Oliver Cromwell Carmichael Papers
Scope and Contents
One part of the collection having to do with his presidency at the University of Alabama and the case of Autherine Lucy - a black woman from Shiloh, Alabama who was enrolled, and then suspended, and then expelled from the university - contains photocopies of correspondence relating to this event during the early months of 1956.
These letters reflect a range of opinions on everything from segregation to the students’ violent behavior to Carmichael’s handling of the situation.
The originals of these letters are at the University of Alabama and more information about the case can be found at this website:
Also of especial interest in this collection of papers are items relating to his time as Chancellor of Vanderbilt University including a guest book, letters of congratulations, and programs and memorabilia from his installation as Chancellor in early February of 1938.
Academic Distinctions and Honors
Rhodes Scholar from Alabama at Wadham College, Oxford University, 1913-1917
Member of various Rhodes Scholar Selection Committees in Alabama, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, and of District Committees in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
Member of Phi Beta Kappa Senate, Laureate member of Kappa Delta Pi, National Council of
Omicron Delta Kappa and Educational Policies Commission
King Albert’s Medal
Medal of the Belgian National Relief Committee
British Army Service Medal
American Service Medal
American Council Book Award Gold Medal
Higher Education Prize of the American Council on Education, 1962
21 Honorary degrees from American Colleges and Universities including:
Howard College, LL.D. 1926
University of Alabama, LL.D., 1937
Southwestern, Litt. D. 1936
University of the South, D.C.L., 1938
Duke University,LL.D., 1939
Birmingham Southern College, Dr. of Humanities, 1940
University of Southern California, LL.D., 1945
Union College, LL.D., 1946
University of Pittsburgh, LL.D., 1947
Tulane University, LL.D., 1947
University of Chattanooga, LL.D., 1947
University of Florida, LL.D., 1948
University of Denver, LL.D., 1949
Lehigh, LL.D., 1950
Bucknell, LL.D., 1940
University of Hawaii, L.H.D., 1940
Furman University, Doctor of Humanities, 1941
University of Louisville, LL.D., 1941
University of Michigan, LL.D., 1952
University of Kansas City, D. Sci. in Education, 1955
Language of Materials
Biographical Note - O.C. Carmichael
Known as one of the outstanding University administrators and experts on educational philosophy in the country, Oliver Carmichael was the third chancellor of Vanderbilt University during the years 1937–1946.
While at Vanderbilt, Chancellor Carmichael was instrumental in creating in 1937 the Joint University Libraries serving Vanderbilt, Peabody, and Scarritt Colleges. Later, in 1940 he led the efforts to establish the Vanderbilt University Press in order “to emphasize Vanderbilt’s commitment to scholarly research and publication.” Both of these he considered as his most important accomplishments while at Vanderbilt. He also led the university through the years of World War II.
In March of 1967, shortly after his death in September 1966 Carmichael Towers, residence halls at Vanderbilt, were dedicated in his memory. Carmichael Hall at the University of Alabama and the Carmichael Library at Montevallo are also named in his honor.
Collections of his papers are held by Vanderbilt University, the University of Alabama, and by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in New York.
Alabama Presbyterian College, Anniston, Alabama for two years
University of Alabama, B.A. 1911; M.A. 1914
Rhodes Scholar from Alabama 1913-1917 at Wadham College, Oxford University taking a B.Sc. diploma in Anthropology.
He was awarded honorary degrees from 21 colleges and universities in the United States over the course of his professional career. They are listed below.
U.S. Army, World War I
Herbert Hoover’s Commission for Belgian Relief
YMCA work in India and East Africa
Birmingham, Alabama City Schools High School teacher, 1919-1920
High School Principal, 1920–1922
Dean and assistant to the President at Alabama College at Montevallo, 1922-1926
President of Alabama College (a woman’s college), 1926-1935
He was the third Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, serving from 1937–46. Previously he served as Dean and then Vice Chancellor of the University from 1935 until he became Chancellor in 1937.
President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 1946–1953
Executive Associate and Member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Corporation of New York
President of the University of Alabama 1953-1956
Educational Consultant for the Ford Foundation and Fund for Advancement of Education, 1957 – until his death in September of 1966.
While a Rhodes Scholar at Wadham College, Oxford, he and a fellow student Harvie Branscomb worked for Herbert Hoover’s Commission for Relief in Belgium and smuggled a politically sensitive letter from Cardinal Mercier through the German lines. Carmichael’s friendship with Harvie Branscomb who succeeded him as the 4th Chancellor of Vanderbilt University shaped Vanderbilt’s destiny for nearly three decades.
He married Ruth Mae Crabtree on July 13, 1918, and they had two sons Oliver C. Carmichael, Jr. born in 1920 and Fred H. Carmichael born in 1922.
Golf and Bridge are the sports he enjoyed most, and reading historical and philosophical essays and novels was his favorite pastime.
He died in Asheville, North Carolina on September 25, 1966 at the age of 74.
- 1891 Born on October 3 in Goodwater, Alabama
- 1910 Teacher, one room country school, summer 1910
- 1911-1914 Received A.B. and M.A. degrees, University of Alabama
- 1911-1912 Instructor of French and German, secretary of the faculty, Univ. of Ala.
- 1912-1913 Acting professor of foreign languages, Florence Normal School
- 1917 Received B. Sc. Degree, Oxford University, England as a Rhodes Scholar at Wadham College
- 1918 Married Ruth Mae Crabtree on July 13
- 1919 High school teacher of European history, March–June
- 1919-1920 Instructor of French, high school
- 1920-1921 Principal, Henly Elementary School
- 1921-1922 Principal, Woodlawn High School
- 1922-1926 Dean and Assistant to President, Alabama College
- 1926-1935 President, Alabama College
- 1935-1937 Dean, Graduate School and Senior College, Vanderbilt University
- 1936-1937 Vice–Chancellor, Vanderbilt University
- 1937-1946 Chancellor, Vanderbilt University
- 1946-1953 President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
- 1946-1953 Executive Associate and member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York
- 1948-1953 Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New York State University System
- 1953-1956 President, University of Alabama
- 1957-1966 Educational Consultant, Ford Foundation, and Fund for Advancement of Education
- 1966 Died September 25 in Asheville, North Carolina
- Born on October 3 in Goodwater, Alabama
- Teacher, one room country school, summer 1910
- Received A.B. and M.A. degrees, University of Alabama
- Instructor of French and German, secretary of the faculty, Univ. of Ala.
- Acting professor of foreign languages, Florence Normal School
- Received B. Sc. Degree, Oxford University, England as a Rhodes Scholar at Wadham College
- Married Ruth Mae Crabtree on July 13
- High school teacher of European history, March–June
- Instructor of French, high school
- Principal, Henly Elementary School
- Principal, Woodlawn High School
- Dean and Assistant to President, Alabama College
- President, Alabama College
- Dean, Graduate School and Senior College, Vanderbilt University
- Vice–Chancellor, Vanderbilt University
- Chancellor, Vanderbilt University
- President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
- Executive Associate and member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York
- Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New York State University System
- President, University of Alabama
- Educational Consultant, Ford Foundation, and Fund for Advancement of Education
- Died September 25 in Asheville, North Carolina
42.62 Linear Feet
- Finding Aid for the Oliver Cromwell Carmichael Papers
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States