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Department of English Records

Call Number: UA074

Scope and Contents

These records include photographs, course descriptions, departmental correspondence and memos, faculty and student directories, and material related to events sponsored by the department.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1994 -- 2016
  • Creation: 1906 -- 2016



University records are closed for 20 years from the date of their creation. Records older than 20 years that do not pertain to student education, staff and faculty employment and Board of Trustees records are open for research. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Copyright to all materials created by Tufts University employees in the course of their work is held by the Trustees of Tufts University.

Biographical / Historical

The Department of English was established in 1893. In 1894, it was one of the original departments to offer an undergraduate major to students. The Department of English emerged from the Department of Rhetoric, Logic, and English Literature, which was its predecessor.

The Catalogue of Tufts College for the 1894-1895 academic year describes the Department as follows, "The course of instruction in English aims at both theoretical knowledge and practical results. It begins with extemporaneous composition in the Freshman year. In this exercise, which is weekly, formal theme-writing is avoided. Topics are assigned, with some variety of method, at the time of writing, usually not the same topic for all, but a list is furnished from which each writer may select, giving preference to what is nearest at hand and best understood. The brief essays are subject to criticism both in class and with the individual writers. With suitable modification, this extemporaneous writing is continued at intervals to the end of the course. The formal study of Rhetoric begins with the second year."

Initially, Professor Shipman was the primary instructor in the Department. Professor William Rollin Shipman was born in Granville, Vermont on May 4, 1836. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1859 and subsequently came to head the Green Mountain Institute at South Woodstock, Vermont which he restored to prosperity during his tenure. Professor Shipman later accepted the chair of the Department of Rhetoric, Logic, and English Literature at Tufts. In addition to his administrative duties, Professor Shipman maintained a substantial teaching schedule in the Department. When the Department of Rhetoric, Logic, and English Literature became the Department of English in 1893, Professor Shipman remained the chair of the newly formed department.

Professor David Lee Maulsby served as the Principal of Goddard Seminary, Barre, Vermont before he accepted the chair of English Literature and Oratory at Tufts in 1891. From 1892 to 1895, Professor Maulsby was also the custodian of the Faculty records, first as Clerk and later as Secretary. In 1895, Professor Maulsby joined Professor Shipman in sharing the primary teaching duties in the Department of English.

Professor Maulsby was instrumental in directing and staging the student production of "Ralph Roister Doister" in June, 1895. The production proved to be a great success and even attracted audiences from outside the Tufts community.

Currently, the Department of English ranks among the many prominent departments at Tufts. It offers a highly regarded Ph.D. program whose graduates routinely accept tenure-track faculty positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States.


1.7 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 1 oversize folder)

12 Digital Object(s)

35 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



This collection contains the records of the English Department.


This collection is organized in three series: Photographs; Unprocessed accessions; and Events. Files within series are arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred by the Department of English, 2002-2017.

Processing status

This collection is minimally processed. Digital files were stabilized and processed by Leah Edelman and Margaret Peachy in 2017. Series-level descriptions were created and the finding aid was updated at the time of processing.

Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States