Professor of Language and Literature; President, Massachusetts Agricultural College, 1924-1927; baseball pitcher. Includes personal and official correspondence primarily while Dean and President of Massachusetts Agricultural College, particularly with President Kenyon Leech Butterfield (1868-1935); administrative memoranda; student records; other records generated while Dean and President of MAC on such subjects as relations of the college with state officials, curriculum, purpose of the college, desirability of compulsory chapel, establishment of Jewish fraternities, and women's education; also, transcripts of addresses, newspaper clippings, and biographical material. No papers from either baseball or teaching careers.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Edward M. Lewis
The Edward M. Lewis Papers, 1910-1936, relate primarily to his roles as an academic administrator at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, where he was Dean for thirteen years, several times Acting President during and after Kenyon L. Butterfield's presidency, and, for one year, President. Among the papers are memoranda and correspondence with other officials of the College, especially with President Butterfield; correspondence with State officials and legislators, with students and alumni, with high school headmasters, and with private individuals; reports from faculty members, and papers relating to some College committees and Student Life committees, both central to the responsibilities of the Dean, along with some student records created in the office of the Dean.
Before becoming President, during his seventeen years at the College, Lewis served as a professor, department and division head, assistant dean, and dean. As Dean, he held the second most responsible office on campus, and had general charge of the College's instructional program and matters incidental to it. Lewis was three times Acting President when President Butterfield was on extended leaves of absence, and in 1920 he served as the Board of Trustees' agent with the administrative and legislative authorities of the State when it relieved Butterfield of that role. And finally, Lewis served from 1924 to 1926 as Acting President following Butterfield's resignation, and was President in his own right during 1926-27. He resigned for many of the same reasons that had led to Butterfield's departure -- the issue of State House control -- and moved to the presidency of the University of New Hampshire.
The collection includes nothing relating to Lewis' family, his long career as a teacher, or his shorter one as a baseball player before coming to MAC. Otherwise, the papers appear to be representative of those created in the execution of his commissions at the College, and articulate his concerns as one of its officials.
This collection is organized into three series:
The Subject Files document the period during which Lewis was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Head of Department of Language and Literature and of Division of Humanities, and Assistant Dean and Dean (except while he was Acting President during Butterfield's absences). The series consist of some personal correspondence, typescripts of a number of Lewis' addresses on campus and around the state, newspaper clippings and two folders of biographical items.
This series is dominated by Lewis' papers as Dean of the College, in which position he functioned as manager of its instructional program and chief monitor of all student academic and nonacademic activities.
The Dean's Papers include administrative memoranda, a chronological file of communications to Lewis together with carbon copies of many of his replies. Most of the exchanges were with Butterfield, but on occasion other members of the College staff were involved, especially those instructors who advised students. Some of Lewis' papers relating to matters before the Course of Study Committee are here.
The Student Life files include memoranda and correspondence concerning the academic and extra-curricular activities of students, including papers on eligibility; fraternities, notably with regard to allowing Jewish fraternities; and a few papers related to the Student Life Committee.
Two groups of student records created in the Dean's office have survived. One, a set of "Student Problem Cards," begins with entries from 1910, a year before Lewis arrived. They record a variety of matters dealing with individual students, such as excused absences from classes (at that time the Dean, not the course instructors, adjusted grades for unexcused absences). The second set of records comprises individual students' "Work and Character Records," 1915-1920, broad assessments of the "Quality" of individuals made by instructors on completion of their classroom contacts with each student.
Other papers in the series of Dean's Papers include materials on class monitors, correspondence of the Dean with individuals who were not part of the College community, material on the course of study, including entrance requirements, specific courses, general requirements, and papers on the system of final examination, on the Graduate School, various departments and divisions, and scholarships and prizes.
Complementary material is found in Record Group 6/1, the files of Dean William L. Machmer, Lewis' assistant and successor. As Dean, Lewis served on several of the important committees of the College, the minutes and papers for which are in Record Group 40/A2, such as the Committees on Course of Study and on Employment (sometimes called Student Labor). He served as well on the College's senior management committee (called the Cabinet) the papers of which are located in Record Group 3/12.
This series contains Lewis' correspondence with President Butterfield during his service as Acting President in the latter's absences, and papers generated during Lewis' administration from 1924 to 1927.
The administrative problems on campus and the political problems associated with the State House in Boston faced by Butterfield and Lewis were similar. The administrative files of both were managed by the same man, Secretary of the College Ralph J. Watts, until his resignation in 1926, and nearly all the materials in this series were drawn from the Secretary's papers. The Secretary's office held the administrative papers of several presidents, from Butterfield (1908-1924) into the term of Baker (1933-1947) as essentially one large file, organized around the issues the College dealt with. The similarities between the files of Presidents Butterfield and Lewis are reinforced by the nature of the fourteen-year association of the two men. Lewis' training was that of a classicist and rhetorician rather than an agriculturist and social scientist; he did not continue Butterfield's frequent surveys and analyses of the organization of the institution. The arrangement of the papers in this series indicates nonetheless their similarities to Butterfield's MAC Administrative Papers.
Lewis served as Acting President from June 1913 to May 1914 and from November 1918 to June 1919. He was the agent of the Board of Trustees for dealing with the State's administrative and legislative authorities in 1920, and he served again as Acting President in Butterfield's absence from August 1921 to February 1922. Correspondence between Butterfield and Lewis during each of these commissions, except the last, survive, and are filed at the head of the series under headings beginning with "Acting...". The main administrative papers of the College for each of these interludes are to be found among Butterfield's MAC Administrative Papers.
The remainder of the papers in this series document Lewis' administration following Butterfield's resignation in 1924. He served as Acting President during 1924 to 1926 and as President from 1926 until he resigned in 1927. Included in this series are papers on administrative planning, admissions and attendance, alumni affairs, associations (educational or agricultural), buildings and grounds, conferences (on campus), correspondence, course of study, the departments and divisions of the College, the Experiment Station, the Extension Set-vice, faculty committees, farmers' organizations, the Massachusetts State Department of Education, its Division of Administration and Finance, proposed state legislation (other than budgetary), personnel, public relations, the purpose of the College, Lewis' resignation, the Schedule Committee, scholarships, prizes and trust funds, Student activities and life, student matters, the appointment of President Thatcher, reports to the U.S. Bureau of Education, and materials on U.S. Government funds and on the Women's Program.
Some of the highlights of this series are materials on "State House Control," regarding problems created by the relationship between the College and State authorities following the reorganization of the state government in 1919 which resulted from the subordination of the College to the State Dept. of Education. These problems led to Butterfield's resignation, and then to Lewis', and they were to plaque the institution into the 1960's. Papers bearing on this issue are found throughout the files, but especially in folders 4 & 5, Administrative Planning, and in folders with "Massachusetts (State)" headings, where the treatment of College officials by the Division of Administration and Finance in regard to printing Experiment Station and Extension Service publications is set out, and where the 1925 survey of how other states controlled expenditures of their funds appropriated to colleges and universities is found. Other outstanding matters include the resolution of the long standing problem of admitting to the College students from agricultural vocational high schools, folders 6 and 7, and the transgressions and subsequent transfer of Captain Daniel Keane, folder 35.
The Edward M. Lewis Papers originated primarily from two sources: the standing files in the Archives before 1972, (which provided the bulk of the materials now in the Subject Files of Series 1 and in the Dean's Papers of Series 2) and the two lots of Secretary's Papers covering presidencies from 1908 through 1954 (discussed more fully in the Scope and Contents of the inventory for the Butterfield Papers). The latter source provided nearly all the materials in the Presidential Administrative Papers of Series 3.
For related materials in the Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, see:
Chronological Budget File, RG 4/2 includes papers related to the formulation of annual budgets forwarded to State authorities for enactment by the General Court, and the apportionments of the resulting funds.
The following Record Groups include minutes and other papers of individual college units during Lewis' presidency:
Further information about the College during Lewis' tenure is available in the narrative portions of the published annual reports of the President and officers of the College in RG 1/00/2, and in the papers of other College officials of his day, especially those of Kenyon L. Butterfield, his mentor and predecessor in the office of President, and of William L. Machmer, his Assistant Dean and successor as Dean of the College and of the University.
For materials related to Edward M. Lewis at other repositories, see:
Processed by W. B. Cook, Jr., 1982.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Edward M. Lewis Papers (RG 3/1). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.