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RG II, Series 6

Wilson, Linda S., 1936- . Records of Radcliffe College President Linda S. Wilson, 1973-1999: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: RG II, Series 6
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Linda S. Wilson, 1936-
Title: Records of Radcliffe College President Linda S. Wilson, 1973-1999
Date(s): 1973-1999
Quantity: 54.42 linear feet (130 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Linda S. Wilson, Radcliffe College's seventh president.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: R1999-CR18, R1999-CR24, R2000-CR32, R2001-CR18, R2004-CR27
The records of President Linda S. Wilson were transferred to the Radcliffe Archives from the Office of the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and from the Development Officer in July 2004.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 2001
By: Deborah A. Richards


Access. Folders #1-1271 are restricted for 50 years from the time of creation, except to those who have obtained the written permission of the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In addition, records must be screened by the archivist before research use to avoid unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. Folders #1272-1394 are unrestricted, unless otherwise noted; folders marked restricted are closed for 50 years from the time of creation, except to those who have obtained the written permission of the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.

Preferred Citation:

Linda S. Wilson Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1973-1999; item description, dates. RG II, Series 6, folder #. Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Linda S. Wilson, 1990-1998 (SC 110).


Linda (Smith) Wilson (Linda S. Wilson), chemist and seventh president of Radcliffe College, was born in Washington, D.C. on November 10, 1936 to Fred M. and Virginia D. (Thompson) Smith. She graduated with honors from H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for Women in 1957 and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1962. Wilson was selected as "One of 100 Emerging Leaders" by the American Council on Education and Change (1978). She was honored with the Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration Award from the Society of Research Administrators (1984). Wilson received a Centennial Award for Outstanding Accomplishments from Newcomb College (1986); Distinguished Service Award, University of Ilinois College of Medicine (1987); the Valeria A. Knapp Distinguished Educator Award, College Club of Boston (1992); an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Newcomb College, Tulane University (1993); an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Maryland (1993); and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin (1997).
After conducting research and teaching at the University of Maryland, the University of Southampton (England), and the University of Missouri at St. Louis, she began a second career in university administration. She served successively in senior administrative positions at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and prior to assuming office at Radcliffe College, as vice-president for research at the University of Michigan.
Wilson became the seventh president of Radcliffe College on July 1, 1989, and was inaugurated on February 23, 1990. During her tenure, Wilson oversaw the creation of several institutes and programs at Radcliffe, expanding its educational arena. In 1991 she initiated the Radcliffe Research Partnership Program as part of a commitment to increase the opportunities for undergraduates to work with Radcliffe scholars and staff. She established the Radcliffe Public Policy Institute [RPPI] in 1993, which sponsored interdisciplinary research and convened scholars, policymakers, business and labor leaders, and members of the media to explore work and the economy, and science, gender, and society. With Boston-area women's studies scholars, Wilson launched the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies, also in 1993. This program was a pioneering effort by faculty at six degree-granting institutions in the Boston area and Radcliffe College to advance women's studies scholarship.
In 1994, Wilson led the College in celebration of Radcliffe's Charter Anniversary. She established the Radcliffe Junior Faculty Fellowship at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute to promote tenure parity for women at Harvard University. Radcliffe's Board of Trustees and Wilson announced their plan to "reframe" the College's educational programs in 1995. By 1996 Radcliffe was officially composed of two major branches: the Radcliffe Educational Programs and the Radcliffe Institutes for Advanced Study. The Campaign for Radcliffe, the largest capital campaign in the College's history, was launched by Wilson in 1996. Wilson and other College leaders embarked on a ten-city National Outreach Tour to solicit alumnae views about Radcliffe.
Wilson initiated several administrative structures during her term including CORE, an advisory leadership group; the Joint Council (mandated by the Harvard University Clerical and Technical Workers), which was comprised of exempt and non-exempt Radcliffe staff to give advice to units on labor issues; the President's Advisory Council (PAC), comprised of directors of research units, vice-presidents, and heads of administrative departments to advise Wilson on administrative operations; and the Leadership Council, which was comprised of alumnae and donors, whose purpose was to be a group of "ambassadors of Radcliffe College" to the general public and other alumnae. Wilson also participated in the Joint Policy Committee, originally set up during the earlier Harvard/Radcliffe merger negotiations in 1971 to discuss issues of common interest. Its range of topics was limited: property, financial exchanges mandated by the 1977 agreements, appointments of house masters of Quad houses; deans and directors of admissions, financial aid and athletics. It never discussed faculty or curricular issues. On September 19, 1999 Nancy Beth Sheer, chairman of the Radcliffe Board of Trustees and President Neil Rudenstine signed the historic agreement to merge Radcliffe College with Harvard University and to establish the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She stepped down as President of Radcliffe College on June 30, 1999.
In addition to Wilson's leadership at Radcliffe College, she was also active in the national science policy arena. She was noted for her efforts to develop cooperative working relationships among universities, government, and industry and for her attention to individual, institutional, and systemic issues in the professional development of science and engineering personnel. She served on numerous boards and advisory committees during her term as President of Radcliffe: the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (1986-1989), its Finance Committee (1986-1989), its Committee on Government-Industry Research Collaboration in Biomedical Research and Education (1988-1989), and its Membership Coordinating Council for Education (1991-1993); Energy Research Advisory Board, U.S. Department of Energy (1986-1990); Task Force on the University Research Enterprise in the Future, Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, National Academy of Sciences (1988-1992); Advisory Committee on Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation (1990-1995); Advisory Council on Science and Engineering Personnel (1990-1996); Governing Board and Executive Committee, National Research Council (1990-1996); Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel National Research Council (1990-1996) and its Coordinating Council for Education (1991-1993); Science, Technology and the States Task Force, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government (1991-1993); Commission on Women in Higher Education, American Council on Education (member, 1991-1993, and chair, 1993); Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Boston Chapter (1991-1995); Advisory Committee for College-University Resource Institute's Women in Chemistry Consortium (1991-1995); Advisory Group on Renewing U.S. Science Policy, Subcommittee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives (1992-1993); Museum of Science, Boston, MA (1992-1998); General Hospital Corporation of the Massachusetts General Hospital (1992-); WGBH Board of Advisors for Women in Science Project (1993-1994); Whitehead Institute (1995-1998); Committee on Economic Development (1995-); Citizens Financial Groups, Inc. (1996-); New England Colleges Fund (1997-2000); Advisory Board of the Women's Museum (1997-); Inacom Corporation (1997-); Partners Health Care (1998-) and its committee on Professional Conduct and Conflict of Interest (1998-1999); Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (1998-); Dean's Advisory Committee, Newcomb College (1998-); and Value Line, Inc. (1998-).
Wilson is married to Paul Allaby Wilson. They are the parents of two daughters: Helen Whatley and Beth Wilson.


The collection is arranged in two series:


They contain the official correspondence, reports, and memoranda of the president's office, 1989-1999, as well as one folder of documents (1973-1989) set aside for Wilson to familiarize her with pending issues from the previous presidency of Matina S. Horner. It is arranged alphabetically by academic year, as received; original headings have been maintained. The materials document the pioneering programs and merger of Radcliffe College with Harvard University guided by President Wilson. There is correspondence from alumnae on a range of issues including the closing of the Radcliffe Career Services Office to the establishment of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 1999. The materials also record Wilson's activities in the arena of national science policy and her service on various boards, including correspondence and speeches. Commonly used abbreviations include:
Speech folders contain one engagement per folder. Most speeches are transcripts, a few are unedited versions, and some include the briefing provided to Wilson. Those speeches that include briefings are restricted for 50 years from the time of creation, except to those who have obtained the written permission of the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Topics cover baccalaureates, commencements and opening exercises at Radcliffe, morning prayers at Appleton Chapel at Harvard University's Memorial Church, keynotes at academic and professional conferences at Radcliffe and Harvard University, and alumnae events. Also included are the Harvard Science Review's interview of Wilson, an article by Wilson submitted to Bankers and Tradesmen, and Wilson's editorial about welfare reform.



This index includes the names of selected writers, corporations, and subjects.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

College administrators--United States
College personnel management
College presidents--Inauguration.
College presidents--United States
College students--United States
Education, Higher
Seven Colleges Conference
Strategic planning
Student aid
student housing
Universities and colleges--Administration
Universities and colleges--Admission.
Universities and colleges--Employees--Labor unions
Universities and colleges--Finance
Universities and colleges--Mergers--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Women executives
Women--Political activity
Women scientists--United States
Women's centers
Women's colleges
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of University Women
American Council on Education
American Council on Education. Office of Women in Higher Education
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts
Bunting-Smith, Mary Ingraham, 1910-1998
Bok, Derek Curtis
Bovet, Philippa
Brock, Rita
Clendenning, Bonnie R.
Consortium on Financing Higher Education (U.S.)
Dunn, Mary Maples
Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers
Harvard University--Administration
Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University. Graduate School of Education
Henry A. Murray Research Center
Horner, Matina
Jacoby, Robin
Kaminer, Wendy
Knowles, Jeremy, 1935-2008
Kunin, Madeleine
Ladd, Florence
Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
National Research Council (U.S.)
National Research Council (U.S.). Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel
National Science Foundation (U.S.). Directorate for Education and Human Resources
National Science Foundation (U.S.). Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
New England Board of Higher Education
Nelson, Barbara J., 1949-
Newcomb College
Office of Admissions and Financial Aids, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges
Radcliffe College. Alumnae Association
Radcliffe College. Education for Action
Radcliffe College. Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Radcliffe College. Office of Communications.
Radcliffe College. Office of the Dean
Radcliffe College. Office of the President
Radcliffe College. Radcliffe Career Services
Radcliffe College. Radcliffe Publishing Course
Radcliffe College. Radcliffe Research Partnership Program
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Radcliffe Public Policy Institute
Radcliffe Seminars
Rayman, Paula
Rudenstine, Neil L.
Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Women's College Coalition (Washington, D.C.)