by subject.

E. Perspectives was published in 1983. This collection of Williams writings was F.R.'s attempt to "make it a little difficult for people to forget [the history of the College]" after he left. The sub-series contains a general folder about the book and a folder for each chapter. The chapter folders include the original document and F.R.'s notes, which tend to be biographical or contextual and a little bit cryptic. (This is a classic example of recycling previous articles and speeches: two of the articles are Rudolph's own, and before Perspectives was published, parts of it were used as a lecture. See Faculty Lecture, 18 February 1982, in Box 14 Folder 9.)

Series V. Course Material. Part of this portion of the Papers had been collected by the Archives and initially processed in 1988 (Acc. No. 88-052), and part was transferred by F.R. in 1991. Materials include syllabi, documents for study, research reports, and exams for what is called, at the time of this summary, the American Studies Program. However, this major has variously been called "American History and Literature" and "American Civilization." The folders are labeled with the most recent incarnation of the course and organized by course number. The evolution of potentially confusing course titles are as follows:

History 317  
1952 History 9a Studies in American Culture
1953-55 History 18 Studies in American Culture
1956-57, '59-60 History 17 Studies in American Culture
1961-62, '64-65 History 317 Studies in American Culture
1966-7, '72, '74, '80-81 History 317 American Character and Culture
History 319  
1960 History 319 Studies in the History of American Education
1962-3, '65-66, '73 History 319 Education in the United States
1976 History 319S Studies in the History of American Education
1978-79 Am Civ 306 Schooling in America
American Civilization 401,402  
1952-57 American History and Literature 19-20
1960-65 American History and Literature 401, 402
1965-67 American Civilization 401: Critical Approaches to America as a Civilization
1967 American Civilization 401: America as a Civilization
1970 American Civilization 401: Some Views of the American Character
1971 American Civilization 401: America and the Americans
1972 American Civilization 402: Studies in Contemporary America
1973 American Civilization 402: The Family in America
1974 American Civilization 402: Vital Relationships Perspectives and Prospects
1975 American Civilization 402: In Search of America
1976 American Civilization 402: Two Hundred Years of Living Together
1977 American Civilization 402: The Americans begin Their Third Century
1978 American Civilization 402: Search for Values
1979–81 American Civilization 402: The Americans

**Folders located in 2004 added re: Hist. 14 WSP and History 326. (Acc.# 2004-023)

Series VI. Fraternity Files. F.R. donated this portion of the collection in 1991. It was partially processed at that time. This series is divided into two sub-series: A. Sigma Phi and B. Abolition.

A. Sigma Phi: This sub-series contains correspondence regarding F.R.'s personal relationship with the Sigma Phi fraternity, of which he was a member. The letters date from 1946-1950 and from 1959-1963, involving updates about the Williamstown house, its financial condition, officers, advice, Sigma Phi trustee minutes, and questions about the validity of the fraternity system. This sub-series is organized chronologically.

B. Abolition: The Archives' Records show that part of this portion of the collection was minimally processed in 1985 (Acc. No. 0-395), and part in 1991 (Acc. No. 1991-017). The abolition of fraternities was a slow process, beginning in the 1940s with a time of soul-searching for the College, and for the fraternities which were such integral parts of the college experience for all Williams men. By 1961, when President Sawyer took office, a number of undergraduates had signed the Grinnell Petition, demanding an investigation into the abolition of fraternities. A committee headed by Jay Angevine was established, and submitted the Angevine Report which was accepted by the Board of Trustees in 1962. In order to implement the recommendations of the Angevine Committee, a Standing Committee, headed by Talcott Banks, was named. Rudolph was a member of this committee, along with Charles Foehl, Dickinson Debevoise, Hodge Markgraf, and Whitney Stoddard. The committee had practical issues to confront including transferring property/leasing de-fraternized houses to the college, gradual transition/phasing out of fraternities, viability of purely fraternal societies (no eating or sleeping function), the implications for rushing new members, construction of residential buildings and dining facilities, freshman selection procedures, and alumni giving/opinions. This sub-series contains material covering both philosophical and logistical issues related to abolishing fraternities. The sub-series is organized chronologically (pre-1960s, 1960s, post-1960s), then alphabetically within those time periods.

Series VII. Coeducation Papers. The Archives' records show that this portion of the collection was partially processed in 1985 (Acc. No. 0-395). Williams began seriously examining coeducation in the 1960s. The Committee on Coordinate Education and Related Issues explored the options and implications regarding female undergraduates. Issues of optimal size, the future of liberal arts, cost of education, character of Williams, and benefits brought by women were all considered. Early on the committee discussed an exchange with other Williams-like schools, an urban center, and a coordinate college "Mary" for which a model was drawn up in order to explore women's education in concrete terms. However, the arguments in favor of admitting women to Williams—curricular diversity, growth, extracurricular life, attracting top students, improving general atmosphere—persuaded the college to embrace coeducation, rather than coordinate education.

The Coeducation Papers contain the research, minutes, and correspondence pertaining to the work of the Committee on Coordinate Education and Related Issues, chaired by John Lockwood, and Vice-Chaired by F.R. (Because the idea of a sister school gave way to full blown coeducation, and because the previous processor titled the folders the "Committee on Coeducation" the series has been labeled as such.) The series is organized alphabetically by topic and chronologically within that.

Series VIII. Subject Files. This portion of the collection was donated in 1991. It was partially processed by S.K. Brown at that time. This series is divided into three sub-series. A. General, B. Collected Historical Materials and C. Papers about Williams College.

* Folders from Acc.# 2004-023 added re: African-American courses at Williams College and beginning of African American Society at Williams.

A. General Subject Files: These folders contain material relating to Rudolph's interests ranging from Presidential elections to contemporary art shows. The folders are organized chronologically; Rudolph's original folder titles are used.

B. Collected Historical Material: These folders contain copies of miscellaneous alumni diaries, manuscripts, typescripts, and news clippings and college pamphlets and programs. Many originals were integrated into the permanent Archival collection; photocopies were made on acid-free paper for these folders. Originals integrated into permanent Archival collection for which photocopies were not made are: Lithograph of Albert Hopkins, 1855 Commencement program, Menu for Williams Alumni Association of New York Annual Dinner 1890, List of toasts at the Williams AANY dinner 1890, Invitation to Williams AANY Annual Dinner 1892, Menu for Williams Alumni Association Annual Dinner 1892, 1903 Commencement Week program, 1905 Dedication of the Chapel of Williams College, Program for Annual Dinner of the Williams Alumni Association 1909, 1912 Grace Hall Organ Inaugural Recital program, 1932 Intercollegiate Conference on Capitalism and Its Alternatives, Lecture-Recital of Carroll Perry.

C. Papers about Williams College written by faculty, students and others. These papers cover diverse time periods, subjects, and people connected with the College. Examples of papers in this sub-series: "Mark Hopkins and Stanley Hall on a Log" by Arthur Jenness; "What Power on Earth? Arthur Latham Perry's Reaction to Henry George" by Roger Bolton; "A Thirty Year Perspective on Williams' Costs: Operating Expenditures, 1955-56 to 1985-86" by Gordon C. Winston.

Frederick Rudolph Papers, 1938-2000

Biographical Chronology
Series List