Office of the President (Guy Potter Benton) Records
Scope and Contents note
Benton's papers are considerably more voluminous and well organized than any of his predecessors, arranged chronologically and alphabetically by correspondent/subject within years. In addition, there are university financial records and administrative documents; inaugural correspondence and other materials; addresses by Benton to the Faculty Senate, at commencements, and other venues. Of particular interest is the correspondence between Benton and College of Agriculture Dean Joseph E. Hills concerning the establishment of the Agricultural Extension Service. The earlier records in this series include several folders of materials concerning the presidential search committee, 1910-1911, that chose Benton to be president.
- Benton, Guy Potter, 1865-1927 (Person)
Collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist.
Guy Potter Benton came to the university as a man whose expertise and experience were not in academics, but in school administration. Born in Kenton, Ohio, in 1865, Benton graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, and received a master's degree at Ohio Wesleyan, followed by studies at the University of Wooster and in Berlin, Germany. Benton was an educator in his early career, being a city and state superintendent of schools in Kansas before becoming president of Upper Iowa University in 1899, and of Miami University, Iowa, in 1902. His experience as administrator of Kansas state schools and state colleges convinced the UVM trustees that he would be well suited to transforming UVM more completely into a state university.
Benton got off to a bad start when he came out strongly against the consumption of alcohol by the faculty, saying that he would not serve "on a teaching body with any man who uses intoxicating liquors in any form whatsoever." However, his reorganization of the university, and the creation of a formal Faculty Senate, helped move UVM towards becoming a modern university. He created three new colleges, the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Mechanical Arts, and Medicine. All the deans reported directly to the president, making him the central figure in the administration of the University. Two new departments, of education and home economics, were established during his tenure, and, of great importance to UVM's relationship with the state and its farmers, in 1913 the legislature funded Vermont Cooperative Extension Service at UVM.
During World War I, the campus became a center for training student soldiers, and in September of 1917, Benton himself took a leave of absence to serve as director of the YMCA's education department for the American army in France. After the war, he remaining as chief education officer for the army in Germany, and resigned as president in July 1919. Benton served as president of the University of the Philippines from 1921 to 1924, when he became ill and returned to the United States, where he died in 1927.
Sources consulted in the preparation of this note and others in Record Group 2 include:
Daniels, Robert V. editor. The University of Vermont : The First Two Hundred Years Hanover, NH : University of Vermont : Distributed by University Press of New England, 1991.
Marshall, Jeffrey. Universitas Viridis Montis, 1791-1991: An Exhibition of documents and artifacts telling the story of the University of Vermont. Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont, 1991.
Smallwood, Frank. The University of Vermont Presidents: Two Centuries of Leadership. Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont, 1997.
5.42 Linear feet
Language of Materials
Benton served as President of the University of Vermont from 1911-1919. Benton's papers are considerably more voluminous and well organized than any of his predecessors, arranged chronologically and alphabetically by correspondent/subject within years. In addition, there are university financial records and administrative documents; inaugural correspondence and other materials; addresses by Benton to the Faculty Senate, at commencements, and other venues.
Library Research Annex; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for access.
- Guide to the Office of the President (Guy Potter Benton) Records
- Finding aid prepared by Sylvia Bugbee
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Part of the University of Vermont Archives Repository
Silver Special Collections Library
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Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US