Office of the Dean of Students papers
Scope and Content
This collection represents the administration of both Deans Nicholson (1917-1941) and Williamson (1941-1968). The collection is a primary resource for documenting student life and services at the University during the early-mid 20th century.
Papers regarding Dean Nicholson's tenure include reports generated after complaints regarding student behavior and student organizations, such as The Seekers and the campus literary magazine Foolscap, in addition to administrative papers documenting departments and University activities.
The records record Dean Williamson's dealings with student organizations and his activities as a national leader in higher education. One file which highlights Williamson's conflict with student organizations is the Pajama Parade, an annual event sponsored by the Greek letter organization which often resulted in mischievous behavior. The section which best illustrates the demand for his time and talents in higher education are the various committees listed under the American Council of Education. Most of these groups were formed to work on pamphlets or handbooks for student personnel workers.
Post-World War II problems of dealing with the influx of veteran students are reflected in the Housing Bureau records and the University Village Union. Other student groups represented in the collection are fraternities and sororities, Negro students (term used in collection), and discrimination issues. Notes following folder titles highlight material of historical interest or explain contents. The majority of folder headings are self-explanatory.
- University of Minnesota. Office of the Dean of Students (Organization)
Language of Materials
Use of Materials
Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.
Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.
The Office of the Dean of Students was created by action of the Board of Regents on June 13, 1917. It was the outgrowth of the work which had been done for several years by Edward E. Nicholson, as chair of the Students' Work Committee of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts. The Board of Regents confirmed Nicholson's appointment as Dean of Student Affairs on August 1, 1917, and he remained in office until his retirement on June 20, 1941. Edmund Griffith Williamson was appointed Dean of Students on July 1, 1941. The office expanded at that time and the name changed from Student Affairs to Dean of Students upon the retirement of Dean Williamson. In 1968, the Office was reorganized and renamed the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Although Nicholson was Dean for twenty-four years, his administration followed traditional lines of monitoring student activities and only acting when complaints were received regarding student behavior. Nicholson was confronted with some interesting problems during his tenure as dean. Among these were suppression of a campus literary magazine, Foolscap, and surveillance of a socialist club, The Seekers. Another troublesome area for Nicholson was ongoing protests against compulsory military drills from campus anti-war groups.
Dean Williamson's administration was quite different in nature. He espoused the philosophy of "in loco parentis." He held the opinion that the responsibility for the behavior of underage students living away from home was transferred from the parents to the University. He was also deeply concerned with damage to the University's public image due to student misbehavior. Williamson's paternalistic style brought him into frequent conflict with student organizations. Fraternities were a special concern and one of Williamson's campaigns was to control drinking by underage students. Williamson was also interested in student welfare and was a pioneer in student counseling services to help students with academic or personal problems.
40 Cubic Feet (32 boxes)
Collection contains the papers of Deans Nicholson and Williamson during their tenure in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of Minnesota.
The older section of the papers, those dated from 1904-1945, was organized alphabetically by subject. Dean Williamson's office staff used the same alphabetical organization until 1958 when they adopted a numeric code. It was decided to merge the two alphabetical series but not to attempt to reorganize the numeric files. Although the "new" material was weeded, no attempt was made to weed the previously processed collection nor was it refoldered.
Source of acquisition
The collection was transferred to University Archives in multiple deposits during the 1940s-1970s.
The older section of the Office of the Dean of Students papers was processed by Marian Huttner in 1947.
- Academic Freedom. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- American Council on Education
- American Psychological Association
- Anderson, William, 1888-1975
- Coffey, Walter Castella, 1876-1956
- College sports Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Drill and minor tactics Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Education, Higher -- Minnesota -- 20th century Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Greek letter societies Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Minnesota daily Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Nicholson, Edward Everett, 1873-1949
- Student housing Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Students, Foreign Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States. Army. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps
- United States. Veterans Administration
- Universities and colleges -- Admission Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- University of Minnesota. Coffman Memorial Union
- University of Minnesota. College of Science, Literature, and the Arts
- University of Minnesota. General College
- University of Minnesota. Institute of Technology
- University of Minnesota. Office of the Dean of Women
- University of Minnesota. Student Activities Bureau
- University of Minnesota. Student Counseling Bureau
- University of Minnesota. Student Project for Amity Among Nations
- University of Minnesota. Vice President for Student Affairs
- Williamson, E.G. (Edmund Griffith), 1900-1979
- World War, 1914-1918 Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Office of the Dean of Students papers, 1904-1968
- Penelope Krosch; updated by Karen Spilman and Susan Hoffman
- updated July 2005
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Collecting Area Details
Contact The University Archives Collecting Area