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Melvin A. Brannon papers

 Collection
Identifier: MC 003

Scope and Contents

The vast majority of the collection consists of correspondence to and from Melvin Brannon during his presidency at Beloit College, 1917-1923. Topics discussed include curriculum, development and fundraising (including academic prizes, constructing and updating buildings, endowments, gifts), the 75th anniversary of Beloit College, campus involvement in World War I, personal and business travel, communication with professional organizations, and day-to-day logistics of running a college (dealing with utilities, managing faculty and staff, student and student group issues). Correspondents include board of trustees members, Lloyd V. Ballard, Forest E. Calland, George L. Collie, John Pitt Deane, Hiram D. Densmore, Marion H. Hedges, Frank G. Logan, Irving Maurer, Paul Nilson, Wilfrid A. Rowell, Rollin D. Salisbury, W. Bradley Tyrrell, and future president Herbert Hoover when he worked in the United States Food Administration.

There are more Brannon papers in other collections within the Beloit College Archives, according to respective correspondents and subjects. There is Brannon correspondence in the Eaton Papers primarily regarding his recruitment and hiring in 1917, and also in the correspondence files with his succeeding presidents Irving Maurer, Bradley Tyrrell and Carey Croneis.

Dates

  • 1909-1952, 1962, 1985; bulk 1917-1923

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research; however, certain materials are fragile and require Archives staff for handling.

Biographical / Historical

Excerpted from "Seven Presidents of Beloit College" by Dr. Robert Irrmann:

In 1917 a turning point in the College's life was marked by the retirement of President Eaton and the election to the Presidency of Melvin Amos Brannon. Beloit's first two presidents had been ministers; President Brannon was a scientist, a biologist. A Wabash College graduate, Dr. Brannon had done his graduate work at the University of Chicago. He brought not only academic scholarship to his presidency, but administrative experience as well, for he had been Dean of the University of North Dakota, and came to Beloit from the presidency of the University of Idaho.

President Brannon came to Beloit at the crisis of America's entry in World War I, and he stayed to try to solve the problems of post-war adjustment that faced American education after 1918. Melvin Brannon "had a keen sense of the necessity of relating the College to life, that the interests of the social order might lend an impetus to academic study and that academic ideals might be brought to bear upon Society." To this end President Brannon led change in the College: summer sessions, the quarter system, and substantive curricular changes of a semi-professional or pre-vocational nature. A Department of Journalism was instituted, as was a field of study in Home Economics. Work in Music was expanded. As had his predecessor, President Brannon sought new funding for the College, and nearly one million dollars was added to the endowment.

Called to the Chancellorship of the University of Montana in December, 1922, on his leave-taking in the summer of 1923, President Brannon left a college refreshed and refurbished in its physical plant and challenged by the changing temper of America and the stresses of the Twenties.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (16 boxes)

Overview

Melvin A. Brannon was Beloit College's third president, serving from 1917-1923. The vast majority of the collection consists of correspondence to and from Melvin Brannon during his presidency at Beloit College, 1917-1923. Topics discussed include curriculum, development and fundraising (including academic prizes, constructing and updating buildings, endowments, gifts), the 75th anniversary of Beloit College, campus involvement in World War I, personal and business travel, communication with professional organizations, and day-to-day logistics of running a college (dealing with utilities, managing faculty and staff, student and student group issues).

Arrangement

Correspondence is arranged based on original order: chronological based on year groups, then alphabetical by last name.
Title
Melvin A. Brannon papers
Status
Completed
Author
Michelle Tom, Rick Dexter'77
Date
June, 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Beloit College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
700 College St.
Beloit WI 53511 USA
608-363-2485