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Stanley King (AC 1903) Papers

Identifier: MA.00056

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, speeches, articles, scrapbooks, awards, photographs and other materials docu-menting the personal and professional life of Stanley King and his wife Margaret P. Jackson King. Correspondence includes chiefly personal letters to and from King during his business career, 1914-1929, and presidency of Amherst College, 1932-1951; also correspondence related to his work as special assistant to the Secretary of War, 1917-1919. Correspondents include Newton D. Baker, Ernest M. Hopkins, Felix Frankfurter and Frederick J. E. Woodbridge. Amherst College materials include speeches, reports and articles (many published in the Alumni Council News), and correspondence related to King's publications. Personal papers include boyhood letters; scrapbooks; diaries of travel and undergraduate years, 1896-1919; genealogical information; drawn portraits; and photographs. Notes from Gertrude Besse Toll are included as well, in Series 8, with some contextual information. Mrs. King's papers include family correspondence, an oral history interview, and records related to the Kings' private residence on Lincoln Avenue in Amherst.


  • Creation: 1880-1967
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1895-1967


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Stanley King Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers 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 / Historical

Stanley King (AC 1903) was born in 1883 to Judge Henry Amasa (AC 1873) and Maria Lyon (Flynt) King in Troy, New York. He attended Springfield (Massachusetts) High School and entered Amherst College in 1900 with the Class of 1903. As an undergraduate he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa. After earning a degree from Harvard Law School (completing the course in the abnormally short space of two years), he was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1906. He held a variety of executive positions with the W. H. McElwain Company, shoe manufacturers in Boston, from 1906 to 1922. In business he demonstrated great skill at settling labor disputes. During World War I, King served first as a member of the Council of National Defense, and in October 1917 he was appointed Confidential Clerk to the Secretary of War, functioning as an advisor to Secretary of War Newton Baker on business matters. King remained in government service through mid-1919 before returning to the McElwain Company. In 1921 he became a trustee of Amherst College. From 1922 to 1927 he was Eastern Manager and Director of the International Shoe Company, Boston. In 1927 he retired from business. In 1932, after traveling extensively for several years, King was appointed the 11th President of Amherst College - the first in the institution's history to have been neither a minister nor educator.

As President of Amherst, King was instrumental in developing the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., into one of the most important libraries of its kind. He also took a great interest in the buildings and grounds of the Amherst campus: the College recovered from the destruction caused by a major hurricane in 1938 by the introduction of new landscaping and the unprecedented construction of new buildings. Under King's administration the campus saw the addition of such buildings as Alumni Gymnasium, Valentine Hall, Memorial Field, Kirby Theatre, James and Stearns dormitories, and the Mead Art Building. In the 1930s, President King led the College through the crisis of the Great Depression by achieving financial solutions that enabled Amherst to avoid annual deficits or reductions in salary. The disruptions of World War II, 1941-1945, were handled with similar effectiveness with a long-range focus on developing a "New Curriculum" for the College to meet modern post-war needs.

After retiring as President in 1946, he was President Emeritus until his death in 1951. Stanley King was the author of several books: Recollections of the Folger Shakespeare Library (1950); A History of the Endowment of Amherst College (1950); and "The Consecrated Eminence": The Story of the Campus and Buildings of Amherst College (1952). Upon his death in 1951, Stanley King was survived by his wife, Mrs. Margaret Pinckney Jackson King (whom he married in 1927), a son Richard King (AC 1935), and a daughter, Gertrude King. (Stanley King's first wife, Gertrude, died in 1923.)


14.5 Linear feet (26 archives boxes, 1 record storage box, 1 flat box)

Language of Materials



Former Amherst College President. Correspondence, speeches, articles, scrapbooks, awards, photographs and other materials documenting his personal and professional life and that of his wife, Margaret P. Jackson King. Correspondents include Newton D. Baker, Ernest M. Hopkins, Felix Frankfurter and Frederick J. E. Woodbridge.


This collection is organized into nine series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1914-1967
  2. Series 2: Manuscript Speeches, 1920-1951
  3. Series 3: Published Speeches and Articles, 1929-1950
  4. Series 4: Correspondence Concerning Publications, 1950-1955
  5. Series 5: Amherst Life, 1895-1952
  6. Series 6: Resignation from Amherst College and Death, 1944-1951
  7. Series 7: Margaret P. King Papers
  8. Series 8: Images, circa 1880-1960
  9. Series 9: Miscellaneous (mostly childhood), circa 1895-1933

Related Materials

President's Office Records [Restricted]

Claude Moore Fuess, Stanley King of Amherst. New York: Columbia University Press, 1955.

Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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