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William Goodell Frost Papers

Identifier: RG 03-3.03

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of official and personal papers of, William Goodell Frost, who served as BereaCollege's third president from 1892 to 1920. The Frost papers include personal and official correspondence; sermons, addresses, and lectures; manuscript writings; diaries; reports; photographs; and papers of Frost's wife, Eleanor Marsh Frost. The papers provide important documentation of Frost's life, racial issues in Kentucky, and on the history of Berea College.


  • created: 1860 - 1955
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1860-1894


Conditions Governing Access

Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the collection other than federal copyright regulations.   Cite all references to the material in this collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Third president of Berea College

Note written by


21.40 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Frost, a native of LeRoy, New York, was an 1876 graduate of Oberlin College and taught Greek at him alma materfrom 1876 through 1892. Having refused the presidency of Berea College in 1889, Frost reconsidered theappointment after the resignation of William B. Stewart.  Frost was inaugurated in 1892 and served as presidentuntil 1920. Frost is credited with being chiefly responsible for the significant growth of Berea College during thisperiod. His term saw enrollment rise from 350 in 1912 to 2400 in 1920, and the College’s endowment increasefrom $1,000,000 to $3,500,000 over the same period. He was also responsible for re-directing the school'smission from that of coeducation of blacks and whites to one which focused on educating "AppalachianAmericans", a term he is credited with popularizing. This shift took place contemporaneously with passage ofthe Kentucky Day Law (1904) which forbade integration of blacks and whites within single institutions. Thisresulted in removal of black students from the college and the establishment by Berea of the Lincoln Institute inLouisville, a separate school solely for blacks.

Arrangement Note

Arrangement of the collection is in series: Personal; Correspondence; Sermons, Addresses, and Lectures; Writings; Day Law; Reports; Eleanor Marsh Frost; Miscellaneous; and Photographs.

Other Descriptive Information

The online version of content from this collection is available on-campus to Berea College students, staff, and faculty through the Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007 database by Adam Matthew.

William Goodell Frost Papers Finding Aid
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Revision Statements

  • 2014-06: The finding aid was updated from previous versions in June 2014 by Lori Myers-Steele, Project Archivist. The box list was created by Katie L. Grindstaff, Student Associate Archivist.
  • 2023-05: Finding aid updated with inclusion of digital objects

Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US