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Guerdon David Nichols Papers

Identifier: MC 1370

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, speeches, photographs and other items primarily dating from Nichols' tenure as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Much of the material relates to his opposition to Act No. 10, his involvement with the AAUP, and his reception of the Meiklejohn Award. The many curious items in this collection include propaganda materials from the American Nazi Party and broadsides accusing the University of Arkansas of harboring communists.


  • Creation: 1938-1974


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Guerdon David Nichols (June 12, 1900-October 28, 1988) was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Educated as a mathematician, he joined the University of Arkansas's faculty as a mathematics instructor in 1927. He completed his doctorate at the University of Nebraska in 1933, and in 1945 he was made a full professor in the University of Arkansas's Mathematics Department. In 1946 he became dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences. Accomplishments during his tenure as dean included a rapid growth in the enrollment in the college, an expansion of its facilities, and the creation of an honors program.

Nichols was an outspoken member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). In the late 1940s he supported the admission of African-American students to the then whites-only University of Arkansas. He entered the national spotlight in April, 1959, for speaking out against Act No. 10, a bill adopted by the Arkansas General Assembly in August, 1958. The act required teachers employed in Arkansas state-supported schools to divulge the names of all organizations to which they had either belonged or made contributions to in the preceding five years. This reactionary act, passed during the turmoil of the Little Rock school desegregation crisis, was intended to weed out pro-desegregation educators belonging to "communist-front" organizations; the act was later declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. In honor of his stand against Act No. 10, Nichols received the AAUP's Alexander Meiklejohn Award for Academic Freedom in 1960. He resigned his position of dean in 1964 and resumed his duties as a teacher. He retired from full-time teaching in 1967.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box and 1 folder)

Acquisition Information

The papers of Guerdon David Nichols were donated by Jane Nichols Steele of Fayetteville, Arkansas, on June 26, 1926.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis, Special Collections Division, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, in August 1997.


Guerdon David Nichols Papers
Todd E. Lewis
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444