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Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A. records


Held at: Villanova University Archives [Contact Us]Falvey Library, 800 E Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Villanova University Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Father Edward Valentine Stanford, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, entered the Augustinian Order in 1917 after completing three years at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He was ordained in Philadelphia by His Eminence Denis Cardinal Dougherty on 10 June 1922.

Father Stanford's first assignment was to Villanova College, in 1923, as teacher of Descriptive Geometry. Later on he assumed the duties of chaplain of the College. After nine years as chaplain he was appointed to the 23rd President of Villanova College. In 1940 he was elected President of the Association of American Colleges. Noted as an administrator, he served during World War II as advisory-board member of the War Manpower Commission.

In 1944 Father Stanford was appointed Prior and Rector of Augustinian College in Washington, D.C. It was during his term there that he helped organize, and acted as secretary of, the Catholic Commission for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, a group of learned and famous Catholic scholars. In 1950 Father Stanford moved to Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., as the schools' first Principal and Superior of the Augustinian Community there. He was principal there for nine years.

In 1959 Father Stanford was assigned to Saint Mary's Hall, Villanova, Pennsylvania, and was give the opportunity to devote his time to educational pursuits and writing. Father was the author of several books including A Guide to Catholic College Administration. He held honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Saint John's University, Loyola University of Chicago, and Boston College.

At the time of his death, he was serving as an administrative consultant to the Association of American Colleges. Father had been attending a Board of Trustees meeting at Biscayne College in Opa-Locka, Florida, and was preparing to return to Philadelphia, when he took ill and died at the Rectory of the Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord in Dania, Florida, on 17 February 1966 at the age of 69. He is buried at the Augustinian Community cemetery at Villanova University.

Works consulted:

*Necrology of the Augustinian Provinces of the United States of America (revised, May 2000)

Of all the presidents of Villanova College in the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A., probably best represents the Augustinian quest for academic excellence. During his relatively long presidency from 1932 to 1944, Stanford set as his goal the modernization of Villanova's curriculum, the improvement of its faculty, the updating of its structures of academic governance, the building of its endowment, the expansion of its physical plan - most especially its library - and the insistence upon cost-efficiency in order to compete successfully among the best colleges and universities in the United States. Stanford, who had joined the Villanova Engineering faculty in 1918 while studying for the priesthood, spent the better part of his adult life on the Main Line campus and led his college through the crisis of the Great Depression and the challenge of World War II. He was the last president to work exclusively at Villanova College before it became a university in 1953 and the last president to deal with a study body that numbered in the hundreds. As such, he could not have anticipated the phenomenal growth of the university after World War II, nor could he have conceived of a university built upon massive student numbers and students' substantial collective tuition. He aspired to the model of an excellent Liberal Arts college that would base its reputation on quality. While he devoted himself to his relatively tiny collegiate campus on the Main Line, he was the least isolated of Villanova's earlier presidents in the context of a secular world. As the first Catholic chief executive of the Association of American Colleges and as president of numerous national and regional academic organizations, Stanford insisted that Villanova embrace American standards of academic excellence and compete in a modern American collegiate world. At the same time, he was intent upon preserving and strengthening Villanova's traditional Catholic and Augustinian identity, with daily celebration of masses, ongoing confessions and penance for students and indeed for all the faithful, promotion of faculty and students' religious retreats, daily prayers and recitation of the rosary, novenas for occasions of crisis or need, and locally-crafted devotions to St. Augustine and his sainted mother, Monica. While religious devotion remained a stable force at Villanova, the internal secular challenges that Fr. Stanford faced were daunting. When he assumed the presidency of Villanova College in 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression, the college had virtually no endowment and no funded scholarships, no Alumni director or secretary, let alone any reliable list of alumni or friends to whom it might appeal. Most local non-Catholics and even a few Catholics in the 1930s assumed that Villanova was still primarily a seminary for the training of priests. Stanford established an Alumni Association with a full-time secretary, spoke to newly formed Alumni Clubs, and launched an alumni magazine. He appealed for funded academic scholarships to balance the unfunded ones that were mostly given out to students in football or other athletics. By the end of 1939, Stanford has raised a modest $90,000 in scholarships with which to begin a serious collegiate endowment, augmented in 1941 by an additional $15,000 raised for the Centennial of 1942-1943. By 1936, he had been able to reverse a ten percent cut in faculty salaries initiated in 1933 and modestly improved faculty compensation thereafter. By 1937, he had managed to establish a pension fund for the faculty under the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), the first Catholic college to do so, though college contributions remained pitifully small by modern standards.

For Stanford, Villanova must reform in order to compete and it must compete in a secular academic world. To achieve cost efficiency, the college needed reorganization with one strengthened academic dean replacing several titular ones, with academic departments defined and placed under the leadership of chairmen, with new guidelines for promotion and tenure, with adherence to standards of academic freedom, and with the establishment in 1941 of a Villanova chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Stanford also demanded reform of the curriculum with more "meaningful" electives established for the students - as opposed to nominal ones - and with the creation of new majors and minors for Villanova's undergraduates. While the faculty eventually endorsed these initiatives overwhelmingly, it is instructive that Fr. Stanford designed them entirely himself, believing firmly in the principle of reform from the top down. Overall, Villanova needed to rely less on student numbers, said Stanford, and more on academic excellence. This was the only course to pursue.

It is astonishing that Stanford's reforms were carried out at all in the midst of perpetual crisis. Villanova College was hit savagely by the Great Depression of 1929, being utterly dependent upon students' tuition. Student enrollment, which had hit a peak of 1,022 in 1931, fell to a low of 701 in 1935. In the spirit of the Augustinian emphasis upon community, Villanova initiated a policy of free tuition for needy seniors who could not pay their way or otherwise would not graduate. The situation improved gradually as prosperity began to return on the eve of World War II. But university conscription on the threshold of war posed the supreme crisis for Villanova as an all-male college. Fr. Stanford, who had opposed American entry into the Second World War, quickly and sincerely proclaimed Villanova's patriotism once war had begun. Beginning in 1940, the house chapter of Augustinians voted to allow the college to participate in national defense training programs. Thereafter, Stanford worked assiduously with the Secretary of the Navy to establish Villanova as a naval officer training unit, know as the V-12. This was finally accomplished in 1943, the college being one of the smallest favored by the war department. One might say that Fr. Stanford's foresight in acquiring a naval military unit literally "saved" his college: by the spring of 1945, enrollment had fallen to 493 students, 318 of whom were "navy men."

In 1944, in the midst of the war, Fr. Stanford proclaimed himself "anxious" to continue his work as president of the college but his religious superiors thought best to replace him. As a leader of undoubted talent, Stanford was almost certainly frustrated by forces in the world community (and perhaps his own religious order) that he clearly understood but could not control. An ambitious building campaign at Villanova had to be shelved in the late 1930s and early 1940s. His greatest wish - the creation of a separate library building for his college - had to be postponed until 1947. One can imagine Fr. Stanford in "retirement" somewhat astonished at the burgeoning expansion of Villanova from college to university and somewhat askance at the near-open admission policy that fueled it. One might hope that by his death in 1966, this great Augustinian leader might have discerned at long last the unmistakable impress of his paradigm for academic excellence being imposed bit by bit on an enlarged but maturing university.

Contributed by Dr. Donald Kelley, Professor of History (retired), Villanova University.

The Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A. records consist of correspondence, reports, and adminisitrative papers. The largest portion of the collection is correspondence dealing with a variety of topics such as: academic reorganization, admissions, centennial celebrations, commencements, United States Navy, NROTC program, Pre-Medical program, correspondence with Servicemen during and after World War II, committees. Included are minutes, printed materials, and reports of outside committees and organizations on which Father Stanford was actively involved. In 1940, he was elected President of the Association of American Colleges. Addresses on various topics and articles are part of the collection. Father Stanford had a deep interest in Catholic Education, academic organization of the College, United States Navy and other related topics. He was truly a highly respected as a leader.

Villanova University Archives
Finding Aid Author
Rev. Dennis Gallagher O.S.A and Beaudry Allen
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact Distinctive Collections staff.

Collection Inventory

National Catholic Welfare Conference Advisory Committee, 1934-1946.
Box 01 Folder 01
U. S. National Commission on UNESCO, 1946-1949.
Box 01 Folder 02
American Council on Education, 1942-1946.
Box 01 Folder 03
American Council on Education (Committee on Relationship to Federal Gov. ROTC Program) revision/recommendations, 1947.
Box 01 Folder 04
Board of Directors of Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania , 1936-1944.
Box 01 Folder 05
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania, Commission on Christian Education, 1934-1947.
Box 01 Folder 06
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania, Case of Rosemont College, 1941-1944.
Box 01 Folder 07
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania, 1937-1940.
Box 02 Folder 01
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania, 1937-1938.
Box 02 Folder 02
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania (Legislative Committee), 1934-1937.
Box 02 Folder 03
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania (Commision on Athletic Policy and Public Relations), 1937-1945.
Box 02 Folder 04
Association of American College Presidents of Pennsylvania (Commission on Public Relations), 1934-1937.
Box 02 Folder 05
Catholic Committee on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, Origins and Organization, First Annual Meeting, 1946, 1946.
Box 03 Folder 01
Catholic Committee on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs 2nd and 3rd Annual Meeting, 1947-1957.
Box 03 Folder 02
International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, Rome Congress, photographs, 1952.
Box 03 Folder 03
Catholic Committee on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, 1946-1953.
Box 03 Folder 04
Executive Board and Executive Committee, 1928-1949.
Box 03 Folder 05
Lecture committee, 1949-1951.
Box 03 Folder 06
NCEA Committee on Organization--College Department, part I, 1934-1935.
Box 03 Folder 07
NCEA Committee on Organization--College Department, part II, 1934.
Box 04 Folder 01
NCEA Committee on Organization--College Department, part II, 1934-1936.
Box 04 Folder 02
NCEA College/University Department Committee on Public Relations, 1940-1947.
Box 04 Folder 03
NCEA College/University Department Eastern Regional Unit, 1934-1939.
Box 04 Folder 04
NCEA College/University Department Eastern Regional Unit, Living Endowment in Catholic Colleges, 1933-1939.
Box 04 Folder 05
Catholic Educational Association of Pennsylvania, 1934-1940.
Box 04 Folder 06
National Catholic Educational Association NCEA.
U.S. Navy ROTC Selection Board, 1944-1946.
Box 04 Folder 07
U.S. Navy ROTC Civilian Advisory Committee, 1946-1947.
Box 04 Folder 08
American Council on Education, 1941-1948.
Box 05 Folder 01
U.S. Navy Department Educational Advisory Council, 1942-1948.
Box 05 Folder 02
U.S. Navy Department Service Academy Board (Office Secretary Defense), 1949.
Box 05 Folder 03
William P. Mayo, M.D., 1939.
Box 05 Folder 04
Major Edward Bowes, 1939-1944.
Box 05 Folder 05
Christian Front, 1935-1943.
Box 05 Folder 06
Engineering Fund, 1928-1931.
Box 05 Folder 07
Mexico Franking Privilege, 1935-1936.
Box 05 Folder 08
NROTC Program, 1940-1947.
Box 05 Folder 09
Pre-Medical Program, 1932-1943.
Box 06 Folder 01
Memoranda, 1942-1943.
Box 06 Folder 02
Admissions, 1933.
Box 06 Folder 03
Academic Reorganization (Proposed), 1935-1941.
Box 06 Folder 04
Retirement (Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.), 1934-1944.
Box 06 Folder 05
Committee Membership (Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.), 1934-1944.
Box 06 Folder 06
Catholic Association for International Peace, 1935-1948.
Box 06 Folder 07
Kennedy and Sons Educational Advisory Bd., 1949-1950.
Box 06 Folder 08
Centennial Belle Air, 1944.
Box 06 Folder 09
Centennial General Committee, 1941-1942.
Box 06 Folder 10
Centennial Mass (Apostolic Delegate and Cardinal), 1942.
Box 06 Folder 11
Centennial Mass (Bishops), 1942.
Box 06 Folder 12
Centennial Mass (January-September), 1942.
Box 06 Folder 13
Centennial Mass (September-December), 1942.
Box 07 Folder 01
07-02. Centennial Mass (Publicity), 1940-1943.
Box 07 Folder 02
Centennial Convocation (Preliminary), 1941-1942.
Box 07 Folder 03
Centennial Convocation, 1943-1944.
Box 07 Folder 04
Centennial Convocation (Speakers), 1942-1943.
Box 07 Folder 05
Centennial Convocation (Honorary Degrees), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 06
Centennial President's Dinner (Advisory Bd), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 07
Centennial Presidents Dinner (Acceptances), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 08
Centennial Presidents Dinner (Regrets), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 09
Centennial Convocation (Acceptances), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 10
Centennial Convocation (Regrets), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 11
Centennial Convocation (Congratulations), 1943.
Box 07 Folder 12
Centennial Convocation (Memorandum), 1943.
Box 08 Folder 01
Commencement, 1932-1933.
Box 08 Folder 02
Commencement, 1934.
Box 08 Folder 03
Commencement, 1935.
Box 08 Folder 04
Commencement, 1936.
Box 08 Folder 05
Commencement, 1937.
Box 08 Folder 06
Commencement, 1938.
Box 09 Folder 07
Commencement, 1939.
Box 09 Folder 08
Commencement, 1940.
Box 08 Folder 09
Commencement, 1941.
Box 08 Folder 10
Commencement, 1942.
Box 08 Folder 11
Commencement, 1943.
Box 08 Folder 12
Commencement, 1944.
Box 08 Folder 13
Commencement (Summer Session), 1934-1944.
Box 08 Folder 14
Military Ordinariate, 1943-1954.
Box 08 Folder 15
Servicemen (Villanova) (A-C), 1942-1946.
Box 08 Folder 16
Servicemen (Villanova) (D-G), 1942-1946.
Box 08 Folder 17
Servicemen (Villanova) (H-L), 1942-1946.
Box 08 Folder 18
Servicemen (Villanova) (M-R), 1942-1946.
Box 09 Folder 01
Servicemen (Villanova) (S-Z), 1942-1946.
Box 09 Folder 02
Catholic Hour, 1938.
Box 09 Folder 03
Catholic Hour, 1938.
Box 09 Folder 04
Testimonial Dinner (Retirement), 1944.
Box 09 Folder 05
Academic Accreditation, 1932-1943.
Box 09 Folder 06
Benefits (Insurance), 1936-1937.
Box 09 Folder 07
Eakin's Portrait (Rev.John J. Fedigan, O.S.A., 1932.
Box 09 Folder 08
Extension School (Diocesan Controversy), 1932-1933.
Box 09 Folder 09
Fire Protection, 1932.
Box 09 Folder 10
Miscellaneous, 1932-1944.
Box 09 Folder 11
Appointment (Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.) (Congratulations), 1932.
Box 09 Folder 12
Reappointment (Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.) (Congratulations), 1935-1938.
Box 09 Folder 13
Resignation (Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A., 1944-1945.
Box 09 Folder 14
Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A. (Excerpts from Letters received on leaving Villanova College after 25 years of Service), 1944.
Box 09 Folder 15

St. Mary's (Corr) Hall and St. Rita's Hall.
Box 10 Folder 01

Executive Committee, 1943-1946.
Box 10 Folder 02
Committee on Relationship to Federal Government, 1942-1951.
Box 10 Folder 03-06
Conference on Canadian-American Educational Relations, 1944-1947.
Box 10 Folder 07
Catholic Committee on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, 1946-1954.
Box 10 Folder 08
National Catholic Educational Association, 1934-1940.
Box 10 Folder 09
National Catholic Educational Association, College/University Departments Eastern Regional Unit, Committee on Educational Problems, 1934-1942.
Box 10 Folder 10
10-11. Centennial Executive Committee, 1939-1943.
Box 10 Folder 11

Articles, 1932-1951.
Box 11 Folder 01

Book Reviews (Best Sellers) (Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.), 1945-1955.
Box 11 Folder 02
Newspaper clippings, 1940-1944.
Box 11 Folder 03
Catholic Educational Association of Pennsylvania, 1933-1934.
Box 11 Folder 04
Addresses, 1918-1962.
Box 11 Folder 05
Addresses associations, 1938-1946.
Box 11 Folder 06
Preparing for Marriage, manuscript, 1957.
Box 11 Folder 07
Preparing for Marriage (Galley Proofs), 1957.
Box 11 Folder 08
Honorary Degree Diplomas (LLD) (Loyola and College of St. Thomas), 1936, 1946.
Box 11 Folder 09
Problems of Mixed Marriages, 1940.
Box 08 Folder 12
"The Sacrifice of the Mass," prepared by Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A. and Rev. John J. Vrana, O.S.A. , undated.
Box 13 Folder 11

Catholic Committee on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (Directory) (Constitution), 1950, 1953.
Box 12 Folder 01
NCEA. (Annual Convention) 50th Program, 1953.
Box 12 Folder 01
NCEA. (43rd St. Louis Report of Proceedings/Addresses) (In Bulletin Volume 43, no. 1), 1946.
Box 12 Folder 03
NCEA. (Annual Convention) 46th Proceedings/Addresses (In Bulletin Volume 43, no. 1), 1949.
Box 12 Folder 04
Military Training (Records for the Case for Universal Military Training), 1944-1946.
Box 12 Folder 05
Military Training (Records for the Case Against Universal Military Training), 1944-1949.
Box 12 Folder 06
Military Training (Pro and Con on Military Training), 1944-1945.
Box 12 Folder 06
Military Training (Pro and Con on Military Training), 1944-1945.
Box 12 Folder 07
Military Training (News Clippings) 1945-1946, 1945-1946.
Box 13 Folder 01
United States Senate and House: Bills on Military Training, 1944-1945.
Box 13 Folder 02
U.S. Navy ROTC Civilian Advisory Committee, 1946-1947.
Box 13 Folder 03
Centennial Sermon (Most Rev. Gerald O'Hara), 1942.
Box 13 Folder 04
The Botophia, vol. 1, undated.
Box 13 Folder 05
The Problem of Mixed Marriages (Syllabus Department of Religion #109, #110—Life Problems), undated.
Box 13 Folder 12

Scope and Contents

This series mainly contains invitations and programs of various events.

Centennial Solemn Pontifical Mass, 1942.
Box 13 Folder 06
Centennial Convocation, 1943.
Box 13 Folder 07
Invitations and Programs (Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.), undated.
Box 13 Folder 08
Advisory Board Testimonial Dinner , 1940.
Box 13 Folder 09

"Proposed Educational and Cultural Organization of United Nations", 1945.
Box 14 Folder 01
Executive Director, 1946-1954.
Box 14 Folder 02
Fourth Annual Meeting, 1949.
Box 14 Folder 03
Fifth Annual Meeting, 1950.
Box 14 Folder 04
Sixth Annual Meeting, 1951.
Box 14 Folder 05
Seventh and Eighth Annual Meeting, 1952, 1953.
Box 14 Folder 06
"Account of First Seven Years", 1946-1953.
Box 14 Folder 07
Catholic Committee on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, 1946-1954.
Box 14 Folder 08
Problems and Policies, 1946-1953.
Box 15 Folder 01
Freedom of Thought and Utterance, 1950.
Box 15 Folder 02
Church-State papers, 1948-1951.
Box 15 Folder 03
Julian Huxley and UNESCO, 1947.
Box 15 Folder 04
UNESCO, 1946-1953.
Box 15 Folder 05
NCEA (Committee on Organization--College Department), 1934-1935.
Box 15 Folder 06
NCEA (College/University Department Chairman Committee on By-Laws), 1934-1940.
Box 15 Folder 07
NCEA and American Council on Education, statement on military training, 1944-1948.
Box 15 Folder 08
United States Selective Service Headquarters, Theology School enrollments, 1937-1950.
Box 15 Folder 09
Military Training Experimental Unit at Fort Knox, 1947.
Box 16 Folder 01
Officers Training, 1949.
Box 16 Folder 02
U.S. Navy ROTC Selection Board, proposed expansion, 1945.
Box 16 Folder 03
U.S. Navy ROTC and Naval Aviation College Program selection program, 1947.
Box 16 Folder 04
U.S. Navy ROTC Civilian Advisory Committee (Bureau Naval Personnel), 1945-1946.
Box 16 Folder 05
Naval training, 1943-1945.
Box 17 Folder 01
United States Government Department, Departments and Commissions, 1940-1944.
Box 17 Folder 02
U.S. Navy Department Service Academy Board (Office Secretary Defense), 1949-1950.
Box 17 Folder 03
Centennial Convocation addresses, 1943.
Box 17 Folder 04
Inspection of Augustinian High Schools, 1946-1951.
Box 17 Folder 05
Inspection of Augustinian High Schools (Curricula), 1946-1951.
Box 18 Folder 01
Inspection of Augustinian High Schools, 1946-1951.
Box 18 Folder 02
Board of Trustees and Faculty, 1940.
Box 18 Folder 03
Faculty Reaction to President Report (Academic Reorganization) (Proposed), 1940.
Box 18 Folder 04
Chaplain (Record and Appraisal of Efforts on Behalf of Students' Religious Welfare), 1926-1931.
Box 18 Folder 05
Religious surveys, 1925-1931.
Box 18 Folder 06
Teacher's Manual on Religious and Moral Orientation: For Young Men About to Enter Military Service, 1956.
Box 18 Folder 07
Vita, List of Books and Addresses (Rev. Edward V. Stanford, O.S.A.), 1926-1961.
Box 18 Folder 08
Faculty, pension and retirement, 1937.
Box 18 Folder 09
Faculty, tenure, 1941.
Box 18 Folder 10

Print, Suggest