A Guide to the Papers of the Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, 1927-1953 Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Papers RG-2/4/1.891, RG-2/4/1.892

A Guide to the Papers of the Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, 1927-1953

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession Number RG-2/4/1.891, RG-2/4/1.892


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
RG-2/4/1.891, RG-2/4/1.892
Papers of the Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia 1927-1953
Physical Characteristics
148 boxes.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of the Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Accession #RG-2/4/1.891, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

This collection was transferred to University Archives on March 3, 1989.

Biographical/Historical Information

The Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia was founded in 1927 by University President Edwin A. Alderman and Professor Charles G. Maphis. Prof. Maphis served as director of the Institute until his death in 1938. Successive directors were Professors Robert K. Gooch (1938), Hardy C. Dillard (1939-1941), Oron J. Hale (1942), and George B. Zehmer (1950-1953). The meetings of the Institute were organized with the cooperation and participation of President Alderman and his first two successors as University President, John L. Newcomb and Colgate W. Darden. According to its Statement of Purpose, "The Institute of Public Affairs [was] designed to advance the popular understanding of current public questions. [It] propose[d] to emphasize particularly the domestic problems of the United States and to have them discussed in a broad and competent fashion by men charged with the task of public administration and by those who are actively engaged in public affairs." The Institute of Public Affairs was modeled on the Institute of Politics at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, which dealt primarily with international issues. To avoid conflict, the Institute of Public Affairs confined itself to local, state, regional, and national issues until after the Institute of Politics was discontinued, whereupon the Institute began to employ discussions of foreign affairs. The Institute initially convened each summer for two weeks, usually between the months of June and July. Later, the length of the program was shortened to one week. The Institute met annually from 1927 until 1942, when it was temporarily discontinued due to the exigencies of the war. It was reconvened in 1950, and continued to meet annually until it was discontinued after the twentieth meeting in 1953.

Extraordinarily timely and unique in its style and format, the Institute hosted some of the most prominent statesmen in the nation and the world. The meetings of the Institute were originally organized into Morning Addresses, Afternoon Panel Discussions, and Evening Addresses. A "Round Table" format was used to organize the morning and afternoon sessions into particular themes which were spread out across the course of the Institute. After the death of Professor Maphis, the format was modified into Morning Addresses, Afternoon Addresses, and Evening Addresses, with a specific theme for each of the Morning and Afternoon sessions. Evening addresses became less-structured in order to cater to the tastes and interests of the speakers.

Scope and Content

This collection consists chiefly of correspondence, proceedings, manuscripts of speeches, registration cards, news letters manuscripts, and clippings. Correspondents include: Everett Ross Clinchy, Fred Essery, Frank Fuller, Henry (Harry) Augustus Garfield, Frank S. Hopkins, Edwin L. James, Charles Gilmore Maphis, William Emmet Moore, and John Sharp Williams.


The papers of the Institute contain two record group numbers (RG-2/4/1.891 and RG-2/4/1.892) and one manuscript classification number (2792-a), but all folders are interfiled with RG-2/4/1.891. Groups I-III consist of RG-2/4/1.891. Group IV consists entirely of RG-2/4/1.892. Group V consists of manuscript classification number 2792-a. Folders transferred from the Papers of the University Bursar (original manuscript classification number 8692-y) are interfiled into boxes 92 & 93. Also included in the collection are original manuscript collection numbers 1540-a, 1540-b. For more information, please see University Archives Control Folder RG-2/4.

Contents List

Series I: Clippings
Boxes: 1-16
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Series II: Original Manuscripts-Round Table, Open Forum, Special Conference
Boxes: 17-53
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Series III: Correspondance and Miscellaneous Records
Boxes: 54-145