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Hugh Borton presidential papers

Identifier: HCB-001-010

Scope and Contents

Hugh Borton's papers, document some of his accomplishments. However they are only a small and random sampling of files and there is no evidence of several of his undertakings.

His efforts to sway the various college constituencies toward an expanded student body are found in the files on "Inauguration," the 1959 "Guide for Planning the Future [Size] of Haverford College," the "College Plan Committee," and "Expansion." There is nothing on the resulting fundraising or construction. The "Board of Managers Committee on Research Contracts," "Chemistry," and "Government Units" files are indicative of the college's deliberations over accepting funds related to military activity and actions with regard to Vietnam protestors. "National Defense Education Act" correspondence reveals more concern with governmental interference, and the "National Association of Student Personnel Administration" provides material on his speech on maintaining student freedoms at a small college. There are three files on "Three-College Cooperation" and the "Asian Studies" program was an additional project in which Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore participated.

In "Miscellaneous Topics" there is correspondence with potential speakers at Haverford, among whom were Martin Luther King and Archibald MacLeish.

Two series contain information on Borton's activities that were unrelated to his presidency. The Affiliations series has material on his efforts to enhance cultural relations between the United States and Japan, including the "East-West Center National Review Board" and the three "U.S.-Japan Cultural Conferences." Borton's works with the American Friends Service and in encouraging international studies in higher learning are also found in this series.

A smaller series on Borton's pre-Haverford presidency gives some documentation of his scholarly endeavors, most notably his correspondence with Arnold Toynbee and others as a contributor to the Royal Institute of International Affairs Survey of International Affairs, 1939-1946: The Far East, 1942-1946, (Oxford University Press, 1955). There is also a file of congratulatory letters on his Haverford appointment.


  • Creation: 1942-1967
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1957-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Permission for all access must be obtained from the College Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.


Hugh Borton took on the office of Haverford president in June, 1957. Borton was a 1926 graduate of the College, after which he turned to the study of Japan, teaching, working for the U. S. Department of State in preparing for peace, and leading several U.S.-Asia organizations. Previous to his Haverford appointment he had been a professor of Japanese and director of the East Asian Institute at Columbia University.

Borton was characterized as quiet, inconspicuous, and "unimaginative," but he was responsible for many significant decisions made during his administration. In his inaugural speech he contradicted the direction that his more dynamic predecessor had set, and declared that if Haverford "refuses to enlarge its student body, it will be neglecting its responsibility to society." Expansion of the college would be his primary undertaking, convincing the college community to set a goal of growing from 450 to 700 students by 1970. With this expectation, he launched a program of campus construction and improvement and a fundraising campaign for $3.6 million. At the time of his departure a new dormitory (Gummere) and the new science building (Stokes Hall), were completed, along with renovations to Sharpless and Hall buildings. Under construction were a major addition to the library and the Dining Center. Plans were ready for three additional dormitories (Jones, Lunt, Comfort).

Borton was recognized for other contributions. He was a "champion of academic freedom and civil rights," in his refusal to accept government tuition loans that required a loyalty oath and standing steadfast in support of Vietnam protestors in the face of FBI investigations. He oversaw an increase in faculty salaries, benefits, and research grants, the last despite a policy of refusing to accept money from the Defense Department. New positions of Dean and Provost were established. Additional cooperation with Bryn Mawr (including the shuttle bus), Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania broadened the curriculum. Several changes affecting student life were made, and the elimination of required attendance at Fifth Day Meeting was considered radical.

Hugh Borton left Haverford College in June 1967 to return to his scholarship, maintaining an association with Columbia University. Borton died in 1995.


7.98 linear ft. (19 boxes)

Language of Materials



The papers of Hugh Borton, Haverford's president from 1957 to 1967, are arranged in three series. The Alphabetical series consists of a small and random selection of his office files. They help to document Borton's efforts to move the college to an expanded student body, his support of academic freedom from government intrusions, and a growing cooperative program with Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges. The Affiliations series relate to his work with U.S.-Asian, particularly U.S.-Japanese, organizations, the Society of Friends, and higher education groups. The third series is a small group of files on some of his activities before assuming the Haverford presidency.

Custodial History

Borton's files appear to have been transferred to the archives in a random fashion. Some have notes indicating that Borton, in an effort to clean his files, had reviewed them and identified them for transfer. Some files were transferred from the Coleman files where they were presumably kept for reference. Some files were found in a transfer of Provosts records, and some came from other offices entirely.


The Spirit and the Intellect: Haverford College, 1833-1983 (Haverford, PA, 1983) "Haverford College Horizons" Summer 1967, v. 8, #4, pp. 3-21

Processing Information

At the time of processing the Borton Papers had no order. The processor created the three subseries and the arrangement within those subseries. Files were found in the Provost records after the initial processing was completed. These were integrated into the existing order and are indicated by "File located in Provost Records transfer" in the Repository Processing Note.

Processing completed by Linda Stanley. Reboxing and additional description completed by Cole Hannah (Class of 2024) and Katherine Hong (Class of 2024) in summer and fall 2022.

Hugh Borton presidential papers
Linda Stanley
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US