Summary Information
Title: Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, Samuel Black McCormick, Administrative Files
Collection Number: UA.2.10.1904-1920
Creator: University of Pittsburgh. Chancellor.

Collection Dates: 1900-1920
Extent: 2.56 linear feet (5 boxes)

Language: English

This collection contains administrative as wekk as some personal papers of Chancellor Samuel Black McCormick, 1904-1920.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

January 2010

Finding aid prepared by Archives Service Center Staff. Revisions occurred to the finding aid as a part of the encoding process in January 2010.

Samuel Black McCormick accepted the position of Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1904, and was inaugurated on February 22, 1905. He was born in Irwin, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on May 6, 1858 to James Irwin McCormick and Rachel Long Black. A graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, he was admitted to the bar of Allegheny County in 1882. For several years he practiced law but then took Minister's Training at the Western Theological Seminary, graduating in 1890. He accepted a position at the First Presbyterian Church of Omaha, Nebraska, and later became president of Coe College, Iowa.

His most notable achievements were in acquiring the Dental College, the West Penn Medical College and establishing the Schools of Economics (later Business) and Education. In 1909, he moved the campus of the University from Observatory Hill on the Northside to Oakland, and changed its name from Western University of Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh. He presided as Chancellor during the First World War when he and 524 other college presidents were told that the U.S. government was taking over their institutions for the training of officers and technical specialists in the Student Army Training Corps. Shortly after the close of WWI, the 1918 Influenza pandemic descended on cities throughout the U.S.

McCormick resigned as Chancellor in 1920, but continued to have an office in State Hall. He died on April 18, 1928 from pneumonia.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

These are the administrative and some personal papers of Chancellor McCormick, 1904-1920.

Subject Terms

  • College presidents -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Records and correspondence
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Administration
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Records and correspondence

Corporate Names
  • University of Pittsburgh. Chancellor. -- Records and correspondence
  • University of Pittsburgh. -- Administration

Personal Names
  • McCormick, Samuel Black, 1858-1928 -- Records and correspondence

  • Administrative records
  • Correspondence

  • University of Pittsburgh

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, Samuel Black McCormick, Administrative Files, 1904-1920, UA.2.10.1904-1920, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Marianne Kasica from an existing finding aid in January 2010.


All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh.

Separated Material:
Photographs from McCormick's 1914 trip (folder 28) are located in his papers, RG 90.F8.

Collection Inventory

Box 1
Folder 1 Programs and writings

Commencement Programs: Dr. McCormick was a speaker for Parnassus High School, Hiram College, Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh and Allegheny Kindergarten College and one other; Some correspondence and biography

Folder 2 Correspondence, 1900-1904

Leaving of Coe College; First annual report to the Board of Trustees as Acting Chancellor; Called by Trustees to be Chancellor

Folder 3 Correspondence, 1904-1905

Program from Inauguration 1905 and other material; An Act making an appropriation to the Western University of Pennsylvania ($500,000); Committee on new site; Letter to John D. Rockefeller for aid; Brief statement concerning the University

Folder 4 Correspondence, 1906

Record of dinner given at Hotel Schenley October 30, 1906 by the Trustees; Research on “Strength of tubes” by Reid T. Stewart; Gift of Andrew Carnegie (1906)

Folder 5 Correspondence, 1907

Merchants & Manufacturers Association; Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh; To Mr. A.W. Mellon; Mr. Nicola’s proposal on buildings and land for the university; Report of Chancellor to Board of Trustees, June 3, 1907; Proposal of committee on Memorial for the Pittsburgh Female College Association

Folder 6 Correspondence, 1908

New Mining building; Acquiring the Medical School; Memo concerning the competition for building plans; Sesquicentennial material, programs, etc.; Statistics; George Lauder letter

Folder 7 Correspondence, 1909

General business, Alumni, Funding

Folder 8 Correspondence, 1904

Psychology Department vacancy

Folder 9 Correspondence, 1904-1914

Athletic Department

Folder 10 Correspondence, 1906-1908

Campaign for funding

Box 2
Folder 11 Correspondence, 1908

Building Program

Folder 12 Correspondence, 1908

Building Program Architect

Folder 13 Correspondence, 1909

Perrysville Avenue property sale

Folder 14 Correspondence, 1909

Westinghouse letter

Folder 15 Correspondence, 1910

General correspondence and William A. Robinson case

Folder 16 Correspondence, 1910

United Boys Brigade, Union Theological Seminary, University Extension Society, Union Rescue Mission, Ullman and the Classics Dept., University Club

Folder 17 Correspondence, 1910

Correspondence V-Z: Includes, YMCA and letters from Yocum

Folder 18 Correspondence, 1910-1912

Memos from Department Heads for Chancellor's meeting in Harrisburg; University history; School of Education; Negroes refused in University Band; Smoke nuisance; Gifts from Trustees; Trees Gymnasium, the first building given in whole by one individual

Folders 19 Correspondence, 1911

Letters from Henry Buhl about Smith cabinet

Folder 20 Correspondence, 1911

Letters from Francis Newton Thorpe about European Universities

Folder 21 Chancellor's Report, 1911

Includes reports of departments

Box 3
Folder 22 Correspondence, 1911

Law School; Board of Trustees; Facts concerning the University; Distribution of students; An Act – concerning appropriations; List of faculty

Folder 23 Registrar's Report, 1911
Folder 24 125th Anniversary, 1912

Notes on the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the Pittsburgh Academy, February 27-19, 1912.

Folder 25 125th Anniversary, 1912

Programs, Proclamations, Exercises; “The Vision of she-who-knows,” by George Seiber (pageant); Official prospectus; Committee on honorary degrees

Folder 26 Correspondence, 1913-1914

Chancellor’s report for 1913/14; Gifts list, beginning with 1905-1914; Notes from Deans’ reports; Historical address at Erie, PA, by Francis Newton Thorpe “Building of the Fleet”; Salary by academic units; Information bulletins 1914 & 1915; Letter of protest against the 1914 Owl co-ed article.

Folder 27 Peace Movement, 1913-1915

Emergency Peace Federation, World Peace Foundation, St. Louis Peace Conference (1913), Price of peace; World Court Congress; American League to limit armaments; Church Peace Union; Suggested basis upon which to form an international court of arbitration with a view to ending the present conflict in Europe, and to prevent in future all such similar conflicts, by H. Francis Dyruff; Plan for an international court

Box 4
Folder 28 McCormick's trip to Europe and the Middle East, 1914

Handwritten notes of his trip. Includes England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy as well as Greece, Constantinople and Palestine. Some articles written for the Pitt News.

Folder 29 Correspondence, Governor Martin Brumbaugh, 1914-1915

Correspondence with Martin G. Brumbaugh, Governor or Pennsylvania. Invitations, Public Service Commission, various letters of recommendation for appointments.

Folder 30 Correspondence and other materials on the War in Europe, 1914-1921

1914-21 War material; McCormick and others stranded abroad; University's War Activities and Efforts, American soldiers at school; List of addresses delivered outside the university, 1915-17

Folder 31 Correspondence and minutes, 1915-1918

Roswell H. Johnson on Socialism, Bolshevism, Eugenics and Birth Control controversy, 1916-1918; Commencement 1915, Dean's minutes for Feb. 17 and March 3, 1915 and March 31 1920.

Folder 32 Correspondence and proclamations, 1916-1917

Correspondence with PA. Governor Martin H. G. Brumbaugh; Arbor Day proclamations; letter recommending Robert Vann to the Negro National Education Congress, Governor's Thanksgiving proclamation 1915-1918; Agricultural tour; Mansfield's endorsement for PA Board of Motion Picture Censors; Pharmacy and Dental Examiners Boards; Appropriations; League to Enforce Peace; International Industrial Exhibition; Topographic and Geologic Survey Commission; Student's Army Training Corps; Lew H. Palmer;

Folder 33 State Appropriations, correspondence, documents and clippings 1917

Correspondence with Babcock and others about state appropriations request; clippings and documents regarding Penn State and Penn's requests; Correspondence with Edgar Fahs Smith and Edwin E. Sparks on appropriations.

Folder 34 National Education Association, 1918

Convention in Pittsburgh, 1918. Map of Pittsburgh & Schenley Farms District (good)inside brochure; Tentative draft of a bill to create a Department of Education (U.S.); Program of convention

Folder 35 State Appropriation correspondence and documents 1919
Folder 36 Correspondence, 1919

Chancellor’s biography & family ties; Dr. Marley (Miss Auleene) working among islanders (Alumna); Correspondence (personal) between Chancellor S.B. McCormick and his cousin, Lizzie F. McCormick, The Manse, Moneymore, Ireland; January 1918-August 1919

Folder 37 Correspondence with Andrew Carnegie, 1910

Also the Carnegie Foundation

Folder 38 Correspondence with H.J. Heinz, 1916-1920

Budget for religious education; Resolution on the death of Henry John Heinz by University Trustees; Heinz House for Christian Associations

Box 5
Folder 39 Students in Military Service, 1917-1919

Letters of recommendation and related correspondence 1917-1919

Folder 40 Reserve Officer Training Corps

Inspection report 9/25/1919; History and evaluation of ROTC program at the university, February 1919; establishment of the program 3/7/1918 and 6/30/1918; List of faculty and students to report to Plattsburg, NY, 7/16/1918; Inspection report; appointment of Lt. Col. Stickle as professor of Military Science 1/1918 correspondence concerning faculty for ROTC; equipment orders; Procedure preliminary to inauguration of Military Training 1916; correspondence related to establishing ROTC program.

Folder 41 Correspondence, 1918-1920

Letter McCormick to T.H. McKnight concerning Medical School; University activities in War (WWI); Lists of Professors and instructors of draft age; College faculty working with Student Army Training Corps 9/9/1918; staff for War Aims course; Lists of essential teachers; Report: “Civil Administration of University of Pittsburgh as a Students’ Army Training Corps unit 1919; Letter concerning H.J. Heinz bequest 10/14/1919; agreement with Elizabeth Steel Magee Hospital 5/12/1919 and related correspondence.

Folder 42 Minutes of Faculty Meetings, 1906-1908

Library rules; athletic reports; arrangements for lighting; etc

Folder 43 Minutes of Faculty Meetings and Special Committees, 1906-1910

Medical department; football scholarships; curriculum; literary society, proposed course in engineering

Folder 44 Minutes of the Finance Committee 1906-1911

Correspondence from A.W. Mellon about stock; expenses; other bonds and stocks; budget matters