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RG II, Series 3

Jordan, W. K. (Wilbur Kitchener), 1902-1980. Records of Radcliffe College President Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, 1943-1960: 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 3
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Jordan, W. K. (Wilbur Kitchener), 1902-1980
Title: Records of Radcliffe College President Wilbur Kitchener Jordan, 1943-1960
Date(s): 1943-1960
Quantity: 29.19 linear feet (70 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Official Radcliffe correspondence, reports, minutes, etc., of W.K. (Wilbur Kitchener) Jordan, college administrator, educator, and fourth president of Radcliffe College.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 1956
Revised: May 1966
Reprocessed: September 1985
By: Helen H. Gilbert

Access Restrictions:

Access. Records are closed for 50 years from date of creation except with the permission of the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Student records are closed for 80 years from the time of separation. Records must be screened by archivist before research use. Appointment may be required. Contact public services.

Preferred Citation:

Wilbur Kitchener Jordan Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1943-1960; item description, dates. RG II, Series 3, folder #. Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

Related Material

For other papers of Jordan see also: RAA/J82w: 75th anniversary records, (1954), and SC 45 Jordan's speeches, addresses, and lectures. The publicity files (RG X), and biographical files contain additional information about Jordan's presidency.
See also records in the Harvard University Archives, Particularly HUG (FP) 7.10, for information on 1943 rejection of Scripps College presidency and acceptance of Radcliffe presidency.


Radcliffe College printed material and material about alumnae has been removed to the vertical file and the alumnae biographical files. Photographs have been removed to the photograph files. Non-Radcliffe publications and duplicate material have been returned to the relevant institutions.


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 (See RG, Ser. 14). 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.


The papers of Jordan consist principally of official incoming and outgoing correspondence of the President's Office, 1943-1960. The Radcliffe administrative material includes Council minutes and agenda, reports and records of departments and programs; fund-raising and building campaign records and arrangements for Jordan's visits to Radcliffe clubs and alumnae gatherings. There are also reports and studies of special committees: Health Education, (1945), General Education Policy Committee, (1944-1945), surveys and questionnaires about parental income survey, (1951-1952), the graduate school, (1952-1953), the problems of women combining marriage and careers, (1955-1956), a proposal for the merger of Harvard and Radcliffe health services, and a comparative study of the class of 1954 at Harvard and Radcliffe. The correspondence relates to Jordan's research and teaching, and to the many institutions and organizations with which he was affiliated including the President's office and History department of Harvard.



Index to Jordan's correspondence, alphabetically arranged by name, subject or title of organization.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Zemurray Stone Professorships
American Association of University Women
Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876-1958
Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973
Cam, Helen Maud, 1885-1968
Cori, Gerti
Cori, Karl
Comstock, Ada Louise
Cronkhite, Bernice Brown, 1893-1983
Daniels, Mabel W. (Mabel Wheeler), 1878-1971
Emma Willard School (Troy, N.Y.)
Fairbank, John King, 1907-1991
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965
Freud, Anna, 1895-1982
Harvard University--Administration
Harvard University--Curricula.
Harvard University--Faculty
Harvard University--Presidents.
Harvard University. Department of History
Harvard University. Press
Hosmer, Harriet
Laski, Harold Joseph, 1893-1950
National Conference of Christians and Jews
Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955
Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia, 1900-1979
Radcliffe, Ann, 1576-1661
Radcliffe College--Administration
Radcliffe College--Admission
Radcliffe College--Anniversaries, etc.
Radcliffe College--Funds and scholarships
Radcliffe College--Presidents
Radcliffe College--Relations with Harvard University
Rich, Adrienne, 1929-2012
Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1888-1965