Collection ID: C654
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Collection context


Indiana University. Trustees
The Board of Trustees was established in 1820 with the founding of Indiana Seminary, and the first president was appointed in 1829. These presidents' reports to the Board of Trustees date from 1881-1949 and include recommendations, financial statements, correspondence, and other documents pertaining to various construction projects, academic department needs and developments, student welfare, finances, and the overall management of the university. The collection also includes one volume of reports (1902-1914) from Indiana University to the state Legislative Visiting Committee.
11.7 cubic feet (23 boxes)
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[Item], Presidents' Reports to the Indiana University Board of Trustees, Collection C654, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

Indiana University's Board of Trustees was created in 1820 by the Indiana General Assembly. Six men were named as trustees, and provision was made for four additional trustees in 1821, and for three more in 1826. Throughout its history, the size of the Board has varied from six to twenty-one members; it consisted of eight members from 1855-1975 and nine members from 1975 to present.

The following are among the chief responsibilities historically held by the Board of Trustees: setting tuition and fees; prescribing curricula; determining student admission standards; buying, selling, leasing, and determining use of property; investing funds; awarding financial aid; appointing university presidents and other officers; hiring and approving promotion and tenure of faculty; determining codes of conduct; and prescribing disciplinary measures when codes of conduct are violated. The board's functions, abilities, and qualifications for membership continue to be defined and governed by the Indiana Code.

Meetings of the Board of Trustees have historically included reports from the university president and other officers, faculty, and staff in order to apprise the trustees of developments and points of concern at the university and to inform decisions on academic programs and policies and other university business.

Scope and Content:

This collection holds fifty-five volumes of presidents' reports to the Indiana University Board of Trustees. Dated 1881-1947, these reports were written consecutively throughout the respective presidencies of Lemuel Moss (1875-1884), David Starr Jordan (1884-1891), John Merle Coulter (1891-1893), Joseph Swain (1893-1902), William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937), and Herman B. Wells (1937-1962). Beginning in 1902, a formal numbering system was applied to the bound volumes.

The presidents' reports help detail the administrative functions and responsibilities of the university president as well as the interaction between the President's Office and the Board of Trustees in terms of university governance and development. They also document information flow from academic departments and lower levels of university administration to the trustees.

Often in the form of lists of recommendations and queries to be considered by the Board of Trustees, the presidents' reports include such documents as building and research project proposals, recommended faculty promotions and appointments, salaries and financial records, topics of concern, and various correspondences relevant to the presidents, the board, and topics of consideration (e.g. letters of recommendation). Also included in earlier reports are professors' reports outlining the needs, requests, and outstanding accomplishments of each department.

The collection also includes one volume of Indiana University reports to the state Legislative Visiting Committees. These reports contain information on the state of the university and its finances. Additionally, the spine titles of the volumes dating from 1881-1902 indicate that the reports contained within may have been presented in some form to the visiting committees as well.

Processing information:

Processed by Madison Chartier and Anna Lucas.

Completed in February 2017


This collection consists of two series. The first consists primarily of bound volumes and is arranged chronologically; the second includes duplicates.



Collection is open for research. Advance notice required.


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[Item], Presidents' Reports to the Indiana University Board of Trustees, Collection C654, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
Herman B Wells Library E460
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington