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Dorothy C. Stratton papers



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Information, 1933 - 2006


Speeches and Written Material

SPARS Related Items


Contact us about this collection

Dorothy C. Stratton papers, 1935-2012 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Archives Staff

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Collection Overview

Title: Dorothy C. Stratton papers, 1935-2012Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1943-1947

Primary Creator: Stratton, Dorothy C. (1899-2006)

Extent: 1.2 Cubic feet

Arrangement: The papers are organized into five series. 1. Biographical Information 2. Correspondence 3. Speeches and Written Materials 4. SPARS Related Items 5. Photographs.

Date Acquired: 09/23/1979. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Purdue University--Faculty, Purdue University. Dean of Women, Stratton, Dorothy C. (Dorothy Constance), 1899-2006, United States. Coast Guard. Women's Reserve, Women's Archives at Purdue University, Women--Education, Women deans (Education)--Indiana, World War, 1939-1945, World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female

Forms of Material: Clippings (Information artifacts), Letters (Correspondence), Pamphlets, Photographic prints

Languages: English


This collection contains papers, clippings and photographs documenting Dorothy Stratton’s life, especially her role as Purdue Dean of Women and Director of the USCG SPARS.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Dorothy Stratton Papers (1935-2012; 1.5 cubic feet) predominately document Stratton’s work as Dean of Women at Purdue and as Director of the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (also known as SPARS) through correspondence, pamphlets and photographs. Also of interest are a number of speeches and essays by Stratton about the role of women’s education in a democratic post-war world. Materials from later in Stratton’s life are generally secondary sources such as clippings about her birthdays, legacy, and obituaries.

Biographical Note

Dorothy Constance Stratton (1899-2006) served as Dean of Women at Purdue from 1933 until 1946, at a time in which the enrollment of women students jumped from less than 500 to more than 1,400. During her tenure at Purdue, she oversaw the creation of a liberal science program for women in the School of Science as well as an employment placement center. She helped established the Housemother Training School that gave intensive training to fraternity and sorority housemothers from across the United States. In 1942, during the Second World War, Stratton took a military leave of absence from Purdue and was commissioned to create and direct the Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard, also known as SPARS (an acronym she coined based on the phrase "Semper Paratus, Always Ready"). Upon her retirement from the military in 1946, she was awarded a Legion of Merit Medal for her contributions to women in the armed forces. Stratton went on to serve as the first director of personnel at the International Monetary Fund and then later as an executive director of the Girl Scouts of the America until her retirement in 1960.

Subject/Index Terms

Purdue University--Faculty
Purdue University. Dean of Women
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
World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections


Donation by Sarah J. Watlington, Mar. 7, 2008

20121203.3, Transfer from the Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance via Alyssa Pollock, December 3, 2012

Access Restrictions: The processed collection is open for research.

Acquisition Source: Dorothy C. Stratton

Acquisition Method: Donated

Related Materials: Dorothy Stratton had close ties to the next three Deans of Women (Helen B. Schleman, Beverley Stone, and Barbara Cook). More photos, correspondence, and other information relating to Stratton can be found in those collections.

Preferred Citation: MSF 366, Dorothy C. Stratton papers, Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Processing Information: The papers relating to Purdue Deans of Women Dorothy Stratton, Helen Schleman, Beverley Stone and Barbara Cook, have had a unique history. Although Stratton personally donated an album of WWII photographs to Purdue University Library in 1979, most of the materials in the Stratton Papers were transferred from Dorothy Stratton to Helen Schleman to Beverley Stone to Barbara Cook before finally coming under the stewardship of Sarah J. Watlington and Betty Nelson, who donated the combined materials to the Karnes Archives and Special Collections. The close friendships between these women and their shared histories as Deans of Women/Deans of Students at Purdue make determining the intended recipient of photographs, letters and other shared documents difficult. The archivists have attempted to restore the provenance of these materials and arrange them into appropriate individual collections to the extent possible. However, due to the intertwined histories of the women on professional and personal levels, the organization may not show exact provenance. Researchers studying Dorothy Stratton may want to also examine the papers of Helen Schleman, Beverley Stone, and Barbara Cook for additional insight into Stratton’s life and career.

Finding Aid Revision History: Archon records revised by Virginia Pleasant on May 24, 2016

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

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Information, 1933 - 2006],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1943 - 1998],
[Series 3: Speeches and Written Material, 1943 - 1993],
[Series 4: SPARS Related Items, 1943 - 1999],
[Series 5: Photographs, 1935 - 1998],