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President. Dr. William Joseph Martin, Jr. Records, 1913-1929

Identifier: RG02-11

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of correspondence including both incoming and copies of outgoing letters. As president, Martin corresponded with parents of students, students, and alumni. The correspondence with parents and students generally concerns academic preparation, discipline, and student activities. These letters also discuss conditions at the college during World War I and the Student's Army Training Corps. Correspondence with alumni frequently concerns references for jobs and graduate schools. In addition, there is extensive correspondence with college agents responsible for recruiting students and raising funds; with the presidents of other colleges, particularly Wake Forest, Hampton-Sidney, Trinity, William and Lee, and Hangchow Christian College, concerning such issues as hazing, debates, entrance requirements, and examinations; and with faculty about housing, hiring, and departmental needs. Specific departments mentioned in the collection include English, German, Theater, and Spanish. There are also letters from professional associations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the Association of Southern Schools and Colleges, and the Southern Association of College Women and with various departments of the Presbyterian Church. There is also information concerning the establishing of a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at Davidson, the activities of national and local chapters of the YMCA, and the founding of the Single Standard of Morals League of America by Edward B. Smith. Individuals represented in the collection include college personnel Cornelia Shaw, Walter Lingle, Mark Sentelle, and F.L. Jackson; former presidents John Bunyan Shearer and Henry Louis Smith; alumni and architect Robert F. Smallwood; Presbyterian Church officer Henry Hayes Sweets; and evangelist Billy Sunday. In Box 1, folder A contains correspondence with C. B. Alexander, a blind student and accounts of the formation of the first Alumni Association chapter in Atlanta, Georgia. The folder Architects contains information about faculty homes and campus buildings. In Box 2, Folder Ba-Bl has information on international students, limits on the college's baseball team games, the Roger Babson controversy within the Laymen's Missionary movement in 1921 correspondence with William Jennings Bryan, and teaching the Bible in public schools. Folder Ca-Can has correspondence related to Camp Sapphire in western North Carolina. In Box 3, Folder Cas-Caz has correspondence concerning a discussion of the Catholic Church at the Presbyterian Conference in 1912. The Ch folder contains information related to the Presbyterian Christian Education and Ministerial Relief Committee and church attendance. In Box 4, Folder Ci-Cl has information on class reunions, Coa-Col contains references to coal companies and the price of coal in 1914 and the Com-Cor has correspondence from the Commission on Interchurch Relations (1918-1919) and the Commission on Interchurch Relations. C. B. Craig was one of the recruiting agents for the college. In Box 5, Folder Da has correspondence relating the transition of the Danville Military institute into a Presbyterian high school and a letter from J. W. Davis, a missionary in Soochow, China (1912). The Davidson College-General file has a typescript of Laws Governing Internal Administration, 1912-13." These are student regulations described by Martin as?Almost none are new, but have been enacted from time to time for years past and never heretofore collected together.? There are also reports from the Sanitation committee and correspondence with other colleges, particularly concerning enrollment issues. The Davidson League folder concerns fund raising, while the Davidson's Water supply folder concerns both sanitation and fire protection. The correspondence with J. M. Douglas addresses some athletic issues while the letters from John L. Douglas concern college finances. The Dramatics folder contains correspondence with Edwin Shewmake on reestablishing drama on campus. In Box 6, the EV folder has letters concerning evangelism within the Presbyterian Church and early concerns over the teaching of Evolution. The Fezter folder contains additional references to Camp Sapphire, while the Few folder has correspondence with the President of Trinity College. The Fi folder includes letters on college finances and firearms on campus. The Football folder has letters reflecting changes brought by WWI , particularly the issue of students playing on SATC teams and then going back to high school. The GE folder has correspondence with General Electric company. In Box 7, the Gl-Go has correspondence with the glee club and the Gr folder has information on grading policies. The Ha-Ham folder has letters from W. C. Hammer, US Attorney discussing Davidson's status as a military program. The letters in the Hangchow Christian College folder discuss an advisory committee and finding teachers for the college. The Har folder has correspondence from J. M. Harden, a recruiting agent for school in 1912 and from J. C. Harper regarding plans for incorporating SATC training to the college programs.. The Houses folder has information on faculty housing and rentals of local homes. In Box 8, the Hu folder has correspondence about fraternities on campus as of December 1918 and the qualifications required for joining. Folder I has letters concerning the Interchurch World Movement and the influenza epidemic of 1918. The Industrial Relations folder has correspondence relating to strikes and education. The Invitations folder contains requests to President Martin for speaking engagements and activities at other institutions . In Box 9, the Ju folder has letters concerning Junior speaking. The Landscape Architecture folder has correspondence with John Nolen. The Laymen's Missionary Movement folder has general correspondence along with executive committee minutes. The LE folder has letters concerning the League of Nations and the League of Peace. The T. W. Lingle folder has letters from the professor while in Europe. The W. L. Lingle correspondence relates to Board of Trustee business, including decisions about SATC, filling vacant faculty positions, closing of fraternities and the future of the college. In Box 11, the Colonel Martin folder contains testimonials to Martin's father. The Martin-Addresses Folder contains a typescript of "A Fundamental Factor in the Work of the church," while the Martin, Pres. WJ- Deeds refers to personal deeds to his family lots. The Finances file is strictly family accounts. The Family letters primarily concern his daughters' educations. The Letters -Cottages folder concerns private properties at Montreat and Blowing Rock and reflect family vacation patterns and practices. The Letters - General folder has correspondence with Cornelia Shaw concerning college and church matters. The Letters to Faculty contains references to opening of Laundry in 1920 and space issues. The Personal letters folders contains additional correspondence with Cornelia Shaw on college business, insurance, and cottages. The Martin, W. J. Jr folders has letters to and from his son referring primarily to his college education. Harold Marvin was another college recruiter. In Box12, the Mor-Moz folder contains correspondence with his sister Mrs. Sloop. The No folder has information on the North Carolina Medical College. In Box 13, the Pe folder contains several student petitions to the college and to the Southern Railroad. The Pr folder has correspondence from various Presbyterian organizations and committees. The Re folder has letters relating to the establishment of Grey Road through the Reynolds property. In Box 14, the Reports to Trustee file has a draft of the Nine Year Program proposal and Trustee correspondence in the Roddey file. The Capen Report on colleges in North Carolina contains a chart comparing various colleges in the state. In Box 15, the S.A.T.C. folder contains information on the establishment of the program as well as letters concerning R.O.T.C and the hiring of military science professors. The Shewmake folder has correspondence discusses his hiring and English department. There are no theatre references in this folder. The Si folder has letters from the Single Standard of Morals League of America, while the Sl folder has correspondence with Louise Sloan (1914). The Egbert Smith correspondence relates to Executive Committee of Fforeign Missions of Presbyterian church in the US. The Henry L. Smith file has information on the presidential transition between Smith and Martin and SATC issues at Davidson and Washington and Lee. In Box 16, the So folder has correspondence with Southern Railroad. The Student body, size of folder has letters from other colleges in response to Martin?s query about the best size for small college. The Su folder has Billy Sunday correspondence. The Sweets folder has letters concerning Presbyterian church committees, especially the Christian Education and Ministerial Relief Committee. The Synods folder has correspondence with the various synods supporting the college usually concerning the election of trustees. The Sw-Sz folder has letters from the Systematic Beneficence Committee. In Box 17, the Trustees folder is mostly about appointments, with some letters on the condition of college, Annuity bonds and fund raising. The Tufts folder has correspondence from both the father and son. Tufts senior is president of Lees-McRae Institute, his son attended Davidson class of 1922. The U folder has letters concerning the United Missionary Campaign and the YMCA?s United War Work Campaign. The Vardell folder contains family correspondence concerning vacations and also some letters discussing issues at private colleges while Vardell was president of Flora McDonald College. F. P. Venable was president of UNC Chapel Hill and Wagner is a new professor of Public Speaking. In Box 18, the Webb folder contains correspondence with the Congressional representative for district, the Whaling folder has correspondence with the president of Columbia Theological Seminary and the Wilson folder has more about college admissions and recruitment efforts. The Woodrow Wilson file contains letters discussing college plans related to the president inauguration. There is no correspondence from him The W. W.Wood file relates to the hiring of a professor of astronomy and the acquisition of equipment. See also DC028"


  • Creation: 1913 - 1929


Biographical / Historical

William Joseph Martin, 1868-1943 was the tenth president of Davidson College. He was born in Columbia, Tennessee but his family moved to Davidson in 1870. His father, Col. William J. Martin was a professor of Natural Sciences at Davidson College and also served as acting president in 1887-1888. William Martin was graduated from Davidson in 1888 and earned an M.A. the following year. In 1890, he earned his M.D. degree from the University of Viriginia and in 1894 received a Ph.D. He returned to Davidson in 1896 as Chambers Professor of Chemistry, as position he held until 1912, when he became president of the college. During his tenure as president the college experienced two major fires resulting in the loss of the Old Chambers Building and Watts dormitory. Martin also saw student enrollment double from 300 to over 600 students and expanded the faculty by fifteen additional positions despite the changes caused by World War I. In 1929, he retired from the presidency of Davidson and became the president of the Assembly Training School in Richmond, Virginia. Martin also served as moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. and was active in the Laymen's Missionary Movement.


18.00 boxes (18 boxes; 1 oversize Mapcase D-10 - poster for a capital campaign)




The collection is organized into a single series arranged alphabetically by subject.

Physical Location

Archives Range A Section 3

Mapcase D-10

Immediate Source of Acquisition

President's Office

Related Materials

Davidson College - History

Shearer, John Bunyan, 1831-1918

Chambers Building (Old Chambers)

Fraternities - Academic

Phi Beta Kappa


Watts Dormitory

World War I

Theatre Department



President's Office

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the College Archives Repository