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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the John T. Wilson Papers 1930-1983

© 1999 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Wilson, John Todd. Papers

Dates:

1930-1983(inclusive)

Size:

4.5 linear feet (8 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,

1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Abstract:

The Wilson, John Todd. Papers consist of 4.5 linear feet of speeches and remarks, correspondence, certificates, published papers and book reviews, and Wilson's masters thesis and dissertation. Ninth president of the University of Chicago, Wilson was an expert on relations between universities and government. While provost he responded to economic pressures of inflation and cutbacks in government aid to education by implementing a five-year austerity plan. He was also noted for his fundraising efforts and as a supporter of student activities.

Information on Use

Citation

When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is:

Wilson, John Todd. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

John Todd Wilson was born on March 17, 1914, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He was one of nine children of Reverend Clark Wilson and Alice Warren. John Wilson received his A.B. degree with distinction from George Washington University in 1941, an M.A. in 1942 from the State University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1948. He married Ann Camilli Wilson, his second wife, in 1939.

During World War II, Wilson served in the United States Naval Reserve. He was commissioned as an Ensign in 1942 and left the service as a Lieutenant Commander USNR in 1946.

In 1948, Wilson became Assistant Executive Secretary of the American Psychological Association while teaching concurrently as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at George Washington University. He returned to government service in 1950 as the head of the Personnel and Training Research Branch of the Office of Naval Research. He left the Office of Naval Research in 1952 for the newly created National Science Foundation, where he served as Program Director for Psychology in the Biological and Medical Sciences Division. In 1955, he became Assistant Director of NSF for Biological and Medical Sciences.

Wilson first came to the University of Chicago in 1961 as a special assistant to President George W. Beadle. He was also appointed as Professor of Psychology and taught graduate level courses. From 1963 to 1968 Wilson served as Deputy Director of the NSF and received the Foundation's first Distinguished Service Award.

Wilson returned to the University of Chicago in 1968 as Vice-President and Dean of Faculties. He became Provost in 1969 under President Edward H. Levi. While Provost, Wilson responded to the economic pressures of inflation and cutbacks in government aid to education by implementing a five-year austerity plan. He held the position of Provost until February 1975 when Levi resigned to become U.S. Attorney General. Wilson then became Acting President and expected to hold that position until a replacement was found. Although initially reluctant to accept the post, he was elected President by the Board of Trustees on December 9, 1975. He was noted for his fundraising efforts at a time of financial difficulty for all universities and as a supporter of student activities. He served as the ninth president of the University of Chicago until July 1, 1978, when he was succeeded by Hanna H. Grey.

Wilson was a noted expert on relations between universities and government. He was the author of Academic Science, Higher Education, and the Federal Government 1950-1983 (University of Chicago Press, 1983), Higher Education and the Washington Scene: 1963 and Higher Education and the Washington Scene: 1983 (University of Chicago Press, 1963 and 1982). Wilson was also the author of numerous articles on psychology and human learning, personnel selection and training, and research programming and administration. He was the co-author of Current Trends in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1954).

Wilson continued teaching at the university until 1984. He died on August 4, 1990, at the age of 76.

Scope Note

The Wilson, John Todd. Papers consist of 4.5 linear feet of speeches and remarks, correspondence, certificates, published papers and book reviews, and Wilson's masters thesis and dissertation. The information in the papers covers the period from 1930 to 1983 and has been arranged into five series: (1) Personal, (2) Writings, (3) National Science Foundation, (4) University of Chicago, and (5) Oversize. Each series has been arranged chronologically.

Series I, Personal, includes bound copies of Wilson's master's thesis and Ph.D. dissertation as well as family genealogy notes written in 1982. Certificates and honorary degrees bestowed on Wilson between 1940 and 1979 are also included in the first series. Series V, Oversize, includes additional certificates and degrees.

Series II, Writings, has been subdivided into two subseries: (1) Published Papers and (2) Book Reviews. The Published Papers include articles written by Wilson between 1943 and 1983. One highlight of this subseries is an original roundtable transcript from the University of Chicago Roundtable program in December 1967. The Book Reviews include reviews written by Wilson between 1947 and 1979.

Series III contains speeches and remarks from his term of office at the National Science Foundation. The material covers the period 1959-1968. This series has been subdivided into two subseries: (1) Speeches and Remarks and (2) Congressional Committee Statements. Subseries 2 also includes speeches and remarks made by Wilson as Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation for Biological and Medical Sciences before United States Congressional committees between 1966 and 1979. Among the items in this series are remarks for a presentation before the National Conference on Title VI-Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Series IV contains speeches, remarks, and some correspondence from Wilson's term of office as Provost and then President of the University of Chicago. The material covers the period 1969 to 1983. This series has been subdivided into two subseries: (1) Provost and President Speeches and (2) Correspondence.

The second subseries contains letters of appreciation received between 1975 and 1981, including congratulations on being elected President of the University.

Series V contains oversized materials. The items in this series include diplomas from Wilson's high school, his B.A. degree from George Washington University, and a membership certificate for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Related Resources

The following related resources are available in the Special Collections Research Center:

Presidents' Papers

University of Chicago.Dept. of Psychology

University of Chicago.Office of the Provost

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Personal

Subseries 1: Thesis & Dissertation

Box 1   Folder 1

Master's Degree Thesis - The University of Iowa - "Remote Associations as a Function of the Length of Interval Between Learning and Recall, " (Bound copy),

July 1942

Box 1   Folder 2

Doctoral Dissertation - Stanford University - "The Formation and Retention of Remote Associations in Rote Learning, " (Bound copy),

June 1948; a congratulatory letter from Ben Underwood concerning the dissertation, August 28, 1948

Subseries 2: Certificates

Box 1   Folder 3

University of Chicago - to Ann Wilson (wife) - undated; State University of Iowa, M.A. degree, 1942; Honorary degree, Washington and Jefferson University,

1964 (?), Election to Society of Sigma XI (Science Research National Fraternity), 1948; Election to Sigma XI, 1942

Box 1   Folder 4

Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,

May 9, 1973; George Washington University, Junior Certificate, 1940; Ph.D. degree, Stanford University, 1948; University Record degree, August 7, 1973 (just a gag); George Washington University Alumni Achievement Award, 1965

Box 1   Folder 5

Honorary degree-Doctor of Humane letters - University of Chicago,

June 15, 1979

Subseries 3: Miscellaneous

Box 1   Folder 6

Family genealogy notes,

June 1982

Series II: Writings

Subseries 1: Published Papers

Box 1   Folder 7

"Remote Associations as a Function of the Length of Interval Between Learning and Recall, " Journal of Experimental Psychology,

July 1943

Box 1   Folder 8

A Review of General Semantics, Volume V, No. 1, Autumn

1947

Box 1   Folder 9

"The Effect of an Increasingly Well-Defined Criterion on the Prediction of Success at Naval Training School (Tactical Radar)" (With Dewey B. Stuit), Journal of Applied Psychology,

December 1946

Box 1   Folder 10

"The Formation and Retention of Remote Associations in Rote Learning, " Journal of Experimental Psychology, December,

1949

Box 1   Folder 11

"Personnel and Training Research in the Office of Naval Research, " Monthly Research Report, Office of Naval Research, February,

1950

Box 1   Folder 12

"Psychology and the National Science Foundation, " The American Psychologist,

September 1952

Box 1   Folder 13

"Government Support on Research and its influence on Psychology, " The American Psychologist, December,

1952

Box 2   Folder 1

"Government Support of Psychological Research, " (with Marguerite L. Young), The American Psychologist,

1953

Box 2   Folder 2

"Remote Associations, "

1953

Box 2   Folder 3

Fiscal Year, 1954, " (with Marguerite Young), The American Psychologist,

1954

Box 2   Folder 4

"Psychology and Behavioral Science, " Current Trends in Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences,

March 1954

Box 2   Folder 5

Fiscal Year, 1955, " (with Marguerite Young) The American Psychologist,

1955

Box 2   Folder 6

Fiscal Year, 1956, " (with Marguerite Young) The American Psychologist,

1956

Box 2   Folder 7

"Institutional Versus Individual Grantees, " from New York University Conference on Charitable Foundations

1957

Box 2   Folder 8

Fiscal Year, 1957, " (with Marguerite Young),

1958

Box 2   Folder 9

"Support of Research by NSF, " AIBS Bulletin, December,

1961

Box 2   Folder 10

"Regional learning Research Centers, " in Operational Plans for Developing Regional Educational Media Research Centers,

February 1962

Box 2   Folder 11

1963, " Educational Record,

April 1963

Box 2   Folder 12

"Human Values and Science, " Proceedings of the Third Annual Southeastern Michigan Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 1967, Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan,

March 1967

Box 2   Folder 13

"The Effect of Government Policy on Research, " Julian Goldsmith, Robert Gomer, John T. Wilson, and Kenneth J. Northcott, WTTG Television, Channel 11, Chicago, The University of Chicago Roundtable, (original roundtable transcript)

December 10, 1967

Box 2   Folder 14

The Support of Individuals and Fields versus the Support of Individuals, " MINERVA,

April 1971

Box 2   Folder 15

"The Threat to Private Colleges, " Christian Science Monitor,

June 20, 1978

Box 2   Folder 16

1982, "

Box 2   Folder 17

1950 - 1983" (bound) 1983

Subseries 2: Book Reviews

Box 2   Folder 18

"Granville Stanley Hall, " (rough and final drafts),

January 23, 1947

Box 2   Folder 19

"William James on Education, "

February 11, 1947

Box 2   Folder 20

"L.L. Thurstone's "The Nature of Intelligence" (1924),

March 3, 1947

Box 2   Folder 21

"Experimental Psychology, " by B.A. Farrell, in Personnel Administration,

November 1955

Box 2   Folder 22

"Present-Day Psychology, " A.A. Roback, Personnel Administration,

March - April 1956

Box 3   Folder 1

"The Integrity of the Body, " by F.M. Burnet, The American Scholar, Oct. 1,

1962

Box 3   Folder 2

"The Effects of Federal Programs on Higher Education, " by Harold Orlans,

March 7, 1963

Box 3   Folder 3

Their Psychological World, " by Bernice T. Eiduson, American Sociological Review,

January 16, 1963

Box 3   Folder 4

The Managerial Revolution in Higher Education, " by Francis E. Rourke and Glenn E. Brooks, Science,

March 3, 1967

Box 3   Folder 5

"The Government of Science, " Harvey Brooks, Science,

1968

Box 3   Folder 6

"Science and the Federal Patron, " by Michael D. Reagan, Science,

1969

Box 3   Folder 7

"Scholars, Dollars, and Bureaucrats, " by Chester E. Finn, Minerva,

April 1979

Box 3   Folder 8

"American Higher Education,

1945 - 1970 - A Personal Report, " by Nathan M. Pusey, in American Journal of Education, November, 1979

Series III: National Science Foundation

Subseries 1: Speeches and Remarks

Box 3   Folder 9

"The Principles and Applications of the Research Grant System, " Meetings of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Atlantic City, NJ,

April 13, 1959

Box 3   Folder 10

"The National Science Foundation and the Academic Community, " 77th Annual Conference of the Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Chicago, Illinois, November, 13,

1963

Box 3   Folder 11

"The Executive Office Complex and its Influence in the Governance of Research and Development Programs, " AAAS Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio,

December 28, 1963

Box 3   Folder 12

"Hast any Philosophy in Thee, Shepherd?" Commencement Address, Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania,

June 6, 1964

Box 3   Folder 13

Remarks for Presentation before the National Conference on Title VI - Civil Rights Act of 1964,

January 28, 1965

Box 3   Folder 14

Remarks...on the occasion of the dedication of the research vessel Eastward, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, N.C.,

May 1, 1965

Box 3   Folder 15

1966, " Dedication of the new Psychology Department quarters, University of Chicago,

January 19, 1966

Box 3   Folder 16

"Some consideration of Federal support for higher education, its purposes and its effects, " Meeting of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, Princeton University,

June 23, 1966

Box 3   Folder 17

Remarks...on the occasion of the dedication of the Physiology building, Naples Zoological Station,

August 30, 1966 (Xerox),

Box 3   Folder 18

Remarks...on the occasion of the dedication of the New Science Building at Furman University, Greenville, S.C.,

October 22, 1966

Box 3   Folder 19

Remarks...to the National Council of University Research Administrators, Washington, D.C.,

December 1, 1966

Box 3   Folder 20

Remarks to the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers,

December 5, 1968

Box 3   Folder 21

Remarks...At the science conference on "The future of Science in the Liberal Arts Colleges, " Wheaton College,

April 15, 1967

Box 3   Folder 22

"Science and Human Values, " Groundbreaking luncheon for the New Science Building, Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee,

May 29, 1967

Box 3   Folder 23

Background Paper for discussion of Departmental-level research and training support, at the joint meeting of NSB Committees I and III and NSB Meeting,

September 6 and 8, 1967

Box 3   Folder 24

Remarks...on the Occasion of the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges - Columbus, Ohio,

November 13, 1967

Box 4   Folder 1

Alan T. Waterman, All Souls' Church, Washington, D.C.,

December 4, 1967

Box 4   Folder 2

"Quo Vadis, " Meeting of the National Association of Biology Teachers, Anaheim, California,

March 1, 1968

Box 4   Folder 3

Remarks...Michigan State Sigma Xi Lecture, East Lansing, Michigan,

April 11, 1968

Subseries 2: Congressional Committee Statements

Box 4   Folder 4

Subcommittee on Research and Technical Programs, House Committee on Government Operations - on International Science Activities (Reuss), February, 10,

1966

Box 4   Folder 5

Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations of the Senate Committee on Government Operations - on S.Res. 68, A Resolution to Establish a Senate Select Committee on Technology and Human Environment (Muskie),

March 20, 1967

Box 4   Folder 6

Subcommittee on Economic Progress, Joint Economic Committee (Proxmire),

April 21, 1967

Box 4   Folder 7

Paper for House Subcommittee on Science Research and Development - Federal Government Policies and Academic Science,

July 20, 1970

Box 4   Folder 8

Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Technology, Committee on Science and Technology - House - (Brown),

August 15, 1979

Series IV: University of Chicago

Subseries 1: Provost and President Speeches

Box 4   Folder 9

Stochastics - Federal Government Policies and Academic Science,

May 20, 1969

Box 4   Folder 10

Talk to Medical School Alumni - The University of Chicago,

March 5, 1970

Box 4   Folder 11

Comments on the University to the leadership conference,

May 8, 1970

Box 4   Folder 12

University's

1970 - 1971 budget, July 31, 1970

Box 4   Folder 13

Board Presentation -

1971 - 1972 academic budget, March 6, 1971

Box 4   Folder 14

Federal Government Policies, The University and Academic Science,

April 2, 1971

Box 4   Folder 15

University's

1971 - 1972 budget, September 7, 1971

Box 4   Folder 16

University's

1972 - 1973 budget, October 2, 1972

Box 4   Folder 17

Introductory Statement to Trustees,

April 27, 1973

Box 4   Folder 18

Trustees Meeting,

April 28, 1973

Box 4   Folder 19

University's

1973 - 1974 budget, October 1, 1973

Box 4   Folder 20

University's

1974 - 1975 budget, October 15, 1974

Box 4   Folder 21

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar,

April 22, 1975

Box 4   Folder 22

University's

1975 - 1976 budget, September 1, 1975

Box 4   Folder 23

Remarks on the Occasion of the visit of the Empress of Japan,

October 7, 1975

Box 4   Folder 24

Remarks at dinner honoring Baron Ramsey of Canterbury,

October 13, 1975

Box 5   Folder 1

Remarks at the luncheon for the King of Norway,

October 16, 1975

Box 5   Folder 2

ABA Dinner Scenario,

October 17, 1975

Box 5   Folder 3

State of the University (from The University Record),

November 11, 1975

Box 5   Folder 4

"A Thousand Years Hence, "

January 7, 1976

Box 5   Folder 5

Commercial Club of Chicago - "The Situation at the University of Chicago",

February 11, 1976

Box 5   Folder 6

Remarks at the Lasker Dinner,

February 11, 1976

Box 5   Folder 7

Installation of JTW as ninth President of the University; plus The University Record (April 3, 1976);

March 4, 1976

Box 5   Folder 8

Remarks at the dedication of the Al Weisman Corner,

April 7, 1976

Box 5   Folder 9

King of Sweden Toast,

April 19, 1976

Box 5   Folder 10

Remarks following dinner of Library Visiting Committee,

April 20, 1976

Box 5   Folder 11

Philip B. Kurland,

April 27, 1976

Box 5   Folder 12

Remarks at the luncheon at the Ritz - Carlton - "The University and the City, "

April 29, 1976

Box 5   Folder 13

Remarks on the occasion of the Jefferson Lecture (John Hope Franklin),

May 5, 1976

Box 5   Folder 14

Remarks on the occasion of the inaugural lecture by the first Helen Ross Professor - Margaret Rosenheim,

May 6, 1976

Box 5   Folder 15

Remarks on the occasion of the Lying-In dinner,

May 26, 1976

Box 5   Folder 16

Remarks at the President's Fund dinner,

June 2, 1976

Box 5   Folder 17

Remarks on the occasion of the groundbreaking for the renovation of the Henry Crown Fieldhouse,

June 3, 1976

Box 5   Folder 18

Remarks at the Order of the "C" Banquet

Box 5   Folder 19

"Historic Impression" - WEFM two-minute talk, plus correspondence,

June 25, 1976

Box 5   Folder 20

Remarks on the occasion of the visit of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce,

July 5, 1976

Box 5   Folder 21

Introduction - 100th Woodward Court Lecture (John Hope Franklin),

October 26, 1976

Box 5   Folder 22

State of the University (from The University Record),

November 9, 1976

Box 5   Folder 23

NEH Dinner - Ronald Berman,

November 17, 1976

Box 5   Folder 24

Nobel Laureate Dinner,

December 3, 1976

Box 5   Folder 25

Trustee-Faculty dinner - "Telegraph Stagg for Plans",

January 12, 1977

Box 5   Folder 26

President's Report - Council Meeting (Browder Affair),

1976 - 1977

Box 6   Folder 1

President's Report - Council Meeting (Browder Affair),

1976 - 1977

Box 6   Folder 2

President's Report - Council Meeting (Browder Affair),

1976 - 1977

Box 6   Folder 3

Remarks on the Occasion of the Jefferson Lecture (Saul Bellow),

April 1, 1977

Box 6   Folder 4

Introduction of Robert Streeter - Fourth Ryerson Lecture,

April 5, 1977

Box 6   Folder 5

Remarks on the Occasion of the Tut Dinner,

April 12, 1977

Box 6   Folder 6

Remarks at the dinner opening the Conference on the Jewish Religious Tradition,

April 17, 1977

Box 6   Folder 7

Message to Alumni,

n.d.

Box 6   Folder 8

Remarks on the occasion of the Mother's Aid luncheon,

October 5, 1977

Box 6   Folder 9

Remarks to leadership conference,

October 13, 1977

Box 6   Folder 10

Remarks at the luncheon for HRH Prince Charles,

October 19, 1977

Box 6   Folder 11

Remarks - President's Fund Dinner,

October 26, 1977

Box 6   Folder 12

Remarks on the occasion of the Joint Negro Appeal Banquet (John Hope Franklin),

October 30, 1977

Box 6   Folder 13

State of the University (from The University Record),

November 8, 1977

Box 6   Folder 14

Dedication to the Fieldhouse (Henry Crown),

November 1, 1977

Box 6   Folder 15

Introductory Remarks at the Biological Sciences Civic Dinner (Dr. John H. Knowles),

November 14, 1977

Box 6   Folder 16

Remarks at the Dedication of the Surgery-Brain Research Pavillion,

November 15, 1977

Box 6   Folder 17

Trustee-Faculty Dinner - Remarks on the College,

January 11, 1978

Box 6   Folder 18

Memo to Faculty - Office of Civil Rights,

January 30, 1978

Box 6   Folder 19

Memo to Faculty - Office of Civil Rights (May 8, 1978),

March 10, 1978

Box 6   Folder 20

Introduction of Albert Dorfman - Ryerson Lecture (Fifth),

March 29, 1978

Box 6   Folder 21

Medical Feasibility Study,

April 26, 1978

Box 6   Folder 22

Remarks by "Jock" Weintraub and Philip Kurland,

May 24, 1978

Box 6   Folder 23

Editorial - The Christian Science Monitor,

June 20, 1978

Box 6   Folder 24

Heinrich Klüver Memorial Remarks,

March 27, 1979

Box 6   Folder 25

Statement of NSF to House Subcommittee on Science, Research and Technology,

September 10, 1979

Box 6   Folder 26

1980,

November 27, 1979

Box 7   Folder 1

Remarks to society of Research Administrators on History of NSF,

October 6, 1980

Box 7   Folder 2

Letter to L. Branscomb, Chairman of National Science Board,

April 27, 1981

Box 7   Folder 3

Remarks at Gaylord Donnelly Dinner,

November 12, 1981

Box 7   Folder 4

Remarks on Science Education - Academy on education,

October 14, 1983

Box 7   Folder 5

Remarks in tribute to Allison Davis,

October 21, 1983

Subseries 2: Correspondence

Box 7   Folder 6-7

Letters of Appreciation,

1975 - 1981

Series V: Oversize

Box 8   Folder 1

The George Washington University, Degree of Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction),

June 11, 1941

Box 8   Folder 2

Membership degree to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,

May 9, 1973

Box 8   Folder 3

Punxsutawney High School Diploma, Punxsutawney, Pa.,

June 6, 1930