University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Trevor Arnett Papers 1921-1932

© 2006 University of Chicago Library


Descriptive Summary


Arnett, Trevor. Papers




1 linear foot (2 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


University and college administrator and trustee. A.B., University of Chicago, 1898. Personal auditor to the President, University of Chicago, 1896-1899; chief accountant, 1899-1901; auditor, 1901-1922; trustee, 1916-1922, 1926-1928, 1937-1941; vice-president and business manager, 1924-1926. Secretary, General Education Board, 1920-1924; president, 1928-1936. President, International Education Board, 1928-1936. Correspondence, drafts and copies of speeches and writings, account of a trip to Scandinavia and Russia (1917), and two autobiographical memoirs of George Noble Carman, director of the Lewis Institute of Chicago. Some correspondence deals with the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Spelman College. Correspondents include Frederick Taylor Gates, Thomas W. Goodspeed, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Booker T. Washington, a number of college presidents, and members of the University of Chicago administration

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Arnett, Trevor. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Trevor Arnett, a graduate of the University of Chicago in 1898, served as Trustee of the University from 1916 to 1922, from 1926 to 1928, and from 1937 to 1941. He was born in Little Hereford, England in 1870. He studied at the University of Minnesota as well as the University of Chicago, and he received honorary degrees from Carleton College in 1926 and from Colby College in 1939. He served as Secretary of the General Education Board from 1920 to 1924 and as President from 1928 to 1936. He was also president of the International Education Board from 1928 to 1936. He served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the Davison Fund, Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and was President of the Board of Trustees of Spelman College. Arnett entered the service of the University of Chicago in 1896 as President Harper's personal auditor, served as chief accountant from 1899 to 1900, and as auditor from 1901 to 1922. In 1924, he became Vice President and Business Manager of the University, a position he held until 1926. Arnett was recognized as the foremost authority in the United States on fiscal accounting and financial administration of colleges and universities, and he was the author of various publications dealing with this subject, including College and University Finance published in 1922. He died in 1955.

Scope Note

The papers are apparently part of the private files of Arnett. The correspondence concerning the University of Chicago is of a personal nature and includes Arnett's original letter of application in 1900 to H. A. Rust applying for the position of auditor, personal letters from Ernest D. Burton and Harry P. Judson and other University officials. Of particular interest is the correspondence with T. W. Goodspeed on his article "President Harper and 'The Great University,"' and F. T. Gates' objections to inaccuracies in the article, and Arnett's long letter to C. T. B. Goodspeed commenting on his short biography of his father, T. W. Goodspeed.

A major part of the correspondence is between Arnett and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., from 1923 to 1954. This correspondence, too, is of a personal nature. After Arnett's retirement from the General Education Board, many of the letters deal with Spelman College, with which Arnett was connected and to which Rockefeller was a major contributor. There is also a long memorandum of a talk Arnett had with Henry Pringle in 1955, when the latter was preparing a history of the General Education Board and a memorandum to Raymond B. Fosdick on the Institute of Social and Religious Research, in which both Arnett and Rockefeller were interested.

The collection also includes three autographed letters and an autographed photograph of Booker T. Washington. There is an account of Arnett's trip to Scandinavia and to Russia in early 1917, the difficulties he encountered due to the war and especially the return trip home, which had to be made by way of Japan. Included in the collection are two long autobiographical accounts by George Noble Carman, Director of the Lewis Institute in Chicago, a personal friend of Arnett's, and Arnett's eulogy delivered at a memorial service in 1941. The general correspondence is from a wide variety of persons, including many college presidents. These letters, too, are generally of a personal nature. Many of them concern some aspect of college finances. Also included among the papers are numerous speeches and articles of Arnett, almost all on some phase of college finances. There are also biographical sketches and memorial articles in the publications of African American colleges in Atlanta, Georgia, with which he was connected for many years.

The papers date from 1893 to 1955, but the majority is from the years 1920 to 1940.

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Subject Headings


Series I: Correspondence

Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence concerning the University of Chicago 1900-1954

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence concerning T. W. Goodspeed's article "President Harper and' The Great University"'. biography of President Burton, and C. T. B. Goodspeed's biography of T. W. Goodspeed 1926-1930

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence and copy of "Report of Conference Between Messrs. F. T. Gates, T. W. Goodspeed, and H. A. Rust, with Reference to The University of Chicago, February 10, 1897" 1928-1929

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence with John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the General Education Board: 1923-1925

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence with John D. Rockefeller, 1926-1932

Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence with John D. Rockefeller, 1933-1940

Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence with John D. Rockefeller, 1941-1951

Box 1   Folder 8

Correspondence with John D. Rockefeller, 1952-1954

Box 1   Folder 9

Correspondence and memoranda on the history of the General Education Board, 1955; and on the Institute of Social and Religious Research, 1952

Box 1   Folder 10

Correspondence and autographed photograph of Booker T. Washington 1912-1913

Box 1   Folder 11

Diary account of European trip to Scandinavia and Russia and letter 1917

Box 1   Folder 12

Autobiographical sketches of George N. Carman, Director of the Lewis Institute; letter (1893) to Carman from Arnett; correspondence concerning Carman, 1939; speech and correspondence concerning memorial service for Carman, 1941

Box 1   Folder 13

Mrs. Bertha Stetson Arnett correspondence and copy of eulogy on her death 1950

Box 1   Folder 14

Correspondence, clippings, and pamphlet concerning Ludlow Grammar School, Ludlow, England 1954

Box 1   Folder 15

Requests to serve on boards of Trustees, Directors, etc. 1912-1954

Box 1   Folder 16

General Correspondence A-M

Box 1   Folder 17

General Correspondence N-Z

Box 1   Folder 18

Clippings concerning Trevor Arnett: Biographical sketches; copy of naturalization papers

Box 1   Folder 19


Series II: Speeches and Articles

Box 2   Folder 1


  • Speech to Alumni of University of Chicago [1923] Speech to Board of Trustees of University of Chicago Annual Dinner to the Faculty January 12, 1927
  • "College and University Finances" November 12, 1926
  • "College Finances" April 26, 1928
Box 2   Folder 2


  • "The College Trustee and College Finance" November 7, 1938
  • "College Tuition Fees" April 5, 1928
  • "Control of Expenditures" November 10, 1922
Box 2   Folder 3


  • "Cooperation of Trust Companies with Colleges and Universities" January 13, 1928
  • "How the Financial Needs of an Effective College of One Thousand Students are to be Met" January 14, 1927
Box 2   Folder 4


  • "Financing Modern Education" May 8, 1928 Speech at Home-coming Dinner, University of Chicago [1924]
  • "How Much of the Cost of College Education Should be Borne by the Student?" July 18, 1928
Box 2   Folder 5

"The Mounting Costs of College Education and How to Meet Them" October 23, 1928

Box 2   Folder 6

Speech on the "New" University of Chicago at Delta Upsilon Fraternity, September 9, 1924

Box 2   Folder 7

Speeches and Conference Notes

  • "Progress of Education in the South" January, 1936
  • Round Table Conference on Trustees October 19, 1940
  • "Suggestions as to the Methods of Handling Endowment and Other Funds" March 22, 1927
  • "A Ten Year Retrospect of Hyde Park Baptist Church" May 12, 1920
Box 2   Folder 8


  • "To What Extent Should College Students Pay the Cost of Education?" December 2, 1927
  • Untitled and undated speech on university finances
Box 2   Folder 9

Memorial booklet prepared by Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, program of memorial service, 1955

Box 2   Folder 10

Trevor Arnett Issue of the Spelman Messenger, February, 1955

Box 2   Folder 11

The Atlanta University Bulletin tribute to Trevor Arnett, July, 1955

Box 2   Folder 12

"Life and Work of Trevor Arnett," by David H. Stevens in Phylon, The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, Vol. XVI, no. 2, 1955