A Guide to the Paul H. Farrier Family Papers, 1936-1970 Farrier, Paul H., Family Papers Ms2010-084

A Guide to the Paul H. Farrier Family Papers, 1936-1970

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2010-084


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2010 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Julia Viets, Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Paul H. Farrier Family Papers, 1936-1970
Physical Characteristics
0.6 cu. ft. 1 box; 2 oversized folders
This collection contains materials relating to Paul H. Farrier and his daughter Pence Farrier, a former VPI Director of Admissions and a VPI alumnus, respectively, during the years of 1936 to 1970. Included are administrative papers such as business correspondence and admissions reports as well as general VPI memorabilia for campus events and activities, such as newspaper clippings, invitations, programs, and tickets.

Adminstrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Paul H. Farrier Family Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Paul H. Farrier Family Papers, Ms2010-084, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to Special Collections in 2010.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Paul H. Farrier Family Papers was completed in November 2010.

Biographical Information

Paul H. Farrier was the Director of Admissions at Virginia Tech during the 1950s. He received his B.A. from Emory and Henry College in 1919, his M.A. from the University of Virginia in 1927, and his PhD also from UVA in 1929. Farrier then worked as an assistant English professor at Kentucky Wesleyan College before working as a Virginia Tech English professor for nine years, starting in 1936.

Farrier was the Director of Admissions at VPI for ten years before he became the Executive Secretary for the Virginia State Council of Higher Education for two years in 1956. During his time in the Virginia State Council of Higher Education, Farrier worked on such projects as comparing public university meal prices, restructuring the home economics programs at VPI and Radford, and setting up an accredited school of forestry at Virginia Tech. In October of 1958, Farrier was reinstated as Director of Admissions at VPI and shared his duties with Landon Fuller, who had assumed the position during Farrier's two years leave.

In addition to being in charge of admitting students, Farrier was also involved in the hiring of new faculty positions, student honor court proceedings, gathering student financial aid, working closely with high school officials, and dropping students based on poor behavior or academics. He was deeply passionate about being generous and inclusive with admissions, often admitting unqualified but motivated students to a 'basic program.' Farrier often referenced the value of this 'basic program' in his correspondence with President Newman; the program allowed unprepared freshman students to be admitted as undeclared majors if they took a lighter course load and received close counseling. Farrier believed that under-performing students should not be barred from receiving a higher education or be dropped, but instead should be kept in closer contact with. This generous attitude invited criticisms throughout Farrier's career; one high school principal even told him, "the VPI graduate murders the King's English and lets it lie in its gore." Such negative attitudes were further perpetuated by the fact that VPI offered practical, less refined degrees, such as those in agriculture and business. Later in his career, Farrier implemented a more selective admissions process, eliminating the bottom ten percent of the applicant pool and phasing out the 'basic' program.

Receiving criticism and opposition were not the only difficulties Farrier faced in his career as Director of Admissions at VPI. The college application process was an evolving landscape that he had to continually adjust to. Because he received applications from students from a variety of backgrounds, Farrier was instrumental in increasing the use of college aptitude tests as to better screen students beyond those that came from out of state. Farrier was also continually worried about admitted students' maturity levels and the college adjustment process; thus, he helped set up student counseling programs to solve such worries. Additionally, Farrier was plagued by the departure of some of the best VPI students as they transferred elsewhere on scholarships; he worked hard to increase financial aid opportunities to keep such students. Other difficulties included facing applicant opposition towards the military aspects of VPI and battling the lack of dorm space available for increasingly enlarged freshman classes. For all these difficulties, Farrier maintained that increasing good public relations was part of the solution.

Pence Farrier, the daughter of Paul H. Farrier, graduated from Virginia Tech in 1953. She also attended Randolph-Macon Women's College. At Virginia Tech, Pence attended many dances and was a YMCA cabinet member and the secretary of Maroon Mask in her senior year. Shortly after graduation, she married Roy Howard Ellis, another VPI alumnus.

Scope and Content

This collection contains materials dated from 1936 to 1970 relating to Paul Farrier during his time as Director of Admissions at VPI and his daughter, Pence Farrier, during her time as an undergraduate student at VPI. Administrative materials include business correspondence, admissions reports, and newspaper clippings. Various VPI memorabilia items are also included in this collection and largely pertain to Pence Farrier's college days: most items are invitations, programs, and tickets relating to such activities as athletics, dances, memorials, and commencements.


This collection is arranged by material type into two series: Series I: Administrative Files and Series II: VPI Memorabilia.

Series I: Administrative Files, 1936-1966, contains three folders arranged by subject matter; within each topic, materials are arranged chronologically whenever possible. Materials in this series include business correspondence, newspaper clippings relating to Farrier's appointment as Executive Secretary for the Virginia State Council of Higher Education, and VPI admissions reports.

Series II: VPI Memorabilia, 1941-1970, contains twelve folders as well as two oversized folders arranged by subject matter; within each topic, materials are arranged chronologically whenever possible. Materials within this series consist of artifacts, invitations, tickets, programs, and news clippings relating to campus events and activities such as sports, dances, memorials, concerts, retirements, plays, and commencements.

Index Terms


  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Local Subjects:

  • University Archives

Contents List

Series I: Administrative Files, 1936-1966.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-1
    Mr. & Mrs. Paul Farrier Correspondence & Papers, 1936-1966.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-2 to 1-3 (2 folders)
    Office of Admissions, 1955-1964.
Series II: VPI Memorabilia, 1941-1970.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-4
    Dedications & Memorials, 1941-1969.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-5
    Proms/YMCA Dances, 1945-1951.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-6
    Cotillion Club, 1949-1957.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-7
    Community Concert Association, 1950-1953.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-8
    New Student Information Materials, 1950-1970.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-9
    VPI Artifacts, 1951.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-10
    Commencement, 1951-1953.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-11
    Maroon Mask Productions, 1952-1953.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-12
    German Club Dances, 1952-1953, 1955.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-13
    Corps of Cadets/ROTC, 1964.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-14
    Omicron Delta Kappa, 1952-1966.
  • Folder Box-folder: 1-15
    Retired Faculty in the News, 1964,1966.
  • Oversize Folder 1
    VPI Athletics, 1950-1965.
  • Oversize Folder 2
    Ring Dance, 1951-1952.