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New School central administration collection

Identifier: NS-01-01-05


This collection encompasses material related to the overall administration of The New School from 1928-2008. It includes reports, financial papers, board of trustees meeting agendas and minutes, and documents prepared for accrediting by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The bulk of the files date from the late 1940s-early 1960s and the 1990s-2000s. Of note is "The New School Study" of 1952, also known as the "Swift Report."


  • 1928 - 2012



3.9 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)

.635 Gigabytes (94 files)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The New School central administration collection consists of reports, surveys, budgets, board and committee meeting minutes. This material was primarily created or commissioned by The New School President's office, administrators, department chairs, and the board of trustees. While the collection contains material from the late 1920s through the early years of the twenty-first century, the bulk of the contents are from the late 1940s-1950s and from the 1990s.

A large part of the collection consists of reports, written for both internal and external audiences. These reports, which span from 1928 to 2003, provide valuable insight into the programs, student body, faculty, administrative structure, and finances of The New School at various points in its history. The reports also often contain reflections on the past and future of The New School, with recommendations for new directions and strategies. Among the most significant reports in this collection is the The New School Study of 1952, also known as the "Swift Report," after the director of the study, sociologist Arthur Swift. The Swift Report was one of the first attempts at a comprehensive understanding of The New School's structure, programs, mission, and future. It led the administration and board to reevaluate many aspects of the university. The collection contains drafts of the Swift Report, supplementary information, and a report from the board of trustees on actions taken in response. Other reports include those on specific programs and departments and those related to particular aspects of the administration of the school including finances, affirmative action, and exploratory reports on the creation of new programs.

The reports contain extensive information on the 1963 budget crisis, and the resulting fundraising campaign. Also in the reports are court documents related to the 1970 student occuption of The New School's Graduate Faculty building in protest of the Vietnam War.

Material from the board of trustees includes meeting minutes, agendas, memoranda, statements from the board, and additional reports. The years 1955-1960 are particularly well covered by these records. Additionally, the board of trustees series contains agendas, minutes, and memoranda from a number of committees. Of note are the responses from an Evaluation Committee survey of New School lecturers. This 1948 survey questioned lecturers on what they believed to be the strengths and weaknesses of the university.

The series "Middle States Association" consists of accreditation reports prepared by The New School from the 1960s through 2003. These reports contain detailed study body statistics, overviews of the university's mission and history, and descriptions of specific schools and programs.

The 1990s and 2000s at The New School are represented in the series "University Discussion Papers," also known as Seminar Papers. These papers present information "about important aspects of the University and overviews of current issues and topics of interest to the University community." The topics were sometimes reports from specific departments or committees, or presentations on general trends in higher education. The program seems to have been initiated in the fall of 1994 and continued at least through 2008, though sometimes under the title "Seminar Papers." These should not be confused with the popular academic lectures, called "General Seminars," at which Graduate Faculty members presented papers.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from The New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Historical Note

The New School for Social Research was founded in 1919 as an institution of higher education devoted to adult learning. As the school grew into a university, this original division was alternately known as the "Founding Division" or the "Adult Division." In 1943, the school was divided into two schools, the School of Politics, and the School of Liberal Arts and Philosophy. At this time, in response to the needs of returning veterans wishing to take advantage of the GI Bill, the school began a program called Senior Year at the New School. Geared toward adults who had previously completed some coursework, the program offered undergraduate credits for some courses and awarded bachelors' degrees. However, the majority of students continued to take non-credit courses.

Although The New School offered some undergraduate credits beginning in the 1940s, the first full-time day program was not established until 1972. Called the Freshman Year Program, it initially focused on college-level courses for high school students or recent high school graduates, who would then matriculate elsewhere. The program expanded as the Seminar College in 1977 and further grew in 1985 with a large donation and new name, Eugene Lang College.

In 1933, the New School for Social Research established the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. Also known as the "University in Exile," the division was founded in order to host German and other European scholars who left their countries of origin to escape political and racial persecution. The Board of Regents of the State of New York granted a provisional charter in 1934, allowing the Graduate Faculty to confer Master of Social Science and Doctor of Social Science degrees. This was the first time the New School for Social Research offered credits leading to a degree to students in any of its programs. In 2005, the Graduate Faculty changed its name to The New School for Social Research, reclaiming the founding name of the entire institution, which had been dropped eight years before.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged chronologically in 4 series: 1. General; 2. Board of Trustees; 3. Middle States Association; 4. University Discussion Papers

Custodial History

Provenance of annual reports and Middle States Association series: The circumstances under which and by whom they were transferred to the Kellen Design Archives are unknown by processing archivist. Files were formerly part of a record group titled, "Minutes and reports," which was divided in 2011 into two "Records of oversight" record groups--one for The New School and one for Parsons School of Design. The present collection is the former.

Provenance of Board of Trustees series: Transferred from New School Publicity Office records when that record group was being processed, 2012.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The staff of The New School Archives and Special Collections assembled this collection from multiple office transfers.

Processing Information

This collection was formerly titled, "New School records of oversight."

Guide to the New School central administration collection
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
November 1, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • December 14, 2022: Archivist updated information about digital files that have been integrated into this collection, mostly in Series IV. University Discussion papers, and updated the extent to reflect the addition of the digital files.
  • January 4, 2024: Archivist added a file titled "Academic Priorities Progress Report" in Series 1.