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Junius Woods Stevens Papers

An inventory of his papers at the Syracuse University Archives

Summary

Creator: Stevens, Junius W. (Junius Woods), 1873-1947.
Title: Junius Woods Stevens Papers
Dates: 1831-1947
Size: 3 boxes and 1 map case drawer (6.75 linear feet)
Abstract: Materials documenting Stevens’ life, beginning with his early education and ending with his last few years of teaching. The original copy of Syracuse University's Alma Mater, written by Stevens, is included in the papers.
Language: English
Repository: University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://archives.syr.edu

Biography

Junius Woods Stevens

Junius Woods Stevens was born on April 27, 1873 in Camden, New York. He grew up in Central New York and eventually moved to Syracuse, where he graduated from high school in 1890. Stevens enrolled at Syracuse University in 1891 and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in English in 1895. While a student at Syracuse, Stevens was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and the honorary society Phi Beta Kappa. He also served as the editor-in-chief of the University Herald in 1893 and was designated as class poet for his freshmen year.

In 1893, while still a student at Syracuse University, Stevens wrote a song that would eventually become the school’s alma mater. Members of the University’s Glee Club asked him to write an original song about Syracuse which they could perform at an upcoming city concert. In a letter written to a Syracuse University staff member in 1939, Stevens described how an evening walk across campus inspired his lyrics. He wrote, “I had often noticed how the setting sun lighted up the walls of Crouse College long after dusk has fallen over the city and the valley. As I walked through the empty streets the words of a song took shape in my mind.” Stevens originally titled his composition the “Syracuse University Song” and wrote the lyrics to the tune of “Annie Lisle,” a popular Irish melody to which many other universities also set their alma maters.

The Glee Club first performed the song on March 15, 1893 at the Wieting Opera House as part of a city concert, and its lyrics struck a chord with Syracuse students. According to Stevens’ letter, many of the male students “used to gather each morning outside the door of the old chapel on the third floor of the Hall of Languages” to sing the song. Throughout the 1890s other songs were submitted to the University as possible alma maters, but Stevens’ composition was the most popular with students and alumni alike, and eventually it received the distinction of being named the school’s official alma mater.

After graduating from Syracuse University in 1895, Stevens began teaching at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He taught rhetoric, Latin, and physiology and wrote the curriculum for the school’s first English course. Two years into his employment at Wyoming Seminary Stevens married Fannie Sarah Ford, on June 22, 1897. The couple eventually had two children, Helen Ford and Ford Woods.

In 1909 Stevens left Wyoming Seminary to teach in the public school district of Newark, New Jersey. He began teaching English at Barringer High School and at the same time worked towards obtaining his master’s degree in English from Columbia University, which he received in 1912. From Barringer, Stevens transferred to South Side High School where he worked as Head Assistant of the English Department, and in 1921 he returned to Barringer, where he would stay until retirement. Eventually Stevens was named the head of Barringer’s English Department. For the district’s centennial celebration in 1938 he wrote and directed the play Cavalcade of Newark High, which told the story of how education in Newark had evolved over the previous one hundred years.

Stevens had a great impact on the English curriculum in Newark. In 1937 he was named chairman of a committee tasked with rewriting and developing an English course for all secondary schools in Newark. The committee worked on this project for two years, and in 1939 it released its curriculum, which was deemed an overwhelming success. Stevens retired in 1944 after forty-nine years of teaching.

Junius Stevens died in March 1947.

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Scope and Content Note

The Junius Woods Stevens Papers contain materials dating from 1831 to 1947, but the bulk of the materials date from 1890 to 1945. The papers document all facets of Stevens’ life, personal and professional. A number of items in the collection pertain to his education and include work he produced in grade school, various diplomas, and a number of materials from his time as an undergraduate student at Syracuse University, including the original copy of the Syracuse University Alma Mater. Materials from Stevens’ teaching career include items from schools where he taught, such as yearbooks and records of special projects and committees he worked on. The collection also contains published and unpublished examples of Stevens’ writing, a small folder of correspondence, photographs, printed materials, and a scrapbook full of newspaper clippings and writings.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Please note that the collection is housed off-site, and advance notice is required to allow time to have the materials brought to the Reading Room on campus.

For preservation and security reasons, the original Syracuse University Alma Mater, written by Junius Woods Stevens, is housed separately from the Stevens Papers. A facsimile is provided in the papers, and a digital image is provided in the inventory below. Researchers who wish to view the original must first obtain permission from the University Archivist.

Use Restrictions

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

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Related Material

In addition to these papers, the Syracuse University Archives also holds a clippings file and a portrait file on Junius Woods Stevens.

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Selected Search Terms

Names

Stevens, Junius W. (Junius Woods), 1873-1947.
Syracuse University -- Alumni and alumnae.
Syracuse University -- History.
Syracuse University.

Subjects

Alma maters (Songs)
Higher education.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Junius Woods Stevens Papers,
University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The original copy of the Syracuse Alma Mater was donated to the Archives by Ford Stevens in 1987, and the rest of the materials in the Junius Woods Stevens Papers were donated by Jim and Woodie Stevens in 2014.

Processing Information

The materials have been processed and placed in acid-free folders and boxes.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Steffi Chappell
Date: 2014
Revision history: August 2018 - Alma mater location changed. Stylistic changes. (VSOM)

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Arrangement

The items are arranged in alphabetical order.

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Inventory

Papers
Barringer High School
Box 1 The Acropolis 1923
Box 1 The Cavalcade of Newark High 1938
Box 1 Honors English curriculum 1937, 1938
Box 1 Correspondence 1923-1924, 1939, 1945, undated
Diplomas
MC 0-3 Columbia University 1912
MC 0-3 Syracuse High School 1890
Box 1 Funeral purchase record for Fannie Stevens 1945
Box 1 Name plates, copper undated (3)
Box 1 Playbills and programs 1917, 1926, 1938
MC 0-3 Posters of musicians 1895, 1900, undated
Box 1 Printed materials 1848-1895, 1901-1947, undated
Box 1 Report of the Committee on Conditions for High School Teaching in the City of Newark, New Jersey undated
Box 1 Scrapbook 1891-1935, undated
Box 1 South Side High School Alma Mater sheet music undated
Student materials
Box 1 Class notes - Shakespeare as a playwright 1910-1911
Geography books 1831, 1877,
MC 0-3 Geography books 1880
Box 1 Grade school writing slate circa 1880
Box 1 Grade school writings 1890, undated
Box 1 Notebook - civics undated
Box 1 Notebook - summer course in English, Harvard College 1895
Syracuse University
Box 1 Alma Mater - facsimile 1893
Box 3 Alma Mater - original 1893
 Alma Mater
RESTRICTED: For preservation and security reasons, the original Syracuse University Alma Mater is housed separately from the Stevens Papers. A facsimile is provided in the papers, and a digital image has been provided here. Researchers who wish to view the original must first obtain permission from the University Archivist.
Box 1 Alumni News 1945
Box 1 Alumni records 1909-1945
Box 1 Class notes 1892, undated
Box 1 “Class Poem,” by Junius Stevens 1895
Box 1 “Class Poem,” by Junius Stevens circa 1891-1895
MC 0-3 Commencement souvenir book 1895
MC 0-3 Delta Upsilon fraternity certificate 1895
Box 1 Songs of Syracuse 1904
MC 0-3 Syracuse University diploma 1895
MC 0-3 Three Pieces of Money flier 1895
Box 1 The University Forum 1896
Box 1 The University Herald 1893
MC 0-3 The University News 1895
Yearbooks
Box 1 Onondagan 1894
Box 1 Onondagan 1895
Box 1 Onondagan 1898
Box 1 Onondagan 1899
Visual images
MC 0-3 Photographs 1895, undated
Box 1 Printing plate undated
Writings by Stevens
Published
Box 1 English Language Card undated
Box 1 English Language Manual undated
Box 1 “Depredations on Life,” from Syracuse University’s Alumni News 1945
Box 1 “In Transition,” from The New Jersey English Leaflet 1945
Box 1 Summary of Rhetoric undated
Unpublished
Box 2 “Autobiography: A Psychological Phantasy” 1895
Box 2 “Evening Song” undated
Box 2 Miscellaneous writings 1888, undated
Box 2 Notebook undated
Box 2 “One Thought” and “On Reading Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice” 1902-1903
Wyoming Seminary
Box 2 Annual catalogues 1895-1896, 1908-1909
Yearbooks
Box 2 The Wyoming 1904
Box 2 The Wyoming 1907
Box 2 The Wyoming 1908

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