Mount Holyoke College
Archives and Special Collections
Office of the President
Richard Glenn Gettell Records, 1957-1988
Record Group Number: RG 4.15
8 boxes (3.13 linear feet)
Richard Glenn Gettell was born in 1912, in Hartford, Connecticut.
After graduating from high school at the age of fifteen, he spent
a year in the South Seas and Australia, in the merchant marine,
and then graduated from Deerfield Academy. He received his BA from
Amherst College in 1933, his PhD in economics from the University
of California in 1940, and later held three honorary degrees. After
working in the Federal Government, he held wartime posts in the
Office of Price Administration and as an operations analyst in the
Air Force, becoming deputy chief of operations analysis for the
Twentieth Air Force. He taught at the University of California,
Yale University and Harvard University from 1935-1941. Then followed
a successful career in the publishing and corporate world as an
economist for Fortune Magazine, Time Inc. and the Texas Company,
Inc. In 1957 he assumed the Presidency of Mount Holyoke College
and served until 1968. Under his leadership faculty salaries were
increased and the endowment more than doubled. New academic departments
were begun, among them Biology, Russian and Theatre Arts. Mount
Holyoke also underwent a period of rapid physical expansion. Four
dormitories, the Pattie J. Groves Health Center (1960), the Amphitheatre
(1961) and Eliot House (1961), the centre for campus religious activities,
were among the facilities constructed. Gettell was a member of various
societies, (one of which was the American Economic Association)
and was active on the boards of several schools and hospitals. He
was also one of the prime movers in the founding of Hampshire College,
later to become part of Five Colleges, Inc. Gettell's tenure was
marked by growing pressure from the student body to relax many of
Mount Holyoke's strict social rules, a liberalization that Gettell
strongly opposed. His resignation in 1968 fueled rumors that he
had resented the students "going over his head" and submitting a
"Case" to the Trustees in favor of liberalizing alcohol and parietals.
After resigning he worked as a Consultant to Haas Community Funds.
The Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheatre was named for him in 1970.
Gettell did in 1988.
Description of Records:
The records of Richard Glenn Gettell contain professional information
within materials which include correspondence (1957-1988); speeches
and articles dated 1941-1967 (including Gettell's inaugural address
and Appendices to the President's Report from 1961-1962); papers
pertaining to the Ad-Hoc Committee to Consider Rules and Standards
(1962-1963); biographical material consisting of clippings; press
releases (1957-1988); tributes and obituaries; photographs; and
a book written by Gettell's wife, Landonia. Also available in the
records is material concerning Gettell's inauguration, including
correspondence, memos, minutes and final reports of the inauguration
committee; programs; speeches; citations; articles; and Gettell's
letter of acceptance. The correspondence consists mainly of invitations
to Commencement speakers and letters conferring honorary Mount Holyoke
degrees. The materials document Gettell's activities as President
and his career, both before his appointment and after his resignation.
Cite as: Office of the President, Richard
Glenn Gettell Records, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special
Collections, South Hadley, MA.
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted.