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Amherst College Board of Trustees Materials Concerning President Alexander Meiklejohn

Identifier: MA.00086

Scope and Contents

Materials generated by the Board of Trustees of Amherst College relative to the presidency (1912-1924) and resignation of Alexander Meiklejohn.


  • Creation: 1923-1948


Conditions Governing Access

The collection was opened for research use by the Amherst College Trustees in 1982. 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 / Historical

Alexander Meiklejohn was an educator, innovator, philosopher, and advocate for liberal social reform and first-amendment freedoms; he served as president of Amherst College, 1912-1924. Born in England in 1872, he was brought to the United States in 1880 at the age of eight, educated in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and graduated from Brown University in 1893. He took his M.A. at Brown and in 1897 received his doctorate in philosophy from Cornell University. He taught philosophy and metaphysics at Brown and was dean from 1901 to 1912. He became president of Amherst College in 1912 and served until 1924. His resignation from the presidency came about because of increasingly contentious relations with the faculty and because of the Trustees' concerns about the continuing poor management of his personal finances. After Amherst, Meiklejohn went to the University of Wisconsin to teach philosophy; while there, he established an experimental college. In 1938, he joined the School of Social Studies in San Francisco, where he was involved in the area of adult education. Meiklejohn was welcomed back to Amherst College on several occasions. He was selected by President John F. Kennedy to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was presented by Lyndon B. Johnson shortly after Kennedy's death. Alexander Meiklejohn died in 1964 at the age of 92.


1 Linear feet (2 archives boxes)

Language of Materials



Materials generated by the Board of Trustees of Amherst College relative to the presidency (1912-1924) and resignation of Alexander Meiklejohn.


This collection is organized into three series:

  1. Series 1: Printed Reports of Trustee Committees
  2. Series 2: Files of Individual Members of the Board
  3. Series 3: Records Regarding Access to Trustee Materials Concerning Meiklejohn

Related Materials

  1. Alexander Meiklejohn Papers
  2. News Clippings Concerning the Resignation of President Alexander Meiklejohn, 1923-1924
  3. General Files: Alumni Council
  4. Non-alumni biographical files: Meiklejohn (circa 1 linear foot)
  5. Inaugurations Collection


Wilson, Douglas C. "The Story in the Meiklejohn Files." Amherst, Fall 1982 and Spring 1983. [Also reprinted in Wilson, Passages of Time: Narratives in the History of Amherst College, pp. 100-135. Amherst College Press, 2007.
Language of description
Script of description

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