Office of the President: Donald Milton Erb records, 1933-1942  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Erb, Donald M. (Donald Milton), 1900-1943University of Oregon. Office of the President
Office of the President: Donald Milton Erb records
1933-1942 (inclusive)
0.5 linear feet, (1 container)
Collection Number
UA 001.007
Donald Milton Erb served as the President of University of Oregon from 1938 to 1943. The collection contains records from the Office of the President from 1933 to 1942.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Access Restrictions

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Permanent University Archive public records are available for research, and are subject to state, and in some cases federal freedom of information laws. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, including, but not limited to, FERPA and HIPAA, specific records that are legally protected, sensitive, private, or confidential are exempt (not subject to disclosure) and closed to protect individual privacy.

Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Donald Milton Erb served as the President of University of Oregon from 1938 to 1943.

Erb first came to UO in 1927 as an assistant professor of economics, teaching mainly in the field of transportation. He took a year's leave from the university in 1929 to earn a Ph. D. from Harvard. He returned to Oregon in 1930, as a professor of economics, where he stayed until moving to Stanford in 1933. While at Stanford, he served for a year as the acting chairman for the department of economics.

In 1937, Donald Erb was selected to replace Clarence Boyer as university president. The decision was based largely on faculty opinion and preference and made Erb the youngest university president to-date. After several UO presidents who had served relatively short terms, Erb was selected at age thirty-seven, in part because it was believed he would give the university a president with a long tenure.

In 1929, the state legislature created the Oregon State System of Higher Education and the University system in Oregon underwent a reorganization that resulted in classes and programs being eliminated at some colleges to avoid duplication. Many science programs at UO were eliminated. Erb worked to restore upper-level science courses to the UO, eventually seeing his work realized when the state board of higher education approved the re-establishment of major work in pure sciences in 1941.

With the national economy improving somewhat, Erb used his considerable patience and powers of persuasion to gain the return of science classes to the UO. World War II saw students and faculty members depart for military service, but Erb foresaw their return and worked to prepare the university for an influx of ex-GIs when the war ended. In line with this, he also successfully lobbied the state board for funds for a student union building, an idea that had originated with former President Campbell in the 1920s. Erb, however, did not live to see this project completed, as he died of pneumonia in 1943 at age forty-three. The completed student union was named after Erb and dedicated as a memorial to him and to those from the university who served and died in World War II.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains records from the Office of the President, 1929-1941.

The collection is organized by accession and as of 2013 there is only one accession.

Accession 10044.A: consists of subject files, correspondence, and a thesis, 1929-1941. Most of the records regard the issues surrounding the Oregon University System reorganization during the early 1930s.

Correspondence includes letters by Register Guard editor William Tugman to UO people and supporters regarding problems with the State Board of Education (1933-1935), and correspondence regarding the proposed reorganization of higher education in Oregon in the Zorn-McPherson bill, especially relating to curriculum.

Subject files include folders of material regarding the "Science Curriculum Controversy" from 1939-1941, reports on the "completeness" of UO and Oregon State as individual universities, and files regarding curriculum issues between UO and Oregon State. There is also a file concerning Oregon State System of Higher Education expenditures from 1940.

Also included here is a Master's thesis by Mathilde Veit, titled, The Oregon State Board of Higher Curricula: A Sequence of its actions relating to the University of Oregon and the Oregon Agricultural College, August 1929.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Office of the President: Donald Milton Erb records, UA 001.7, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • College presidents--Oregon--Eugene
  • Education, Higher--Oregon--Eugene
  • Universities and colleges--Curricula--Oregon
  • Universities and colleges--Oregon--Eugene
  • Personal Names :
  • Erb, Donald M. (Donald Milton), 1900-1943
  • Tugman, William M. (William Masten), 1893-1961--Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Oregon State College--Curricula
  • University of Oregon. Office of the President--Records and correspondence
  • University of Oregon--Administration
  • University of Oregon--Curricula
  • University of Oregon--History--20th century
  • University of Oregon--Presidents
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Administrative records
  • Correspondence
  • Masters theses
  • Reports