Guide to the George B. Sweazey Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's correspondence

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: George B. Sweazey Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's correspondence
Dates: 1903-1913 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-001A
Summary: This collection consists of the incoming correspondence and six examples of third-party correspondence of George B. Sweazey, fourth principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: 1903 January-December
box 1, folder 2: 1904 January-September
box 1, folder 3: 1904 October-November
box 1, folder 4: 1904 December
box 1, folder 5: 1905 January-February
box 1, folder 6: 1905 March-April

One oversized item removed to Box 6, Folder 1

box 1, folder 7: 1905 May-June
box 1, folder 8: 1905 July-August
box 1, folder 9: 1905 October-November
box 1, folder 10: 1905 December
box 1, folder 11: 1905 undated
box 2, folder 1: 1906 January-February
box 2, folder 2: 1906 March-April
box 2, folder 3: 1906 May-June
box 2, folder 4: 1906 July
box 2, folder 5: 1906 August
box 2, folder 6: 1906 September-December
box 2, folder 7: 1906 undated
box 2, folder 8: 1907 January-June
box 2, folder 9: 1907 July-December
box 2, folder 10: 1908 January-February
box 2, folder 11: 1908 March-April
box 2, folder 12: 1908 May-June
box 3, folder 1: 1908 July
box 3, folder 2: 1908 August
box 3, folder 3: 1908 September-October
box 3, folder 4: 1908 November
box 3, folder 5: 1908 December

One oversized item removed to Box 6, Folder 1

box 3, folder 6: 1908 undated
box 3, folder 7: 1909 January-June
box 3, folder 8: 1909 July-December
box 4, folder 1: 1910 January-March
box 4, folder 2: 1910 April-May
box 4, folder 3: 1910 June-July
box 4, folder 4: 1910 August-September
box 4, folder 5: 1910 October-December

One oversized item removed to Box 6, Folder 1

box 4, folder 6: 1910 undated
box 4, folder 7: 1911 January-February
box 4, folder 8: 1911 March-April
box 4, folder 9: 1911 May-June
box 4, folder 10: 1911 July
box 4, folder 11: 1911 August
box 4, folder 12: 1911 September-October
box 4, folder 13: 1911 November-December
box 4, folder 14: 1911 undated
box 5, folder 1: 1912 January-February
box 5, folder 2: 1912 March-May
box 5, folder 3: 1912 June-July
box 5, folder 4: 1912 August-October
box 5, folder 5: 1912 November-December
box 5, folder 6: 1912 undated
box 5, folder 7: 1913 January-March
box 5, folder 8: 1913 April-May
box 5, folder 9: 1913 June-July
box 5, folder 10: 1913 August-September
box 5, folder 11: 1913 October-December
box 5, folder 12: 1913 undated
box 5, folder 13: Third-party correspondence
box 6, folder 1: 1903-1913 oversized

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

George B. Sweazey is best known for his influential and charitable work in the Presbyterian Community. His work in Salt Lake City began with his hiring as the second faculty member of the Sheldon Jackson College in 1897, and later his election as Principal of the Collegiate Institute in 1904, remaining with the school through its transition to Westminster College, and finally resigning in 1917. He then moved on to become the Dean of Westminster College of Fulton, Missouri, until his death on 10 August 1946. Sweazey is best known for his influences in nearly all areas of Presbyterian life and for the broad range of talents he passionately pursued as teacher, administrator, and counselor.

George Beaty Sweazey was born in Switzerland County, Indiana on 12 April 1875 to Anna F. (Beaty) Sweazey and George W. Sweazey. He received his bachelor's degree and Phi Beta Kappa key from Wabash College in 1897, his Masters in 1900, and his LL.D from Parsons College in 1923. He also spent time in Bonn, Germany, studying chemistry. The extensive knowledge he received led to his employment by Dean Robert G. McNiece at Westminster College in Salt Lake City to teach mathematics and science starting at $500 a year. Over the course of his long career he also taught chemistry, physics, German, Bible, Latin, and Greek – while also teaching Sunday school at Salt Lake City's First Presbyterian Church under the watchful eye of Reverend William M. Paden. Sweazey's close relationship to Presbyterian leaders lead to his participation with many of the changes associated with the First Presbyterian Church, including the move to its location on South Temple; and later the Collegiate Institute move to the current Westminster College campus.

With the death of Dr. Robert G. McNiece in 1913 Sweazey assumed the responsibility of the educational program along side the newly elected President of Westminster College Dr. Herbert W. Reherd. Sweazey also worked closely with Westminster College presidents General John Eaton (1902-1904), Dr. George Bailey (1902-1904), and Dr. Robert M. Stevenson (1904-1912). In 1914 President Reherd promoted Sweazey from Principal of the Preparatory Department to Dean of the College, a position that oversaw all curriculum and student activities. Sweazey was very successful in this position due to the fact that students as well as faculty found him amiable and easy to work with.

The personal connections that Sweazey established in the Presbyterian community in all regions of Utah display his extensive connections, appeal, and influence personally and with the school. Sweazey's principle duties dealt with the business arrangements and students of the Institute, and later the College. Sweazey was well known for his generous nature, which is evident in the overwhelming number of letters concerning financial aid and placement of students in the schools. Though very caring and often lenient in his dealings with students and their financial concerns his close attention to the business of the schools made him an invaluable element for organization and practical running of the educational facilities. Sweazey's integral role in hiring and working along side teachers in the schools gave him a very beneficial understanding of the needs of the Institute and College.

Sweazey's personal life also reflects the dedication that is apparent in his business and religious affiliations. While teaching at the Sheldon Jackson College in Salt Lake City, Sweazey met and soon married another teacher, Miss Anna M. Furry, around 1900. Their marriage resulted in three children, James (who died in infancy), George E. and Catherine. Later in life George E. took on the prestigious role of Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, while daughter Catherine became the wife of Institute Dean Lincoln Barker. The family lived in the famous Octagon House that stood across the street from the First Presbyterian Church at its original location on the corner of Second South and Second East in Salt Lake City. The house would later serve as a temporary residence for teachers and students.

The role of George B. Sweazey in parts of the Presbyterian community of Salt Lake City proved influential and long lasting. Many of the organization and interpersonal relationships established by Sweazey went on to guide the future of the growing Presbyterian Church. His greatest contributions lie in his work with the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute and Westminster College, working as a liaison for students, and in the functioning of the schools as teacher and administrator. Sweazey's hard work and admirable personality helped shape the way Westminster College would be perceived, both throughout Utah, the West, and in the Presbyterian community.

Sweazey died 10 August 1946 at the age of 71 in St. Louis, Missouri.

This biography was written by Alana Dela Cruz, January 2005; edited and expanded by Sarah Shaw, November 2010.

Sources: Emil Nyman (Westminster College archivist) published and unpublished articles on Sweazey ("George B. Sweazey", "I remember … ", "George Beaty Sweazey" in The Utah Westminster 33, no. 2 (October 1946)); R. Douglas Brackenridge's book "Westminster College of Salt Lake City : from Presbyterian mission school to independent college" (Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press, 1998); and the collection George B. Sweazey Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's correspondence, 1903-1913 (ACC-001), Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of the incoming correspondence and six examples of third-party correspondence of George B. Sweazey. The records begin sparsely in 1903 and continue steadily throughout the next decade, ending in December 1913. Sweazey was best known as the fourth principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, following John M. Coyner, Jesse Fonda Millspaugh, and Robert J. Caskey. George Sweazey was also hired as the second faculty member of the Sheldon Jackson College (later renamed Westminster College) in 1897. Several important pieces of correspondence concerning Sweazey's promotion to principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute are included in the series, with special emphasis on those from August 1903. Several letters from Caskey, the then current principal of the Institute, and George F. McAfee, the Superintendent of School Work for the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, commend Sweazey on his work and attempt to persuade him to take the position of principal at the Institute. In one letter Robert G. McNiece, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Collegiate Institute, asks Sweazey to consider becoming principal so that the Collegiate Institute and Westminster College might be "closer to being one." A telegram from Charles L. Thompson, Secretary for the Board of Home Missions, on 1 September 1903, announces Sweazey's appointment and so begins correspondence dealing with the business, students and faculty of the Collegiate Institute.

The majority of the correspondence deals with the business arrangements and the students of the Institute. Sweazey was well known for his generous nature, which is evident in the overwhelming number of letters concerning financial aid and placement of students. Parents would often write considering their children's admission to the school; frequently asking for work or a place for their child to board at school. The letters of various parents can be tracked through the series ending usually with them thanking Sweazey for admitting their children into the school. Often educators from outlying regions in Utah and Idaho would write to Sweazey suggesting potential students. One of the most frequent writers was Theo Lei of Spanish Fork, Utah, who wrote most steadily in the years 1905-1907. Sweazey was also very flexible on the payment of tuition, one letter dated 2 October 1904, tells of Mary Thomas trading potatoes, while Gilbert Nance, on 27 August 1904, asks permission to pay his tuition after he is paid from his paper route.

Despite the leniency displayed toward students, the business records found in the collection show careful financial dealings. Several groups of letters deal with the purchases of books for the school library. Other business affairs include buying diplomas and advertisements for the school. An extended communication was maintained between Sweazey and the treasurer of the Presbyterian Church Board of Home Missions, Harvey C. Olin. Olin was responsible for funding the overall improvement of the school. Sweazey was also in direct communication with John F. Pingry, from the Department of School Work. Rob M. Craig, Superintendent of the Department of School Work would periodically inform Sweazey of new school openings, lesson work, and general changes within Presbyterian education. Sweazey also kept in close contact with the other Presbyterian schools in Utah. George H. Mars, of the Wasatch Academy of Mount Pleasant, and Principal John M. Cathcart, of the New Jersey Academy in Logan. Each shared the changes within their schools regularly with Sweazey. Most of the letters dealing with changes and important events within nearby schools appear in the latter half of the series, between 1908-1913, when Sweazey was fully established in the community as well as in the Institute itself. Many of the letters also came from prospective candidates for teaching positions at the Collegiate Institute. A letter from Chas F. Rowing, 17 June 1904, recommends librarian Lou Paden to the school. Miss Paden devoted most of her life to teaching at the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute and Westminster College. She also served as the librarian at Westminster College toward the end or her career.

The third party correspondence associated with the series regards recommendations, both for students and faculty, to the Institute. One example from B. F. Clark of the Clark Teachers' Agency relates the possible placement of Mr. Eiler J. Freece at the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute on 1 May 1905. Recommendations for student considering the Institute come from the Corning Academy of Corning, Iowa, on 12 April 1905; as well as Hungerford Academy of Springville, Utah, on 21 March 1905. The third party correspondence in this series is rare and is directly related to incoming faculty and students.

Overall, Sweazey's correspondence provides insight to the many responsibilities and aspects concerning the running of the Collegiate Institute. It also provides examples of the respect Sweazey received from his colleagues and acquaintances, as well as the generous and business-like manner of Sweazey's own personality.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Open to public research.

Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.

Restrictions on Use:

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.

Preferred Citation:

George B. Sweazey Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's correspondence, 1903-1913, ACC-001A, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


The correspondence is arranged chronologically by date. Undated letters are located at end of the year they were originally identified.

Processing Note:

Processed by Alana Dela Cruz in October 2004. While the original arrangement of the correspondence cannot be determined, it was later reorganized chronologically into subject categories. Subjects originally included were: Church, Personal, and Business. This arrangement was simplified into a straight chronological order.


Sweazey, George B. (George Beaty), 1875-1946


Collection materials are in English.


2.8 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written October 2004 by Alana Dela Cruz

EAD Creation Date:

2010 November 2 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

New Jersey Academy (Logan, Utah)
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of Home Missions
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Salt Lake--Education
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Utah--Education
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Administration
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Finance
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--History--Sources
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Students
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. Principal's Office
Sheldon Jackson College (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah)
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--History--Sources
Young Men's Literary Association (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Subject Terms:

Church schools--Utah--Finance
Deans (Education)--Utah--Archives
Preparatory schools--Utah--Finance
Presbyterian Church--Education--Utah
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Finance
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources
School principals--Utah--Archives

Form or Genre Terms:


Personal Names:

Caskey, Robert J. (Robert John), 1860-1916
Cathcart, John M.
Craig, Rob M.
Freece, Eiler J.
Lei, Theo
Mars, George H.
McAfee, George Fletcher, 1841-1907
McNiece, Robert G. (Robert Gibson), 1839-1913
Olin, Harvey C.
Paden, Lou Rachel, b. ca. 1863
Pingry, John F.
Rowing, Chas F.
Sweazey, George B. (George Beaty), 1875-1946--Archives
Sweazey, George B. (George Beaty), 1875-1946--Correspondence
Thompson, Charles L. (Charles Lemuel), 1839-1924

Geographical Names:

Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources