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John R. Everett papers

Identifier: NA-0017-01


The collection consists of John Everett's work from his positions at Hollins College, City University of New York, Encyclopedia Britannica, and The New School for Social Research. Contents include correspondence, clippings, manuscripts, reports and statements. Of special interest may be materials related to the New School’s 1970 student occupation, and Everett's writings opposing desegregation and the 1968 student protests.


  • 1944 - 1992
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1982



1.3 Cubic Feet (1 box, 3 folders, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The papers largely consist of John Everett's professional work in his positions at Hollins College (1950-1960), City University of New York (1960-1962), Encyclopedia Britannica (1962-1964) and The New School (1964-1982).

The collections contains five series. The General series includes correspondence; newspaper clippings about Everett; comments and reports regarding National Book Committee programs; published and unpublished typescripts unconnected to Everett's above-listed positions; and reviews of Everett's book, Religion in Economics (1946).

The second series is connected to Everett's position as chancellor of the Municipal College System of the City of New York in 1960, renamed City University of New York (CUNY) in 1961. Most of the correspondence is with Gustave G. Rosenberg, chairman of the Board of Higher Education and New York City Mayor Robert Wagner regarding administrative, budgeting and development issues. Of special interest may be two statements about a "communist speaker ban." The series also contains speeches and statements concerning the future of education and learning, the democratization of higher education, the role of public education and CUNY in New York, and items connected to committee memberships Everett held as CUNY chancellor.

The Encyclopedia Britannica series contains correspondence from Everett to representatives of various educational organizations and a memo on the role of television in education, "Teaching Machines." It also includes a memo to Sidney Tickton, vice president of the Washington-based Academy for Educational Development, and Herman Wells, chairman of the board of the Education and World Affairs from 1964, about cooperation between private and public universities in the face of the growing demand for publicly-funded higher education. Also included is correspondence with Maurice B. Mitchell, president of Encyclopedia Britannica, and with Harold W. Stokes, president of Queens College, concerning a court trial related to accusations of religious discrimination at CUNY, as well as typescripts of speeches about the role of communications technology in education.

The Hollins College series contains correspondence, including memos about founding a college in Aspen, Colorado and other matters. Two folders contain Hollins College Bulletins, for which Everett regularly wrote the "President's Column"; and offprints of other publications. It also includes reports to alumni, faculty and to the Board of Trustees. The folder titled "Speeches" primarily holds typescripts and notes of Everett's speeches on issues related to small, independent, liberal arts colleges, the future and role of education, and women's education (including a 1951 typescript titled, "Why Educate Women"). The file also contains a typescript of remarks made by Abraham A. Ribicoff. The series ends with typescripts of articles for Hollins Herald, and for the Alumnae Bulletin, as well as other articles for local and national journals and newspapers, and a partial manuscript for a book on religious history. The folders of typescripts also contain reflections on a UNESCO meeting from 1952, where Everett represented the United States.

The New School for Social Research series largely consists of correspondence. A folder of speeches and statements includes a statement from 1967 regarding academic freedom and opposing the closure of the school for a day in protest of the war in Vietnam, and another talk from 1970, about the authority crisis among youth and the breakdown of social institutions. It also contains an invitation to an event at Columbia University honoring Everett and celebrating his ten years as president of The New School.

Of special interest are flyers, statements, and an affidavit regarding the occupation of The New School's Graduate Faculty building, acquired during Everett's presidency. With the permission of the administration, students occupied the building at 65 Fifth Avenue in May 1970 to organize anti-war study groups and discussions. According to Everett's memo, the building was soon occupied by high school students, as well, which raised concerns about public safety. During a negotiation period of about two weeks, the administration and the faculty made several proposals, repeatedly rejected by the student committee, regarding regulation of the student strike and relocation of strike activities to other spaces. A court injunction process ensued, leading to resistance from the strikers. The New York City police emptied the building on May 25. No violence occurred during the voluntary arrest of several students.

Another folder in the New School series includes recommendations regarding a crisis of the Graduate Faculty. By 1979, several factors pushed the Graduate Faculty into crisis, including a decline in the number of students enrolling in graduate schools and a report from the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department finding serious weaknesses in The New School's political science, sociology and philosophy doctoral programs. Everett recommended eliminating the doctoral programs and, if necessary, the master's level programs, as well, in sociology and political science. After intense negotiations and several years of restructuring, every doctoral program was reapproved by the Board of Regents.

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:


John (Jack) Rutherford Everett was born in 1918, in Portland, Oregon. His father, a Presbyterian minister later became the president of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. In 1942, Everett received a degree from Park College, Missouri, in 1943 an MA in economics from Columbia University, in 1944 a Bachelor of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary in New York, and in 1945 a PhD in philosophy from Columbia University.[1]

Beginning in 1943, Everett taught philosophy at various colleges and universities, and became the chair of the Philosophy Department at Columbia University in 1948. In 1950, he was elected president of Hollins College (now Hollins University) in Virginia. At age 31, he became the youngest college president in American history.[2]

As president of one of the nation's first colleges for women, Everett implemented a progressive curriculum, doubled the faculty, extended the campus, and significantly increased the endowment. Enrollment also doubled during his tenure. As a college president, he was a member and chair of several committees on higher education, such as the advisory committee of the Council for Financial Aid to Education (later the Council for Aid to Education).[3]

In 1960, Everett resigned from Hollins and started to work with Encyclopedia Britannica as a consultant. Around the same time, he also accepted the position of chancellor of the Municipal College System of the City of New York (City University of New York after 1961). He resigned from this post in 1962 to take on the role of vice president at Encyclopedia Britannica.

Everett became president of the New School for Social Research (now, The New School) in October 1964, upon the heels of a period of institutional administrative turnover and reorganization. He would occupy the position for the next 19 years. At the time he became president, the demand in the United States for higher education sharply increased, and publicly-supported funding increased along with demand. But the national scene changed in the following years such that plummeting enrollment -- due to fluctuating demographics -- and declining government support threw many colleges into crisis. Still, as post-secondary institutions tightened their budgets and closed their doors, The New School under Everett expanded. Over the course of his presidency, The New School merged with Parsons School of Design; started an undergraduate program (later, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts); and developed the Center for New York City Affairs into a full-scale Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions. Everett's tenure was also marked by several tumultuous episodes. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the campus was rocked by student protests, and in the late 1970s the Graduate Faculty narrowly avoided having several of its doctoral programs lose accreditation.

Responding to student protest at The New School in 1968, Everett found sympathy with young people's mistrust of those in power and emphasized that university administrators must work to promote an atmosphere of trust on campus. He took the position that student dissatisfaction stemmed from problems with curricula development. Faculty weren't trained to establish educational policy, he argued. A school's central administration should guide the process, albeit with input from students and faculty. He also expressed the belief that students would feel that college was more relevant if courses directly connected social science scholarship to pressing social issues. Everett also held firm views about the issue of desegregation of schools. In a 1958 memo when he was president of Hollins College, he called the desegregation movement "propaganda." His position remained the same a decade later. In a 1968 article in The Atlantic, authored when he was president of The New School, he opposed the decentralization of New York City public schools, asserting that the negative effects of forced desegregation constituted "unfair competition."

Everett contributed articles to scholarly journals and wrote two books, Religion in Economics: A Study of John Bates Clark, Richard T. Ely [and] Simon N. Patten (1946) and Religion in Human Experience: An Introduction (1950).

John Everett died of cancer in 1992, in New York City.

[1] Harris, Beth S. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "John R. Everett (1918–1992)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 7 Sep. 2016. Web. 21 Sept. 2018. [2] ibid. [3] ibid.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically in 5 series: 1. General; 2. City University of New York; 3. Encyclopedia Britannica; 4. Hollins College; 5. The New School for Social Research.

Custodial History

Papers donated to Columbia University in 2002 by John Everett's second wife, Elsie Leivesley Howard.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to The New School Archives from Columbia University Archives, 2018.

Related Materials

The John Everett records (NS.01.01.02) in The New School Archives are institutional records documenting Everett's presidency, maintained by The New School's Office of the President. They may provide complementary or duplicative records concerning Everett's tenure as president of the New School for Social Research. Documentation on John Everett's tenure as president of Hollins College (now, Hollins University) is available through the Hollins University Archives.

Processing Information

Folder titles assigned during processing.

Guide to the John R. Everett papers
Agnes Szanyi
October 17, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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