Guide to the Robert D. Steele Westminster College President's subject files

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Robert D. Steele Westminster College President's subject files
Dates: 1871-1918, 1938-1954, 1972 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-005B
Summary: This collection contains the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Robert D. Steele, 5th president of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah). Steele served as president from 1939-1952. The correspondence documents Steele's wide-range of activities as college president.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Anniversary (75th) celebration
box 1, folder 2: Biographical information
box 1, folder 3: Building -- Gunton Memorial Chapel

5 oversized items removed to Box 2, Folder 1

box 1, folder 4: Buildings -- President's home

1 oversized item removed to Box 2, Folder 2

box 1, folder 5: Buildings -- Science (1949 January)
box 1, folder 6: Buildings -- Science (1949 February-April)
box 1, folder 7: Buildings -- Stadiums
box 1, folder 8: Citations
box 1, folder 9: College brochures
box 1, folder 10: College histories (1871-1942)
box 1, folder 11: College histories (1949-1952)
box 1, folder 12: College planning
box 1, folder 13: Convocations
box 1, folder 14: Eulogies and obituaries
box 1, folder 15: Founder's Day programs (1946 May)
box 1, folder 16: Founder's Day programs (1952)

1 oversized item removed to Box 2, Folder 3

box 1, folder 17: Inauguration
box 1, folder 18: Newsletters
box 1, folder 19: Newspaper clippings -- Anniversary
box 1, folder 20: Newspaper clippings -- General
box 1, folder 21: Programs
box 1, folder 22: Publications (general)
box 1, folder 23: Publications (promotional)

1 oversized item removed to Box 2, Folder 4

box 1, folder 24: Reports (1939 August - 1942 December)
box 1, folder 25: Reports (1943 May - 1950 June)
box 1, folder 26: Reports (1951 May)
box 1, folder 27: Resolutions

1 oversized item removed to Box 2, Folder 5

box 1, folder 28: Speeches
box 1, folder 29: Student Christian Association
box 1, folder 30: Student policies
box 1, folder 31: Writings
box 2, folder 1: Buildings -- Gunton Memorial Chapel (Oversize)
box 2, folder 2: Buildings -- President's home (oversize)
box 2, folder 3: Founder's Day programs (oversize)
box 2, folder 4: Publications (promotional) (oversize)
box 2, folder 5: Resolutions (oversize)

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

Robert Denham Steele was born January 26, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Science in 1922. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary earning his Bachelor of Theology degree in 1926. He attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland from 1928-1929. In 1939, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho.

From 1922-1923, Steele was a coach and teacher of science at the high school at California, Pennsylvania. In May 1926, after graduating from the Princeton Theological Seminary, Steele was ordained a Presbyterian minister, and served as pastor for the churches in Ridgebury, Centerville and Denton, New York. From 1927-1928, he was a pastor at Webb Horton Memorial Presbyterian Church in Middletown, New York.

In 1928, Steele married Elizabeth Louise Reherd, the only child of Westminster College President Herbert Reherd. They had two sons: R. David and James R. Steele, each of whom would go on to become Presbyterian ministers. Robert Steele was called to Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was the director of Christian Education and assistant pastor until 1934.

Toward the end of 1934, Steele became Vice-President of Westminster College, two years later associate president, and finally president and trustee in 1939. Westminster College suffered a great deal from the later depression years during President Steele's term and the college came very close to closing, but Dr. Steele worked hard by maintaining good public relations and active fund raising in order to keep it open. The Science Building was constructed and the Dane Hansen Memorial Building dedicated during Steele's term as president (1939-1952).

After resigning as Westminster College president, Dr. Steele went on to become the 9th president (1952-1967) of Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Robert D. Steele died of a heart attack in 1972 at the age of 71.

Content Description +/-

This collection contains the subject files of Robert D. Steele, 5th president of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah). The materials are organized into 21 subject categories relating to Steele's term as president. Materials in the collection include abstracts, brochures, correspondence, eulogies, newspaper clippings, obituaries, policies, programs, publications, reports, resolutions, and speeches.

The subject categories are the following: Anniversary (75th) celebration, Biographical information, Buildings – Gunton Memorial Chapel, Buildings – President's home, Buildings – Science, Buildings – Stadiums, Bulletins, Citations, College Brochures, College histories, College Planning, Eulogies and Obituaries, Founder's Day Programs, Inauguration, Newsletter, Newspaper clippings – Anniversary, Newspaper clippings – general, Programs, Publications (general), Publications (promotional), Reports, Resolutions, Speeches, Student Christian Association, Student Policies, and Writings.

The Anniversary celebration file consists of certificates of congratulations for the anniversary from the University of Utah and Duke University, a pamphlet describing the plans for their 75th anniversary fund, an official 75th anniversary seal/sticker, a program from the 75th anniversary convocation, and a list of American universities and colleges by founding date with names and many signatures.

The Biographical information file contains a biography of Robert D. Steele, different local newspaper articles about President Steele's re-election to the head of the evangelical conference (1946), his resignation and reception (1952), and a visit he made to the college in 1958, his obituary, and a convocation program expressing "gratitude" for the life and work of Robert D. Steele (1972).

Buildings – Gunton Memorial Chapel contains resolutions, agreements, the mortgage release, and warranty deeds concerning the sale of the chapel. Buildings – President's home consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence concerning taxes on the president's home, a warranty deed, and its abstract of title. Buildings – Science includes a program and invitation for the cornerstone service of the science building and other information about the science building including the contents of the capsule deposited in its cornerstone, the architects' specifications for the building, and a list of officers present at the cornerstone ceremony. Buildings – Stadium contains a list of specifications for the memorial stadium.

Citations contains a statement honoring Edward Orson Howard, a former member of the Board of Trustees awarded an honorary degree in June 1945.

The College brochures file contains different brochures promoting Westminster College from the 1930s – 1951.

the College histories file consists of various histories of Westminster College and the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute written from 1871–1952.

The College planning file consists of different projects and plans for Westminster College from 1939 – 1950.

Eulogies and Obituaries contains obituaries for a Salt Lake attorney, Charles W. Morse (1938), one for Frank Russell Payne, a former president of the Board of Trustees after whom the college gymnasium was named (1943), a former Westminster student named Donald Brown (1948), and former Westminster College president Herbert W. Reherd (1951).

Founder's Day programs consists of various programs for Founder's Day celebrations from 1946 – 1952.

Inauguration includes two different inauguration invitations and a program (1940).

The Newsletter file contains a newsletter, "Purple and Gold," for May 1952.

Newspaper clippings – Anniversary contains a variety of newspaper articles from local newspapers concerning Westminster College's 75th anniversary celebration (1950). Newspaper clippings – General contains various newspaper articles about Westminster College from 1940 – 1951, relating to the growth of Westminster funds, opening dates on different school years, advertisements for the college etc.

Programs consists of programs for a variety of college functions such as a play, a musical performance, commencement exercise, and baccalaureate service.

Publications (general) contains an article about Westminster College published in the Intermountain Farm and Livestock journal. Publications (promotional) contains different pamphlets and papers promoting Westminster College (1939-1947).

The Reports files consists of various reports written and submitted during Steele's presidency including reports to the faculty and the president's reports to the Board of Trustees.

Resolutions contains two Board of Trustees resolutions and another resolution that was signed by the president of the board (dated December 29, 1942), but did not appear to be discussed in the Board of Trustees meeting of the same date. All resolutions have to do with proposed changes in policies at Westminster College.

Speeches contains speeches delivered by President Steele on campus – two about the college, and another given to the board of trustees called "the signs of the times."

Student Christian Association contains the association's proposed constitution.

Student Policies consists of various student policies relating to leaving campus on a Sunday, regulations for girls working in homes and attending Westminster College, and a trial enrollment agreement for students.

The Writings file includes a memorandum of the Mormon church by President Steele and a poem called "I am the spirit of Westminster."

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:

Robert D. Steele Westminster College President's subject files, 1871-1918, 1938-1954, 1972, ACC-005B, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by subject category, and then chronologically by date within these subjects.

Processing Note:

Processed in March 2003 by Laura Richey.


Steele, Robert D. (Robert Denham), 1901-1972


Collection materials are in English.


0.4 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written March 2003 by Laura Richey

EAD Creation Date:

2011 February 3 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Carroll College (Waukesha, Wis.)--Presidents--Biography
Charles H. Dick Science Building (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Dane Hansen Memorial Stadium (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Gunton Memorial Chapel (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Payne Gymnasium (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Student Christian Association (Westminster College)
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Administration
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--History--Sources
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Presidents.
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). President's Office

Subject Terms:

Buildings--Utah--Salt Lake City--History--Sources
Cornerstone laying--Utah--Salt Lake City
College presidents--Utah--Salt Lake City--Archives
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources

Form or Genre Terms:

Abstracts (summaries)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Programs (documents)
Resolutions (administrative records)

Personal Names:

Brown, Donald--Death and burial
Howard, Edward Orson
Morse, Charles W.--Death and burial
Payne, Frank Russell--Death and burial
Reherd, Herbert Ware, 1869-1952--Death and burial
Steele, Robert D. (Robert Denham), 1901-1972--Archives

Geographical Names:

Salt Lake City (Utah)--Buildings, structures, etc.--History--Sources
Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources