Wilson Compton Day Books and Papers, 1928-1997

Overview of the Collection

Compton, Wilson Martindale, 1890-1967
Wilson Compton Day Books and Papers
1928-1997 (inclusive)
1.5 Linear feet of shelf space, (2 Boxes)
Collection Number
Cage 810 (collection)
The collection consists of a scrapbook, day books, and other various papers of State College of Washington President Wilson M. Compton.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Wilson Martindale Compton was born in Wooster, Ohio and attended the College of Wooster and earned a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University as well as a law degree. In 1916, he married Helen Harrington, and later had four children together. Compton became President of the State College of Washington in 1945, and remained in that position until 1951. His presidency saw creation of the College Senate, a first Faculty Manual, and establishment by the faculty of general education requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences for all students, as well as honors at graduation. In April of 1951, in the midst of difficult financial times due to state budget cuts, the Board of Regents ended the Compton presidency. After he left WSU, Compton was Director of the International Information Administration (IIA), the forerunner of the United States Information Agency (USIA), within the Department of State. He died in 1967.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of one scrapbook covering the period around Compton's inauguration as WSC President, Comptons's lightly annotated copy of the 1947 State Manual of Washington, several pages of primarily photocopied letters and articles relating to Compton and his family, 34 short day books listing significant meetings and events in Compton's life, and three checkbook stubs.

Though chronologically comprehensive, the actual entries in the day books tend to be exceedingly brief, listing where Compton was traveling, who he was meeting with, and daily expenditures, but little more.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]

Wilson Compton Day Books and Papers, 1928-1997 (Cage 810)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is organized by material type, with the scrapbook boxed separately, followed in order by the day books, checkbook stubs, State Manual, and folders of loose papers. Within each folder or subset, items are ordered chronologically.

Acquisition Information

The materials in this collection were gifted to WSU MASC in two accessions in 1996 (MS 96-05, MS 96-11) by Catherine Compton Chase, one of Wilson Compton's daughters. Additional material. relating to the donation of Wilson Compton's portrait, recieved from WSU Office of the President (UA2001-08) was incorporated upon processing.

Processing Note

The materials were jointly processed in June 2014 by University Archivist Mark O'English.

Related Materials

Compton Family Dramatization Cassette Recording, 1947 (CT 9)

Claude Simpson Manuscript, “The Compton Years, The State College Of Washington, November 1944-September 1951", 1986 (Cage 5058)

State College of Washington Office of the President: Wilson Compton and Charles Clement French Records, 1948-1956 (Archives 12)

State College of Washington Office of the President: Wilson M. Compton Records, 1944-1952 (Archives 160)

Washington State University Office of the President Media, 1937-2006 (Archives 328)

State College of Washington Office of the President: Letters from Prominent Correspondents, 1897-1951 (Cage 1616)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1 Scrapbook, 1944-1946
1 item
2 2-35 Day Books, 1930-1958
34 items
2 36-38 Checkbook stubs, 1928-1930, 1935-1937
3 books
2 39 State Manual of Washington, 14th edition, 1947
1 item
2 40 Beaver Creek Camp Association papers, 1997
4 items
2 41 Biographical Materials (Compton and family), 1939-1970
20 items
2 42 Compton portrait donation, 1983-1985
35 items
2 43 Correspondence, 1944-1956
12 items
2 44 Donor Correspondence, 1996
3 items
2 45 Speeches, 1953-1964
3 items
2 46 Wooster Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1967
3 items

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • College presidents -- Washington (State) -- Pullman

Personal Names

  • Compton, Wilson Martindale, 1890-1967 -- Records and correspondence

Corporate Names

  • State College of Washington -- Presidents -- Records and correspondence
  • State College of Washington. Office of the President -- Records and correspondence

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • State College of Washington (creator)