|Creator:||Stevens, Junius W. (Junius Woods), 1873-1947.|
|Title:||Junius Woods Stevens Papers|
|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.|
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to these papers, the Syracuse University Archives also holds a clippings file and a portrait file on Junius Woods Stevens.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Junius Woods Stevens Papers,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
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.
The materials have been processed and placed in acid-free folders and boxes.
Created by: Steffi Chappell
Revision history: August 2018 - Alma mater location changed. Stylistic changes. (VSOM)
The items are arranged in alphabetical order.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Box 1||Alma Mater - facsimile 1893|
|Box 3||Alma Mater - original 1893
|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|
|Box 1||Onondagan 1894|
|Box 1||Onondagan 1895|
|Box 1||Onondagan 1898|
|Box 1||Onondagan 1899|
|MC 0-3||Photographs 1895, undated|
|Box 1||Printing plate undated|
|Writings by Stevens|
|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|
|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|
|Box 2||Annual catalogues 1895-1896, 1908-1909|
|Box 2||The Wyoming 1904|
|Box 2||The Wyoming 1907|
|Box 2||The Wyoming 1908|