Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Herbert C. Hunsaker Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Finding aid created by: MH
Date: 24 Jul 1991

Biographical History

Herbert Cason Hunsaker's involvement with adult education spanned over sixty years. His work led him to the Middle East and to China, as well as most of the United States. Hunsaker was active in many professional organizations and civic groups. In 1967, he was President of the Adult Education Association (AEA). He was also instrumental in the establishment of the China Tour Committee of the AEA, along with the International Associates. He made a great many speeches to a variety of adult educators, students, and to the general public.

His interests and concerns were centered around three themes: internationalism; school and community relations; and continuing education. These three interests intertwined throughout his life.

Hunsaker began his professional career as a college administrator at University of Newark (Rutgers University) in 1926, then worked his way up to Dean of Adult Education at Cleveland College. During his time at Cleveland Hunsaker worked for Unesco, along with serving in the army during World War II. Taking a leave of absence from Cleveland College, he returned to Teacher's College at Columbia University, where he had earned his M.A. in 1928, to work on a doctorate in education. It is not clear whether he earned the PhD, but in 1955 he returned to academe as Professor of Adult Education and Assistant Director, Division of Adult Education, Purdue University. This was his last academic position.

In 1962 Hunsaker took a leave of absence from Purdue University until 1964 when he retired. From 1962 to 1965 he was a United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Adult Education Advisor stationed in Turkey. From 1965 to 1969 he did the same in Afghanistan. In 1965, as an interim assignment, Dr Hunsaker was loaned by USAID to Unesco Fundamental and Literacy Education Division for two months to help plan a pilot project in Functional Literacy for Pakistan.

Hunsaker retired from USAID in 1969. He then worked for World Education as a Consultant and Field Representative in literacy planning education. This was an AID sponsored and financed project headquartered at Literacy House, Lucknow, India. While on this assignment Hunsaker traveled throughout the Middle East, the Philippines, and Thailand. He held this position until 1972 when he retired for a third time.

In 1972 Herbert and Marion Hunsaker returned to their home in West Lafayette, Indiana. Continuing to work as a part-time consultant for World Education and the International Council of Adult Education, the Hunsakers at once began another project which was a series of tours sponsored by the AEA China Tour Committee and by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) of both the Middle East and China. The Hunsakers led a fourth, and possibly a fifth tour.

Hunsaker Chronology

1898: Born, White Salmon, Washington
1922: A.B. Univ of Washington
1928: M.A. Columbia
1937: LL.B. Univ of Newark (Rutgers)
1926-39: Asst to President, Registrar, Assoc Dean, and Prof of Adult Education, Univ of Newark.
1939-41: Field representative AAAE
1941-55: Dean Cleveland College (Western Reserve Univ)
1942: Bureau of Special Operations, Office of War Information
1949: U.S.delegate to International Conf on Adult Education (Denmark)
1949: Member of UNESCO's Consultative Comm on Fundamental and Adult Education
1955: PhD from Columbia University [?]
1955-62: Professor of Adult Education and Asst Dir, Div of Adult Education, Purdue University
1960: President of Adult Education Association
1961-69: Near East-South Asia Division, USAID
1962-65: Adult Education Advisor, USAID, Turkey
1962-64: Leave of absence from Purdue University
1965-69: Education Advisor, USAID, Afghanistan
1965: Unesco, Functional Literacy for Pakistan
1969-72: World Education Field Representative

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Herbert C. Hunsaker Papers are largely arranged in the order in which they were found. There was little evidence that it had been rearranged by a third party. Four of the seven series in this collection represent evident categories: Doctoral Theses [DT], Professional Organizations [PROR], Middle East and China Tours, and Personal papers. Three other series were created to deal with material found in files labeled "pending" that were scattered through out the collection or in files with other documents whose labels did not reflect their contents. These are: Correspondence [CORR], Professional [PROF], and Pamphlet files.

The types of materials included in this collection include correspondence, memoranda, telegrams, agenda and minutes, reports, holographic notes, published flyers, brochures and pamphlets, offprints, newspapers clippings, photographs, audio discs, and scrap books.

Documentation related to Hunsaker's activities in professional organizations and institutions of higher education is sparse. Some of these materials may be found in organizational collections such as AEA, or at the institutional archives of Newark University, Cleveland College and Purdue University.

The Doctoral Thesis [DT] material is significant because of the many personal interviews Hunsakar conducted as part of his research. Transcripts of all interviews exist. Audio discs were made for a good number of the interviews.

While attending Teacher's College, Hunsaker taught and attended a number of seminars. Good coverage of this time period can be found in this Professional [PROF] series, which contains materials relating to Hunsaker's activities as an educator and an administrator in institutions of higher education.

Correspondence [CORR] contains both personal (family and friends) and professional (colleagues in adult education, including Paul Sheats).

Professional organizations [PROR] includes correspondence, reports, printed items, and other material from numerous adult education organizations, as well as the US-China Peoples Friendship Association (US-CPFA).

Under the auspices of the Adult Education Association, Hunsaker organized and led a series of tours to the Middle East and China tours between 1976 and 1984 [1985?]. Included here are correspondence, reports, publicity, and evaluations from five of these tours, as well as some unsorted material.

Personal Papers contains photographs, clippings, genealogical files, and other assorted items related to Hunsaker's personal life. It is rich in Hunsaker's opinions about a great many things, and includes material relating to his wife Marion Hunsaker, and Hunsaker's friend Hermann Field who, with several family members, disappeared during a trip to Russia.

Pamphlet files contains a range of printed items -- periodicals, series, newsletters, university and organizational publications, and subject files. At the end of this section are photocopies of pages from several books signed and inscribed to Hunsaker by their authors (for the books themselves, see the Classic Catalog).

Arrangement of the Collection

Most of the collection remains in original original order. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Pamphlet files are subdivided by type and arranged alphabetically by title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Three books, signed and inscribed to Hunsaker by their authors, have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Photocopies of the covers and signature/inscription remain in the collection.

Special Collections Research Center holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education. Please search our collections to locate additional Hunsaker and/or adult education material.

Subject Headings


Allen, Rewi, 1897-
Davis, George E.
Field, Hermann H., 1910-
Houle, Cyril O. (Cyril Orvin), 1913-
Hunsaker, Herbert Cason, 1898-
Keehn, Thomas B.
Sheats, Paul H., 1907-

Corporate Bodies

American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
Association for Continuing Higher Education (U.S.)
Coalition of Adult Education Organizations.
International Council for Adult Education.
United States -- Agency for International Development.
World Education (Organizations : United States)


Adult education.

Genres and Forms

Agendas (administrative records)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Minutes (administrative records)
Sound recordings.
Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Herbert C. Hunsaker Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Herbert Hunsaker, 1984.

Table of Contents

Doctoral thesis [DT]

Professional [PROF]

Correspondence [CORR]

Professional Organizations [PROR]

Middle East and China tours


Pamphlet files