Ernest O. Melby Papers
UA.17.70

Summary Information

Repository
Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator - Donor
Melby, Ernest Oscar, 1891-1987
Creator
Smith, Mildred Beatty
Title
Ernest O. Melby papers
ID
UA.17.70
Date [inclusive]
1936-1974
Extent
6.0 Cubic feet
Language
English

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

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Biographical Note

Born and raised in Minnesota, Ernest Oscar Melby attended St. Olaf College, receiving his B.A. in 1913. From 1913 to 1915 he taught school in rural Minnesota, later becoming School Superintendent in, successively, the cities of Brewster, Blackduck and Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1915-1926. Melby earned his M.A. in 1926 from the University of Minnesota, where he received his Ph.D. in Education and Administration two years later.

In 1928, Melby joined the faculty of Northwestern University's School of Education, becoming Dean of the School of Education in 1934. In 1941 he was appointed President of Montana State University. During his tenure at Montana State University, Melby initiated the "Montana Study", an experimental research program designed to enrich life in small rural communities through continuing education. The study was completed in 1945.

Melby resigned his position in Montana in 1945 to become Dean of the School of Education at New York University. Melby, who had been greatly influenced by the teachings of John Dewey and had applied Dewey's methods of progressive education, found himself the target of criticism during the 1950s because of these views. In the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War, Melby was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee and other groups who questioned his patriotism as well as his teaching methods.

Melby retired from New York University in 1956, and in the same year, came to Michigan State University as Distinguished Professor of Education. While at MSU, Melby became a major force in the development of the Mott Institute for Community Improvement (MICI). Largely based on a concept Melby developed for the Montana Study, the goal of the Mott Program was to open the entire community to education and the benefits of educational services. Melby was one of the first coordinators of the Mott Intern Program in which Masters and Doctoral candidates worked for a year on the administrative level in the school system of Flint, Michigan, under the auspices of the Mott program and their respective universities. The program was discontinued in 1974.

During the late 1960s, Melby divided his time between MSU and Florida Atlantic University where he taught and helped to establish a program similar to the Mott program.

For most of his career, Melby was a member of the Cleveland Conference, an annual meeting of educators from all parts of the nation. This conference served as a forum for discussing educational problems and exchanging ideas and ideals.

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Scope and Contents note

The papers of Ernest O. Melby document his career as an educator, and are arranged into five series: Northwestern University (1934-1941), Montana State University (1941-1945), New York University (1945-1956), Michigan State University (1956-1973), Florida Atlantic University (1956-1971), and the Cleveland Conference sub series under these headings include correspondence, class materials, articles, and talks, and newspaper clippings. Two special sub series were created: one, in the NYU series entitled "Attacks on Education," is a detailed file of correspondence and articles (1948-1954), dealing with attacks on progressive education, and Melby's defense of his theories. The other special sub series appears in the MSU series, and relates to the formation of the Mott Program for Community Improvement (1957-1971).

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections September 1977

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824
517-355-2330
archives@msu.edu

Revision Description

  February 2004

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status note

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Cleveland Conference.
  • Florida Atlantic University.
  • Michigan State University.
  • Montana State College.
  • Mott Institute for Community Improvement.
  • New York University. School of Education.
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Education. Office of the Dean.
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Education.

Genre(s)

  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Course materials
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs

Subject(s)

  • Anti-communist movements
  • Continuing education
  • Progressive education

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Collection Inventory

Northwestern University 

Correspondence 

Box Folder

 1936 

784 1

 1937 

784 2

 1938 

784 3

 1939 

784 4

 February-March 1941 

784 5

Articles and Talks 

Box Folder

 1938-1940 

784 6

 n.d. 

784 7

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Montana State University 

Correspondence 

Box Folder

 September 1-20, 1941 

784 8

 September 22, 1941 

784 9

 September 23-25, 1941 

784 10

 September 26-30, 1941 

784 11

 October 1-5, 1941 

784 12

 October 6-7, 1941 

784 13

 October 8-12, 1941 

784 14

 October 13-19, 1941 

784 15

 November 1941 

784 16

 December 1941 

784 17

 January - February 1942 

784 18

 March - December 1942 

784 19

 January - April 1943 

784 20

 May - December 1943 

784 21

 January - February 1944 

784 22

 March 1944 

784 23

 April 1944 

784 24

 May - November 1944 

784 25

 February - March 1945 

784 26

 April - May 1945 

784 27

 June 3-8, 1945 

784 28

 June 11-18, 1945 

784 29

 June 21, 1945 

784 30

 June 11-30, 1945 

784 31

 July 1945 

784 32

 August 1945 

784 33

 September 1945 

784 34

Articles and Talks 

Box Folder

 1942 

784 35

 1943 

784 36

 1944 

784 37

 1945 

784 38

 n.d. 

784 39

Montana Study 

Box Folder

 1944 

784 40

 1945 

784 41
Box Folder

Newspaper Clippings 1945 

784 42

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New York University 

Correspondence 

Box Folder

 October - December 1945 

784 43

 January - April 1946 

784 44

 May 1946 

784 45

 June - December 1946 

784 46

 January - June 1947 

784 47

 September - December 1947 

784 48

 1948 

784 49

 January 1949 

784 50

 April - May 1949 

784 51

 July 1949 

784 52

 July - December 1949 

784 53

 1950 

784 54

 January - April 1951 

784 55

 May - December 1951 

784 56

 1952 

784 57

 January - June 1953 

784 58

 August - December 1953 

784 59

 January - May 1954 

784 60

 August - December 1954 

784 61

 January - May 1955 

784 62

 July - September 1955 

784 63

 September - October 1955 

784 64

 November 1955 

784 65

 December 1955 

784 66

 January - February 1956 

784 67

 March - April 1956 

784 68

 May 4-7, 1956 

784 69

 May 8-10, 1956 

784 70

 May 11-28, 1956 

784 71

 June 1956 

785 1

 n.d. 

785 2

Class Material 

Box Folder

 1950 

785 3

 1952 

785 4

 1956 

785 5

 n.d. 

785 6
Box Folder

Articles and Talks - Professional Diary 1950-1956 

785 7

Articles and Talks - Professional Diary 1956 

785 8

Articles and Talks 

Box Folder

 1945 

785 9

 1946 

785 10

 1947 

785 11

 1948 

785 12

 1950 

785 13

 1951 

785 14

 1952 

785 15-16

 1953 

785 17-20

 1954 

785 21-22

 1955 

785 23-25

 1956 

785 26-27

 n.d. 

785 28-37

"Attacks on Education" 

Box Folder

 1928-1950 

785 38

 1951 

785 39-43

 1952 

785 44

 1953 

785 45-47

 1954 

785 48

 n.d. 

785 49
Box Folder

Newspaper Clippings 1949-1956 

785 50

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Michigan State University 

Correspondence 

Box Folder

 July - August 1956 

785 51

 September 1956 

785 52

 October 1956 

785 53

 November 1956 

785 54

 December 3-18, 1956 

785 55

 December 19-31, 1956 

785 56

 January 1-15, 1957 

785 57

 January 16-31, 1957 

785 58

 February 1957 

785 59

 March 1957 

785 60

 April 1957 

785 61

 May 12, 1957 

786 1

 May 13-27, 1957 

786 2

 June 1957 

786 3

 July 1957 

786 4

 August 1957 

786 5

 September 1957 

786 6

 October 1957 

786 7

 November 1957 

786 8

 December 1957 

786 9

 January 1958 

786 10

 February - March 1958 

786 11

 May - June 1958 

786 12

 July 1958 

786 13

 August 1958 

786 14

 September 1958 

786 15

 October 1958 

786 16

 November 1958 

786 17

 December 1958 

786 18

 January 1959 

786 19

 February 1959 

786 20

 March 1959 

786 21

 April 1959 

786 22

 May 1959 

786 23

 July 1959 

786 24

 August 1959 

786 25

 September - October 1959 

786 26

 January - June 1960 

786 27

 July - October 1960 

786 28

 November - December 1960 

786 29

 January - March 1961 

786 30

 April - June 1961 

786 31

 July - December 1961 

786 32

 January - March 1962 

786 33

 April - May 1962 

786 34

 June - July 1962 

786 35

 August - October 1962 

786 36

 November - December 1962 

786 37

 January - May 1963 

786 38

 June - December 1963 

786 39

 January - March 1964 

786 40

 April - May 1964 

786 41

 June - September 1964 

786 42

 October - December 1964 

786 43

 January - February 1965 

786 44

 March 1965 

786 45

 April - June 1965 

786 46

 July 1965 

786 47

 August 1965 

786 48

 September 1965 

786 49

 October 1965 

786 50

 November 1965 

786 51

 December 1965 

786 52

 January 1966 

786 53

 February 1966 

786 54

 March 1966 

786 55

 April 1966 

786 56

 May 1-4, 1966 

786 57

 May 16-31, 1966 

786 58

 June 1966 

786 59

 July 1966 

786 60

 August 1966 

786 61

 September 1-15, 1966 

786 62

 September 16-30, 1966 

786 63

 October 3-14, 1966 

786 64

 October 17-31, 1966 

786 65

 November 1-8, 1966 

786 66

 November 10-29, 1966 

786 67

 December 1966 

786 68

 January 1967 

786 69

 February 1967 

786 70

 March 2-7, 1967 

786 71

 March 8-31, 1967 

786 72

 April 1967 

786 73

 May 1-9, 1967 

786 74

 May 11-26, 1967 

786 75

 June 1967 

787 1

 July 1967 

787 2

 August 1967 

787 3

 September 1-8, 1967 

787 4

 September 12-19, 1967 

787 5

 September 20-30, 1967 

787 6

 October 4-17, 1967 

787 7

 October 18-30, 1967 

787 8

 November 1967 

787 9

 December 1-19, 1967 

787 10

 December 22-26, 1967 

787 11

 January 1968 

787 12

 February 1968 

787 13

 March 1968 

787 14

 April 1968 

787 15

 May 1968 

787 16

 June 1968 

787 17

 July 1968 

787 18

 August 1968 

787 19

 September 1968 

787 20

 October 1968 

787 21

 November 1968 

787 22

 December 1968 

787 23

 January 1969 

787 24

 February 1969 

787 25

 March 1969 

787 26

 April 1969 

787 27

 May 1969 

787 28

 June 1969 

787 29

 August 1969 

787 30

 September 1969 

787 31

 October 2-20, 1969 

787 32

 October 21-31, 1969 

787 33

 November 1969 

787 34

 December 1969 

787 35

 January 1970 

787 36

 February 1-16, 1970 

787 37

 February 17-27, 1970 

787 38

 March 2-17, 1970 

787 39

 March 18-31, 1970 

787 40

 April 1970 

787 41

 May 1970 

787 42

 June 1970 

787 43

 July 1970 

787 44

 August 1970 

787 45

 September 1970 

787 46

 October 1970 

787 47

 November 3, 1970 

787 48

 November 10-23, 1970 

787 49

 December 1970 

787 50

 January 1971 

787 51

 February 1971 

787 52

 March 1971 

787 53

 April 2-19, 1971 

787 54

 April 20-30, 1971 

787 55

 May 1971 

787 56

 June 1-7, 1971 

787 57

 June 8-29, 1971 

787 58

 July 1971 

787 59

 August 1971 

787 60

 September 1971 

787 61

 October 1971 

787 62

 November 1-18, 1971 

787 63

 November 19-30, 1971 

787 64

 December 1-5, 1971 

787 65

 December 6-20, 1971 

787 66

 January 1972 

787 67

 February 1972 

787 68

 March 1972 

787 69

 May 1972 

787 70

 June 1971 

787 71

 August - September 1972 

787 72

 February 1973 

787 73

 April 1973 

787 74

 May 1973 

787 75

 June 1973 

787 76

 July 1973 

787 77

 August 1973 

787 78

 September 1973 

787 79

 October 1973 

787 80

 November 1973 

787 81

 December 1973 

787 82

 January 1974 

787 83

 February 1974 

787 84

 March 1974 

787 85

 April 1974 

787 86

 May 1974 

787 87

 June 1974 

787 88

 July 1974 

787 89

 n.d. 

787 90-96

Class Materials 

Box Folder

 1957 

788 1

 1965 

788 2-3

 1966 

788 4

 1969 

788 5

 1971 

788 6

 1972 

788 7-8

 1973 

788 9-14

 n.d. 

788 15-22

Articles and Talks 

Box Folder

 1956 

788 23

 1957 

788 24

 1958 

788 25

 1959 

788 26-27

 1960 

788 28-29

 1961 

788 30

 1962 

788 31

 1963 

788 32

 1964 

788 33

 1965 

788 34

 1966 

788 35

 1967 

788 36

 1968 

788 37

 1969 

788 38

 1970 

788 39

 1972 

788 40

 1973 

788 41

 n.d. 

788 42-61

Mott Institute for Community Development 

Correspondence 

Box Folder

 1961 

788 62

 1963 

788 63

 1965 

788 64

 January 24 - April 7, 1966 

788 65

 May 1966 

788 66

 June - July 1966 

788 67

 1967 

788 68

 February - April 1968 

788 69

 May - June 1968 

788 70

 1969 

788 71

 1970 

788 72

 1971 

788 73

Intern Program 

Box Folder

 1957 

789 1

 1959 

789 2

 1960 

789 3

 1963-1964 

789 4

 1965 

789 5-10

 1966 

789 11-15

 1967 

789 16-18

 1968 

789 19-21

 1969 

789 22-25

 1970 

789 26-30

 1971 

789 31-32

 n.d. 

789 33-37

Publications 

Box Folder

 1965 

789 38

 1967 

789 39

 1968 

789 40

 1969 

789 41

 1970 

789 42

 n.d. 

789 43-44

Newspapers 

Box Folder

 1964 

789 45

 1965 

789 46

 1966 

789 47

 1968-1969 

789 48

 1970-1971 

789 49

 n.d. 

789 50

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Florida Atlantic Unversity 

Correspondence 

Box Folder

 1965 

789 51

 1966 

789 52

 1967 

789 53

 1971 

789 54

Class Materials 

Box Folder

 1967 

789 55

 1968 

789 56

Articles and Talks 

Box Folder

 1968 

789 57

 1971 

789 58

 n.d. 

789 59

Cleveland Conference 

Box Folder

History 

789 60

Agendas and Rosters 

Box Folder

 1951 

789 61

 1952 

789 62

 1955 

789 63

 1956 

789 64

 1957 

789 65

 1959 

789 66

 1960 

789 67

 1961 

789 68

 1962 

789 69

 1963 

789 70

 1964 

789 71

 1965 

789 72

 1966 

789 73

 n.d. 

789 74

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Manuscript of book for which Melby wrote the Forward n.d. 

Box Carton

School and Home: Focus on Reading by Mildred Smith 

789 1

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Photographs 

Drawer

Cleveland Conference. Participants 1965, 1968-1969 

Collection Photographs

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