Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence, reports, meeting materials, press releases, and other materials related to the tenure of Francis T. Spaulding as New York State Commissioner of Education.

There is a considerable amount of material related to New York State higher education, and, in particular, the State University of New York. Among these papers are files from the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, including drafts and copies of legislation for the creation of the State University of New York, meeting agenda and minutes, correspondence between Spaulding and other members of the Commission, and confidential memoranda prepared for the Commission on various topics related to higher education in New York State. The collection also contains correspondence, reports, and press releases related to the SUNY Board of Trustees opposition to the Condon-Barrett bill to revise the law governing the State University of New York. Also included are master plans for the State University of New York, transcripts of public hearings relating to SUNY, budget requests for the SUNY system, and annual reports from specific New York State colleges and universities.

The collection also includes records from various interdepartmental committees and commissions on which Commissioner Spaulding served. Among these are records related to the Temporary Commission on the Coordination of State Activities, which from 1947 to 1951 surveyed state agencies, including the State Education Department, to identify operational inefficiencies. Included are reports from the Temporary Commission on the creation of a Department of Public Records for the coordination of record-keeping in state agencies, a proposal for a state program on history; and evaluations of various professional boards within the State Education Department. Also well-documented is the New York State Youth Commission, a group of state department leaders, including Spaulding, responsible for approving funding for programs on juvenile delinquency prevention, day care, youth centers and other out-of-school programs for minors. Included are proposals from counties, schools, cities, and non-profit organizations, Spaulding’s correspondence with other commission members and organizations receiving funding from the commission, meeting minutes, and texts of state legislation affecting youth programs. Also included are correspondence, agenda, meeting minutes, and reports from the Interdepartmental Health Council, which focused on alcoholism, studies of health needs, nursing education, and other public health issues, as well as from the New York State Commission against Discrimination, which focused on sponsoring public programs advocating tolerance, and on the implementation of the Educational Practices Act of 1948, which outlawed discrimination in admissions to New York State private colleges and universities.

The collection also documents Spaulding’s participation in national education organizations. Among these is the National Council of Chief State School Officers, which later would be called the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Documentation of the Council includes correspondence, reports on federal legislative proposals related to increased federal aid for school construction, minutes and agenda of Executive Committee meetings, and reports on issues such as the federal school lunch program, veterans education, teacher education, and the proposed creation of a federal Department of Education. Also included are correspondence, reports, meeting minutes and other materials from the American Council on Education on topics such as standardized testing, including the creation of the Educational Testing Service, and the United States Mission to Germany, which was charged with reconstructing West Germany’s educational system following World War II. Also prominently documented in the collection are the United States Office of Education and the New York State Teachers Association.