Records of the Office of the Chancellor (Henry MacCracken)
Language of Materials
The Records of the Henry M. MacCracken Administration have been divided into nine series containing materials that pertain to MacCracken's activities as vice chancellor and chancellor of New York University.
The advent of Henry Mitchell MacCracken as sixth chancellor marked a turning point in the history of New York University. MacCracken had been ordained as a Presbyterian minister, but he already had cast his lot with higher education. In the late 1860s he had spent a year of study in Germany where he became acquainted with German practice in the development of graduate study. Based upon this experience he would eventually stress the importance of adding postgraduate work to the curriculum in the arts and sciences at New York University.
Since 1880 he had been Chancellor of the Western University of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pittsburgh). MacCracken came to New York University as Professor of Philosophy, but in June 1885, he was appointed Vice Chancellor. The circumstances of his appointment made it clear that the Council of New York University and especially the acting Chancellor, the Reverend John Hall, were grooming the newcomer for the Chancellorship, which he assumed in 1891.
As Chancellor of New York University from 1891 until 1910, MacCracken oversaw the purchase of the University Heights Campus and the construction of the present-day Main Building at Washington Square. He was also responsible for the reorganization of the Law School and the Medical School and the establishment of the Graduate School, the School of Pedagogy, the College of Engineering, the School of Commerce, and the Collegiate Division. In being both clergyman and educator, MacCracken symbolized the transition of the University from a small educational operation to one that in scope, organization, and administration laid the basis of the twentieth-century University.
All nine series are arranged topically.
This collection has been organized into nine series.
- Academic Administration
- Physical Plant
- Student Affairs and Activities
- External Relations
- Public Relations
- Alumni Affairs and Activities
- Honorary Degrees
Scope and Content
The collection consists of correspondence, reports, minutes, financial records, printed material, architectural plans and drawings, newspaper clippings, photographs, and notebooks pertaining to MacCracken's activities as Vice Chancellor and Chancellor of New York University from 1884-1910.
Open to researchers.
There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact New York University Archives, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012.
Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); Records of the Office of the Chancellor (Henry MacCracken); RG 3.0.3; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.
The administrative records of Henry Mitchell MacCracken were transferred from the Chancellor's office of New York University to Gould Memorial Library on the University Heights campus following the retirement of MacCracken in 1910. The records, including personal papers of MacCracken, were added to the New York University Historical Collection, which was housed in the Treasurer Room of the library. With the closing of the Heights campus in 1973, the Historical Collection was transferred to the Washington Square campus of the University, where it formed the nucleus of the University Archives.
Maps, blueprints and diagrams have been removed from the collection and stored in map cases. For more information on various buildings of the University Heights campus, consult the Buildings Collection in the New York University Archives.