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Alfred Sherwood Romer (AC 1917) Papers

Identifier: MA.00194

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, clippings, photographs and other material relating to Alfred Sherwood Romer's Amherst career, his service in both the American Field Service and the U.S. Army in WWI France, and his later activities as President of the Class of 1917 and as Chairman of the Phi Alpha Psi Fraternity Corporation. The collection includes correspondence pertaining to Phi Alpha Psi's pledging of Thomas W. Gibbs (AC 1951), its first African-American member, and the subsequent expulsion from the national chapter, as well as correspondence pertaining to John William Ward's participation in a Vietnam protest while sitting president of Amherst.


  • Creation: 1913-1977


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical Note

Alfred Sherwood Romer (1894-1973) was an eminent vertebrate paleontologist. He graduated from Amherst College in 1917 and then served during World War I in the American Field Service and, subsequently, in the United States Army. It is believed that when he was with A.F.S. he drove ambulances or ammunition trucks in the Chemin des Dames sector; with the U.S. Army, he appears to have been attached to the "Air Service (non-flying)." Romer returned to the U.S. in 1919 and was discharged with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University. For most of his career, he taught at Harvard University, becoming the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology in 1947 and directing Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology from 1946 to 1961. In 1956 he won the National Academy of Sciences' Thompson Medal and in 1966 became president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was awarded five honorary degrees, including one from Amherst, and prizes from many other domestic and international scientific societies. As an alumnus, Romer was very active in the life of Amherst College, both as president of the Class of 1917 and as chair of the corporation of Phi Alpha Psi fraternity. Alfred Romer and his wife, Ruth, had three children: a daughter, Sally Evans, and two sons, Robert (AC 1952) and James (AC 1960). Robert Romer is a professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Amherst College. ASR maintained a residence in Pelham, Mass. and throughout his adult life was increasingly active in that community.


1.25 Linear feet (1 record storage box, 1 scrapbook)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, clippings, photographs and other material relating to Romer's Amherst career, his service in WWI France, and his later activities as President of the Class of 1917 and as Chairman of the Phi Alpha Psi Fraternity Corporation.


This collection is organized into two series:

  1. Series 1: Scrapbook, 1913-1919
  2. Series 2: Amherst-Related Material

Related Materials

  1. Alumni Biographical Files - Class of 1917 - Romer
  2. Ingham C. Baker (AC 1919) Papers, 1916-1919
  3. United States. Army. Ambulance Service. Section 539. Records, 1917-1941
  4. Amherst College War Materials Collection

Processing Information

The collection was processed in October 2009 by John Emil Vincent, Intern, Simmons College GSLIS.

John Emil Vincent
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299