Oliver Cromwell Carmichael Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0878

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The papers of O.C. Carmichael are comprised of correspondence, his writings including addresses, articles, book manuscripts and institutional reports, and other materials relating to Oliver Carmichael’s long and distinguished career in teaching, university administration, and educational consulting. There are also papers relating to his leadership and service roles at many organizations including Vanderbilt University,

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:

http://apps.lib.ua.edu/blogs/coolathoole/2016/02/09/chronicling-uas-first-steps-toward-desegregation/

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

Queen’s Medal

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

Middlebury, 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

Dates

  • 1920s-1966

Language of Materials

English

Biographical Note - O.C. Carmichael

Oliver Cromwell Carmichael was born October 3, 1891 on a farm near Goodwater, Alabama the eighth child and fifth son of the eleven children of Daniel Monroe, a farmer and school teacher and Amanda Lessley Carmichael, also a school teacher and homemaker.

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.

Education:

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.

Career:

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.

Personal Life:

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.

Biographical Chronology

  • 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
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

Extent

42.62 Linear Feet

Overview

The papers of O.C. Carmichael, 3rd Chancellor of Vanderbilt, are comprised of correspondence, his writings including addresses, articles, book manuscripts and institutional reports, and other materials relating to Oliver Carmichael’s long and distinguished career in teaching, university administration, and educational consulting.

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives
Title
Finding Aid for the Oliver Cromwell Carmichael Papers
Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

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