Month: December 2006

Henry Merritt Wriston

The collection of files of Lawrence University president Henry Merritt Wriston, president from 1925-1937, is now processed and a finding aid is available online!

Selected materials from the collection have been digitized and can be viewed at the site

Check the site as items will continue to be added.

Henry Wriston is known for being a revolutionary both in the world of education and in his tenure at Lawrence. Some notable highlights of his presidency include:

— He was a supporter of the Conservatory of Music and worked to keep it open despite the Board of Trustees wanting to close it.

— He was very pro-active in building the art collection at Lawrence and bringing traveling exhibits to campus. His goal was to build a center for the arts, but due to the Great Depressions occurring at the time, this goal was not realized during his presidency.

— Wriston was the first Lawrence president who was not a Methodist minister, and severed the ties the Methodist church had with Lawrence by removing the Board of Visitors, a group of Methodists, from the Board of Trustees. He allowed social activities on campus that had been frowned upon by the Methodists and even attended the first dances held on campus.

— Wriston founded and became the first director of the Institute of Paper Chemistry, an institution of research and graduate study supported by the paper industry.

Wriston quotes

News consists chiefly of bad news from a newspaper man’s point of view. From the college point of view that is the kind we do not want to have circulated.

Wriston on college publicity in a letter to Lucia Briggs, president of Milwaukee-Downer College, November 21, 1933.

The goal of Lawrence for the future must be growth intellectually. For the students the growth must be self-discovery, learning to do what you really want to do, not what you came to do because obviously you come with rather unformed ambitions.

Wriston in a speech given at Lawrence University’s 125th anniversary celebration on January 15, 1972.

Interested in learning more about Henry Wriston and viewing his collection? Contact the Archives or stop by.

Current Exhibits

A History of the Libraries of Lawrence University

Photographs, correspondence, and other materials documenting the history of Lawrence’s libraries are on display in the exhibit cases on the first floor of the library. A telegram from Andrew Carnegie giving Lawrence $50, 000 to build a library in 1906 is also on display. Learn about the first library of Lawrence located in Main Hall through the current Seeley G. Mudd Library.

The Holiday Season at Lawrence University and Milwaukee-Downer College

Dance cards, programs, photographs, and other artifacts document how the holiday season was celebrated at the two schools throughout the years. The exhibit is located in Ricerview Lounge in Memorial Union.

Holiday traditions at Lawrence University included Christmas programs given by the Concert Choir, caroling, and Christmas formals. Snow sculptures were a popular activity at that time of year. Sledding down the hill outside Memorial Union was also popular, especially if you were able to stop at the bottom of the hill without going into the Fox River.

Holiday traditions at Milwaukee-Downer included formals, carnivals, the performance of the annual Christmas play, and lantern night. The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” made its national debut at MDC in 1910.