Search within this document:
Want to learn more?
- Do you have a question about this collection?
- Would you like to view the original items in this collection?
- Are you seeking permission to publish or reproduce items in this collection?
A Guide to the Records at the Indiana University Archives
Finding aid prepared by Paul C. Heyde
Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management
1320 East Tenth Street
Herman B Wells Library E460
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Indiana University. President.
.6 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Materials are in English unless otherwise indicated.
David Starr Jordan joined the IU faculty in 1879 as a professor of natural history. In 1885 at the age of 34, Jordan was appointed President of Indiana University. He served in that position until 1891 when he left IU to become the first president of the newly established Stanford University. The records of his presidency consist primarily of administrative files alphabetically arranged. The records also contain a few of Jordan's writings and addresses.
Collection is open for research. Advance notice required.
David Starr Jordan was born in Gainesville, New York on January 19, 1851 to Hiram J. and Huldah Lake (Hawley) Jordan. After home schooling and attendance at area schools, Jordan won the local scholarship to the newly founded Cornell University. By his junior year in Ithaca, Jordan was named instructor in Botany. Upon completion of his thesis, "Wild Flowers of Wyoming County" in 1872, Cornell awarded Jordan both his BS and MS degrees.
Following his years at Cornell, Jordan held several short-term teaching posts before coming to Indiana in 1874 as an instructor at Indianapolis High School. He joined the Butler University faculty in 1875, and in 1879, he left Butler for Indiana University, where he was a professor of natural history. In a short time, the popular professor received recognition as an outstanding educator and scientist. In 1885, Jordan was named the 7th President of the University. He was the youngest person as well as the first non-clergyman to hold that position. The election to this post came as a complete (and unwelcome) surprise to Jordan, who was really hoping to receive a permanent position with the United States Fish Commission. As reported in the Bloomington Saturday Courier (January 17, 1885), at a scheduled lecture shortly after the election, Jordan stated, "Let me speak frankly, my friends. I enter these new relations to my adopted state with no feeling of exultation or of gratified ambition....If the duties of the President kill the work of the naturalist, these duties must be taken by another hand."
Dr. Jordan served as Indiana University President until 1891. During his tenure Jordan initiated or promoted several important changes at IU. Among the most important changes were 1) Transformation of the faculty. During Jordan's tenure, the number of IU faculty members increased from 18 to 29. Many of these new faculty represented the type of scholar/teacher that Jordan felt was needed in the modern university; 2) Allowing students more freedom in selecting a major and in designing their own curriculum; and 3) Increasing the number of departments and courses.
Jordan was so successful in this position that in 1891 Senator and Mrs. Leland Stanford asked him to head a new university named for their deceased son. He accepted the position, and persuaded 6 IU professors and 37 students to accompany him to Stanford. Jordan held the post of President at Stanford until 1913, when he moved to the position of Chancellor of Stanford. In 1916, he retired and assumed the position of Chancellor Emeritus until his death in 1931.
The first series contains general administrative files arranged alphabetically for the period from 1884-1891. The files include letters of recommendation for incoming students, solicitation letters to prospective faculty members, applications for leaves of absence, departmental reports, faculty resignations, and letters of acceptance and rejection for faculty positions. Noteworthy correspondents include Amzi Atwater, David Banta, William Lowe Bryan, John Coulter, Joseph Swain, Thomas Van Nuys, and James Woodburn. The second series consists of some of the published as well as unpublished writings of David Starr Jordan during his term of presidency. Included is a history of IU and two commencement addresses.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in IUCAT, the IU Libraries' online catalog. Materials about related topics, persons or places can be found by searching the catalog using these terms.
Additions made in 2010 by Philip C. Bantin.
To "President Bateman"
Thomas Van Nüys, chair.
Indiana State GeologistView item(s)
James A. Woodburn
Jeremiah Jenks, chairView item(s)
O.B. Clark, chair
David Starr Jordan, Acting Professor of Geology
C. G. von Fagemann and Gustaf Karsten, Chairs
Horace Hoffman, Chair
R. H. Dabney, Earl Barnes, James A. Woodburn, Chairs
re: The Bogus
Amzi Atwater, Chair
E. W. Huffcut, Chair
Joseph Swain, Chair
Richard G. Boone, Chair
William Lowe Bryan, Chair
J. P. Naylor, Chair
James K. Beck, Chair
Letter to DSJ from Robert M. Weir, Secretary of Trustees of the Bloomington Public Schools re: future of IU's Preparatory School
U.H. SmithView item(s)
George W. Saunderson, Chair
John E. Matzke, ChairView item(s)
Gustaf Karsten, ChairView item(s)
A. B. Woodford, Chair
re: Professor Carl W. Osthaus
Harriet Colburn Saunderson, DirectorView item(s)
Note: Includes reports from J. S. Kingsley and David S. Jordan. Jordan served as professor of zoology while president of the university.
Note: Includes a fragment mentioning Vernon F. Marsters and a letter to "Dear Sir" from C. A. Waldo.
Photocopy, source unknown.