Franklyn Bliss Snyder (1884-1958) Papers
Scope and Contents
The Franklyn Bliss Snyder Papers are arranged in two main categories: biographical materials and presidential papers.
The biographical materials contain clippings, articles, and related items (1934-1973); unpublished addresses (1927-1949); publications (1914-1955); and miscellaneous reports and correspondence. There are also three folders containing correspondence and reviews (1922-1945) related to Snyder's scholarly monograph, Life of Robert Burns, published in 1932. There is practically no private or family correspondence in the collection.
The presidential papers have been kept, for the most part, in their original order. These materials, divided into fifty-eight sections, consist primarily of official correspondence, reports and budgets, and related administrative material. Also included are occasional memos on telephone calls and meetings, and a few handwritten notes for letters, telegrams, and meetings.
Several items are of more than ordinary interest. The section on administration includes a series of policy-setting correspondence on the projected and developed uses of Scott Hall (Box 2, Folder 4; see also, Box 5, Folder 5). The section on the early plans for the University's centennial (held in 1951) contains material useful in conjunction with Series 0/12/1, Records of the Northwestern University Centennial Celebration. The section on the College of Liberal Arts includes much material on personnel administration, e.g., potential appointments to named professorships (Melville Herskovits, 1944); the combining of the departments of botany and zoology to form the department of biological sciences (1948-1949); the continuing problems related to Professor Paul Schilpp, academic freedom, and the “Library of Living Philosophers” (1939-1947); and the political activities (supporting Henry Wallace for the presidency) of Professor Curtis MacDougall of the Medill School of Journalism and other related matters involving academic freedom (1948). The section on commencement includes correspondence with many outstanding figures in politics, the military, literature, and other fields (see Index of Prominent Correspondents).
Several deans had to be replaced because of retirement, resignation, illness and other reasons. Relevant correspondence and reports will be found in the pertinent sections (e.g., Dental, Education, Law, Medical and Speech). Probably the most explosive personal relationship President Snyder had during his tenure (and also as Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President) was that with Professor Ernest O. Melby, Dean of the School of Education, 1934-1942. Snyder and Melby differed radically on both the philosophy and methods of education. Some material related to their long standing animosity may be found in Snyder's Vice-Presidential and Dean of Faculty Papers.
Of special interest also is the material on Snyder's activities with the Carnegie Foundation, 1940-1949 (Box 15, Folders 1-2) related to his service on the board of trustees and on the special committee to select a new president for the Foundation.
Among the more important roles Snyder played outside the University were his memberships on the Commission on School Board Nominations for the Chicago School Board in 1948 (Box 15, Folder 3) and on the advisory committee on the Administration of the Chicago Public School System, 1946-1949 (Box 23, Folder 17). In the section relating to the faculty is considerable correspondence with, and related to, Professor V. N. Ipatieff (1939-1943). The section on the university library includes a substantial amount of correspondence and notes (1940-1945) dealing with the selection of a new librarian (ultimately Jens Nyholm) to succeed the late Theodore W. Koch.
In the section on the medical school is a folder containing correspondence, clippings, and related items pertinent to research animals and anti-vivisection (1941-1947). This section also includes folders of material concerning the relationship between the University and Wesley Memorial Hospital (1939-1945) and Rush Medical College (1940-1941).
There is, of course, a vast amount of material dealing with naval educational programs and related matters.
Snyder's ability as a speaker is documented by several folders (“Regrets” and “Acceptances” 1939-1949), in the section on the president's office.
Another sensitive issue during Snyder's tenure was the many-faceted race question. This section includes material on relationships between black and white students and the handling of prospective students from Japanese-American families. An unfortunate incident concerning personal and institutional provisions for retirement is documented in the case of Arne Oldberg, a member of the School of Music faculty.
One of the largest sections is that dealing with the Technological Institute. This includes much material relevant to the implementation of Walter P. Murphy's wishes following his multi-million dollar donation that established the Institute.
Much related material (most of which was taken from the corpus of the Snyder papers as originally presented to the Archives) may be found in the Franklyn Bliss Snyder Vice-Presidential and Dean of Faculties Papers and the Fred Dow Fagg, Jr. Papers.
Snyder's Presidential Papers present a fairly comprehensive view of the office of the president of a major midwest university during the decade from 1939-1949. The emphasis is on administrative and educational aspects not on the personal life of President Snyder. Researchers interested in the developing of such a university during these years and especially in the impact of World War II on a private university will find much of value in this collection.
- Snyder, Franklyn Bliss, 1884-1958 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection may contain sensitive materials; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use. This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.
Language of Materials
Franklyn Bliss Snyder joined the Northwestern faculty in 1909 as an instructor in English. Snyder took a particular interest in the Scottish poet Robert Burns, publishing in 1932 The Life of Robert Burns and, later, Robert Burns: His Personality, His Reputation and His Art. In 1934, he was promoted to Dean of the Graduate School, taking over the role from James A. James. Among the more important roles Snyder played outside the University were his memberships on the Commission on School Board Nominations for the Chicago School Board in 1948 and on the advisory committee on the Administration of the Chicago Public School System, 1946-1949. The Franklyn Bliss Snyder Papers are arranged in two main categories: biographical materials and presidential papers. The presidential papers consist primarily of official correspondence, reports and budgets, and related administrative material.
The presidential papers have been kept, for the most part, in their original order. These materials, divided into fifty-eight sections, consist primarily of official correspondence, reports and budgets, and related administrative material.
Method of Acquisition
Transferred to the University Archives at an unknown date prior to June 1, 1974.
Other Descriptive Information
Prominent correspondents include:
(for full index see original finding aid)
Edgar Bergen; Omar N. Bradley; Owen Brewster; Detlev W. Bronk; C. Wayland Brooks; Vannevar Bush; Nicholas Murray Butler; J.B. Conant; John Foster Dulles; Dwight D. Eisenhower; James Forresthal; D.S. Freeman; Frank Gannett; Dwight H. Green; James B. Herrick; Cordell Hull; Robert M. Hutchins; Jesse H. Jones; Edward J. Kelly; Martin H. Kennelly; H.M. Kilgore; W. MacKenzie King; Frank Knox; Henry R. Luce; Robert R. McCormick; John R. McCutcheon; Ross T. McIntire; Paul V. McNutt; Archibald MacLeish; George C. Marshall; Robert O. Millikan; C.W. Nimitz; Sterling North; Irving S. Olds; Erwin Panofsky; Owen J. Roberts; Nelson A. Rockerfeller; Leverett Saltonstall; Charles Seymour; Harlow Shapley; Sumner H. Slichter; Harold E. Stassen; Henry L. Stimson; W. Stuart Symington; Lowell Thomas; Juan Trippe; Harry Truman; Fred M. Vinson; Arch Ward; Warren Weaver; Ray Lyman Wilbur; Charles E. Wilson; Louis B. Wright; and Henry M. Wriston.
William K. Beatty May 1, 1978-May 31, 1979.
- Guide to the Franklyn Bliss Snyder (1884-1958) Papers
- William K. Beatty
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository
Deering Library, Level 3
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