Scope and Content of Collection
University Archives Collection
Language of Material:
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: San José State University New College Records
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2009.11.03
(15.42 linear feet)
Date (inclusive): 1965-1998
Abstract: The San José State University New College Records, 1965-1998, document New College - a four-year liberal arts program. The
records consist of administrative files, twenty and thirty-year reunion materials, daybooks, a scrapbook created by New College
Provost Harold (Hal) DeBey, radical publications, and a New College banner. The collection is arranged into five series: Series
I. Administrative Files, 1968-1998; Series II. Reunion Materials, 1988-1998; Series III. Scrapbook and Daybooks, 1970-1980;
Series IV. Radical Publications, 1965-1973; and Series V. Realia, undated.
Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: English
The collection is open for research. However, Box 4 is restricted.
Copyright is assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish
or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication
is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the
original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
San José State University New College Records, MSS-2009-11-03 , San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.
This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant
project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008.The Project Director
is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.
Collection processed and encoded by Elizabeth Lopez in 2009. Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen. Folder level description
added by Kate Steffens in February 2020.
In 1857 the San Francisco Board of Education established Minns' Evening Normal School for current and prospective teachers
in the city. Named after its principal, George W. Minns, the institution was formally established as the first California
State Normal School by the State Legislature in 1862. A decade later, the Legislature voted to move the Normal School to San
Jose, and the school relocated to its new home on Washington Square prior to the fall term of 1872. After a fire destroyed
the Normal School building in 1880, the Legislature authorized $200,000 to construct a new building on the same site. Completed
in 1881, the building was commonly referred to as the Second State Normal School. After several names and curriculum changes,
Minns' Normal School is now San Jose State University, offering more than 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations,
and is recognized as one of the top public universities granting such degrees in the West.
The San José State University New College program (1968-1981) was a four-year liberal arts course of study created to "tear
down the walls between disciplines" with its experimental approach to higher education. Founded by SJSU faculty members Jack
Pierce (Anthropology), Jack Douglas (Library), and Harold (Hal) DeBey (Chemistry/New College Provost from 1968-1977), New
College faculty included artists, writers, and social scientists. The major objectives of New College were "to offer society's
urgent need for wise, creative and responsible citizens prepared to participate actively in a self-governing community, to
offer a clear alternative to the impersonality found in large colleges and universities, to bring students and professors
together in the common pursuit of truth, and to introduce students to some of the decision-making processes involved in the
creation of a curriculum." In addition, New College promoted the ideology of "allowing students to pursue individual paths
of study free of rigidly structured requirements," as well as the concept of "supporting, guiding and encouraging the idealism
of young people who are aware of the world's complex problems and who wish to dedicate themselves to their amelioration."
The first two years of a New College student's coursework was devoted to the study of humankind, with general education classes
in three broad areas: in the Humanities and the Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Technology.
Course topics included "man's image of himself," "man and his natural environment," and "the discussion of man's future" in
direct relation to global concerns such as human and natural resources conservation, population issues, and war and peace.
In upper division study, New College students and faculty worked together to design a curriculum based on a combination of
seminars, independent study, and courses from other departments in order to meet individual study objectives. Students also
spent part of their time in community activities, and were encouraged to live in a special co-educational dormitory on campus
to foster "informal discussions between students and faculty," and to create "an opportunity for varied and unusual friendships
across cultural and social barriers."
Although at the time, New College was considered a successful alternative to traditional higher education, declining enrollment
in the late 1970's and diminishing fiscal resources in early 1980's ended support for continuing the program and in 1980 New
College officially closed.
New College Senior Projects, 1970-1981. San José State University Special Collections & Archives.
San José State University Oral History Project Collection, MSS-2006-04-01. San José State University Special Collections
San José State University Student Publications Collection, MSS-2009-08-02, San José State University Special Collections
Scope and Content of Collection
The San José State University New College Records, 1965-1998, document New College - an experimental four-year liberal arts
program that existed on the San José State campus from 1968-1981. The records consist of the following: Administrative files
that document the creation and implementation of the College and its eventual closure, as well as audio and video of student
activites; Reunion materials that include photos and updates from alumni; Daybooks and a scrapbook created by New College
Provost Harold (Hal) DeBey,; Radical publications that include hippie, leftist, and activist magazines; and a New College
The collection is arranged into five series: Series I. Administrative Files, 1968-1998; Series II. Reunion Materials, 1988-1998;
Series III. Scrapbook and Daybooks, 1970-1980; Series IV. Radical Publications, 1965-1973; and Series V. Realia, undated.
University Archives Collection
Record Group: 184.108.40.206
Gilbert, Benjamin F., and Burdick, Charles.
Washington Square, 1857-1979: The History of San José State University. San José, California: San José State University, 1980. San José State University. About SJSU. San José State University.
Course Catalog, 1969-1970. San José, California: San José State University, 1969. San José State University.
New College. Brochure. San José, California: San José State University, undated. Walsh, James P.
San José State University: An Interpretive History, 1950-2000. San José, California: San José State University, 2003.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
San José State University New College -- History.
San Jose State College -- History
California State University, San José -- History.
San José State University -- History.
Education, Higher -- California -- San Jose.
Interdisciplinary approach in education -- California -- San José.