Guide to the Frederic W. Ness Papers, 1940-1995

Processed by Diana Bustamante; machine-readable finding aid created by James Lake
Sanoian Special Collections Library
California State University, Fresno
5200 North Barton Avenue M/S ML 34
Fresno, California 93740-8014
Phone: (559) 278-2595
Fax: (559) 278-6952
Email: specialc@listserv.csufresno.edu
URL: http://www.lib.csufresno.edu/SubjectResources/SpecialCollections
© 1998
California State University, Fresno. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Frederic W. Ness Papers, 1940-1995

Sanoian Special Collections Library



Henry Madden Library

Fresno, California

Contact Information:

  • Sanoian Special Collections Library
  • California State University, Fresno
  • 5200 North Barton Avenue M/S ML 34
  • Fresno, California 93740-8014
  • Phone: (559) 278-2595
  • Fax: (559) 278-6952
  • Email: specialc@listserv.csufresno.edu
  • URL: http://www.lib.csufresno.edu/SubjectResources/SpecialCollections
Processed by:
Diana Bustamante
Date Completed:
1998
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1998 California State University, Fresno. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Frederic W. Ness Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1940-1995
Creator: Ness, Frederic W., 1914-1998
Extent: 2 linear feet
Photographs: In box 2.
Repository: Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).

Sanoian Special Collections Library.
Fresno, California
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Acquisition

The papers were donated by Frederic W. Ness in 1998.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has been transferred to California State University, Fresno.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Frederic W. Ness Papers, Sanoian Special Collections Library, California State University, Fresno.

Biography

Frederic W. Ness was an academic who devoted his career to the world of higher education. He attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the University of Cincinnati where he received his master's degree in English literature. He then went on to Yale University where he earned his Ph.D. and subsequently became a professor of English. His teaching career took a turn due to World War II. He enlisted in the Naval reserves and taught for four years at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Ness changed his focus from educator to administrator in 1946 when he became Assistant to the Vice Chancellor at New York University. He left to become Dean at Dickinson College. Ness held a variety of other administrative postions before he moved to California to become the fourth president of Fresno State College in 1964.
Ness's years in Fresno proved to be short but effective. He implemented changes in a college that needed reform. He began by addressing lack of decision making by faculty. "In essence, what I would say is that no college in today's society can reach true heights without intelligent faculty involvement" (Inaugural address, Box 2, Professional career, Presidency, Inauguration, 1965).
In 1969, Ness left Fresno to become president of the Association of American Colleges (AAC), a position he held until his retirement in 1992. Frederic Ness died in 1998 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Scope and Content

The Frederic W. Ness papers measure 2 linear feet and date from 1940 to 1995. The papers are arranged in two series: Professional and Personal.
The bulk of the Professional series (1940-1995) is comprised of Ness's articles and speeches. Ness arranged his articles, speeches and reports chronologically. They are bound together in various volumes and are listed in his bibliography as well as on the inside cover of each bound section. Some of the speeches are photocopies, others originals. The handwritten notes on them are Ness's.
While on a temporary leave of absence from Fresno State College in 1969, Ness researched and wrote reports on British universities. The reports are entitled Student-Faculty-Administrative Relationships at Selected British and Continental Universities and Student Unrest in Great Britain.
His presidency at Fresno State College was marked by two controversies, the Marvin X-case and that of Robert Mezey of the English department. The two cases address the issue of academic freedom and tenure. Mezey was as an Assistant Professor who was not retained for the 1968 academic year for "unlawful reasons" according to a petition to the chancellor. The file on Mezey includes a photocopied court document with a memo from Attorney General Evelle J. Younger. The file on Marvin X is much more extensive.
There are numerous photographs of Ness in this series. They include photographs of his time at Dickinson College and Fresno State College. There are also photograhs of a major art exhibit, Art USA, held at the Fresno State library in 1966 which Ness helpd to organize. The event attracted thousands of viewers.
The Personal series (1942-1948, 1962) contains Ness's naval records. In a 1942 letter he asked to be assigned to active sea duty during World War II. However he was detained at Fort Schuyler in New York by the chief executive director who was in need of instructors. The photographs of a young Frederic Ness in this series are photocopies.

Additional Information

Printed Works by Ness in the main stacks

  • The Use of Rhyme in Shakespeare's Plays (1941)
  • A Regional Faculty Orientation Program (1961)
  • Graduate Study in the Liberal Arts College (1962)
  • An Uncertain Glory (1971)

Printed Works by Ness in the University Archives

  • The Use of Rhyme in Shakespeare's Plays (1941)
  • A Guide to Graduate Study (1957)
  • An Uncertain Glory (1971)
  • Mostly Academic: An Eclectic Autobiography (n.d.)

Related Materials in the University Archives

  • President Ness's address to Board of Trustees presenting master plan, June 26, 1968 (1/4" reel to reel tape)
  • Marvin X--tv statements, October 1969 (1/4" reel to reel tape)

Container List

 

Professional

Box Box 1

Bibliography, 1991

 

Articles and speeches

 

1945-1953

 

1953-1958

 

1958-1960

 

1960-1962

 

1962-1963

 

1963-1964

 

1964-1965

 

1965-1966

 

1966-1967

 

1967-1968

 

1968-1969

 

1969

 

1970

Box Box 2

1971

 

1972

 

1973 (2 folders)

 

1974

 

1975

 

1977

 

1978

 

1979-1984

 

1985-1986

 

Book reviews, 1993-1994 and undated

 

Booklets, 1958, 1961

 

Fresno State presidency

 

Inauguration, 1965

 

Faculty grievances

 

Marvin X, 1969

 

Mezey, Robert, 1974

 

Retirement, 1969

 

Critiques of The Use of Rhyme in Shakespeare's Plays, 1941

 

Newspaper clippings, 1940-1962, 1966, 1969

 

Post Fresno years, 1969, 1978-1979, 1991-1995 (2 folders)

 

Reports, 1969

 

Photographs, 1958, 1966, 1970, 1976, 1979 and undated

 

Personal

Box Box 2

Naval records, 1942-1947

 

Telegrams, 1942-1943, 1948, 1962

 

Photographs, 1943 and undated