Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

Summary Information

Repository:
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Creator:
Stapleton, Darwin H.
Creator:
Stapleton, Donna Heckman, 1947-
Title:
Stapleton interviews about Courtney Smith
ID:
SFHL/RG6/X-OH-2
Date [inclusive]:
1991-1999
Physical Description:
1 Linear Feet (1 flat box)
Language of the Material:
English
Language of the Material:
English
Language of the Material:
English
Abstract:
This collection consists of audiocassette tapes of interviews created by Darwin H. and Donna Heckman Stapleton from 1991 to 1999 as research for their 2004 biography, Dignity, Discourse, and Destiny: The Life of Courtney C. Smith. Interviews were conducted with Swarthmore College faculty, staff, students, and Board members, as well as personal friends and family members of Courtney Smith. Courtney Smith (1916-1969) was the 9th president of Swarthmore College, 1953-1969. While a time of great growth and accomplishment, his presidency was marked by increasing tension from anti-war sentiment, pressure to increase the number of African American students, and changing social standards.

Preferred Citation

[Indicate the cited item or series here], Swarthmore College Archives, Stapleton interviews about Courtney Smith, RG6/X-OH-2, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

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Biographical / Historical

Courtney C. Smith was born on December 20, 1916, in Winterset, Iowa. He went to public schools in Des Moines and then attended Harvard University in 1934 where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1938 and was named a Rhodes Scholar, travelling to Merton College in Oxford University in 1938-1939. Upon his return, he married Elizabeth Proctor and was named a Teaching Fellow and English Tutor at Harvard University, a position he held until 1943. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1944. From 1946 to 1953 he was an Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Bicentennial Preceptor in English at Princeton University. In 1953 he was named the American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships, directly succeeding former Swarthmore President Aydelotte, and also was named ninth President of Swarthmore College. While at Swarthmore, he joined the Society of Friends.

Under the presidency of Smith, Swarthmore gained the reputation as one of the finest small liberal arts colleges in the country. While the College began its ride to the top primarily under Swain, Aydelotte, and Nason, it was under Smith's presidency that the college gained it full reputation and flourished. Smith set in motion a thorough re-evaluation of the College and increased the financial stability of the school. He appealed to the Ford Foundation as well as alumni to raise faculty salaries. In 1955 he initiated a Faculty Research Fund which provided funding for professors to pursue independent research.

Smith changed the physical campus as well. Under his presidency, McCabe Library, Sharples Dining Hall, DuPont Science Building, and Worth Health Center were built, and the old library became Tarble Social Center. Another evaluation of the College was initiated in the fall of 1966 to study all aspects of the college. Most academic changes were accepted, including reducing the number of Honors seminars, and incorporating the library into the academic life of the college.

In June of 1968 Smith announced his resignation effective the fall of 1969 in order to head the Markle Foundation. Before he left, however, the campus was tense with the social concerns and anti-war sentiments that typified the 1960s. The social rules imposed by the Board were one source of controversy. Another major concern was negotiations with the Swarthmore African-American Student Society (SASS) to increase the presence of black students on campus. On January 9, 1969, members of SASS occupied the Admissions Office and demanded that the College take a more active role in the admission and recruitment of African-American students, including those seen as high-risk students. On January 16, President Smith died of a heart attack in his office. He was 52 years old. At the time, some blamed the actions of SASS for precipitating the President's death, while others saw it as a sad coincidence.

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 36 taped interviews on 43 audiocassette tapes, created by Darwin H. and Donna Heckman Stapleton from 1991 to 1999 as research for their 2004 biography, Dignity, Discourse, and Destiny: The Life of Courtney C. Smith. Interviews were conducted with Swarthmore College faculty, staff, students, and Board members, as well as personal friends and family members of Courtney Smith. An asterisk* in the inventory below indicates access or use restrictions exist as of 2016.

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Arrangement

Tapes are arranged in alphabetical order by interviewee. An asterisk* in the inventory below indicates access or use restrictions exist.

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Administrative Information

Publication Statement

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

500 College Avenue Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081 friends@swarthmore.edu URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library.xml

Conditions Governing Access

Approximately half of the interviews are open and available for researcher access as of 2016. Some interviews are currently restricted, until the decease of the interviewee. Access to some interviews is restricted because there is no signed release form.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Darwin H. and Donna Heckman Stapleton, 2010.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2016 by FHL student employee Constance Hawley and staff member Celia Caust-Ellenbogen.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the Friends Historical Library. Most interviewees signed a release form permitting citation or quotation without restriction following the interviewee's decease. Use of some interviews is temporarily restricted (until the decease of the interviewee) or permanently restricted (due to specifications on the release form or due to the lack of a release form).

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Darwin H. and Donna Heckman Stapleton also donated copies of the photographs that were used in their book. These photos can be found with the Courtney Smith photographs in PA 100.

See also Courtney C. Smith Papers, RG6/D09, Swarthmore College Archives, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Swarthmore College
  • Swarthmore College -- Faculty
  • Swarthmore College -- Staff
  • Smith, Courtney C. (Courtney Craig), 1916-
  • Swarthmore College. Board of Managers

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
Avery, George*, 1991-08-06

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Professor of German, 1959-1994

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Barnard, Boyd, 1991-11-16

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Class of 1917; founder of Boyd and Ruth Barnard Fund for the Advancement of Music at Swarthmore; Board member

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Barr, Robert, 1993-05-07

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Class of 1956; Dean of Men, 1962-1970; Dean of Admissions, 1977-1994

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Clarke, Eleanor S.*, 1991-05-10

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Board of Managers, 1935-1971

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Cross, Robert, 1994-11-12

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: College President, 1969-1971; Faculty (History?), 1952-1959, during which time he also served as Director of Admissions

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Dukakis, Michael*, 1994-10-09

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Class of 1955; 65th and 67th Governor of Massachussetts

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Field, James, 1993-04-30

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Isaac H. Clothier Professor of History and International Relations, 1947-1986

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Gifford, Prosser*, 1994-11-11

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Assistant to President, 1956-1958

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Gilbert, Charles*, 1996-02-10

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Professor of Political Science; First Provost of the College, 1969-1974

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Graves, Michael and Sheryl*, 1999-04-27

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Michael Graves: Class of 1969, part of the sit-in (maybe part of the leadership?); Sheryl Graves, Class of ?

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Hayden, Nancy and Smith, Richard*, 1997-04-05

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Children of Claude C. Smith, Board member and chair

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Hester, James, 1995-01-16

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Born in Chester, PA; influential career in higher education in New England; friend of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Hynes, Samuel*, 1994-05-07

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Professor of English

Conditions Governing Access: Access to this tape is restricted due to interviewee preferences.

Ingram, Elizabeth (Lee) Smith*, 1995-04-02

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette tapes

Biographical / Historical: Daughter of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Kerr, Clark, 1995-08-29

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Class of 1932; Board of Managers circa 1991-2003

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Lasker, Morris, 1994-10-15

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Courtney Smith's Harvard classmate and friend; a lawyer and federal judge

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Legesse, Asmaron*, 1993-07-24

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Faculty member during the 1969 sit-in; Anthropologist

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Mayne, Wiley*, 1996-04-04

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Courtney Smith's Harvard classmate and friend; a Congressman

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Moore, John, 1991-11-16

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Religion Professor; friend of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Murphy, William M.*, 1994-10-22

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette tapes

Biographical / Historical: Courtney Smith's Harvard classmate and friend; biographer of Yeats's family

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Nason, John, 1992-02-20

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: College President, 1940-1953

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Pagliaro, Harold*, 1991-08-09

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Professor of English--retired 1992, Provost

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Peelle, Paul*, 1994-10-10

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Class of 1969

Conditions Governing Access: Access to this tape is restricted due to interviewee preferences.

Pennock, Roland, 1992-02-21

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette tapes

Biographical / Historical: Professor of Political Science, 1932-1976

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Pusey, Nathan*, 1995-11-09

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Former president of Harvard; friend of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Rakoff, Jed*, 1993-03-12

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Class of 1964

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Rockefeller, David*, 1992-12-04

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Chase Manhattan Corp., Harvard graduate and friend of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: There is no release form for this interview.

Shane, Mrs. Joseph (Terry), 1991-08-06

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Helped establish the Associates of the Scott Arboretum; spouse of staff member

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Smith, Courtney Craig Jr.*, 1993-02-12

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Son of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Smith, David*, 1991-08-07

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Political Science

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Stahr, Elvis Jr., 1995-01-16

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Government official and higher educator, also involved in Chase Manhattan Corp.; friend of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Stone, Jeremy and B.L.*, 1995-01-15

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Jeremy J. Stone, Class of 1957; Betty Law Stone, Class of ?

Conditions Governing Access: This interview will become available for access and use upon the decease of the interviewee.

Stott, Gilmore, 1996-02-10

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette tapes

Biographical / Historical: Dean of Men, 1950-?, also holding positions in Financial Aid, Registrar, Associate Provost, Assistant to President, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, involved in Upward Bound

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Van Syoc, Mrs. Florence (Smith), 1991-12-23

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette tapes

Biographical / Historical: Sister of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Weismiller, Edw., 1994-11-11

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette tapes

Biographical / Historical: Poet and scholar, Harvard graduate and friend of Courtney Smith

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.

Wright, Harrison, 1993-05-08

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette tape

Biographical / Historical: Professor of History, 1957-1979; 1984-1993; Provost, 1979-1984; Acting President, 1980-1981

Conditions Governing Access: This interview is available for access and use without restrictions.