Table of Contents
Collection Overview +/-
Collection Inventory +/-
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-001A), Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Content Description +/-
This collection consists of six commissions of George B. Sweazey as Principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute between the years of 1904-1909. The commissions are printed with blue ink and tri-folded and resemble a pamphlet. The documents are designed by the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and specifically by the "Mission School Department under the auspice of the Woman's Board of Home Missions." Information on Sweazey and his official title as "Principal Teacher of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute" is followed by the statement of his salary for the following year. The records show Sweazey's salary beginning at $816.67 in 1904; by 1909 he was being paid $1,400 a year. The first document dated in 1904 was signed on September 1 of that year; later documents were signed on the first day of April. Commissions were then signed by the President of the Home Board, D. Stuart Dodge, and by Secretary Charles L. Thompson, or in later years by Associate Secretary John Dixon.
The contracts enumerated responsibilities expected to be preformed by Principal Sweazey. Responsibilities include: faculty meetings, reports (monthly financial statements and statistical reports), payment of salary, religious responsibilities (Bible studies, Catechism, and daily sessions of prayer), financing of institutional improvements, travel expenses, vacations, and the rights of the Board. One section entitled "Personal and Important" reminds Sweazey of his missionary responsibilities to foster Presbyterian unity, lead a Christian life, and provide leadership "inspired by the Holy Spirit" to those around him. The final section lists Biblical passages meant to imbue Sweazey with the meaningfulness of his work, including quotes on his "particular commission" and "benediction." The Commissions show one aspect of the business relationship and strong religious connection Sweazey held with the Presbyterian Church.
Gaps in the collection: George B. Sweazey was Principal of the Institute from 1904-1914. Commissions are missing for the years 1910-1914.
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.
George B. Sweazey Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's commissions, 1904-1909, ACC-001B, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Administrative Information +/-
The commissions are arranged chronologically by year.
Processed October 2004 by Alana Dela Cruz.
Sweazey, George B. (George Beaty), 1875-1946
Collection materials are in English.
0.1 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 4 by Sarah Shaw
Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)
Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of Home Missions
Form or Genre Terms:
Dixon, John, 1847-1935
Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources