Collection Creator: Princeton University. Office of the
Dates: Mostly 1936-1956.
Extent: 34 boxes (2 partial)
Materials generated by the office of the president are closed for 40 years from
the date of their creation. Some records relating to personnel or students are
closed for longer periods of time.
Subseries 15C: Subject Files, 1907-1990 [bulk: 1936-1956], consists of a
number of different subjects arranged alphabetically, including the A.
P. Smith Manufacturing Case, Harold Dodds's personal correspondence,
Margaret Dodds's diaries, the Eugene Higgins Trust, Alger Hiss, the
Hoover Commission Task Force, the Madison Memorial Commission, the
Princeton Local Government Survey, and World War II. Particulars about
these subjects follow.
The A. P. Smith Manufacturing Case evolved from a desire to legitimize
unrestricted gifts from businesses to educational institutions. In 1952
the A. P. Smith Manufacturing Company of East Orange, New Jersey gave an
unrestricted gift of $1,500 to Princeton University. Stockholders
complained that the gift was a misapplication of corporate funds. The
State Superior Court ruled that the gift was legal, with Dodds
testifying on behalf of Princeton University.
Dodds's personal correspondence is arranged alphabetically by
correspondent. Most letters are from his family, with the majority
coming from his brother John Dodds. With regard to his wife Margaret
Dodds's diaries, their dates overlap. Topics include the weather,
entertaining, engagements, impressions of speeches, health, concerns of
family and friends, travel, and references to her husband's
The Eugene Higgins Trust, a $34,000,000 perpetual trust, was allocated
among four universities, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton, in
order to enhance their science departments. The Trust was to be
controlled by the president of each university.
Alger Hiss, a former State Department official and convicted perjurer,
was one of several speakers invited to address the Whig-Cliosophic
Society. The president's administrative council, which had not been
consulted in advance, cautioned the students about the serious
implications of the invitation but did not force them to rescind it.
Against the backdrop of the Cold War, both alumni and the general public
deluged Dodds's office with letters. Most were passionately against the
Hiss lecture, stating that he was a spy and responsible for the deaths
of American soldiers. Hiss lectured on April 26, 1956. Father Hugh
Halton, chaplain to Princeton University's Roman Catholic students,
arranged a lecture about Hiss the preceding night. The lecture featured
Willard Edwards, a Chicago Tribune reporter
who had followed Hiss's career and trial.
Dodds was chairman of the Hoover Commission Task Force, which was
established to investigate and make recommendations about Civil Service
and personnel issues in the Federal Government. The material relating to
this undertaking consists of reports, bills, and correspondence. Dodds
was also chairman of the Madison Memorial Commission, which was formed
to establish the Madison Memorial Library, part of the Library of
Congress, in Washington, D. C. Folders on this topic contain
correspondence regarding the location of the library, its architectural
design, office space, and exhibits.
A committee composed of Dodds, Harley Lutz (public finance), and William
S. Carpenter (politics) organized the Princeton Local Government Survey
on September 1, 1935. Its purpose was to devise a program for the
improvement of local government in New Jersey, to explain the program,
and to place the program in a form suitable for practical
implementation. The Survey, which functioned even during World War II,
generated numerous recommendations, as well as reports on its work. One
folder contains correspondence with Robert Wood Johnson, who had
subscribed to the cost of the Survey and delegated to a lawyer, Russell
E. Watson, the task of seeking other subscriptions.
World War II-related topics include the military branches and accelerated
training courses. Various conferences, committees, commissions, and
associations are represented, and there is material relating to programs
such as Books for Men in Service, in which servicemen received three
books of their choosing free of charge. Educational matters such as
emergency courses in Near Eastern languages and culture, military
planning, French for government service, topography and map
interpretation, radio communication, marine and air navigation, and
Japanese, Russian, and Arabic can also be found. There were also
military language courses in French, German, Spanish, and Italian
designed for intelligence, censorship, and interpreter services. Of note
in the correspondence folder are letters from British Field Marshal Sir
John Greer Dill and James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy.
Subseries 15C: Subject Files; 1907-1990 (mostly 1936-1956); Office of the President Records : Jonathan Dickinson
to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.