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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 45

Papers of Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, 1943-1965


Speeches by Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, Radcliffe College President.


  • Creation: 1943-1965

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by [xx] as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.83 linear feet (2 file boxes)

The collection consists of Wilbur K. Jordan's speeches on a variety of occasions. Among them are academic lectures, addresses to Radcliffe Clubs and Alumnae organizations, addresses to students on the opening of college and other occasions, and dedication and inaugural addresses as well as some speeches given outside the college. The speeches contain general observations on liberal education, women's education, on the history of Radcliffe and on the state and finances of the college. Also includes speeches and papers concerning Jordan's inauguration as President of Radcliffe, November 22, 1943.


Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, son of William and Emma (Shepard), historian and college administrator, was born on January 15, 1902 and brought up in Lynnville Indiana, Jordan received his degree from Oakland City College, Indiana in 1923, his AM (1926) and Ph.D (1931) from Harvard University. He was appointed tutor in History, Government and Economics, and taught History I under Roger B. Merriman. In 1937 he was appointed Professor of History at Scripps College in California. In 1940 he was appointed general editor of the University of Chicago Press. He was named President of Radcliffe in 1943 and served in that position until. [February 1960]. At the same time he was Professor of History at Harvard, remaining in that position until he retired in 1970.

Jordan's great interest was in the Tudor period. He wrote Development of Religious Tolerance in England, 1650-1660 (1932-1940); Men of Substance: Revolutionary Thinkers of 1640; and later Philanthropy in England, 1480-1660; (1959). Jordan's last work was a two volume study of the reign of Edward VI from 1547-1553.

Jordan as President of Radcliffe in 1943, put into effect the new Harvard/Radcliffe agreement which opened the door to joint instruction for Radcliffe undergraduates and graduates. He participated in the Committee for the Higher Education of Women (1944-1945) which established general education for Harvard and Radcliffe. He was responsible for several new programs and initiatives in women's education: The Radcliffe Seminars established in 1950 to provide non-credit courses for older women; the Training Course in Personnel Management (1937) that was expanded into the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration (1954); the Publishing Procedures Course begun in 1947, offering graduates an introduction to publishing and the Institute of Historical and Archival Management, 1954-1960, offering an introduction to archival and historical management.

In 1943 Maud Wood Park '98 gave her suffrage collection to the college, and under the guidance of Jordan and Arthur M. Schlesinger these records became the corner stone of the Women's Archives and were developed into a major collection of books and manuscripts documenting the history of women in America, renamed the Schlesinger Library in 1966. During Jordan's presidency, three new dormitories, Comstock, Holmes, and Moors halls and the Jordan Coops were built and the percentage of resident students rose from 45% to about 90%. The Cronkhite Graduate Center was built in 1955, and in 1959 the endowment of the college was tripled by the capital campaign started in 1956.

Jordan married Frances Ruml in 1929. She served under President Ada Comstock Notestein as Dean of students and actively supported her husband during his Presidency. Jordan received several honorary degrees including one from Oxford University in 1964. He was trustee of Emma Willard School, member of the Winsor School Corporation, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of England, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the directors of the Protein Foundation. He was a member of the American Council on Nato, and served on the Advisory Council to the Folger Library in Washington. He was an Honorary member of the Harvard Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Jordan died on June 3, 1980, and his wife Frances Ruml Jordan died August 10, 1980.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: R80-25

Received prior to 1978.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Records of Radcliffe College President Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, 1943-1960 (RG II, Series 3).


  1. Box 1: 1-54
  2. Box 2: 55-70

Partial index of subjects

  1. Alumnae Council, addresses to, 57.
  2. Ann Radcliffe Lecture, "Ann Radcliffe", third Ann Radcliffe Lecture, by WKJ, 27.
  3. Ann Radcliffe Lecture, speech of introduction of Tris Origo, Ann Radcliffe Lecturer, 26.
  4. Cam, Melen, speech at induction of, 43.
  5. Education, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 19, 22, 23, 24.
  6. Financial Aid, 20.
  7. Founder's House, speech at dedication of, 44.
  8. Fundraising and Finances, 33, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59.
  9. Graduate Center, speech at dedication of, 47.
  10. Graduate Center, speech at dedication of Refectory, 49.
  11. Holmes Hall, speech at dedication, 46.
  12. Jordan, Wilbur Kitchemer, inaugural address, 60.
  13. Jordan, Wilbur Kitchener, testimonial by Francis Gray, 62.
  14. Jordan Co-ops, speech at dedication of, 51.
  15. Helen Keller Garden, speech at dedication of, 50.
  16. Lectures on history, "The Job of the Historian", 6; "Queen Elizabeth: The Myth and the Reality", 25.
  17. Management Training Program, addresses to, 35.
  18. Moors Hall, speech at opening of, 45.
  19. Phi Beta Kappa, address at dinner of, 36.
  20. Radcliffe--History and description, 28, 29, 30, 48, 54, 63.
  21. Radcliffe Clubs, addresses to, 59.
  22. Schlesinger, Arthur M., speech at memorial service for, 61.
  23. Ten Year Plan, 55.
  24. Women's Education, 15, 21, 39, 40, 53, 54, 60.
  25. Women's Rights Collection, speech concerning, 42.
  26. World War II and Radcliffe, 14.

Processing Information

Processed: July, 1980

By: Eric N. Lindquist

Jordan, W. K. (Wilbur Kitchener), 1902-1980. Papers of Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, 1943-1965: A Finding Aid
Radcliffe College Archives, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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