Friends of the University of Nevada records

 Collection
Identifier: AC 0022

Scope and Contents

The Friends of the University of Nevada Records primarily documents the Stout-Richardson controversy and includes copies of the Wittenberg papers, audio-tapes and transcripts of the hearing held May 25-27, 1953, copies of legal documents, and correspondence generated and collected by the Friends. After the Richardson case was settled, Wittenberg followed further university developments; these are documented in the scrapbooks maintained throughout Stout's tenure, 1952-1957. Additionally, there is a limited amount of material on routine university matters in education, nursing, agriculture, engineering, and other colleges, departments, and agencies during this time.

Dates

  • 1950-1957

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

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.

Historical Note

The Friends of the University of Nevada, with Helen Wittenberg, Secretary, was a group of alumni and citizens concerned with the suspension of Frank T. Richardson, a faculty member and president of the local AAUP, by university president Minard W. Stout for distributing an article critical of education professors and supporting higher academic standards. It became a nationally known case on academic freedom with Richardson's dismissal. Though finally settled in Richardson's favor, the group continued to follow campus developments.

The group produced what was known as the "Wittenberg papers" concerning the dismissal proceedings against the five members of the faculty and continued against Frank Richardson. It was attributed to Walter Van Tilburg Clark, and recounted the history leading up to the hearing. The group continued to monitor Stout's administration through his tenure on the campus, and the secretary, Helen Wittenberg kept the records and correspondence.

With other university controversies, a special investigating committee was appointed by the state. Headed by Dean E. McHenry, a report was issued critical of Stout and the Board of Regents and recommending enlargement of the Board. By the end of 1957, the enlarged board determined the University's internal problems could not be ended without Stout's removal. Stout was asked to resign.

Extent

4 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The Friends of the University of Nevada was a group of alumni and concerned citizens. Helen Wittenberg, active in local affairs, served as secretary to the Friends and was married to Ralph Wittenberg, an attorney representing Frank Richardson who was a faculty member suspended and president of the local AAUP suspended by university president Minard W. Stout for distributing an article critical of education professors and supporting higher academic standards. Also active in the Friends were Etta and Samuel G. Houghton. The collection primarily documents the Minard W Stout-Frank T. Richardson controversy and includes correspondence, transcripts, and scrapbooks on the legal proceedings and the Friends involvement. Also included is a history leading up to the Richardson hearing written by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Helen Wittenberg circa 1968.

Bibliography

For additional information concerning the president of Minard Stout:
  • Glass, Mary Ellen. Nevada's Turbulent '50s: Decade of Political and Economic Change. University of Nevada Press, 1981.
  • Hulse, James W. The University of Nevada: A Centennial History. University of Nevada Press, 1974.
Title
Guide to the Friends of the University of Nevada Records
Status
Completed
Author
Betty Glass
Date
August 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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)