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Paul Dwight Moody, 1921-1942

Identifier: A2.I

Scope and Contents

Spanning his tenure as President, the Paul Dwight Moody Presidential Papers consist of 13 boxes of correspondence folders in chronological sequence, subdivided alphabetically by correspondent. Incoming letters, often with copies of Mood’s response, are filed together. The papers deal with aspects of college activity from 1921 until 1942. Noteworthy subjects include navigating the Depression and the onset of World War II and establishing a separate women’s campus.


  • 1921-1942

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restriction.

Biographical / Historical

Paul Dwight Moody was born in 1879, in Baltimore, MD, the son of well-known evangelist Rev. Dwight Lyman and Emma (Revell) Moody. He prepared for college at Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts and graduated from Yale College in 1901. He traveled to Scotland to study at New College, Edinburgh, and Glasgow College, then returned to Hartford, CT, for study at Theological Seminary. He taught for six years in Northfield, VT, was ordained in 1912, and was a pastor in St. Johnsbury, VT, until he enlisted as an army chaplain in 1917. In addition to his B.A. from Yale, he was granted Doctor of Divinity degrees from Yale and Norwich, and was a Chevalier in the Legion of Honor (France). He married Charlotte May Hull in 1904 and they had two daughters, Charlotte and Margaret Emma. Moody died in Shrewsbury, VT, in 1947. He was 68 years old.

Moody accepted the presidency of Middlebury College on July 28, 1921. He immediately faced campus facilities stretched beyond capacity and the need to meet a one-year deadline on a million dollar campaign initiated by predecessor John M. Thomas. Moody met that initial challenge but his administration led few other fundraising efforts. The campus facility did expand during Moody’s administration, first with the Chateau and Music Hall in 1926, then Forest Hall in 1936, and Gifford and Munroe Halls in 1940-41.

In terms of the educational mission of the college, Moody moved from Thomas’ philosophy of utilitarian education toward a solidly grounded liberal arts tradition. He also believed in gender-segregated education and immediately instituted a separate but equal doctrine with the freshman class of 1922. The Women’s College was formally established in 1930-31, but efforts to build a separate campus were hampered first by the Depression and then by the onset of World War II. Eventually the plan for a separate women’s campus was abandoned.

Relations between Moody and the trustees became increasingly difficult over his tenure. Coupled with Moody’s financial ineffectiveness, the trustees conducted secret meetings in December 1941 and January 1942 and called for the president’s dismissal. Moody formally resigned in July 1942.

Source: Bain, David Haward. The College on the Hill: A Browser’s History for the Bicentennial, 1800-2000 (1999).


6.5 Linear Feet (12 document boxes, 2 half document boxes)

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States