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O. Meredith Wilson papers, 1929-1989

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Wilson, O. Meredith, 1909-1998
Title
O. Meredith Wilson papers
Dates
1929-1989 (inclusive)
Quantity
7.0 linear feet, (21 containers)
Collection Number
UA 010
Summary
This collection comprises the papers of prolific university administrator O. Meredith Wilson, who served as the ninth president of the University of Oregon, 1954-1959, the president of the University of Minnesota, 1959-1967, and the director of the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), 1967-1975. The collection includes correspondence, writings, speeches, and sources reflecting his career as an administrator and as a scholar of education. It also includes personal material revealing his role as father, son, and husband. Of particular note is the manuscript for his collected essays, which was never published. The collection of his administrative consultations reveals the breadth of his expertise and involvement with the social function of higher education.
Repository
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
97403-1299
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
spcarref@uoregon.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections & University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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.

Access to paper records will be granted after a professional review of the records occurs based on regulations in state and federal laws. Contact Special Collections & University Archives well in advance in order to access these records.

Languages
English


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Owen Meredith Wilson (1909-1998), the ninth President of the University of Oregon, was born on September 21, 1909 to the educational director of the Colonia Juarez Mormon colony in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Raised and educated in Utah, he received his BA from BYU in History in 1934. Wilson completed graduate work at the Universities of Heidelberg and London before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1943. After serving as President of the University of Oregon, the University of Minnesota, and the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Wilson and his wife Marian returned to Eugene upon his retirement in 1975 and lived there for the remainder of his life. O. Meredith Wilson died November 7, 1989.

Wilson’s academic career began at BYU, where he taught for a year before moving to the University of Utah. He was soon hired to the University of Chicago but returned to Utah after two years as Dean of the College, a post he held from 1947 to 1952. Wilson was appointed President of the University of Oregon in 1954 after serving as the Executive Secretary for the Ford Foundation’s Fund for the Advancement of Education. Wilson left the UO for the presidency of the University of Minnesota in 1960, where he served until 1967. He left Minnesota after a distinguished career to become the director of Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, where he served until retirement in 1975.

Wilson was a noted administrator, serving on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 12th District, the University of Notre Dame, and as a director of the Northrop Corporation, among many other educational and professional organizations. Wilson’s writings on the philosophy of education, at the University level in particular, were widely published. He served on the Commission on Minorities in Higher Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the board of Jundi Shapur University (Dānishgāh-i Jundī Shāpūr) in Iran, and the Royaumont Foundation in Paris. He was also a member of President Johnson’s advisory committee on labor management policy.

Throughout his career in education administration, Wilson was an unwavering champion of intellectual freedom. His advice was widely solicited, and his experience in administration made him an asset to organizations both national and international.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The O. Meredith Wilson Papers span the time period of 1929-1989 and include personal as well as professional correspondence, academic writings, speeches, presidential communications, and administrative reports. The collection emphasizes his role as an administrative consultant and the time period of 1967-1975. Professional and administrative correspondence are generally filed under the organizational title in the appropriate series and subseries. Where a subseries emphasizes a particular time period, the files are organized alphabetically by organization; where they span a greater range of dates, they are organized chronologically. Though Wilson’s presidency of the University of Oregon launched his administrative career, the collection accentuates his work as an administrative consultant.

The papers are arranged in five series. The Personal series contains the subseries General and Correspondence. General subseries includes biographical information, news clippings, academic records, and Wilson family material, while correspondence includes letters he wrote to family and friends.

The Professional series includes the subseries Oregon, Minnesota, Stanford and Professional Inquiries. It is arranged chronologically through his presidencies, though the Inquiries subseries covers both his time at Minnesota and Stanford. The subseries Oregon contains correspondence pertaining to his presidency and a noteworthy Interview on Leaving Oregon in which he discusses his reasons for accepting the post at Minnesota and his reservations about leaving Eugene. The papers from his presidency of Minnesota include congratulatory letters, presidential reports, and an outline for a plan to develop undergraduate education. The subseries of his presidency of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) detail his development of the Center’s fellowship programs, and his involvement in Stanford’s many visiting committees. The collection of inquiries includes correspondence regarding invitations Wilson received to attend events or contribute writings.

The Administrative Consultation series is by far the most voluminous. It reveals Wilson’s prominence as a widely sought expert on educational institutions. He was most engaged during his time at Stanford, which seems to have allowed him the flexibility to contribute to a vast array of organizations. Wilson consulted with numerous universities and organizations to improve the focus of their missions and the efficacy of their policies. He was actively engaged in the United States’ efforts to promote higher education in developing countries. Wilson’s work on the board of directors of the Northrop Corporation and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco brought him in practical relation to U.S. economics and politics. Because the series is largely focused on the period of 1967-1975, it is arranged alphabetically by organization.

Wilson’s collection of writings and sources includes manuscripts, essays, and speeches. The subseries of his writings is arranged chronologically, while his reference sources are listed alphabetically. His writings demonstrate his expertise and passion for education and his authority as an administrator. The manuscript for his collected essays is especially notable in both its volume and range of ideas. His reference sources show an interest in political history.

The Audio/Visual series contains several items which celebrate his tenure as University of Oregon President. It also includes four cassette tapes of sessions presented at the Invitational Conference on Testing Problems held at Princeton in 1971. Wilson acted as discussant for a session discussing Economics and the Values of Society .

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], O. Meredith Wilson Papers, UA 010, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  PersonalReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries A: General
Box Folder
1 1
Biography
undated
1 2
Obituaries
August, 1989
1 3
Wilson Genealogy and Family History
undated
1 4
Academic Records, London and Berkeley, includes correspondence
1936-1940
1 5
Newspaper Clippings
1960-1968
1 6
Scrapbook Items, pictures and awards
1962, 1975
1 7
Personal Calendar
1964-1975
1 8
Travel
1973-1974
1 9
Passports
1929-1980
1 10
"Happy Birthday Dad: The Wilson Times," Part I
1984
1 11
Wilson Times, Part II
1984
1 12
Wilson Times, Part III
1984
1 13
Wilson Times, Part IV
1984
Subseries B: Correspondence
Box Folder
2 1
Mission to London -- letters home to parents
1929-1931
2 2
Mission to London -- letters home to siblings
1929-1930
2 3
Woodford, M.J.B. "Madge," correspondence from England with clippings relevant to World War II
1934-1941
2 4
Personal correspondence
1939-1940
2 5
Ashby, Sir Eric, correspondence
1964-1966
2 6
Ashby, Sir Eric
1967-1975
2 7
General
1974

Series II:  ProfessionalReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries A: Oregon
Box Folder
3 1
Congratulations, Oregon
1953-1954
3 2
Interview on Leaving Oregon
ca. 1959
3 3
The Genius of the University
1965
3 4
Oregon correspondence
1967-1975
Subseries B: Minnesota
Box Folder
3 5
Congratulatory letters, Minnesota
1959-1960
3 6
Congratulatory letters, Minnesota
1960
3 7
Inaugural wires
February, 1961
4 1
University of Minnesota Reports
1964-1968
4 2
"Developing Undergraduate Education at the University of Minnesota"
1967
4 3
Letters on Leaving Minnesota
1967
4 4
O. Meredith Wilson Library Dedication, Minnesota
1969
Subseries C: Stanford
Box Folder
4 5
Stanford University Lecture Committee
1972
4 6
Stanford University Visiting Committee
1972-1974
4 7
Stanford University Visiting Committee -- Libraries
1972
4 8
Stanford University Visiting Committee -- Libraries
1973-1975
5 1
General correspondence
1974
5 2
General correspondence
1975
5 3
Retirement
1975
5 4
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) Fellows
1975-1976
20 1
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) Souvenir Programs (Oversized)
1958-1967
Subseries D: Professional Inquiries
Box Folder
5 5
Invitations and Inquiries
1967
5 6
Invitations and Inquiries
1968
6 1
Invitations and Inquiries
1969
6 2
Invitations and Inquiries
1970
6 3
Invitations and Inquiries
1971-1973
6 4
Invitations and Inquiries
1974-1975
7 1
Inquiries (Employment), Male
1969-1971
7 2
Inquiries (Employment), Male
1973-1975
7 3
Inquiries (Employment), Female
1970-1971
7 4
Requests for Speeches and papers
1969-1972

Series III:  Administrative Consultation WorkReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries A: General
Box Folder
8 1
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1970-1975
8 2
American Personnel and Guidance Association
1969
8 3
Center for Creative Leadership, Progress Report
1974
8 4
Clark Foundation, Report of the President
1977
8 5
Cosmos Club
1966-1975
8 6
Experimental City Project
1967-1973
8 7
Ford Foundation, Council on Library Resources Proposal
October, 1973
8 8
First Draft of Report by Evaluating Committee to Review Council on Library Resources, Inc.
November, 1973
8 9
Council on Library Resources: A Review of its Work
1973
8 10
Ford Foundation Council on Library Resources, correspondence
1973-1974
9 1
Hall of Fame for Great Americans
1972-1975
9 2
Hall of Fame -- ordered by category
1976
9 3
Labor Management Policy, President's Advisory Committee
1966
9 4
The Royal Society of the Arts
1969-1975
Subseries B: Universities
Box Folder
9 5
Case Western Reserve University
1967-1970
9 6
Indiana: Report on Center for Research in the Language Sciences
1970-1975
9 7
Minnesota Foundation
1970-1971
10 1
Minnesota Foundation
1972-1974
10 2
Minnesota Foundation
1975
10 3
Penn State Postdoctoral Internship in the Humanities Program
1974
10 4
Princeton University: Shelby Collum Davis Center
1973-1974
10 5
Saint Louis University
1970
11 1
Saint Louis University, correspondence
1967-1972
11 2
Shimer College, North Dakota
1971-1975
11 3
University of Utah and Utah State University (1 of 2)
1967-1974
11 4
University of Utah and Utah State University (2 of 2)
1967-1974
11 5
Officer's Report -- Utah Evaluation
1979
11 6
Yale University
1968-1972
Subseries C: International Education
Box Folder
11 7
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
1967
11 8
France - U.S. Meeting on Higher Education
1967-1969
11 9
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
1981
12 1
Institute of International Education
1967-1972
12 2
Institute of International Education
1973-1975
12 3
U.S. Department of State Agency for International Development, University Relations
1967-1970
12 4
University Development: Iranian Advisory Council, Jundi Shapur University
1971-1975
12 5
Jundi Shapur University reference documents
1971
12 6
University Development: Ford Foundation Trip to Syria/Jordan (1 of 2)
1976-1977
12 7
University Development: Ford Foundation Trip to Syria/Jordan (2 of 2)
1976-1977
Subseries D: Educational Organizations
Box Folder
13 1
American College Testing
1969-1974
13 2
American Council on Education (ACE)
1967-1973
13 3
ACE Advisory Committee -- Study of Statewide Systems of Higher Education
1967
13 4
ACE -- Study of Secretariat
1969-1973
13 5
Aspen Institute
1970-1972
13 6
Aspen Institute
1973-1975
20 2
Aspen Institute, correspondence
1975
13 7
Association of American Medical Colleges
1970-1973
14 1
Association of Governing Boards of American Universities
1968-1972
14 2
Civil Rights Commission
1967-1969
14 3
Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion
1967-1968
14 4
Early Childhood Education (National Laboratory at University of Illinois)
1967-1970
14 5
Education Commission of the States
1967
14 5
Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) (1 of 2)
1978-1980
14 6
Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) (2 of 2)
1978-1980
15 1
National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children
1965-1966
15 2
New York State Education Department
1969
15 3
Presidential Task Force -- Higher Education
1968-1970
20 3
Presidential Task Force -- Higher Education (oversize)
1970
15 4
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
1969-1972
15 5
University Research Association
1969-1974
Subseries E: Business and Finance
Box Folder
15 6
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
1968-1969
15 7
Federal Reserve
1970-1971
15 8
Federal Reserve
1972
16 1
Federal Reserve
1973
16 2
Federal Reserve Report on Presidential Salaries
1975
16 3
"Finance and the American Revolution," an address
1976
16 4
Northrop, General
1975-1976
16 5
Northrop Corporation
January 1975 - June 1975
16 6
Northrop Corporation
June 1975 - August 1975
16 7
Northrop Presidential Search, notes
1976
16 8
Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis
1967
16 9
Social Dimensions Fund
1971-1972

Series IV:  Writings, Speeches, and SourcesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries A: Writings and Speeches
Box Folder
17 1
Doctoral Dissertation: The Denver and Rio Grande Project, 1870-1901, approved 1940 (published 1982)
1940 and 1982
17 2
Minnesota speeches
1962-1964
17 3
Observations, 1964 trip to London
1964
17 4
"Charge to the Graduating Class," University of Minnesota Commencement
June 10, 1967
17 5
Yale lectures, correspondence
1954-1968
20 4
Yale lecture notes, "The Genius of the University"
ca. 1967
17 6
Yale papers, "The Genius of the University"
1968
17 7
"The School and the Community"
1968
17 8
"The University and the Rule of Reason," manuscript for the Collected Writings of O. Meredith Wilson, parts I and II
1970
17 9
"The University and the Rule of Reason," manuscript for the Collected Writings of O. Meredith Wilson, part III
1970
17 10
Voice of America Address on National vs. Private Systems of Education
1971-1973
18 1
"The Range of Normal in Human Behavior"
1973
18 2
"Advanced Research and Training in the USA," a paper prepared for the colloquium on the Importance of Major Research Universities
1975-1976
18 3
"Values in Higher Education," Wilson Lecture Series, University of Arizona
1982
18 4
Miscellaneous writings and speeches
1948-1986
Subseries B: Reference Sources
Box Folder
18 5
California, General -- LA Times Reprints
undated
18 6
Energy
undated
18 7
F.D. Roosevelt: Commonwealth Club Address
undated
18 8
Abraham Lincoln
undated
19 1
Peter Finley Dunne
undated
19 2
Redfield's "Maine's 'Ancient Law' in the Light of Primitive Societies"
undated
19 3
W.C. Borah -- "League of Nations"
undated
19 4
W.J. Bryan -- "Imperialism and America's Mission"
undated
19 5
Woodrow Wilson -- "The League"
undated
19 6
Woodrow Wilson -- "First Inaugural Address"
undated
19 7
Woodrow Wilson -- "The Road away from Revolution"
undated
19 8
Miscellaneous Sources
undated
19 9
Speeches and Papers -- Others
undated

Series V:  Audio/Visual material, 1966-1971Return to Top

Container(s): Box 21

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
21
Wilson Farewell Dinner
1.0 audio tapes
May 8, 1967
21
O.M. Wilson leaves the "U"
1.0 film reel
August 13, 1966
21
Invitational Conference on Testing Problems
4.0 cassette tapes
1971