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Helen B. Schleman papers



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Information


Speeches and Written Material

Personal files

Pamphlets and Publications

Other Purdue Material

Research Files


Artifacts and Oversized Material

Contact us about this collection

Helen B. Schleman papers, 1920 - 2012 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Jonathan McConnell

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Collection Overview

Title: Helen B. Schleman papers, 1920 - 2012Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1934 - 1980

Primary Creator: Schleman, Helen B. (Helen Blanche), (1902-1992)

Extent: 7.0 Cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Helen Schleman papers are arranged into nine series: 1. Biographical Information 2. Correspondence 3. Speeches and Written material 4. Personal Files 5. Pamphlets and Publications 6. Other Purdue Material 7. Research Files 8. Photographs 9. Artifacts and Oversize Materials

Date Acquired: 04/11/2006. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Armed Forces--Officers, Feminism and higher education, National Association for Women Deans, Administrators & Counselors, Purdue University. Dean of Women, Schleman, Helen Blanche, 1902-1992, Stratton, Dorothy C. (Dorothy Constance), 1899-2006, United States. Coast Guard. Women's Reserve, Women's Archives at Purdue University, Women--Education, Women--Employment, Women deans (Education)--Indiana, World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female

Forms of Material: Clippings (Information artifacts), Drafts (Documents), Pamphlets, Photographic prints

Languages: English


The Helen Schleman papers contains papers, clippings, and photographs documenting Helen Shleman’s life, especially in reference to her professional activities as Purdue Dean of Women (1947–1968) and as an activist and advocate for women’s rights.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Helen Schleman papers (1920–2012; 5 cubic feet) documents the life of Helen B. Schleman from her time as a student at Northwestern University in the 1920s to her death in 1992. Much of the collection documents Schleman’s time at Purdue University as Head of Women’s Residence Halls, Dean of Women, and Dean Emeritus, as well as her military service in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARs) during World War II. In addition to Purdue history, the collection contains Shleman’s collection of newspaper clippings pertaining to the women’s liberation struggle of the 1970s. Types of materials include: personal and professional correspondence, school and employment records, speech notes, published material, newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets from professional organizations, and documents about Schleman’s charitable work.

Biographical Note

Helen Blanche Schleman (1902-1992), noted "unapologetic feminist," came to Purdue in 1934 as director of the first women's residence hall, subsequent to the razing of Ladies Hall in 1927. After taking a four-year leave of absence to serve in the Women's Coast Guard Reserve during World War II, Schleman returned to Purdue in 1947 as Dean of Women. She is acknowledged for having fought for women's rights at Purdue, including terminating the curfew for women students and spearheading a freshman conference program for women. Also during her tenure at Purdue, she earned a master's degree in education and psychology. Schleman retired as Dean of Women in 1968 and went on to become founder and first director of the Span Plan, a program which encourages adult students to continue or start their college careers. She remained an active member of the community until her death in 1992. Schleman Hall, which now houses the Purdue's Student Services department, is named in her honor.

Subject/Index Terms

Armed Forces--Officers
Feminism and higher education
National Association for Women Deans, Administrators & Counselors
Purdue University. Dean of Women
Schleman, Helen Blanche, 1902-1992
Stratton, Dorothy C. (Dorothy Constance), 1899-2006
United States. Coast Guard. Women's Reserve
Women's Archives at Purdue University
Women deans (Education)--Indiana
World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections


Second donation received from Sarah J. Watlington, March 7, 2008.

20121203.2, Transfer from the Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance via Alyssa Rollock on December 3, 2012

Alternate Extent Statement: 18 boxes

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Source: Donation received from Barbara Cook and Sarah J. Watlington

Related Materials:

Helen Schleman had close ties to three other Deans of Women: Dorothy Stratton, Beverley Stone, and Barbara Cook. More photos, correspondence, and other materials relating to Schleman can be found in those collections.

Oral history interview conducted July 16, 1970, located within MSO 2, Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection.

Preferred Citation: MSF 334, Helen B. Schleman collection, Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Finding Aid Revision History:

While processing the Dean of Women Office Records papers, the archivist discovered two cubic feet of speech notes, dated from 1944 to 1988, belonging to Helen Schleman. This material has been organized by date into five manuscript boxes and added to Series 3 of the Helen Schleman papers.

Archon record revised by Virginia Pleasant on May 24, 2016.

Other URL: http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/fa/pdf/msf334_schleman.pdf

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Information, 1921 - 2001],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1943 - 1990],
[Series 3: Speeches and Written Material, 1923 - 1979],
[Series 4: Personal files, 1950 - 1989],
[Series 5: Pamphlets and Publications, 1922 - 1988],
[Series 6: Other Purdue Material, 1955 - 1985],
[Series 7: Research Files, 1965 - 1992],
[Series 8: Photographs],
[Series 9: Artifacts and Oversized Material],