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A Finding Aid for the Autobiography of Woodbridge N. Ferris Records. 1927-1996

Summary Information

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Creator: Ferris, Woodbridge N., (Woodbridge Nathan), 1853-1928

Title: Autobiography of W. N. Ferris Records

Identification: UA 0.12.1

Dates: 1927-1996

Extent: 1.5 Cubic feet. 1 records center box

General Physical Description Note: 1 records center box.

Language: English

Abstract:The Autobiography of W.N. Ferris Records contain the records relating to the publishing of the autobiography in 1995. It includes drafts of the manuscript text, photographs, the introduction and book cover. It also includes administrative records about the production and distribution of the publication. The records cover 1937-1948 and 1994-1996.

Historical Note

A special project team was appointed in December 1994 to publish the Autobiography of W.N. Ferris typescript which was held in the University Archives. The team was chaired by Richard Santer and other members included Theron Josephson, R. Lawrence Martin, Susan Martin, Jerry Sholl, Esther Simpson, Robert Stechschulte and William G. Taylor.

The team met between 1995 and 1996 in order to plan, research, compile the materials, discharge legal matters and make publication decisions. 1100 copies were ordered for printing and distributed primarily in fall 1995.

A copy of the text was made available on the university website in 2000. There was a reprint of the book in 2004.

This autobiography details Woodbridge Ferris' life from his childhood in New York to his involvement in the creation of Ferris Institute and his political career.

The manuscript was kept by Ferris' son Carleton and turned over to Ferris Institute. Another copy of the manuscript is also held by the Bentley Historical Library. In addition to the text, the collection contains information about the publication and distribution of the first publication and the drafts and printers proofs used for editing the text. Copies of photographs used in the first edition are also part of the collection.

Scope and Contents Note

The Autobiography of W.N. Ferris was published in 1995 as a result of a special team project spearheaded by Dr. Richard Santer, Professor of Geography. The records consist of the materials of the book itself (drafts, proofs and photos) and the documentation of the team’s process in the creation of the book.

There are files in the Administrative Records series which relate to the ownership of materials, production and distribution of the book. Copies of the text of the autobiography (which ends circa 1923) were given by Carleton Ferris to Ferris Institute in 1948. This followed a legal proceeding in which Carleton (the son) and Mary Ferris (widow) contested who owned the rights to the manuscript. It was determined that both did. This documentation is included as part of that series. Additional edited typescripts were made available by an alumnus during the course of this project, although it is unclear by whom.

Arrangement Note

This collection is organized into two series: 1. Publication Files and 2. Administrative Records.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program. 5/1/2014

Conditions Governing Access Note

The Autobiography of W.N. Ferris Records are open to all researchers in accordance with the University Archives and Records Management Program access policies. Copyright to some of the materials is not held by Ferris State University. Copyright to materials found in the collection not authored by Ferris are held by the individual and his/her heirs. Any questions regarding copyright should be directed to the University Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use Note

This collection is open for research. There are no restrictions on reproduction.

Processing Information Note

The Autobiography of W.N. Ferris were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in December 2013. Student workers Jeffrey Pollock and Cory VanBuren assisted. A finding aid was prepared utilizing the Archivists Toolkit and converted to EAD 2.0. A collection level MARC-format record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description was based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Preferred Citation Note

Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:

[Item], Folder, Box. Autobiography of W.N. Ferris Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials Note

Woodbridge N. Ferris Papers. (UA 1.1)

Separated Materials Note

None specified.

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

Personal Name(s)

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements Note

This collection consists of paper based materials. No specialized software or hardware is required for viewing.

Collection Inventory

Series 1. Publication Files. 1927-1995.

Arrangement Note

This series is arranged alphabetically by topic.

Scope and Contents Note

This series contains the text of the publication. The majority of the series are the drafts and proofs of the actual autobiography. Information on the index, introduction, chronology and photo essay are also included.

Contents Box Folder

Chronology. 1994.

1 1

Cover; jacket design. 1995.

1 2

Drafts (original). Undated.

1 3

Drafts (original). Additional version. Undated.

1 4

Drafts (section). Part 1.

1 5

Drafts (section). Part 2.

1 6


1 7


1 8


1 9

Printers proofs. 1995.

1 10

Printers proofs. 1995.

1 11

Series 2. Administrative Records. 1937-1999.

Arrangement Note

This series is arranged alphabetically by topic.

Scope and Contents Note

This series contains administrative records about the process. This includes the research into the ownership of the autobiography and the copy held by the Bentley Historical Library (Ann Arbor, Michigan). It also contains the files relating to the distribution of the copies and the final report of the project team.

Contents Box Folder

Budget files. 1994-1996.

1 12

Copyright; ownership issues. 1937-1995.

1 13

Distributions. 1995-1996.

1 14

Distributions acknowledgements. 1996.

1 15

Ferris, Helen Gillespie. Notes. Undated.

1 16

Legal correspondence. OP-627-95. 1995-1996.

1 17

Ownership research issue. 1937-1948.

1 18

Publicity. 1995-1996.

1 19

Santer, Richard. Correspondence. 1994-1996.

1 20

W.N. Ferris Autobiography Special Project Team. Agenda; membership; minutes. 1995.

1 21

W.N. Ferris Autobiography Special Project Team. Notes. Undated.

1 22