Biographical/historical: John Huston Finley (1863-1940) was an educator, editor, author, and civic leader. He was president of Knox College, Galesburgh, Ill from 1892 to 1899 (later trustee); editor of Harper's Weekly, 1899; professor of history at Princeton University, 190-1903; and third president of the College of the City of New York from 1903-1913. He then served as Commissioner of Education for New York State and president of the University of the State of New York from 1913 to 1921 before becoming editor of The New York Times, 1921-1938. His career also included service with various educational, political, and charitable organizations.
Content: The collection contains correspondence, addresses, speeches, writings, diaries, miscellaneous papers, photographs, and printed matter that document Finley's varied career. The correspondence, 1892-ca. 1939, represents the bulk of the collection, and reflects his professional activities, organizational memberships, biography of Grover Cleveland, and recreational interests. There are numerous prominent correspondents. Addresses and speeches, ca. 1902-1940, consist of autograph manuscript and typescript texts of Finley's presentations to groups, such as schools; learned societies, chambers of commerce, and at commencements and patriotic celebrations. Many of the speeches are accompanied by correspondence, clippings, programs, menus, and photographs. Writings include manuscript and typescript drafts of his books, miscellaneous prose writings, poems, and scrapbooks of clippings of editorials by Finley published in the New York Times for the period 1921 to 1940. Diaries consist of personal diaries, 1910-1919, and desk calendars, 1922-1940. Miscellaneous papers include correspondence, letters of introduction, personal notes, travel documents, clippings, and other memorabilia relating to his European trips from 1921 to 1929. There are also postcards, genealogical papers, receipts, menus, programs, and papers relating to railroad arbitration, 1913-1914; New York State Constitutional Convention, 1915; and New York State Agricultural Advisory Board, 1915.