Cage 737

Frank and Irene Potter

Papers, 1915-1990

Acquisition And Processing Information

These materials were donated to the Washington State University Libraries with the papers of Ruth Slonim (MS 2007-10). Ph.D. candidate Katy Fry processed the collection in 2009.

Irene and Frank Potter in their Pullman, Washington home, probably in the 1930s.

Extent/Quantity Information

Number of Containers: 4

Linear Feet of Shelf Space: 2


Frank Fraser Potter (1879-1959) was a member of the faculty at Washington State College from 1912 to 1949. He was WSC's first professor of philosophy. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and taught there and at Transylvania University prior to accepting a position at WSC. Upon his retirement from WSC, he was named Professor Emeritus.

Irene Eleanora Michet (1889-1971) received her A.B. from the University of Illinois in 1920. After teaching high school English in Illinois for several years, she joined the faculty of the WSC English Department in 1927. When she and Frank Potter were married in 1929, she resigned from her teaching position.

Both of the Potters were actively involved in the campus community, and for over 25 years they hosted regular Friday afternoon gatherings at their home for students they encouraged to pursue advanced, competitive scholarly opportunities, particularly Rhodes Scholarships; ten of these students became Rhodes Scholars. The Potters also hosted regular Wednesday afternoon open houses for men and women students, and faculty members.

The Potters bequeathed their Pullman home to Washington State University, and endowed the Frank and Irene Potter Memorial Scholarship. The Frank Fraser Potter Memorial Lecture, an annual event, was established shortly after Frank Potter's death through an anonymous donation from one of his former students.

Collection Description

This collection consists of materials related to Frank and Irene Potter which came into the possession of Ruth Slonim, their colleague and friend, after Irene Potter's death. It includes correspondence received by Irene Potter, mostly from 1969 to 1971, a small quantity of Frank Potter's notes related to his teaching of philosophy, a few miscellaneous items, and a folder of materials about the Potters collected by Slonim.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series:


Potter, Frank Fraser, 1879-1959 -- Archives
Potter, Irene Michet, 1889-1971 -- Archives
Washington State University -- Faculty -- Archives
College teaching -- Washington (State)


This collection is open and available for research use. Copyright restrictions apply.

Preferred Citation

The suggested citation for the collection is:

[Item Description]
Frank and Irene Potter papers, 1915-1990
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Washington State University Libraries
Pullman, WA

Related Materials

Frank Fraser Potter Papers, 1915-1941 (Cage 500)

Sources Consulted

Bierbower, June. "'A Man, Not a System.'" Washington State Review II, no. 4 (Summer 1959): 21-25.

Bell, Aldon Duane. "Finding the Best Candidates for Rhodes Scholarships" (undated clipping, possibly 1959, from The American Oxonian).


Materials are in English.

Condition Note

Some documents in this collection were damaged by water and/or mold prior to being donated to Washington State University. These items were photocopied, and the originals discarded.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
    Series 1: Irene Potter incoming correspondence, 1955-1971 (bulk 1969-1971)
1 1 A
  2 B
  3 C
  4 D-E
  5 F
  6 G
  7 H-L
  8 M
  9 N-P
  10 R-S
2 1 T-V
  2 W-Z
  3 Unidentified sender items
    Series 2: Miscellaneous, circa 1915-1990
  4-9 Frank Potter teaching notes and collected quotations (philosophy), circa 1920s-1940s
3 1-4 Frank Potter teaching notes and collected quotations (philosophy), circa 1920s-1940s (continued)
  5 Irene Potter notebook with list of Frank Potter's "relatives and very old friends," circa 1959
  6 Account book (expenditures), 1950-1964
  7-9 Music materials (typed transcriptions, primarily lyrics and opera scene descriptions), circa 1940s
4 1 Articles by Helen Rocca Goss (inscribed reprints), 1953-1961
  2 Incoming correspondence from Washington State College Library regarding Frank Potter Memorial Book Fund, 1959-1960
  3 Frank Potter will and estate documents, 1960-1971
  4 Photographs (the Potters, their Pullman home and garden, scenes from a 1930s trip to Britain, and unidentified portraits), circa 1915-1950
  5 Miscellaneous items including Frank Potter memorials and obituary, articles, correspondence related to an effort in the 1970s and 1980s to name a WSU building for Frank Potter, and clippings, 1959-1990