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Wayne State University Office of the President Clarence B. Hilberry Records

Identifier: WSR000001

Scope and Content

The Clarence Beverly Hilberry Collection documents: • multifaceted aspects of Hilberry’s presidency • Wayne prior to his presidency (1952) • academic and administrative organization and reorganization • public attitudes and the academic environment during McCarthyism • academic freedom, student and faculty investigations, communism, and outside speaker (Communist) policy • legislation affecting Wayne and higher education in Michigan • effort to gain state aid and, ultimately, state control • transition from a municipal to a state university • increased attention to research • increased attention to public relations • matters presented to the Detroit Board of Education and the Wayne State University Board of Governors for information and/or action • University budgets • faculty, personnel policies, and labor organizations • growth, development, policies and activities of colleges and University units • student social and political activities, discipline, scholarships, and financial aids in particular from the late 1940s to mid 1950s • University Council and University committees • campus planning and development, building construction, and fiscal constraints • awards and events • non-Wayne colleges and universities • involvement with foundations and civic, private and higher education professional organizations • Hilberry’s public role as President and University representative • Hilberry’s service to professional, civic, cultural and social organizations
Important subjects: Academic Calendar Academic Freedom Accreditation; College and School Accreditation; University Administration, University Admissions Advisory Committee Admissions Office Admissions and Records Office Adult Education Aeronautical Engineering Department Affiliations/Agreements Affiliations; Medicine Alumni Relations Office American Association of Land Grant Colleges and State Universities American Association of University Professors American Council on Education American Youth for Democracy Applied Management and Technology Center Associated Midwest Universities Association of American Colleges Association of American Universities Association of Governing Boards and Presidents of State Colleges and Universities of Michigan Association of Urban Universities Associations, Higher Education Athletics Awards Board of Governors, Wayne State University Budgets, College and School Budget, University Buildings Business Administration, School of Businessmen’s Advisory Committee (Business Administration) Calendar, Committee on the Campus Development Chemistry Department Citizen’s Committee on Higher Education (State of Michigan) Civil Defense Civil Defense Committee (University) Civil Rights Classes Cohn Building Commencement Committees, University Communism Community Arts Building Community Colleges Community Relations (with Wayne) Computation Laboratory Computing Center Council of Deans Cranbrook School Degree, Doctoral Degrees Granted Departments, University Detroit Detroit Adventure Detroit Board of Education Detroit Council of Veterans Detroit Educational Television Foundation Detroit Institute of Technology Discrimination Discrimination; Fraternity and Sorority Discriminatory Clauses Discrimination; School of Social Work Economic Club of Detroit Economics Department Education, College of Emancipation Proclamation Centennial Committee (University) Engineering, College of English Department Faculty Faculty Dismissal/Suspension Faculty Governance Farm, University (See: Schmidt Foundation Farm) Federation of Teachers, Wayne State University Fellowships Financial Aid, Student Ford Foundation Foundations Fraternities Fraternities; Discriminatory Clauses Fringe Benefits Gifts Graduate Division Graduate School Grants Harrison, Gerald Health Service, University Higher Education Historic Marker Dedication (WSU) Honorary Degrees Hospitals Housing Institute of Industrial Relations Insurance International Education Journalism Department Junior Colleges Kellogg Foundation Kresge Foundation Kresge-Hooker Scientific Library Kresge-Hooker Scientific Library Associates Labor Unions Law School Legislation Legislation, Federal Legislation, Higher Education Legislation, Junior College Legislation, State of Michigan Legislative Study Committee on Higher Education (State of Michigan) Liberal Arts, College of Library Building, Kresge Science Libraries, University Mackenzie Hall (See: Student Center) Material Management Center (Business Administration) McGregor Fund McGregor Memorial Conference Center Medical Science Building Medicine, School of Medicine, School of; Admissions Medicine, School of; Affiliations Meisner, Lorraine Michigan Council of State Presidents Michigan, State of Michigan State University Michigan, University of Monteith College Mortuary Science Music Department (Liberal Arts) Music Education Department National Commission on Accrediting North Central Association Nursing, College of Nursing, College of ; Building Plans Office Personnel Association, Wayne State University Outside Speaker Policy (WSU) Personnel Pharmacy, School of Phi Beta Kappa Physics Department Policies, University Post-War Planning Committee (University, World War II) PRESCAD (Pre-school, School, and Adolescent Children) President-Deans Conference Presidents Athletic Conference Program Planning Committee Protests/Complaints Psychology Department Religious Center Building Religious Education Research Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Retirement Rights and Responsibilities Committee Ruthven Study Commission (State of Michigan) Sabbatical Leaves Salaries Schmidt Foundation Farm (University) Scholarships and Financial Aid Science and Engineering Advisory Committee (University) Science Hall Selective Service Shapero Hall of Pharmacy Social Work, School of Social Work, School of; Discrimination Sororities Sororities; Discriminatory Clauses Speaker Policy, Outside (WSU) State Aid State Hall Stein, Irving Student Activities Student Activities; Political Student Activities Committee Student Center Student Discipline Student Government Student Organizations Student Personnel, Division of Student-Faculty Council Students Students, Disadvantaged Students, International Students, Minority Students, Women Summer School Teaching Television Tenure Thailand Project Tuition Theater University Council Wayne State Fund Wayne State University Wayne State University Press Wayne University Wayne University Foundation Webster Hall (See: Student Center)
Series Description: Series I: Administration, 1937-1966; Boxes 1-18 Files relating to administrators, President’s staff meetings, the Detroit Board of Education, Wayne State University Board of Governors, University budget and personnel. The personnel files mainly deal with academic personnel, issues, policies, and labor organizations.

Series subjects include: academic freedom, administrative salaries, communism, dismissal proceedings for two faculty members, presidential selection, state aid, state control, and Wayne’s history and organization.

Additional material on subjects in Series I is found throughout the collection. Material on state control and state aid is located in Series V (Government and State Aid); on academic freedom, dismissal proceedings and communism in Series III (Councils and Committees) and Series VII (General Subjects and Correspondence); on or from faculty in Series VII.

Series II: Wayne Colleges, Schools, Divisions and Other Units, 1928, 1930, 1933-1966; Boxes 19-57 The series contains excellent material documenting, growth, development, policies, activities and organizational changes. It also provides excellent documentation on all aspects of student life, in particular from the late 1940s to mid 1950s. Files include material on social and political activities, discriminatory clauses in student organizations, and student discipline.

The series includes inter-college and University wide programs, special projects, and non-academic units. There is considerable material prior to 1950.

Series III: Councils and Committees, 1936-1964; Boxes 58-65 Material on the Council of Deans, Graduate Professional Council, President-Deans Conference, University Council, and mainly Wayne committees.

The University Council was the faculty governance body concerned with the formulation and review of educational policy affecting the University as a whole. It also recommend policies affecting faculty rights and responsibilities, faculty welfare, and the principles of academic freedom and tenure. The Council files include its Rights and Responsibilities Committee. The Committee was involved in the dismissal proceedings of Gerald Harrison and Irving Stein--- faculty members who took the Fifth Amendment during House Un-American Activities Committee investigations. The “Committee” files cover a broad range of topics including academic calendar, admissions, athletics, civil defense, long range planning, and research.

Series IV: Campus Development, 1940-1964; Boxes 66-71 The series gives a good overview of campus planning and development, student housing needs, and information on specific buildings. It also reflects Wayne’s continual struggle for space and the financial constraints which affected that struggle.

Series V: Government and State Aid, 1935-1965; Boxes 72-78 Correspondence, clippings, memos, reports, and financial data which mainly relate to federal, state and local government activities and legislation affecting higher education and Wayne. The series also documents the University’s efforts to gain state aid and, ultimately, state control.

There is material on junior colleges; the Ruthven Study Commission which recommended that Wayne become a state institution; two important Michigan committees---the Legislative Study Committee on Higher Education (1956-1960) and the Citizen’s Committee on Higher Education (1963-1965); and State and Science Halls and the Medical Science Building.

Series VI: Awards and Events, 1936, 1939-1964; Boxes 79-92 Mainly files on alumni awards, honorary degrees, commencement, honorary degree convocations and President Hilberry’s inauguration. There are also files on University representation at various ceremonies and events.

Series VII: General Subjects and Correspondence, 1935-1965; Boxes 93-120 The series includes correspondence, clippings, memos, and reports. There is significant information on a variety of subjects including: “Cold War” issues of communism, outside speaker policy, individuals and student organizations identified with Communism, and academic freedom; the Collegian (student newspaper); community and junior colleges; discrimination; international students including Nisei; gifts and grants; Phi Beta Kappa; University policies; public relations; and research.

The “Correspondence” files cover many subjects from a broad range of constituents including faculty members, business and civic leaders, and the general public. Some letters request President Hilberry investigate faculty members for communistic tendencies,

Series VIII: Non-Wayne Colleges and Universities, 1935-1964; Boxes 121-124 Mainly correspondence between Wayne and other colleges and universities although there are some non-higher education institutions included. The files contain responses for information on Wayne’s programs, departments, faculty governance, and policies as well as higher education issues. There also is information on cooperative institutional efforts and proposed programs.

Additional material on junior and community colleges is located in Series V (Government and State Aid) and Series VII (General Subjects and Correspondence).

Series IX: Associations and Organizations, 1933-1966; Boxes 125-147 The series reflects Wayne’s relationships with civic, cultural, and higher education professional associations and organizations as well as foundations. It also provides policy and operational information for these organizations. Subjects in the series include: accreditation, athletics, American Association of University Women, Association of American Universities, Michigan Council of State College Presidents, North Central Association, psychiatric nursing, and the Southeastern Michigan Metropolitan Community Research Corporation.

The series is particularly important for its rich documentation of Wayne from the 1930s through the mid 1940s. There is some Executive Vice-President David D. Henry correspondence. Henry later became Wayne’s first president in 1945. The foundation files illustrate Wayne’s efforts during the same period to obtain funding for various programs including social science research in the Detroit area and Library of Congress cards for the library.

Additional material on associations and organizations is located in Series X (President Clarence Beverly Hilberry).

Series X: President Clarence Beverly Hilberry, 1947-1965; Boxes 148-177 Although there is some personal material, the series predominately reflects Hilberry’s public role as President and University representative. There are awards, speeches, articles, correspondence files, and programs which Hilberry attended. The membership files illustrate Hilberry’s leadership and dedicated work with professional, cultural, civic, and social organizations via his membership and/or service on their boards.


  • 1928
  • 1930 - 1966


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Clarence B. Hilberry was named Acting President of Wayne University in September, 1952. He served as Wayne’s fourth President from July 1, 1953 until his retirement on July 1, 1965. Wayne University, a municipal institution, became Wayne State University, a state institution, in April of 1956. Hilberry came to Wayne in 1930 as an instructor in the Department of English and, in 1939, became the head of the Department. He was appointed Dean of Administration of the University in 1945, serving in that position until his appointment to the presidency. Prior to coming to Detroit, he taught English at Albion College (1925-1927) and at the Y.M.C.A. College in Chicago (1927-1930).

After his 1965 retirement from Wayne, Hilberry accepted the position of educational consultant to the Ford Foundation in New York City. He died of a heart attack on January 10, 1966 at age 63. University memorials honoring President Clarence Beverly Hilberry for his leadership and dedication include the Hilberry Classic Theatre, the Hilberry Theatre (building), the “Law Window” in St. Andrews Hall, a sugar maple at the corner of Cass and Hancock, and the University Professorship renamed the Clarence Hilberry University Professor.

President Hilberry earned his bachelor’s (1924) and master’s (1925) degrees from Oberlin College. He received his doctorate degree (1930) from the University of Chicago with a major in English Literature. While President, Hilberry was awarded honorary degrees from Albion College, Michigan State University, Oberlin College, Cleary College, Hillsdale College, Detroit Institute of Technology, and Assumption University of Windsor.

Clarence Hilberry was active in many professional associations. He was President of the Association of Urban Universities and worked extensively with the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Because of his contributions, he was elected an honorary member of the North Central Association, an honor equivalent to an earned degree in education statesmanship. Hilberry also served on the boards of many local cultural and social agencies including Detroit Adventure, Cranbrook School, Economic Club of Detroit, and the United Foundation. For additional biographical information, see box 148, folders 1 and 2.


88 Linear Feet (177 MB, 1 OS)


Files for Hilberry’s tenure as Wayne President as well as some files from his position as Dean of Administration. Served as President from July 1, 1953 until retirement on July 1, 1965.

Hilberry began in 1930 at Wayne as an instructor in the English Department. In 1939, he became head of the English Department. In 1945, he was appointed Dean of Administration of the University, serving in that position until he was appointed to university president.


Arranged in 10 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-10), Series 2 (Boxes 19-57), Series 3 (Boxes 58-65), Series 4 (Boxes 66-71), Series 5 (Boxes 72-78), Series 6 (Boxes 79-92), Series 7 (Boxes 93-120), Series 8 (Boxes 121-124), Series 9 (Boxes 125-147), and Series 10 (Boxes 148-177). See individual series for organization.


The papers of President Clarence Beverly Hilberry were placed in the University Archives in eleven shipments from 1959 to 1967.


Nine negatives and the following black and white prints relating to campus development have been transferred to the University Archives audiovisual collection:

Suren Pilafian --mainly renderings 1943 Student Center Building (2 views) 1944 Student Center Building (interior) 1945 Classroom Building (State Hall) (2 views) 1946 Classroom Building (State Hall) 1946 Classroom Building (State Hall) (floor plans for 4 floors, 2 exterior views) 1949 Kresge Science Library 1950 General (Purdy) Library 1943 model of proposed campus (2 views) 1946 proposed campus (2 views) 1946 proposed location of new buildings c1940s partial photograph of Pilafian

Buford L. Pickens 1944 Cultural Center model (2 views)

Other material c1945/1946 model of campus 1946 Science Building n.d. proposed Law School

Photographs prior to 1947 aerial view of campus c1950 State Hall (2 exterior views) c1950 Science Hall (2 exterior views) c1950 College of Nursing (house at 5257 Cass Avenue) c1950s Chatsworth Apartments (exterior) cMay-July 1955 aerial view of Lodge/Ford Freeways interchange construction

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Wayne State University Office of the President Clarence B. Hilberry Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA