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Charles E. Shain presidential records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-03C-06

Content Description

This collection contains the professional papers of Charles E. Shain, who served as the sixth president of Connecticut College from 1962-1974. There is also a small amount, primarily biographical, from before and after his presidency, and some files from the time of Rosemary Park, Shain's predecessor as president. Materials include correspondence, reports, minutes, speeches/lectures, publications, and newspaper clippings. A large portion of the collection pertains to new buildings constructed on campus along with fundraising for capital projects and other purposes.

The collection also documents civil rights concerns, from the college's compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the early years of the student Afro-American Society and the formation of a Commission on Race Relations following the Society's takeover of the administration building in May 1971. In addition, there are materials pertaining to the arrest of student Mardon Walker who participated in a sit-in in Atlanta, Georgia. Other topics included in the collection are the college's move to coeducation, campus activities during the Vietnam War, and relationships with other secondary and higher education institutions.


  • 1916 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1962 - 1974



This collection is open to researchers.

About Charles Shain

Charles E. Shain (1915-2003) was the sixth president of Connecticut College, holding the position from 1962-1974. Shain received his undergraduate (1936) and graduate (1949) degrees from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and awarded Woodrow Wilson and Scribner graduate fellowships. He studied in England twice, first at Cambridge University in 1937-38, then returning in 1952-53 under a Fulbright grant to the University of London.

During World War II Shain served in the Army Air Force in the Pacific, attaining the rank of major and receiving the Bronze Star for his services. A specialist in American literature, he joined the faculty of Carleton College in 1949 as Assistant Professor of English, becoming full Professor and chair of the Committee on American Studies in 1956. He remained at Carleton until 1962, when he left to assume the presidency of Connecticut College.

As president, Charles Shain led Connecticut College through the transition to coeducation in 1969, as well as the turbulence of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Major events on campus during this era include the October 1969 moratorium and May 1970 campus strike against the Vietnam War, and a takeover of the college administration building by the student Afro-American Society in May 1971.

While fewer buildings were added during this time than under the two previous presidents, major projects included construction of Cummings Arts Center and Lazrus House, a cooperative dormitory, and planning for a new library that would double the existing capacity. Other notable undertakings during Shain's presidency were the Quest development campaign, which ran from 1966-1973 and raised almost $15 million, and the college's participation in the U.S.-India Women's College Exchange Program. Under this program, Connecticut College faculty members taught at Indian colleges for a year while Indian educators taught at the college.

After leaving Connecticut College, Shain worked for two years as director of the Institute for Off-Campus Experience and Cooperative Education. He retired in 1976 and moved to Maine, where he lived until his death.


3.125 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection, which spans 1916-2003, primarily contains material related to the term of Charles Shain as sixth president of Connecticut College (1962-1974), including correspondence, reports, minutes, speeches/lectures, publications, and newspaper clippings.


The collection is organized into three series:

  • Administrative Files
  • Speeches and Writings
  • Biographical Files
  • Source of acquisition

    Most of the material in Series I: Administrative Files and Series II: Speeches and Writings was transferred to the College Archives by the Office of the President in 1991. The material in Series III: Biographical Files was collected from various sources, primarily by Dean Gertrude Noyes in writing her history of Connecticut College in the 1980s.

    Related Materials

    Other materials concerning Charles Shain's tenure as president are in the Board of Trustees records.

    The Coeducation Collection contains additional material on the 1968 Summer Planning Group and the decision to make Connecticut College coeducational.

    Related material about student activism and protest during Charles Shain's presidency can be found in the Campus Activism collection, including further information about the Afro-American Society and student Mardon Walker, and the Vietnam War collection.

    See the Buildings and campus collection for more about the Crozier Williams Student Center, Cummings Art Center, Lazrus House, and library.

    Processing Information

    This collection was processed in 2021-2022 by Deborah Kloiber, College Archivist, with assistance from student assistant Sofie Johnson.

    Guide to the Charles E. Shain presidential records
    Deborah Kloiber, College Archivist
    June 2022
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    Script of description

    Repository Details

    Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

    Connecticut College
    270 Mohegan Ave
    New London CT 06320 United States