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Board of Trustees

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-001

Scope and Contents

The Board of Trustees record group is a collection that documents the activities of the Board of Trustees from the beginning of the school’s organization to present. Included are seven series that include minutes (1879-2017), reports (1914-2005), correspondence (1891-2000; 1950-2000), membership information (most contents are undated), school financial matters (1871-1999; 1900-1930), general business matters of the school (1857-2012), and the John McCune papers (1866-1895). The McCune papers document the expenses and business matters that the board members faced when they first organized the school as well as McCune’s personal papers. Series 1-3 and 5 are arranged chronologically. Series 4, 6-8 are arranged in alphabetical order.

This record group is important because of the early documents that attest to the trials of starting a new school. Of particular interest are those that demonstrate the financial trouble the school experienced during its infancy. There are extensive records of business associates that reveal the high quality of fixtures that were purchased for Old Main, the accounts of business transactions, receipts, bills, and letters from creditors who sometimes demanded payment for services or products already delivered.

Also important to this record group are the commentaries done by retired History professor Charles Loucks, who did extensive research on the McCune papers (Series 7) and recorded his findings. In Dr. Loucks’ commentaries, Box 70 has information about African American employees that has a noteworthy value to Shippensburg University researchers. It would be beneficial for anyone who uses the McCune papers for research to also consult the Charles Loucks commentaries for the additional historical and background information that he provided. He also provided commentaries for the Mickey papers (Series 8).


  • 1857-2017, bulk 1873-1890, 1950-1990

Conditions Governing Access

The majority of this collection is open for research. However, access to Series 3, Box 1, Folder 10a and Series 6, Sub-Series 2, Box 1, Folder 28b is restricted. Please contact the archives for terms of use.

Biographical / Historical

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Shippensburg University. There have been trustees in place since the university began as the Cumberland Valley State Normal School in 1873. John Agustus Colwell McCune was instrumental in its organization. He worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Common Schools as early as 1869 to establish the normal school after members of the Shippensburg community decided they wanted a normal school in their district. State Superintendent Wickersham worked with stockholders to elect where the new school would be located, and on May 2, 1870 the aforementioned elected the following men to be the first members of the Board of Trustees: S. M. Wherry, A. J. Miller, R. C. Hays, E. J. McCune, J. A. C. McCune, J. H. Hubley, John A. Craig, G. R. Dykeman, William Mell, R. C. Himes, C. L. Shade, T. P. Blair, and John Graybill. These men began the business of organizing the Normal School in Shippensburg Pennsylvania. They had to acquire land, stockholders, building supplies, builders, and employees. They established by-laws ca. 1870 that detailed the election process of members of the Board of Trustees, meetings of the board, duties of the officers of the board, duties of the committees organized from the board, and how officers of the school would be appointed.

In 1914, the normal school was bought by the state. At this time, the number of trustees was reduced from 18 to 9. They would no longer be elected by stockholders and the superintendent, but by the State Council of Education. The current Board of Trustees must follow the rules and governing body of the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Board of Trustees continues to be the governing body of Shippensburg University but is now called the Council of Trustees. The current role of the Council of Trustees is as follows: to make recommendations to the chancellor for the appointment, detention, or dismissal of the president following consultation with students, faculty, and alumni; to assist the president in developing proper relations and understanding between the institution and its programs and the public, in order to serve the interests and needs of both; to review and approve the recommendations of the president as to standards for the admission, discipline and expulsion of students; to review and approve the recommendations of the president pertaining to policies and procedures governing the use of institutional facilities and property; to approve schools and academic programs; to review and approve the recommendations of the president pertaining to annual operating and capital budget requirements for forwarding to the Board; to review and approve changes for room and board and other fees except student activity fees; to conduct an annual physical inspection of facilities and make recommendations regarding maintenance and construction to the Board; to review and approve all contracts and purchases negotiated or awarded by the president with or without competitive bidding and all contracts for consultative services entered by the president; to represent the institution at official functions of the Commonwealth; to take such other action as may be necessary to effectuate the powers and duties herein delegated. In accordance with the evaluation procedure established by the Board, each council shall conduct an evaluation of the president and forward the results of that evaluation with recommendation to the chancellor for submission to the Board.

Board members serve six-year terms and can be reappointed by the Governor with no limit.


18.73 Linear Feet (55 archives boxes, 1 oversize ledger)

Language of Materials



This record group is arranged with series and subseries listed in chronological order. The series are in order according to the type of materials. Series 1 (Minutes, Agendas, and Resolutions); Series 2 (Reports): Sub-Series 1 (Report of the President), Sub-Series 2 (Miscellaneous Reports); Series 3 (Correspondence); Series 4 (Membership); Series 5 (Financial Affairs): Sub-Series 1 (General Business Ledgers), Sub-Series 2 (Account Books), Sub-Series 3 (Bank Books), Sub-Series 4 (General Records), Sub-Series 5 (Land); Series 6 (General Business): Sub-Series 1 (Associations), Sub-Series 2 (Miscellaneous); Series 7 (McCune Papers): Sub-Series 1.1 (CVSNS Business Associates), Sub-Series 1.2 (CVSNS Record Books), Sub-Series 1.3 (CVSNS Financial Matters), Sub-Series 1.4 (CVSNS General Business), Sub-Series 1.5 (CVSNS Vouchers), Sub-Series 2 (McCune Personal Affairs), Sub-Series 3 (McCune Professional Affairs), Sub-Series 3 (Charles Loucks Commentaries); Series 8 (Mickey Papers).

Custodial History

This record group was received by Archives & Special Collections as a records transfer.


Further accurals are expected.

Processing Information

The materials in this record group were housed in the University Archives, but most of it had not been in any particular order. Staff organized the record group into series based on subject matter. Series 7 of the record group was donated to the University Archives and Special Collections but was not in original order when it arrived. It was purchased collectively by several people associated with Shippensburg University at an auction of belongings from the home of Jean Vance Johnston. (There is more information on this acquisition in the commentaries of Charles Loucks located in Series 7, Sub-Series 3, Box 5 and Box 6). The auctioneer was the first to sort the McCune documents. After the collection was purchased at the auction, it was given to Charles Loucks to organize and manage. When the collection reached the University Archives, Dr. Steven Burg’s “Intro to Archives” graduate class handled and sorted the documents, but they did not have time to completely organize the material into a series for the Board of Trustees record group. The staff in the Archives organized the material into its final series arrangement. Dr. Loucks first organized his notes according to box numbers, but by the time staff handled the collection, his commentaries were not always with the documents they described. Archives staff put his commentaries in order by box number and subject. They were scanned so that researchers could use a word search in order to find the commentary that relates to their research. Many of the items were unfolded, straight pins were removed, and damaged documents were given further preservation attention. For the most part, these materials were well preserved even though they had not been conservatively stored and dated back to the late 19th century.
Melanie Reed
April 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections Repository

Ezra Lehman Memorial Library room 207
Shippensburg University of PA
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
717-477-1123 x3357