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Renwick Jackson papers

Identifier: MSS-002

Scope and Contents

Collection of materials associated with Renwick Jackson, the president of St. Mary's College of Maryland from 1969 to 1982. It contains both personal and professional correspondence between Dr. Jackson and various individuals; memoranda; reports; documents associated with the 1976 Master Plan; documents affiliated with Christopher Wilson, who legally protested Jackson's "decision not to renew [his] contract" (Fausz 1990, 128); protest materials critical of the college's administration; statements and/or remarks from Dr. Jackson; correspondence and other materials associated with the non-renewal of Dr. David Porter's contract (Fausz 1990, 126); correspondence and other materials associated with Dr. Carolyn Travers, who accused Dr. Christopher Wilson of sexual discrimination during the hiring process; various documents about campus security concerns; locally published newspaper articles authored by Renwick Jackson; minutes and other materials affiliated with Dr. Jackson's cabinet meetings; newspaper clippings between 1969 and 1982 that describe or mention the college; and miscellaneous newspaper clippings that reflect Jackson's mindset during his presidency. Many of the miscellaneous clippings address the general student and faculty unrest of the late 1960s that spilled into the 1970s.


  • 1961, 1968-1982, 2002-2006

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open without restriction, except for two folders related to student discipline.

Biographical Sketch

Renwick Jackson, originally a Presbyterian minister before a career in academia, served as the president of St. Mary's College of Maryland from 1969 to 1982, arriving at St. Mary's after serving as Dean of Students of York College in New York. Dr. Jackson held a B.A. and Doctor of Divinity from Westminster College, a B.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Edinburgh.

Renwick Jackson's arrival coincided with the college's transition from a two-year junior college to a four-year liberal arts college. His arrival came at the heels of considerable controversy surrounding former president May Russell's attempts to enforce a student code that was not in keeping with the late 1960s and three lawsuits that were filed against Russell in 1968, incidents that cast a shadow on May Russell's otherwise successful tenure as leader of St. Mary's Female Seminary-Junior College from 1948-1969. The transition to a baccalaureate institution was made more difficult by the spirit of general unrest among students and some faculty in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a result of the United States' involvement in Viet Nam and domestic incidents such as Kent State. After a finding of deficiencies by the Office of Civil Rights, Jackson's arrival also overlapped with the formation of a Committee to Racially Integrate St. Mary's College of Maryland, approved by the college's Board of Trustees in 1969. A Student Bill of Rights was issued by the new President and the Board of Trustees in 1970, stating that the college no longer served 'in loco parentis' ("in place of parents"). About these early years, J. Fredrick Fausz writes: "The earlier seventies proved to be an exciting period of educational experimentation and curricular flexibility, as St. Mary's partly anticipated and partly responded to the student demands being heard across the nation. [Successful changes implemented by Jackson] showed that the presidency of Renwick Jackson had emerged from its turbulent beginnings." (Fausz, 122)

St. Mary's experienced remarkable growth and development during Jackson's administration, as exemplified by the creation of Academic Divisions (rather than departments) in 1970, the construction of Prince George Hall and Caroline Hall in 1970, the college's completion of a Master Plan in 1976, and the construction of Montgomery Hall between 1978 and 1980. In 1974 the first sailing competition that would later become The Governor's Cup was held. With the support of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Jackson endured two significant student and faculty challenges to his administration during the mid-late 1970s. Renwick Jackson left St. Mary's College of Maryland in early 1982.

Dr. Jackson published a book titled "The Golden Run" in 2002, which is an account of his presidency. He wrote this book without knowing that an official history of the College was published in 1990, titled "Monument School of the People" and written by St. Mary's History Professor J. Fredrick Fausz. While Fausz' book contains both positive and negative assessments of different elements of Jackson's presidency, Jackson would focus on the negative points written by Fausz in Jackson's 2005 commentary "False Claims and Deception at St. Mary's College of Maryland," a publication that also addresses Jackson's reaction to statements made in a post-presidential CV by his successor, Edward T. Lewis, who served as St. Mary's College of Maryland's president from 1983-1996.

Renwick Jackson is the author of several other books, including "Blessing Lesbians On Main Street," about his decision to officiate at a wedding of two women while serving as minister at the Congregational Church of Patchogue in Long Island, New York in the mid 1990s. He has also published "Last Summer With Agnes," "Dancing With Hurricanes," a children's story called "The Dog Who Became A Seagull," three plays, and three books of poetry.

See also: J. Frederic Fausz, "Monument school of the people : a sesquicentennial history of St. Mary's College of Maryland, 1840-1990," 1990.

Janet Butler Haugaard, Susan G. Wilkinson, Julia A. King, "St. Mary's : A 'When-Did?' Timeline," 2007.


4.2 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials



An assortment of papers and records associated with J. Renwick Jackson, who served as the president of St. Mary's College of Maryland from 1969 to 1982. Document types include personal and professional correspondences, memoranda, reports, faculty-related records, newspaper clippings, and protest materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

J. Renwick Jackson III (2013.01), 2013.

Separated Materials

The original donation included about 12 linear feet of unsorted material. MSS 002, the Renwick Jackson papers, includes five feet of this material. About one foot of duplicate material was discarded. The other six feet of material was related to the college but did not directly relate to Renwick Jackson: for example, inter-office communication not specifically related to Jackson's Administration, faculty minutes, etc.. This six feet of separated material was also organized and set aside to be filed within the already-organized Record Groups of the College, for example, a collection of Faculty Senate minutes were reconciled with the already existing Faculty Senate Minutes in RG, and a collection of underground newspapers was reconciled and inter-filed with the already existing collection in RG 6.8 (Miscellaneous Student Publications). The inter-filing of materials into Record Groups will greatly add to the University's official records, and in this process further duplicates will also be discarded.

Renwick Jackson papers
Steven Gentry '2014
2014 April
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives Repository

Calvert Hall
St. Mary's College of Maryland
47645 College Dr.
St. Mary's City MD 20686-3001 United States