Skip to main content

List of Contents


Scope and Content

From the Collection: The majority of these records date from Nannerl Keohane's arrival as President of Wellesley July 1, 1981, through her departure the end of June 1993. There is some material dating from December 1980 when Keohane's appointment was announced, and a small amount from the months following her departure.

The records of the President's Office are primarily those of Keohane, but the files of others (Vanessa Allyene, Gwendolyn Bookman, Katherine MacDonald, et. al.), generally assistants to the President, are often mixed in. In some cases the creator of the files is clear, but in others it is not. In general, the records are arranged alphabetically in a single subject file. Where there is more than one folder on the same subject, they are arranged chronologically. Restricted materials have been removed from the main sequence, as have two boxes of materials of unusual sizes. One of these contains ledgers and a shirt. The other contains a file of index cards. Notice of removal is given with explanation of the new location and method of access.

The files relate to almost every aspect of college life, but there are concentrations of material in some key areas.

As chief executive officer, Keohane chaired groups which oversaw the management of the college. There are extensive Senior Staff files including agendas and minutes, reports and correspondence. Academic Council and Administrative Council materials are here as well, but not as complete as those of Senior Staff. Keohane also served as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees. The Trustee and Trustee Committee files are in the restricted portion of the collection.

Although the Dean of the College is the chief academic officer of the college, the president's files include materials on academic departments (annual reports, correspondence and information about programs), materials on faculty (benefits, salaries, publications, etc.) and faculty workload committee files. There are also files on academic opportunities for students: foreign study, internships, research projects, scholarships and preparation for graduate school.

During Keohane's tenure at Wellesley there was a great emphasis on strengthening the college's diversity and multiculturalism in general. This emphasis is reflected in the files. Both Vanessa Allyene and Gwendolyn Bookman served as Assistant to the President and Affirmative Action Office. Their files are included as are files relating to Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence at Liberal Arts Colleges, Minority Scholars in Residence, the Task Force on Racism and various multicultural programs.

During the 1980s there was a growing anger on campuses in the United States and throughout much of the population against apartheid in South Africa. There was great pressure on investors to divest themselves of companies doing business in South Africa. Wellesley College's Trustee Committee on Investment had an advisory subcommittee on Social Responsibility in South Africa. Files of this committee are in the restricted portion of the collection, but much of the correspondence and published material is available in the main trustee collection. The president's files also have general material on South Africa and South African student programs.

The president of a college also serves as its foremost representative. In this role Keohane was involved with a number of national and regional organizations relating to higher education. Some of the most active of these were: the Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence at Liberal Arts Colleges, Learned Colleagues, the Seven College Conference and the Oberlin Group. These groups shared ideas and information about similar challenges and new initiatives, and in some instances made joint proposals for funding.

Keohane also served on other boards as a representative of Wellesley College and the academic world. These included: IBM Corporation, State Street Boston Corporation, WGBH Broadcasting and the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute.

The president also serves as representative of the college for alumnae, parents and others. This is particularly clear in the events surrounding Commencement 1990. First Lady Barbara Bush was announced as commencement speaker. A number of students felt she was not the best choice as she gained her fame through her husband. The press and many others, including alumnae, were outraged. There are many clippings and letters on this topic.

There a number of files on various aspects of the college's relationship with its graduates: Alumnae Association, Alumnae Leadership Council, Reunions and Wellesley Clubs from all over the world.

Finally the president serves as chief fundraiser with the strong support of the Resources staff. It is the president who takes trips and makes appeals and speeches to foundations, corporations, alumnae and friends regarding the mission and dreams of Wellesley College. Keohane might well have breakfast in New York City, lunch in Philadelphia and dinner in Pittsburgh always presenting opportunities for contributing to the Wellesley community through financial aid, a professorship/chair, an academic program or an additional to the facilities. There are numerous files relating to these trips, found under Capital Campaign, Dialogue Dinners, Resources and Trips. Portions of these files which relate to individual donors are found in the restricted portion of the collection. Similarly, not all resources files are under Resources; others can be found under Durant Society, Founders or Parents Committee, etc. Again, that material relating to specific donors has been restricted.

Keohane was particularly successful at the fund raising aspect of her job. The Campaign for $150 Million more than met its goal. Donors helped fund the Sports Center, the Davis Museum and the Jewett Arts Center, the addition to the Science Center, the computer network system and Continuing Education.


  • 1974-1999
  • Majority of material found within 1981 - 1993


The following types of materials are restricted:

1. Student records generated and maintained by the college covered by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act): grades, work, faculty/class evaluations, questionnaires, recommendations, et cetera.

2. Minutes and other records of the Board of Trustees. Access to this material is granted only through the Trustees. Requests for access should be directed to the Clerk of the Board of Trustees.

3. Information relating to specific salaries, pensions or financial transactions between the College and individual employees.

4. Materials relating to reappointment, promotion and tenure.

5. Recommendations and performance evaluation of individual employees, as well as evaluations of candidates for College positions.

6. Materials published by consortia of colleges and universities, specifically the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS), which conduct surveys of various institutes promising confidentially.


From the Collection: 74.5 Linear Feet ( (232 boxes))

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository