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Frederick Shipp Deibler (1876-1961) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/10/2

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Scope and Contents

The Frederick Shipp Deibler Papers, comprising five and one-half boxes are arranged in two categories: General correspondence and subject files and related material. A small amount of biographical material is filed in the first folder of the series. The Papers provide a rich documentary record of Deibler's academic career, his role as an economic advisor to several government boards and his participation in activities related to some of the major social issues of his time.

In his capacity as Chairman of Northwestern University's Economics Department from 1916 to his retirement in 1942, he was actively involved in both the affairs of the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Commerce, which was allied closely with the Department during this period. Deibler's Papers therefore reflect major developments and policies of Liberal Arts and Commerce, and provide a chronicle of the administration of his Department.

General Correspondence: Deibler's general correspondence, comprising the first two and one-quarter boxes of his papers, covers the years 1915 through 1942. The bulk of the correspondence falls between 1915 and 1925 and from 1936 to 1942. The correspondence is varied but pertains chiefly to the affairs of the Economics Department, graduate students in Economics and faculty appointments. Correspondence concerning graduate students, their applications, and qualifications and applications for departmental assistantships, may be found in the general correspondence folders for 1915, 1917-1925, 1927-1928 and 1930-1940. Correspondence concerning applications for faculty positions and faculty appointments appears in the folders for 1916-1924 and 1936-1942.

Deibler's advice was solicited by a number of federal and state government boards and committees and various business, labor and social welfare commissions; the correspondence reflects his participation in the activities of these groups and his acquaintance with several prominent labor and business leaders and social reformers. Deibler also corresponded with many important economists and academicians of the period. As he was a member and central officer of the American Economic Association, the Papers include correspondence with other officers of the AEA. An index of prominent correspondents, arranged alphabetically by surname and which provides the date of incoming or outgoing correspondence is provided below.

Subject Files: Deibler's subject files include correspondence and related material concerning the administration and budgets of the Economics Department, the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Commerce. The subject files also include folders of material pertaining to various academic affairs including curriculum, course offerings, honors degrees, the Northwestern Social Science Research Council, the Summer Session, the University Council and the Milton H. Wilson Endowment Fund. Deibler corresponded with presidents of the University and deans of the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Commerce. Folders of correspondence with presidents Holgate and Scott and deans Flickinger, Kent, Heilman and Vanderblue are included within the subject files. Other subject files include correspondence and related materials pertaining to Deibler's government work with the Ship-building Labor Adjustment Board and the U.S. Employment Service. Finally, the subject files contain correspondence and related material with and pertaining to other academicians and graduate students that, because of their bulk or special significance, were separated from the general correspondence.

A description of the contents of the subject files follows:

Alpha Pi Zeta (1927-1928, 1940, n.d.): This folder contains correspondence and memoranda concerning Alpha Pi Zeta, the national social science honorary fraternity. Deibler was a founding member of the Northwestern chapter. Also included is correspondence regarding a proposed merger of the fraternity with the Pi Ganma Mu national social science honor society. (See also Series 4/6/2.)

American Association of University Professors (1920-1922, 1924-1925, n.d.): Deibler was a charter member of Northwestern's chapter of the AAUP. He served as chapter President and as President of the national organization from 1939 to 1941. Included in the folder is correspondence regarding Deibler's membership on committees, notes and minutes from meetings, circular letters to AAUP Council members and Northwestern chapter membership lists. (See also Series 4/6/1.)

Athletes (1919): This folder contains correspondence regarding candidates for Northwestern's football team and particularly the unsatisfactory course work of two of these athletes. This folder includes two term papers written by athletes. Deibler was concerned especially with the intrusion of athletics into academic affairs. Additional comments on the subject may be found in his correspondence with Walter Dill Scott.

Commerce, School of - Administration and Budget (1917-1941): The Economics Department and the School of Commerce were closely intertwined throughout Deibler's career. Many members of the Economics Department, including Deibler, held joint appointments in Economics and Commerce. These folders contain correspondence, memoranda and statistics concerning registration, course and degree offerings, attendance, residence requirements, student placement and faculty salaries and assignments; committee reports, faculty minutes; correspondence and other material relating to the establishment of a graduate division in the School, the objects of business research and School budgets. Administrative and budgetary information for 1940-1941 also may be found in Deibler's correspondence with Homer B. Vanderblue.

Commerce, School of - Correspondence to and Concerning Students (1915-1921): This is Deibler's correspondence regarding satisfaction of degree and course requirements by Commerce students.

Correlation between Amount of Mathematics Taken and the Grade in Statistics (1939, 1941-1942): This includes tables, notes and a short narrative establishing a relationship between students' previous mathematical training and economics grades.

Course Outlines (1925, 1932-1939, 1943, n.d.): These are detailed outlines for economics courses offered by faculty of the Economics Department and the School of Commerce.

Crane, John B. (1935-1937, 1940-1941): This folder contains correspondence and notes concerning the appointment of John B. Crane to the Economics Department faculty and Crane's brief and stormy career at Northwestern.

Curriculum (1930-1931, 1933-1934, 1937-1938): This folder contains minutes of the College of Liberal Arts Curriculum Committee and the Committee of Thirteen concerning revision of undergraduate degree requirements. Also included is some correspondence regarding Geography and Geology and Transportation curricula.

Economics Department - Administration and Budget (1919-1922, 1925-1942, Five Folders): These folders contain correspondence regarding faculty salaries and assignments, faculty appointments, course offerings, departmental budget requests and funding and, in later years, computations of instructional costs per course. These documents mainly concern budgetary matters that distinguish these from the bulk of administrative-related correspondence found elsewhere in the Papers. The 1940-1942 folder contains correspondence and memoranda reflecting Deibler's opposition to severance of faculty and curricular ties between the Economics Department and the School of Commerce. The folder for 1925-1930 contains correspondence relating to the establishment of a Department of Sociology at Northwestern.

Economics Department - Comprehensive Exams (1935, Second Semester): This folder contains comprehensive examination questions on such subjects as Money and Credit, General Application of Theory, Economic Theory, Regulation of Industry (Private and Public) and General Economics.

Economics Department - Curriculum (1923?, n.d.): Material includes listings of existing and proposed course requirements for eight major fields of study in economics.

Economics Department - Payroll Invoices and Requisitions (1936, 1938-1942): This folder contains payroll invoices for temporary employees--readers (graders) and stenographers--and a few requisitions for purchases.

Flickinger, Roy C. (1919-1923): Roy C. Flickinger was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1919 to 1923. Correspondence in this folder deals with the administration, course offerings and budget of the Economics Department. Correspondence in this folder and a portion of Deibler's correspondence with Ralph E. Heilman, Dean of the School of Commerce, illustrate the antagonistic relationship that existed between Flickinger and Heilman.

Graduate School (1914-1941, n.d.): This file contains mostly memoranda, committee proposals and reports of Graduate School committees including the Committee on Regulations for Advanced Degrees, the Board of Graduate Studies and the Committee of the Graduate Board. One and one-half inches of mimeographed materials from these committees has been removed to the Archives Graduate School files. Correspondence is routine administrative and mainly concerns Graduate School policies although there is a small amount concerning individual graduate students.

Heilman, Ralph E. (1916, 1918-1927, 1929-1934): Ralph E. Heilman was Dean of the School of Commerce from 1919 to 1937. These folders contain correspondence pertaining to Heilman's original appointment at Northwestern, course assignments and salary, his government work during World War I, Northwestern President Thomas F. Holgate's offer of the Deanship of the School of Commerce to Heilman and Heilman's early duties at the School. Correspondence in the first folder reflects the antagonism between Heilman and Roy C. Flickinger. Correspondence also details proposed requirements for Journalism degrees and the affiliation of Richard T. Ely's Institute for Research in Land Economics and Public Utilities with Northwestern.

Hibbard, Addison (1930-1933): Addison Hibbard was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1930 to 1945. Correspondence in this folder is routinely administrative and mainly concerns the creation of a College Administrative Committee; the College Budget Committee and various Economics course offerings and faculty assignments.

Holgate, Thomas F. (1910, 1916-1919, 1921): Thomas F. Holgate was Acting Dean and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1902 to 1916; ad interim President of Northwestern from 1904 to 1906 and again from 1916 to 1919; and from 1919 until his death in 1945 Dean Emeritus of Liberal Arts. Materials in this folder include a plan for the administration of the University pending the election of a President, Deibler's recommendations for Acting Dean of Liberal Arts, a 1918 Report of the Committee on Research and correspondence pertaining to Deibler's appointment as Chairman of the Economics Department. The folder also contains Deibler's notes made following meetings with Holgate's successor as University President, Lynn Harold Hough. These notes concern the appointment of a Dean for Liberal Arts. Deibler believed that the Deanship should revert back to Holgate but Hough disagreed, preferring Roy C. Flickinger for the position. These notes illustrate the tension that existed between Deibler and Hough.

Honors Degrees (1936-1941): Included in this folder are lists of applicants, approved candidates and recommendations for honors degrees; related correspondence, including a small amount between Deibler and Clyde L. Grose of the Committee on Superior Students and Honors; and a reading list for honors students in Economics.

Kent, Raymond A. (1924-1929): Raymond A. Kent was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1923 to 1929. Deibler's correspondence with Kent is largely administrative and concerns travel and lecture funding, Richard T. Ely and the Institute for Research in Land Economics, graduate work in Economics and Sociology, the Committee on Scholarships and Fellowships, religious education, maximum salaries for faculty and the budget.

Liberal Arts, College of - Budget Committee (1920-1921, 1926, 1929, 1934): Deibler was a member of the Budget Committee. This folder contains correspondence, memoranda, budget summaries and notes concerning faculty salaries and budgets for the College.

Liberal Arts, College of - Faculty Group to Consider Salaries (1919-1920): Included are the minutes of a faculty group that proposed a twenty-five percent faculty salary increase retroactive to September 1, 1919.

Liberal Arts, College of - Survey (1936): This folder contains Deibler's reply to a Survey Committee questionnaire on service to Northwestern.

Marshall, L.C. (1916-1918, 1920, 1924): L.C. Marshall was Dean of the School of Commerce and Administration at the University of Chicago. The correspondence in this folder concerns a summer course on Trade Unionism at the University of Chicago taught by Deibler in 1917 and his recommendations for staffing various service departments in a National Labor Program administered by the Department of Labor. Deibler also supplied Marshall with information on labor organizations for publication in Department of Labor pamphlets on community and national life. Other correspondence in this folder is routine.

Patton, George W. (1930-1933); Paxson, A.M. (1929-1930); Ray, Robert Jackson (1936)
The first two folders contain routine correspondence regarding Patton's and Paxson's applications for assistantships in Economics. Patton became a part-time instructor while Paxson declined an appointment to attend Cornell University. Ray was an Associate Professor of Economics and International Trade at Northwestern. Included are Ray's obituary and a memorial probably prepared by Deibler.

Ripley, William Z. (1918): Ripley was Administrator of Labor Standards for Army Clothing, a branch of the Office of the Quartermaster General of the Army. For a short time, Deibler served as an arbitrator in clothing trade disputes including one at the John Hall Company in which Hall was charged with discriminatory practices against union members and employment of minors. Deibler's duties with the Ship-building Labor Adjustment Board prevented his extended service as a clothing trades arbitrator.

Scott, Walter Dill (1919-1930, 1932, 1937-1938): Walter Dill Scott was President of Northwestern from 1920 to 1939. This folder contains correspondence concerning potential donors to the University; the alleged interference of Dean Flickinger in the administration of the School of Commerce; the (Clayton R.) Lusk Committee on radicalism and Deibler's observations on the conservative outlook of Northwestern's students; Flickinger's resignation and recommendations for a successor; and references to the Leighton Mount affair. There is some correspondence regarding the Athletic Committee and the case of Leland L. (“Tiny”) Lewis, a prominent Northwestern athlete on academic probation. There is also correspondence concerning the resignations of Raymond A. Kent and Clarence S. Yoakum, successive deans of Liberal Arts, the forced resignation of Phillip Fox from the Astronomy Department, the possibility of Deibler assuming the Deanship of the Graduate School, Deibler's opposition to a proposed merger of Northwestern and the University of Chicago and his recommendations for a successor to Ralph E. Heilman as Dean of the School of Commerce.

Secrist, Horace (1918-1919, 1921, 1929-1931, 1933): This folder contains correspondence concerning Secrist's appointment at Northwestern, course offerings, and the Bureau of Business Research of the School of Commerce.

Ship-building Labor Adjustment Board (1918): Deibler was appointed an Assistant to the Examiner for the Great Lakes District in May, 1918; he resigned a few months later because of his University duties. The folder contains some correspondence, circular orders and Deibler's report on visits to Superior and Duluth in July, 1918.

Social Science Research Council (1930-1931): This folder contains a small amount of materials concerning the organization and operation of Northwestern's Social Science Research Council.

Summer Sessions - Administration and Budget (1928-1940): This folder contains correspondence and memoranda concerning course offerings, budgets and salaries.

Swanson, Arthur E. (1915-1918, 1920, 1924): Arthur E. Swanson was Professor of Economics and Business Organization from 1911 to 1919, Dean of the School of Commerce from 1917 to 1919 and a part-time Professor from 1921 to 1927. This correspondence concerns such administrative matters of the School of Commerce as appointments, curriculum, salaries and a proposal to separate the Economics Department from Commerce.

Tech Ala (1940-1941): This was a basic Economics course offered through the College of Liberal Arts to engineering students in the Technological Institute. The folder contains an assignment sheet, a final exam and one letter from William Jaffe, the course instructor.

Umbreit, Myron H. (1931, 1933): Myron H. Umbreit was an Instructor and Professor in Economics and Commerce from 1929 to 1962. This folder contains questions and a program from his Ph.D. final examination and correspondence regarding his instructorship in Economics.

United States Employment Service (1918-1919): This folder contains documents pertaining to the creation of a federated council of free employment organizations in Illinois and a small run of minutes of the Federated Council of Employment Organizations in Illinois. These documents reflect the problem of reintegrating soldiers and sailors returning from service into the work force. The documents also reflect Deibler's role in drafting the Kenyon-Nolan Bill to provide for the establishment of a national employment system.

University Council (1918, 1925-1926): Materials in this folder include correspondence on proposals regarding special diplomas for wartime armed forces inductees and faculty representation on the Board of Trustees. Other correspondence, committee minutes, tables and memoranda concern the Special Council Committee studying the curriculum for the first two years of coursework and faculty and administrator retirement policies. Two linear inches of University Council and Senate minutes have been removed to the Archives files on these bodies.

"The Value of the Social Sciences" (1920): This folder contains Deibler's article of the same title, including a draft and notes prepared for the April 17, 1920 issue of the Alumni Journal.

Vanderblue, Homer B. (1918, 1920-1925, 1937-1938, 1940-1942): Homer B. Vanderblue was a Professor of Economics, Transportation and Dean of the School of Commerce from 1939 to 1949. This folder contains correspondence concerning Vanderblue's appointment, salary and succession of Ralph E. Heilman as Dean of Commerce. Vanderblue proposed a separation of the Economics Department from the School of Commerce and Deibler opposed this proposal. The folder also contains information on the administration and curriculum of the School of Commerce, especially for the years 1940-1942.

Wilson, Milton H. - Endowment Fund (1929-1930): Deibler was Chairman of the Committee of Thirteen, composed mainly of faculty members, which was charged to report on the best uses for the Wilson Fund in Strengthening the College of Liberal Arts. This folder mostly contains letters to Deibler from Committee and faculty members suggesting uses for the endowment.

Wilson, Milton H. - Endowment Fund Report (1930): This folder contains the report of the Faculty Committee on the Expenditure of the Wilson Fund, including drafts, some with annotations, and the revised Report of February 3, 1930.

Woodbury, Gordon Coleman (1929-1931): This folder contains Woodbury's Ph.D. examination questions and examination program.


  • 1910-1942


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


6.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Frederick Shipp Deibler Papers, comprising five and one-half boxes, consist principally of general correspondence and subject files, plus a small amount of biographical material. The Papers provide a rich documentary record of Deibler's academic career, his role as an economic advisor to several government boards and his participation in activities related to some of the major social issues of his time.


The Frederick Shipp Deibler Papers are arranged in two categories: General correspondence (arranged year and within folders by day) and subject files and related material (arranged alphabetically by topic). A small amount of biographical material is filed in the first folder of the series.

Method of Acquisition

Transferred to the University Archives from Special Collections on March 23, 1979, as accession number 79-46.

Separated Materials

Two and one-half boxes of course materials and Economics Departmental records maintained by Professor James Washington Bell have been separated from the Papers. Seven linear inches of Bell's correspondence and memoranda have been separated also, including two linear inches of printed and mimeographed materials pertaining to the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, which have been transferred to Special Collections.

Four linear inches of University Council and Senate Minutes, College of Liberal Arts Faculty Minutes, School of Commerce Faculty Minutes, Graduate School memoranda and Board of Graduate Studies Minutes have been removed to the Archives files on these bodies.

Nine linear inches of pamphlets, articles and journals relating to various economic issues and labor unions have been separated and transferred to Government Publications and Gifts and Exchange.

Processing Information

Kevin B. Leonard; June, 1980.

Guide to the Frederick Shipp Deibler (1876-1961) Papers
Kevin B. Leonard
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

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