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Asa S. Knowles papers

 Collection
Identifier: M020

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the awards and recognitions, professional associations, personal research interests, and writings of Asa S. Knowles during his tenure as president and chancellor of Northeastern University.

Series 1. Personal includes documents regarding awards and honorary degree. ASK's presidential papers (A3) should be consulted for additional documentation of his honors and awards. The series also contains biographical information, including material on ASK's inauguration as President of the University of Toledo, and various forms of correspondence, including letters of congratulations, invitations, and correspondence between various administrators at NU and members of professional associations and organizations with which ASK had been affiliated. Of interest is correspondence between ASK and Governor John Volpe; Rep. Francis W. Hatch, Jr. (Minority Leader – Massachusetts State House of Representatives); and Rep. Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. (Majority Leader - U.S. House of Representatives). This series also contains ASK's writings, some of which he wrote while Chancellor. In addition, the series includes documentation of the memorial dedicated to the memory of ASK'smother, Belle Smallidge Knowles.

Series 2. Chancellor documents ASK's tenure as Chancellor of NU. Included here are materials relating to ASK's professional association memberships. Of note are his memberships in the Cooperative Education Association, as a member of the Board of Trustees of Deree-Pierce College, as chair of the National Commission for Cooperative Education, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Planning Association. Also included here are correspondence and information packets for various conferences that ASK either attended, had planned to attend, or at which he had been asked to speak. Also documented in this series are projects that ASK had been a part of and/or had overseen. Such activities include fund raising on behalf of NU, international representation and promotion of NU, chair of the Nominating Committee of the Corporation and Board of Trustees at NU, author of a study for the Institute of International Education on cooperative education in the Arab Countries and Iran, and consulting work done for educational institutions not affiliated with NU. In addition, there are various articles, a bibliography, consortia, and notes on the subjects of cooperative education and higher education, and statements on Cooperative Education delivered before the Senate Subcommittee on Education (1975). Also documented here are the publications authored by ASK, including: the International Encyclopedia of Higher Education (1977), the Encyclopedia of Higher Education Administration (including a copy with margin notes - 1980), the Handbook of College and University Administration, and the Handbook of Postsecondary Education.

Series 3 concerns Shawmut Bank of Boston. In 1980 at the request of Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A.'s board of directors, Asa S. Knowles agreed to write a history of Shawmut Bank for its 150th anniversary.  Knowles researched all aspects of the Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A., the Shawmut Corporation, and the Shawmut Corporation of Boston.  In addition he examined the history of banking and Boston's early history.  The Shawmut Bank provided Knowles approximately 10 cubic feet of its records, mostly dating between 1920 and 1983, with gaps.  The collection includes articles on Boston's early history, biographical material on Shawmut directors, information on Shawmut's early history, material on the histories of Shawmut's affiliated banks, minutes from Executive Board meetings, Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. and Shawmut Corporation annual reports, and publications, both internal and external, generated by Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. and Shawmut Corporation. The collection also includes photographs of Shawmut branches, directors, and events.  Two panoramic photographs of staff outings in 1929 and 1930 are also included. For a listing of presidents, chairmen, and directors of Shawmut Bank, Shawmut Corporation and its predecessor organizations, and the Affiliated Banks of Shawmut Corporation see the Appendices and Index in Asa S. Knowles' Shawmut, 150 Years of Banking, 1836-1986 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986), pp. 464-497. [HG 2613.B74S415].

Dates

  • 1836-1990 (bulk 1920-1983)

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

Asa S. Knowles (1909-1990) was an educator, dean, university president, and chancellor.  He served as President of the Associated Colleges of Upper New York from 1946 to 1948, as Vice President of University Development at Cornell University from 1948 to 1951, as President of the University of Toledo from 1951 to 1958, and as President, and later as Chancellor, at Northeastern University from 1959 to 1981. In addition Knowles served on a number of civic and educational boards pertaining to business and higher education.  He was on the board of directors of Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. from 1961 to 1989(?) and on the board of directors of Shawmut Corporation from 1965 to 1989(?).  Due to his long-term relationship with Shawmut Bank and his history of publishing, Knowles was asked to write the history of Shawmut Bank for its 150th anniversary.  The book, Shawmut, 150 Years of Banking 1836-1986, was published in 1986 by Houghton Mifflin.  Knowles died at the age of 81 in 1990.

In 1836 the Warren Bank opened its office on State Street in Boston.  It was founded by a group of directors from the Warren Insurance Company, the Fishing Insurance Company, and a number of other insurance firms.  The bank was organized to provide more investment opportunities for the growing mercantile community of Boston.  A year later, in 1837, the bank changed its name to Shawmut Bank.  The word "shawmut" is a Native American term for the Boston area, which means "living fountain."  The bank was federally chartered as the Shawmut National Bank in 1865.  By 1898 nine Boston banks had merged with Shawmut to comprise the National Shawmut Bank.  Shawmut acquired eleven more banks over the next 50 years.  In 1975 the bank changed its name to the Shawmut Bank of Boston, National Association (N.A.).

The Shawmut Association, an investment trust, was created in 1928 to establish stock holdings in other banks.  The Association reorganized itself in 1965 as the Shawmut Association, Inc. and obtained the assets of the National Shawmut Bank and other banks in which it held stock.  This change transformed Shawmut Association, Inc. into a bank holding company.  The Association changed its name to the Shawmut Corporation in 1975.

In 1919 the Shawmut Corporation of Boston was formed to extend the bank's interest into international banking endeavors.  This entity of Shawmut was liquidated into the United Assets Corporation in 1944.

Chronology

  • 1836 Warren Bank established.
  • 1837 Warren Bank renamed Shawmut Bank.
  • 1865 Shawmut Bank renamed Shawmut National Bank.
  • 1898 Shawmut National Bank renamed National Shawmut Bank.
  • 1919 Shawmut Corporation of Boston, which extended the Shawmut's interests into international banking, created.
  • 1927 Shawmut Bank Investment Trust established a an investment trust for the bank.
  • 1928 Shawmut Association (S.A.), an investment trust for acquiring stock in other banks is established.
  • 1944 Shawmut Corporation of Boston is liquidated into the United Assets Corporation.
  • 1961 Warren Charitable Trust established to assist the bank in making charitable contributions.
  • 1965 Shawmut Association renamed Shawmut Association, Inc. (S.A.) (referred to as "the Corporation" by Knowles). It is reorganized to control all of S.A.'s banks and the National Shawmut Bank.
  • 1966 Shawmut International Corporation is established for international investments.
  • 1975 National Shawmut Bank renamed Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. Shawmut Association, Inc. renamed Shawmut Corporation.
1836
Warren Bank established.
1837
Warren Bank renamed Shawmut Bank.
1865
Shawmut Bank renamed Shawmut National Bank.
1898
Shawmut National Bank renamed National Shawmut Bank.
1919
Shawmut Corporation of Boston, which extended the Shawmut's interests into international banking, created.
1927
Shawmut Bank Investment Trust established a an investment trust for the bank.
1928
Shawmut Association (S.A.), an investment trust for acquiring stock in other banks is established.
1944
Shawmut Corporation of Boston is liquidated into the United Assets Corporation.
1961
Warren Charitable Trust established to assist the bank in making charitable contributions.
1965
Shawmut Association renamed Shawmut Association, Inc. (S.A.) (referred to as "the Corporation" by Knowles). It is reorganized to control all of S.A.'s banks and the National Shawmut Bank.
1966
Shawmut International Corporation is established for international investments.
1975
National Shawmut Bank renamed Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. Shawmut Association, Inc. renamed Shawmut Corporation.

Extent

12 cubic feet (14 containers)

Overview

Asa S. Knowles (1909-1990) was President of the Associated Colleges of Upper New York (1946-1948), Vice-President of University Development at Cornell University (1948-1951), President of the University of Toledo (1951-1958), and President, later Chancellor, at Northeastern University (1959-1981). He was also on the board of directors of Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. from 1961 to 1989(?) and on the board of directors of Shawmut Corporation from 1965 to 1989(?). Knowles wrote a history of Shawmut Bank, entitled "Shawmut, 150 Years of Banking, 1836-1986" and published in 1986. In 1836, the Warren Bank opened on State Street in Boston. The bank was organized to provide more investment opportunities for the growing mercantile community of Boston. In 1837, the bank was renamed the Shawmut Bank. The bank was federally chartered as the Shawmut National Bank in 1865, and by 1898, nine Boston banks had merged with Shawmut to comprise the National Shawmut Bank. Shawmut acquired eleven more banks over the next 50 years. In 1975, the bank was renamed the Shawmut Bank of Boston, National Association (N.A.). The Shawmut Association, an investment trust, was created in 1928 to establish stock holdings in other banks. The association reorganized itself in 1965 as the Shawmut Association, Inc. and obtained the assets of the National Shawmut Bank and other banks in which it held stock. This change transformed Shawmut Association, Inc. into a bank holding company. The association changed its name to the Shawmut Corporation in 1975.

Overview

The collection documents the awards and recognitions, professional associations, personal research interests, and writings of Asa S. Knowles during his tenure as president and chancellor of Northeastern University. In 1980 at the request of Shawmut Bank's board of directors, Asa S. Knowles agreed to write a history of Shawmut Bank for its 150th anniversary. Knowles researched all aspects of the Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A., the Shawmut Corporation, and the Shawmut Corporation of Boston. In addition, he examined the history of banking and Boston's early history. The Shawmut Bank provided Knowles with approximately 10 cubic feet of its records, which comprise Series III. The collection includes articles on Boston's early history, biographical material on Shawmut directors, information on Shawmut's early history, material on the histories of Shawmut's affiliated banks, minutes from Executive Board meetings, Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. and Shawmut Corporation annual reports, and external and internal publications generated by Shawmut Bank of Boston, N.A. and Shawmut Corporation. The collection also includes photographs of Shawmut branches, directors, and events.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 3 series: 1) Personal Files; 2) Chancellor; and 3) Shawmut Bank Records.

Physical Location

71/1-2, FF5/D3

Bibliography

  • Biographical Information, 1948-75. [M20 Box 1, Folder 13]
  • Knowles, Asa S. "Shawmut, 150 Years of Banking, 1836-1986." Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986. [NU Snell Library HG 2613.B74S415]
Title
Finding aid for the Asa S. Knowles Papers
Author
Finding aid prepared by Deborah Richards
Date
December 1998
Language of description
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US