Coffin and Keys Records

 Collection
Identifier: AC 0578
The collection includes Coffin and Keys correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and flyers. Of special interest are the recollections of Emeritus History Professor James W. Hulse concerning his experiences with Coffin and Keys as an undergraduate student.

Dates

  • 1916-2017

Creator

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Extent

0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Abstract

On October 27, 1916, a group of ten male students sent a letter to the University President expressing their wish to establish a secret organization for upper-classmen to be known as Coffin and Keys, with membership limited to 15 students. They envisioned the organization's role to be beneficial for the University, by personal example and advisement to improve student life and activities, to act as a medium between faculty and students, and to help the reputation of the University by raising its social, moral and scholastic standing. The collection includes Coffin and Keys correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and flyers. Of special interest are the recollections of Emeritus History Professor James W. Hulse concerning his experiences with Coffin and Keys as an undergraduate student.

Administrative History

On October 27, 1916, a group of ten male students sent a letter to the University President expressing their wish to establish a secret organization for upper-classmen to be known as Coffin and Keys, with membership limited to 15 students. They envisioned the organization's role to be beneficial for the University, by personal example and advisement to improve student life and activities, to act as a medium between faculty and students, and to help the reputation of the University by raising its social, moral and scholastic standing. The founders wanted Coffin and Keys to be non-political, with its members striving to attain high levels of scholarship and school loyalty. The ten students who signed the letter to the President were: Thomas R. King, W. Malone, M. P. Caffery, L. Kimmel, Charles Gooding, R. Ogilvia, H. Moore, R. Candlin, J. Smith, and C. Kemper. Some Artemisia yearbooks include photographs of Coffin and Key members. Periodically, Coffin and Keys newsletters and other flyers appear anonymously around campus.
Biographical Note James Warren Hulse was born on June 4, 1930, in Pioche, Nevada. The recipient of a Harold's Club Scholarship, he obtained his BA in journalism from the University of Nevada in 1952 and his MA in history in 1958. While a student, he wrote a column called "Campus Events" for the Nevada State Journal and was initiated into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. He was the recipient of the A. W. (Bert) Cahlar scholarship for altruistic service, leadership, character, and for loyalty - the highest ideals and traditions of the university. After military service in occupied West Germany and in France from 1952-1954, he continued as a reporter for the Nevada State Journal until 1958, often writing about Nevada history. He earned his Ph.D. in history at Stanford University in 1961, and was briefly an instructor at Central Washington State College in Ellensburg. He joined the history faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1962. The University of Nevada: A Centennial History was published in 1974. In the 1980s he was a member of the Nevada State Advisory Board for Historic Preservation and Archeology. In 1992, he was appointed the Grace G. Griffen Chair in History. In 1993, he was named Outstanding Faculty Member by the Board of Regents. He was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1997. He continues to write about Nevada in retirement.

Arrangement

The Coffin and Keys Records are arranged in five series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Newsletters and "Coffin and Keys Presents" Flyers; 3) Newspaper Clippings; 4) Miscellaneous; 5) Recollections about Coffin and Keys by Dr. James W. Hulse.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Periodically, Coffin and Keys flyers appear around campus and copies are obtained for University Archives by the archivist and others. 2015 newspaper clipping added by Archivist. In October 2015, Emeritus History Professor James W. Hulse donated his recollections about Coffin and Keys as an undergraduate student to the records.

Related Materials

Some photographs of early twentieth century members of Coffin and Keys are in the University Archives Archival Images collection and in some editions of the Artemisia yearbook.

See AC 0548/6/9 for an open letter to Coffin and Keys from University President Joseph Crowley, dated December 21, 2000.

In 2009, a women students' secret organization, THE FIVE, was established in response to Coffin and Keys, to provide a female voice to counterbalance the male secret society. See: AC 0482.
Title
A Guide to the Records of Coffin and Keys
Status
for_mcd_review
Author
Betty Glass
Date
December 2014
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. University Archives Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno NV 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)