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Doak S. Campbell Papers, 1935-1972

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-044

Scope and Contents

This collection consists mainly of papers connected with Doak S. Campbell's years at Florida State University and those after his retirement. His broad educational affiliations and religious works are reflected in this collection. Includes biographical sketches, newspaper clippings, speeches, correspondence, books, writings, musical scores, invitations, dedications and related publications. Contains MSS 78-56.

Online Copies Available

Select materials from the Campbell Collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.


  • Created: 1935 - 1972


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

To request permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from the archives, please contact Heritage & University Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. Researchers must obtain separate permission from the copyright holders of material held within University Archives collections for which the institution does not hold copyright.

Biographical or Historical Information

Doak Sheridan Campbell, the third president of Florida State College for Women (1941-1957), was born near Waldron, Scott County, Arkansas, on November 16, 1888. He was the son of a country physician, Edward Campbell and his wife, Elizabeth. It was from his great uncle, a Presbyterian minister, Samuel Doak, that young Campbell received his name.

Doak Campbell attended elementary and high school in Arkansas, graduating in 1905. Immediately after graduation, he obtained a teacher's license and began teaching in summer school. After a year in the "normal department" of the high school, he left to attend Ouachita College at Arkadelphia, Arkansas. By his senior year he had decided upon a teaching career. He graduated in 1911 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and major emphasis in music and speech. He was the president of his graduating class, an inter-collegiate debater and orator, and a distance runner. Upon graduation he became superintendent of school at Columbus, Arkansas. In 1913 he married Helen Gray Smith, and to them two children were born, Doak, Jr., and Elizabeth Caroline. Mrs. Campbell passed away in 1938.

In 1916 he became associated with Central College, Conway, Arkansas as a chemistry instructor. By 1920 he had become president. It was at this time that his work in junior college began. Central College under his guidance changed from a floundering four year institution to a creditable two year junior college.

In 1928 he graduated from George Peabody with a master's degree. After receiving the Ph.D. in 1930 from Peabody he was appointed to the faculty. In 1934 Dr. Campbell became director of the division of survey and field services, and in 1938 he was also appointed to the position of dean of the graduate school He held these positions until he resigned to accept the presidency at Florida State College for Women in September, 1941.

Shortly before coming to Tallahassee, he was married to Miss Edna Simmons of Mississippi.

By legislative act Florida State College for Women became Florida State University on July 1, 1947. Overnight it became an undergraduate, professional, and graduate university for men and women. Under his tutelage he saw the graduate school grow from eleven students in 1945 to eight hundred sixty-one by 1956, making it the ninth largest graduate school in the South. A broader look at Florida State University can be obtained by reading Dr. Campbell's book, A University in Transition.

After serving as president at Florida State University for sixteen years, Dr. Campbell retired June 30, 1957, and remained in Tallahassee until his death on March 23, 1973. Though retired, he was an active participant in many educational projects, serving on educational boards, governors' commissions on education, and as visiting professor.

In addition to his work in education, Dr. Campbell was an active layman in the Baptist church. He served in a number of capacities on committees, council, and commissions of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Campbell held membership in many professional, fraternal, civic, and religious organizations and societies. Also to his credit were many published papers, journal articles, and books.

Karl O. Kuersteiner stated at the Faculty Dinner in 1957, "...In order to work successfully with such a complex phenomena, a college president must be a person of many parts, with many friends, and with a keen business and diplomatic sense...these are cited as the guiding forces behind the record of Doak Sheridan Campbell at Florida State University."


18.00 boxes

Language of Materials



This collection contains materials related to the life and career of Doak Sheridan Campbell. It includes biographical sketches of Dr. Campbell, newspaper clippings about Campbell and Florida State University, speeches, personal correspondence, some of which relate information about the Campbell family history. Other persons and topics mentioned in the collection include: Florida Governors LeRoy Collins and Claude Kirk, Campbell's book, A University in Transition, educational materials including projects, programs and correspondence related to various educational institutions, boards and commissions in Florida and Georgia, the Georgia Peabody College for Teachers, Appalachian State Teachers College, Mar-A-Largo, Campbell's work with the Baptist Church, local and state correspondence with the Southern Baptist Convention, First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, Baptists in Florida and Kentucky, Stetson University, Campbell's civil and fraternal affiliations including Civil Defense, Free and Accepted Masons and the Rotary Club.

Method of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Doak S. Campbell.

Processing Information

Processed by Sara Buckmaster and Shirley Fogle, Fall 1974. Completed December 1974. Additional materials were processed in October 1978.

Doak S. Campbell Papers, 1935-1972
Emily Gaskin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US