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Academic Council records

Identifier: 2R

Scope and Contents

Collection is arranged into two series: Series I. Academic Council Meeting Minutes and Reports (1914-2001) and Series II. Standing Committee records (1926-2004).

Series I. consists of the meeting minutes of Academic Council as a whole (March, 1914-May, 2004) arranged in chronological order. Meeting minutes are arranged in sections by year ranges; meeting agendas are often included in front of the meeting minutes, and the end of the year range is followed by an index (and in later years, Academic Council's reports). Files often include enclosed documents pertaining to the meeting minutes (such as schedules, correspondence, and event materials), particularly at the front of a year range.

Series II. Standing Committee records (1926-2004) consists of records of individual Standing Committees within Academic Council, including the Appointment Committee, Committee on Admission Policy, Nominating Committee, Trustee Faculty Relations Committee, Agenda Committee, and Faculty Awards Committee (the last two of which have their own sub-series, as they consist of 10 or more files).

Series III. Special Committee records (1924-1945) consists of records of individual Special Committees within Academic Council, including the Committee on Acceleration, Committee to Consider a Summer Session, Committee on Long Term Educational Policy, Committee on Plans for the Summer of 1944, Committee on Reorganization of Academic Council, Committee on School of Techniques (Summer of 1944), and the Committee on Standardization of Marks.


  • 1914 March-2004 May


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research, but contains some material which has been restricted as per the Wellesley College Archives Access Policy: To make an appointment to view unrestricted materials, please contact the Archives staff by email at or by phone at (781) 283-3745.

Conditions Governing Use

The Wellesley College Archives welcomes researchers to use materials in the public domain, to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law, and to request permission to use works whose copyright is held by Wellesley College. All materials from the Archives, regardless of copyright status, should be attributed to the Wellesley College Archives, Library and Technology Services when cited, quoted, or reproduced.

Biographical / Historical

Wellesley College's Academic Council was founded by (at latest) 1885. Before the formation of Academic Council, there were similar meetings; 'The Story of Wellesley' by Florence Converse (1915) quotes the college's second President, Alice Freeman Palmer: "In earlier days... teachers of every rank met in the not very important faculty meetings, to discuss such details of government or instruction as were not already settled by Mr. Durant [the college's founder]." At this point, the President tended to consult with heads of departments rather than with the entire faculty. (66) Florence Converse's early history describes the Academic Council as having "gradually evolved" from these earlier smaller meetings in the first six years of Alice Freeman Palmer's presidency (1882-1888). (66) Academic Council first consisted of the college President as well as professors and associate professors, and was in charge of the “academic administration and the discipline of the College,” while a broader and overlapping organization called “The Faculty” was in charge of topics such as “the personal life and connect of the students and the social and religious life of the college.” As of 1910, “The Faculty” was dissolved as a separate group, and some other instructors and administrative staff were added to Academic Council as decided by the Trustees (not all members of the Council were voting members). (Glasscock, 96) Notably, our collection of Academic Council records begins in March, 1914; many early college records were destroyed in the College Hall Fire of March 17, 1914. In 1923, the Trustees decided the Academic Council could nominate one member of the Board, as long as that individual were not a current faculty member. (Glasscock, 98) In 1946, membership expanded when the Council voted to include all second-year (and onwards) assistant professors and full-time academic instructors as voting members. Yet again in 1969 when this expansion was extended to full-time faculty as of their first year at the college, and 20 students were included as non-voting members. (Glasscock, 97) [Information from: "Wellesley College 1875-1975: A Century of Women” by Jean Glasscock, 1975, at URL:, and "The Story of Wellesley" by Florence Converse, 1915, at URL:]


13.8 Linear Feet (34 boxes)

Language of Materials



Collection is arranged into three series: Series I. Academic Council Meeting Minutes and Reports (1914-2001), Series II. Standing Committee records (1926-2004), and Series III. Special Committee records (1924-1945). Series I. is arranged in chronological order by date of Academic Council meeting. Series II. is intellectually arranged in alphabetical order by Standing Committee title, and chronologically within each Standing Committee. Series II. includes 2 sub-series for the Agenda Committee and Faculty Awards Committee, as they consist of 10 or more files. Series III. is arranged in alphabetical order by Special Committee title, and includes one sub-series for the Committee on Standardization of Marks as it consists of 10 or more files.
Wellesley College. Academic Council. Academic Council records, 1914-2004: a container list.
Natalia Gutiérrez-Jones, Project Archivist
2021 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository