A Finding Aid for the Merle Ward Papers 1936-1946

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Merle Ward Papers

Creator: Ferris State University. Office of the President.

Dates: 1936-1946

Abstract: Merle S. Ward (1892-1957) was president of Ferris Institute from 1936- 1946. During his term, Ferris' pharmacy college became accredited and the school greatly expanded its teacher-training program. Ferris Institute, a private corporation, remained underfunded and the student enrollment fell sharply again during World War II. Ward left in 1946 after differences with the Board of Incorporators to take a position in North Dakota. The records consist of subject files, lecture/convocation files and personnel records.

Language: English

Quantity: 9 cubic feet; 6 records center boxes

Identification: UA 1.7

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

Merle Scott Ward was born on 22 January 1892 to Albert and Ella Scott Ward of Union City, Indiana. Both of his parents were educators. After graduating from Marion County Normal School in 1910 and a brief stint as a teacher in Indiana public schools, Ward went on to earn a B.A. from Indiana University in 1917. He later earned an M.A (1917) from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1934. He entitled his dissertation, Philosophies of Administration Current in the Deanship of the Liberal Arts College.

Ward held a variety of positions prior to his arrival at Ferris Institute. In additions to positions as a teacher and principal in both Michigan and Indiana, he was an instructor at Yeshiva University and the New School of Social Research in New York (N.Y.) Ward also directed the construction of an adult education curricula in New York City, which attracted the Ferris Board members.

While Ward's administration was a period of great financial turmoil, there were several important steps made. The pharmacy college received its first accreditation from the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education, and the first professional librarian was hired. Ferris Institute began its first endowment fund. Ferris built its first lighted athletic field and created new courses in watch and clock repair and plastics. While enrollment dipped perilously low during World War II, by 1946 it had reached 550 students (over five times the late 1930s enrollments). Ward worked to find funding and students.

During World War I, Ward had served in the American Expeditionary Forces, and he remained active in veterans groups. Ward was extremely active as well in Big Rapids community affairs including membership in the Rotary Club, American Legion, Elks, Masons and Kiwanis. He was also a strong advocate of participation in professional organizations including: the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences, Michigan Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Education Association, and the National Geographic Society.

Ward resigned from Ferris Institute on 1 July 1946. He became the superintendent of public schools for Valley City, South Dakota where he remained until his retirement eleven years later. Ward had served briefly as a principal in that same school system in the early 1920s. As a side career and after retiring from educational work, Ward worked as a lecturer for the Redpath Bureau, a free lance writer and radio commentator. He died of a heart attack 2 September 1957.

Ward married Edna Ritter of Valley City, South Dakota in 1921. They had no children.

Scope and Content Note

President Merle S. Ward struggled against financial pressure and a governing board that did not agree with him. When Ferris Institute began to pull out of the Depression slump, the war stripped the school of students, the sole source of funding. While the school began to pull out of this due to veteran enrollment, Ward remained a controversial and unpopular figure, who finally resigned. Like many of the early presidents, many of his files did not survive the 1950 fire.

During this period, Ferris Institute remained a very small school. The President's office handled all functions- from student recruitment and placement to personnel and fundraising. In the subject files are records relating to the Rural Education Workshop- one of Ferris' answers to state requirements for continuing education for teachers. Materials relating to student placement are also available, including reference requests and postings of various jobs available. Many of the jobs are either in the educational or commercial fields. Another set of files relate to scholarships offered to valedictorians and salutatorians of Michigan high schools which was a critical recruitment strategy. In addition to the reports from various departments, a folder entitled "Duties" represents the first documented job descriptions for administrative employees. Material relating to the accreditation of the College of Pharmacy is also available.

Ferris Institute required its students to attend a morning assembly. Speakers were sometimes faculty members, but often an outside speakers was procured. Ward, himself a paid speaker on the Redpath Bureau, went out to promote Ferris Institute and his educational theories, and brought in speakers to expand the minds and viewpoints of the students. In the Lectures/Convocations series, are pamphlets and correspondence from various agencies about speakers. One folder offers analyses of student reaction to chosen speakers in a given term. Speakers spoke on world issues, such as the 1930s treatment of Jews in Hitler's Germany.

Arrangement

The papers are divided into three series:

  1. Subject Files
  2. Convocations/Lectures
  3. Personnel Files

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Merle Ward Papers are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

None specified.

Administrative Information

Citations

Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Merle Ward Papers. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

These records were located in various storerooms within Ferris State University and transferred to the University Archives prior to 1984.

Processing Information

The Merle Ward Papers were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in November 2003. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A revised finding aid was created in November 2007. 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).

Separated Materials

During processing, duplicate materials were discarded. Some materials were placed in the Board of Trustees Records.

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper based material in varying sizes. No specialized hardware or software is required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. Subject Files. 1936-1946.

This series consists of 3.5 linear feet of correspondence/research files of President Merle S. Ward. Files include correspondence with alumni Isaiah Bowman or supporters such as Congressman Roy Woodruff or Carleton Ferris. There are also subject files containing correspondence and reports about Ferris Institute projects such as the Rural Education Workshop with continuing education for teachers or the library pharmacy periodicals drive. Some files relate to Ward's outside interests or more general topics such as the Michigan Education Association or faculty sick leave.

The files are arranged alphabetically and chronologically within folders.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 A. 1938-1941.
1 2 Advertisements; press releases. 1938-1944.
1 3 Advertising. Correspondence. 1940-1941.
1 4 Advertising. Correspondence. 1942-1944.
1 5 Alumni Association. 1939-1940.
1 6 Alumni Association. Lansing (Mich.)
1 7 American College Publicity Association. 1940-1941.
1 7b Annual reports (partial). 1943; 1945.
1 8 Anspach, Charles. Central State Teachers College. Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) 1940-1941.
1 9 Aponte, Jose. College of Pharmacy. 1941.
1 10 Attendance policy. 1939-1940.
1 11 Athletics. 1940-1941.
1 12 Athletics; annual report. 1945-1946.
1 13 B. 1937-1941; 1945-1946.
1 14 Beaverton (Mich.) 1940-1941.
1 15 Benson, Simon. College of Pharmacy. 1938-1941.
1 16 Bingham, William G. 1940.
1 17 Bowen, Floyd. 1940.
1 18 Bowman, Isiah. 1940.
1 19 Brown Lyceum Bureau. 1941.
1 20 Budget reports. (Includes Business Office reports). 1938-1945.
1 21 Butler, Arthur J. Board of Control. Annual report. 1937-1941.
1 22 C. 1938-1941; 1945-1946.
1 23 Campaign reports. 1938-1941.
1 24 Catalog requests. 1939-1940.
1 25 Central Association of Colleges. 1941.
1 26 Charles Carlisle Memorial Student Loan Fund. 1939.
1 27 Charles Carlisle Memorial Student Loan Fund. 1940-1941.
1 28 Choir. 1940-1941.
1 29 Civil Aeronautics Authority. 1940-1941.
1 30 Civil Service Commission. 1941-1946.
1 31 Clark, Emmanuel M. 1941.
1 32 Cole, Ivan. Motion pictures in advertising report. 1937-1938.
1 33 College Day. 1940.
1 34 College of Education Reports. 1937-1941.
1 35 College of Pharmacy. 1937-1941.
1 36 College of Pharmacy. Alcohol permit. 1945.
1 37 College of Pharmacy. Endowment. 1937.
1 38 College of Pharmacy. Reports. 1936-1946.
1 39 College Preparatory Department. Reports. 1936-1945.
1 40 Commercial Department. Newsletter. n.d.
1 41 Commercial Department. (see also: College of Education) Reports. 1937-1945.
1 42 Commercial teacher evaluation. 1940.
1 43 Cramer, Alfred. Assembly remarks. February 1942.
1 44 Curtice, H. H. 1940.
1 45 D. 1937-1941; 1945-1946.
1 46 Davenport M.E. University of Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids (Mich.) 1941.
1 47 Dean of Men. Reports. 1937-1941.
1 48 Dean of Women. Reports. 1937-1941.
1 49 Duties. Administrative job descriptions. 1941.
1 50 E. 1937; 1940-1941.
1 51 E. P. McFaddon Company. 1941.
1 52 Elementary teacher training curriculum. 1938-1939.
1 53 Elks Association. 1940-1941.
1 54 Extension and Adult Education Division. 1937; 1941.
1 55 F. 1938; 1940-1941; 1945.
1 56 Faculty correspondence. 1938-1941; 1945-1946.
1 57 Faculty meetings. Minutes. 1938-1941; 1945-1946.
1 58 Ferris Torch. Alumni Edition. 1941.
1 59 Ferris, Carleton. 1937-1941.
1 60 Ferris, Mary Ethel. 1938; 1944.
1 61 Ferris, Woodbridge N. 1938.
1 62 Ferris Weekly (see Ferris Torch). Reports. 1937-1941.
1 63 Football stadium. 1937.
1 64 Ford Sunday Music Hour. 1941.
1 65 Foreign Affairs Forum. 1944-1945.
1 66 Form correspondence. 1939; n.d.
1 67 Fuller, George N. Michigan Historical Commission. 1941.
Box Folder Contents
2 1 G. 1938-1941.
2 2 Graduate students. 1941.
2 3 Grand Rapids Junior College. Grand Rapids (Mich.) 1938-1942.
2 4 H. 1937-1941; 1943.
2 5 Health and Physical Education Department. Inventory; reports. 1940-1941.
2 6 Higher Education and National Defense. 1943-1945.
2 7 Hittle, Harry. 1940.
2 8 I-J. 1938-1941.
2 9 Inspections. 1939.
2 10 Johnson, Frank. 1939-1940.
2 11 Junior College. Reports. (also: Grooming Clinic, Committee on Publications.) 1940-1941.
2 12 K. 1939-1940; 1944-1946.
2 13 L. 1939-1941.
2 14 Lewis, Glen. 1941.
2 15 Library. Budgets; reports. 1937-1945.
2 16 Library. Pharmacy periodicals. 1941.
2 17 Library fund. 1937; 1940-1941.
2 18 Ma-Me. 1938-1940; 1944.
2 19 Machette, Franklin J. 1939.
2 20 Mi-Mz. 1938-1941; 1944.
2 21 Michigan Education Association. 1938-1941.
2 22 Michigan educational institution presidents. 1939.
2 23 Michigan Medical Service. 1944-1945.
2 24 Michigan Trust Company (re: Ferris estate). 1937-1938.
2 25 Music/ Art Departments. Reports. 1937-1945.
2 26 N. 1937-1941.
2 26b National Council of Business Schools. 1944-1945.
2 27 National defense. 1940-1941.
2 28 National Education Association. 1940-1941.
2 29 National Wholesale Druggists Association. 1939-1941.
2 30 National Youth Administration. Correspondence. 1936-1940.
2 31 National Youth Administration. Reports. 1936-1943.
2 32 Nearprint. n.d.
2 33 New York University. School of Education. 1940-1941.
2 34 Newton, Roy. 1939; 1942; n.d.
2 35 North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. 1939-1941.
2 36 O. 1941.
2 37 P. 1939-1941.
2 38 Personal. 1938-1939.
2 39 Pierce, Warren O. 1939.
2 40 Publications Committee. 1940-1941.
2 41 Qualifying tests. 1943; n.d.
2 42 R. 1938-1941.
2 43 Radio broadcasting. 1945.
2 44 Recommendations. 1939-1940.
2 45 Reconstruction Finance Corporation. 1938-1941.
2 46 Registrar. Reports. 1937-1946.
2 47 Ross, Robert. 1939.
2 48 ROTC units. 1940.
2 49 Rural Education Workshop. Evaluations. n.d.
2 50 Rural Education Workshop. 1944.
2 51 Rural Education Workshop. Correspondence. 1944.
2 52 Rural Education Workshop. 1945.
2 53 Rural Education Workshop. Applications. 1945.
2 54 Rural Education Workshop. Correspondence. 1945.
2 55 Rural teacher training scholarships. 1937.
2 56 Rural teacher training scholarships. 1939-1941.
2 57 Rotary International. 1939-1941.
2 58 S-Sl. 1937-1941.
2 59 Sangren, Paul. 1940.
2 60 Scholarship cards n.d.
2 61 Scholarship committee. 1939-1943.
2 62 Scholarships. Fundraising correspondence. 1939.
Box Folder Contents
3 1 Scholarship offers. 1939.
3 2 Scholarship offers, rejected. 1939.
3 3 Scholarship offers, renewals. 1939.
3 4 Scholarship offers. 1940.
3 5 Scholarship offers, rejected. 1940.
3 6 Scholarship offers. 1941.
3 7 Scholarship offers, rejected. 1941.
3 8 Shapero, Nate. Cunningham Drug Stores. 1939-1941.
3 9 Sharpe, Edward M. 1939-1940.
3 10 Sick leave. 1937.
3 11 Sigma Alpha Delta Alumni Association. 1940-1941.
3 12 Simon, John L. 1941.
3 13 Sm-Sz. 1937-1941.
3 14 Smith, Lyman. 1940-1941.
3 15 Smothers, Homer. 1941.
3 16 Speaking engagements. 1937-1938.
3 17 Speaking engagements. 1939.
3 18 State of Michigan. Department of Public Instruction. 1939-1946.
3 19 State of Michigan. Department of Public Instruction. News of the Week. 1941-1946.
3 20 Student activities committee. 1939; 1941.
3 21 Student aid. 1938.
3 22 Student personnel bureau. 1939.
3 23 Student placement bureau. 1937.
3 24 Student placement bureau. 1939.
3 25 Student placement bureau. 1943.
3 26 Student placement bureau. 1944.
3 27 Student placement bureau. 1945.
3 28 Student placement bureau. Bookkeeping 1937.
3 29 Student placement bureau. Commercial Department. 1940-1941.
3 30 Student placement bureau. Teachers. 1937.
3 31 Student placement bureau. Teachers, commercial. 1937.
3 32 Student placement bureau. Teachers. 1940.
3 33 Student placement bureau. Teachers. 1941.
3 34 Student recruitment. Correspondence. 1945; May 1946.
3 35 Student recruitment. Correspondence. June 1946.
3 36 Student recruitment. Correspondence. July 1946.
3 37 Student recruitment. Field reports. 1937.
Box Folder Contents
4 1 Student recruitment. Field reports. 1941.
4 2 Student recruitment. Reports. 1936; 1940.
4 3 Summer school. 1940.
4 4 Summer school. 1941.
4 5 Summer school. Speakers. 1937.
4 6 T. 1939-1941.
4 7 Teacher Education Institutions in Michigan. 1941.
4 8 Teacher education study. 1940-1941.
4 9 Tennis court petition. n.d.
4 10 Tobin, Dorothy. 1939-1941.
4 11 U-V. 1937-1942.
4 12 United States. Office of Education. 1940-1945.
4 13 Veterans Administration. 1943-1945.
4 14 Veterans Counseling Service and Testing Program. 1945.
4 15 Voelker, Paul. 1940-1941.
4 16 W. 1937-1941; 1944-1946.
4 17 Wagner Funeral Home. Big Rapids (Mich.) n.d.
4 18 War training program. 1943.
4 19 Welling, Leo. 1939-1940.
4 20 Wisner, Robert H. 1940-1941.
4 21 Writings. n.d.
4 22 Wurtzel, Laura. 1937-1941.
4 23 X-Z. 1938-1941.

Series 2. Lectures/Convocations. 1938-1941.

This series consists of 1.0 linear foot of publicity materials relating to speakers for the Ferris Institute convocations. Ferris held convocations every Wednesday morning and frequently hired outside speakers/programs through traveling lecture bureaus. Of interest is a 1942 survey by students on their favorite speakers. Files are arranged with general files by year of smaller organizations, followed by an alphabetical file of agencies with which Ferris had an ongoing relationship.

Materials are arranged chronologically when more than one item exists for the agency.

Box Folder Contents
4 24 Convocations/ Lectures. Analyses. 1940-1942.
4 25 Convocations/ Lectures. Speakers. 1939.
4 26 Convocations/Lectures. Speakers. 1940.
4 27 Convocations/Lectures. Speakers. 1941.
4 28 Convocations/Lectures. Speakers. 1942.
4 29 Convocations/Lectures. Speakers. 1943.
4 30 Convocations/ Lectures. Speakers. 1944.
4 31 Convocations/ Lectures. Speakers. 1945-1946.
4 32 Adult Education Council of Chicago.
4 33 Albert Mornini Music Artist Management.
4 34 American Institute of Family Relations.
4 35 Berger, Joseph.
4 36 Brown Foundation.
4 37 Charles S. Pearson Personalities.
4 38 Club Program Service.
4 39 Concert Management- Matthews, William.
4 40 Dumez, A.H.
4 41 East and West Association.
4 42 Federal Union.
4 43 Films. 1940-1941.
4 44 Films. 1943-1945.
Box Folder Contents
5 1 Hanscom Talent Service.
5 2 Harry Culbertson Inc.
5 3 Horner-Myer Inc.
5 4 League for Fair Play.
5 5 Leigh Bureau of Entertainment.
5 6 Melody Singers.
5 7 Michigan B'nai B'rith Council.
5 8 Microvarium.
5 9 Midwest Assembly.
5 10 National Concert and Artists Corporation.
5 11 National Concert League.
5 12 National Lecture Bureau.
5 13 National Program Service.
5 14 Program.
5 15 Redpath Bureau.
5 16 Sawder, James.
5 17 School Assembly Service.
5 18 Slosson, Preston.
5 19 Sternheim, Emmanuel.
5 20 University of Michigan. Extension Service. Ann Arbor (Mich.)
5 21 WGN Concerts.

Series 3. Personnel Files. RESTRICTED. 1936-1946.

This series consists of 1.5 linear feet of personnel applications for various positions at Ferris Institute. This series is restricted and may only be used with permission of the University Archivist.

The series is arranged alphabetically by job title, and alphabetically within folders by the name of the applicant.

Box Folder Contents
5 22 Job applications. 1936-1937.
5 23 Job applications. 1945-1946.
5 24 Job applications. Athletics Director. A-E. 1940.
5 25 Job applications. Athletics Director. F-K. 1940.
5 26 Job applications. Athletics Director. L-N. 1940.
5 27 Job applications. Athletcis Director. O-Z. 1940.
5 28 Job applications. Athletics Director. 1945.
5 29 Job applications. Biology Department. A-C. 1940.
Box Folder Contents
6 1 Job applications. Biology Department. D-H. 1940.
6 2 Job applications. Biology Department. I-L. 1940.
6 3 Job applications. Biology Department. M-Q. 1940.
6 4 Job applications. Biology Department. R-Z. 1940
6 5 Job applications. Business manager. 1946.
6 6 Job applications. Commercial department. 1937-1938.
6 7 Job applications. Commercial Department. 1940.
6 8 Job applications. Commercial Department. A-O. 1945-1946.
6 9 Job applications. Commercial Department. P-Z. 1945-1946.
6 10 Job applications. Language and Literature Department. 1945-1946.
6 11 Job applications. Librarian. A-M. 1937.
6 12 Job applications. Librarian. N-Z. 1937.
6 13 Job applications. Librarian. 1937.
6 14 Job applications. Mathematics Department. 1943.
6 15 Job applications. Personnel and Guidance. 1945.
6 16 Job applications. Pharmacy. 1936-1939.
6 17 Job applications. Pharmacy. 1944-1946.
6 18 Job applications. Registrar. 1945.
6 19 Job applications. Social Studies Department. A-H. 1941.
6 20 Job applications. Social Studies Department. I-Z. 1941.
6 21 Job applications. Vocational Education Director.1946.
6 22 Faculty credentials. A-L. n.d.
6 23 Faculty credentials M-Z. n.d.