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Northwestern University Centennial Celebration Records

Identifier: 0/12/1
These records of Northwestern University's Centennial Celebration in 1951 are, in general, comprehensive. They consist of minutes, calendars, correspondence, worksheets, planning docvuments and other materials. In many cases several drafts exist of letters, reports, and documents. This collection provides a sound historical basis for a major event in the University's development. Not only will it be useful to future historians of Northwestern but it will also be of value to other educational institutions planning for similar celebrations.


  • 1949-1952


Conditions Governing Access

Boxes 8-19 of this collection are stored off-site and require 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact us at or 847-491-3136 to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


19.00 Boxes


As Northwestern University approached its centennial year of 1951 plans began for both a celebration and a fund-raising campaign. Work was initiated in September 1949, when University President J. Roscoe Miller appointed A. C. Van Dusen (Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Summer Sessions) as Assistant to the President for the Centennial Celebration. The University formally announced the Centennial Campaign at the end of October 1949. The Records are arranged in eight categories: Preliminary Planning; Founders' Day (1951); Academic Conferences; Centennial Campaign; Meetings Indirectly Related to the Centennial; Related Correspondence and Greetings; Founders' Day (1952); General Reports/Publications.


These records are arranged in eight main categories in 19 boxes containing 195 folders, a bound volume, and several notebooks and transcriptions. Photographs of the individuals who received Centennial Awards and of the individuals and buildings involved in the John Evans Program have been removed from this collection and placed in the photographic files.

1. Preliminary Planning and Appointments, 66 folders, Boxes 1-6. This includes material on the early appointments of individuals and committees, correspondence related to Van Dusen's eastern trip, committee minutes, calendars, mailing lists, budget information, historical sketches of various departments and groups, publicity materials and reports, brochures, and clippings.

2. Founders' Day (1951) and Other Meetings and Events Directly Related to the Centennial, 34 folders, Boxes 6-9. Here are correspondence, worksheets, programs, and other items concerning Founders' Day (1951), the John Evans Program, the Centennial Convocation, and the other University-related events.

3. Academic Conferences, 34 folders, Boxes 10-15. This contains general material on the six academic conferences as well as, in most cases, planning documents and correspondence, worksheets, papers, acknowledgements, and a history of each conference.

4. Centennial Campaign, 3 folders, Boxes 15-16. Contains planning materials and correspondence, publications, and reports of gifts.

5. Meetings and Events Indirectly Related to the Centennial, 22 folders, Box 16-17. Contains correspondence and planning materials for these meetings and events, as well as some material on meetings and events that either did not ultimately take place or were finally held outside the University and its vicinity.

6. Related Correspondence and Greetings Pertaining to Northwestern's Centennial and to Centennial and Other Celebrations Elsewhere, 24 folders, Boxes 17-18. Includes material sent to or from celebrating colleges, universities, and industries.

7. Founders' Day (1952), 1 folder, Box 18. Contains correspondence and planning materials, as well as programs and announcements.

8. General Reports and Publications, 11 folders, Boxes 18-19. Includes material related to the athletic and pictorial histories and the budget, as well as information on attendance, catalogues and guides, summary reports, and outlines and notes for the history of the Centennial Celebration.

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Records of the Centennial Conference on the Arts, 1950-1951 (Series 0/12/2)

Records of the Centennial Loan Exhibition of Modern Painting, 1950-1951 (Series 11/3/3/3)

Separated Materials

A 12”x18”x1” serving tray illustrated with a color photoprint of Deering Library and captioned, “Deering Library [/] Northwestern University Centennial, 1851-1951.”

A wire recording identified as from the Centennial Academic Conference “Problems of an Aging Population” was discovered among the holdings of the University Archives on January 15, 1996. The “Problems of an Aging Population” conference took place on June 7th and 8th, 1951.

Transcripts of conference presentations may be found among the records of the centennial celebration.

The wire recording has been shelved with the University Archives' collection of audio discs; other centennial celebration recordings are available in disc format.

The wire recording was processed as an addition, but does not appear in the finding aid. It was Processed by Kevin Barry Leonard; January 18, 1996.

Processing Information

William K. Beatty; 1977.
Guide to the Northwestern University Centennial Celebration Records
William K. Beatty
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US