Collection inventory

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Paul Henry Sheats 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: -
Date: -

Biographical History

Born on December 5, 1907 in Tiffin, Ohio, Paul Sheats (1907-1984) attended Heidelberg College in his hometown where he earned his A.B. in 1929. He went on to earn an M.A. from Columbia University in 1930, and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1936. He was an instructor in government at New York State College for Teachers in Albany, an instructor in education at Yale, and an assistant professor of education at the University of Wisconsin. During World War II he served for a time as head of the adult section of the Office of War Information. Sheats has also been the education director of Town Hall in New York. In 1946 he joined the University of California as Associate Director of Extension and in 1949 he became a full professor, a position he held until his retirement in 1975. In 1957 he became Director of University Extension and was named Dean of Extension in 1958. He held this position until 1967 when he returned to teaching full-time. He was also a professor of education at University of California, Los Angeles.

In the course of his life he maintained memberships with several key adult education organizations. Sheats was President of both the National University Extension Association and the Adult Education Association. He served as the University Extension representative on the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Training Laboratories and on the Adult Education Committee of the Master Plan Survey Team, which acted as architects for the Master Plan for Higher Education in California. For six years Dr. Sheats served on the UNESCO National Commission (at one time holding the office of Vice-Chairman), and he was a member of President Kennedy's Panel of Consultants on Vocational Education. In addition he held seats on the Boards of Directors for the Center for the Study of Liberal Education for Adults and the National Training Laboratories.

Paul Sheats' articles appeared in the major adult education publications, and he authored or co-authored a number of books including Citizenship Throuqh the Social Studies (with R. W. Frederick), 1936; Forums for Young People (with J. W. Studebaker and C. S. Williams), 1937; Education and the Quest for a Middle Way, 1938; Forums on the Air, 1939; Adult education: the community approach, 1953; Adult Education (with R. Spence and C. Jayne), 1953; University of California Extension in a decade of transition, 1962; The case against the adult dropout, 1965; and Aging and the imagination, 1976.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Paul Henry Sheats Papers are divided into seven series.

The papers in Personal files pertain to Paul Sheats, the person. The files begin with biographical information in the form of a transcript of an oral history. Correspondence, memorabilia and photographs follow. Next are files devoted to Sheats's activities and interests from the 1930s through the 1960s. Of note are the files for Nazi educational philosophy, public forums and university extension. The files continue with copies of speeches, interviews and reports authored by Sheats from 1946-1970. There are files with some of Sheats's writings, however, they are selective; five writing projects undertaken in the late 1960s and 1970, as well as four books which he authored and a doctoral dissertation by his wife, June Barth Dow. The personal files conclude with audio visual material such as slides and tapes.

Organizational records consists of files for organizations with which Sheats was affiliated. The organizations, appearing alphabetically in the files, are:

Paul Sheats attended over 70 meetings and conferences of note for which he kept records which comprise Meetings files. The meetings are arranged in alphabetical order by sponsor. Many adult education associations and universities are represented in these files.

During the course of 50 years, Sheats collected information about various components of adult education. He kept Subject files as a means for easy organization, containment, and access of this information. The collection has preserved this order, maintaining the same subject headings used by Sheats. Topics range from adult basic education to consumer education, from labor education to World War II. Topics have been subdivided if the bulk and nature of the material warranted such a division. Arrangement of the subject files is alphabetical.

The Geographical files are similar in nature to the subject files. Material about education from around the world is grouped primarily by country, however, some material is designated by geographic region. Countries represented here range from Africa to Yugoslavia.

The Printed material files are the most ambiguous division within the collection. This division was not used by Paul Sheats in his filing system, however, these materials could not readily be integrated within the existing framework of the collection. The material is filed alphabetically under author or title.

Recordings contains two LPs, each with two episode of an educational radio show.

Arrangement of the Collection

The inventory reflects the intellectual organization of the material and gathers related material under the same heading(s), but because the material arrived in two distinct accessions separated by many years, material for a given topic may be physically located in more than one place. For this same reason, the organizational files from the two accessions are arranged slightly differently. The researcher will be well advised to review the entire inventory carefully to ensure that no relevant material is missed.


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

The library holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Sheats, Paul H., 1907-
Wilhelm, Theodor, 1906-

Corporate Bodies

University of California, Los Angeles.
American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
American Council on Education.
Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
Association of University Evening Colleges (U.S.)
California State Board of Education, Advisory Committee on Adult Education.
Center for the Study of Liberal Education for Adults.
International Community College.
NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science.
National University Extension Association.
Southern Regional Education Board, Adult Basic Education, Staff Development Project, Southeastern Region.
U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.
University Council on Education for Public Responsibility.
University of California (System), University Extension.
Western Training Laboratory, World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession.
Youth Opportunity Board of Greater Los Angeles.


Adult education -- New Zealand.
Adult education -- Africa.
Adult education -- Australia.
Adult education -- Canada.
Adult education -- Europe.
Adult education -- Great Britain.
Adult education -- India.
Adult education -- Methodology.
Adult education -- Research.
Adult education -- Study and teaching.
Adult education -- United States.
Adult education teachers -- Training of.
Apartheid -- South Africa.
Basic education.
Community development -- United States.
Community education -- United States.
Education -- 1945-1964.
Education -- 1965-
Educators -- United States.
Evening and continuation schools -- California.
Evening and continuation schools -- United States.
Mass media in education.
National socialism and education.
Older people -- United States.
University extension -- United States.
Vocational education -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Education and the war.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Pamphlets.

Genres and Forms

Abstracts (summaries)
Annual reports.
Drafts (documents)
Minutes (administrative records)
Notes (documents)
Oral histories (document genres)
Press releases.
School yearbooks.
Slides (photographs)
Sound recordings.
Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Paul Henry Sheats Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Paul H. Sheats, 1968, 1985

Table of Contents

Personal files

Organizational records

Meetings files

Subject files

Geographical files

Printed material