Woodrow Wilson Sayre Papers
Scope and Contents
- 1958 -- 1978
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
1.0 Linear Feet
Biographical / Historical
Woodrow Wilson Sayre, son of Frances Bowes and Jessie Wilson Sayre, was born in 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The grandson of United States President Woodrow Wilson, Sayre attended Williams College and Harvard University before enlisting in the military in 1942. After World War II, he was appointed instructor at Pomona University from 1948-52. From 1952-57, Sayre earned his doctorate in philosophy at Harvard. While enrolled, Sayre gained national attention when he and his friend Norm Hanson climbed Mount McKinley in Alaska in 1954. Upon graduating, Sayre was appointed to the position of Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Tufts University, a position he held from 1957-1964.
In the spring of 1962, Sayre and Hanson were joined by Roger Hart and Hans-Peter Duttle as the four attempted to climb Mount Everest. Their journey was chronicled in Sayre's book 'Four Against Everest' (1964). Sayre then returned to his teaching position at Tufts, but in the fall of 1963, the Philosophy department chose not to renew Sayre's appointment for the next academic year, effectively denying him tenure. Though he was a good teacher, the department and the president concluded that Sayre had not contributed adequately in the area of scholarly publications. This decision sparked a nation-wide debate and many students protested the University's choice, as did faculty from other institutions and the general public. However, Tufts adhered to its required policy of academic scholarship, and Sayre was not granted tenure. He began teaching at Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1965.
Sayre married Edith Warren Chase in 1942. They had two daughters, Jennifer and Martha. After his wife's death in 1985, Sayre married Patricia Faust. Sayre died on September 16, 2002 in Tisbury, Massachusetts.
- Faculty papers Subject Source: Local sources
- Sayre, Woodrow Wilson Subject Source: Local sources
- Tufts University -- History Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- University history Subject Source: Local sources
Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository
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