Bennington College

President Robert D. Leigh, 1928-1941

President Robert D. Leigh, 1928-1941


Series Biographical/Historical Note: Robert Devore Leigh was the first President of Bennington College. Born in 1890 in Nebraska, Leigh grew up in Seattle, Washington. He earned his undergraduate degree at Bowdoin College in Maine, and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree at Columbia University. Dr. Leigh taught at Columbia, Reed College, and Barnard College, and was Hepburn Professor of Government at Williams College before being appointed President of Bennington College in 1928. After resigning from the Presidency in 1941, he held a number of positions in the academic world, government, and library administration. Dr. Leigh died in 1961. Major historical landmarks during President Leigh’s term include the cultivation of the educational plan for Bennington College (1928-1930), the construction and renovation of the original campus buildings (1931-1936), the opening of the college (1932), and Bennington’s first graduating class (1936). Organization Note: The arrangement of records in the Leigh series is based upon the original filing system used by President Leigh’s office. The records have been arranged into thematic sub-series. Scope and Content Note: This collection is comprised of records and documents created or used by the staff of the Office of the President in the course of business pertaining to Bennington College. Because of the president’s position as a medium of communication between the Board of Trustees and the rest of the college, the president’s records provide material relating to several aspects of college life. See sub-series notes for more information about scope and content for each sub-series.

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