M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the
RECORDS, 1931-1970, 1974


For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff or (518)-437-3935.

Finding Aid Compiled by
Sara Rohfeld
July 5, 1995

Revisions and Additions by
Marla Krauss
July 18, 1996

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: 0.5 cubic feet

ACQUISITION: These records were transferred to the to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the Alumni Association in 1989, by Don Kissel in 1992, and Paul Ward and Robert Umholtz in 1996.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Administrative History

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:

Edward E. Potter Club and Alumni Association, Inc.
Administrative History

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The Potter Club

The Potter Club, founded in 1931, began when thirteen undergraduates and alumni proposed to form a club in order to promote close friendships in a non-fraternal organization. They called it the "State Union." Prior to the formation of the Potter Club, the only men's social group was the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. The president of the college, Abram R. Brubacher, approved of another men's social club, but he did not like the name "State Union." Therefore, Brubacher suggested that the Club adopt the name of Edward E. Potter in memory of a student killed in France during World War I.1

The Potter Club's stated purpose was "to keep alive the friendships made in undergraduate days, to promote the interests of State College by interesting men of character in the teaching profession, to maintain a high social standard among the men at State College, to cooperate more fully with the Alumnae Association, to keep our selves educationally alert."2 The Club promoted high educational and behavioral standards for the young men attending NYSCT and encouraged its members as individuals and as a group to participate in service-related activities. Prominent literati, including Carl Sandberg, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Vachel Lindsay, visited the school at the invitation of the Potter Club.3

In 1935, the Club joined with Kappa Delta Rho (later Alpha Pi Alpha) to form the first Inter-Fraternity Council.4 The Potter Club "deactivated" during World War II due to a lack of men at State College. After the war, the Club started up again in a new house at 415 State Street and began pursuing more social activities.5 The Club, along with all other fraternities and sororities, was forced to move to the new campus in the 1960's. Its new home was in Hamilton Hall on Colonial Quad.

In the 1970's, the Club faced charges of misconduct and housing problems. The Colonial Quad Coordinator filed at least 15 complaints of misconduct against Club members in the 1976-77 school year. A temporary committee, formed in response to the complaints in April, 1977, decided that the Club needed a new charter with established objectives, the successful completion of which determining future re-chartering.6 A permanent committee, the Potter Club Evaluation and Assistance Committee, was set up to evaluate the Club's activities.

While the Club was under review, University administrators, claiming the need for room for more coed housing, told the "Pottermen" that they would have to leave Hamilton Hall. Some Club members saw the move as a threat to the Potter Club's existence.7 In 1978, the Potter Club moved to the basement of Waterbury Hall on Alumni Quad.

The last reference to the Potter Club is in an article in the student newspaper explaining that the club's re-charter depended upon a review of the Club's offences prior to February, 1979. The review committee would submit a report by February 1 and the recommendations would go to the Student Affairs Council of the University Senate for approval.8 On February 16, 1979, the Student Affairs Council made a motion to re-charter the Potter Club. The motion was passed. There is no further information on the Potter Club after that date. The Club eventually disbanded.

The Potter Club Alumni Association

The Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc., was incorporated on February 17, 1948. Headquartered in Albany, the Alumni Association facilitated communication between past and present members of the Potter Club, provided educational and financial assistance to Potter Club members through awards and scholarships, and promoted the interests of the University and its alumni, in general. The Association also provided room and board for Potter Club members. In May, 1962, the Association purchased two homes for the Potter Club.10 The Potter Club alumni helped the Potter Club unsuccessfully fight against moving into a dormitory. In 1972, the Alumni Association expanded its commitment to financial assistance with the creation of a fund used specifically to help Potter Club members pay for their education.11

Information about the current activities of the Potter Club Alumni Association is available at the association's Website at http://www.potterclubalumni.com/.

This information was based on the administrative history written by Sara Rohfeld, July 5, 1995, for the Potter Club Records, Alumni Memorabilia Collections. Revisions and additions were made by Marla Krauss.

Back to History

1. Bernard Kerbel, '33, letter discussing origins of the Potter Club.
2. Petition to President Brubacher for Recognition of State Union.
3. Kerbel.
4. Donald Thomas McClain, "The Story of the Potter Club," Alumni Quarterly, January, 1959, p. 3.
5. ASP, 1948.
6. ASP, April 7, 1978, p. 3.
7. ASP, March 10, 1978, p. 1.
8. ASP, Oct. 22, 1978, p. 3.
9. "Copy" of notes, October 18, 1965, attached to notice of official filing of Certificate of Incorporation by Department of State, Division of Corporations, February 17, 1948.
10. Letter to "Alumnus" from Board of Directors, January 22, 1963, in "Prospectus and Housing" folder.
11. Certificate of Amendment of Certificate of Incorporation of the Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc., 1972.

Edward E. Potter Club and Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc.
Scope & Content Note

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The Edward E. Potter Club Records document the origins and activities of the Edward E. Potter Club and the Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, expense records, newsletters, membership lists, and the constitutions of both organizations. Although the records cover the time period from 1931 to 1974, the bulk of them come from the 1960's. Therefore, the clubs' concerns during this time period, such as housing, standards of behavior, and questions over adherence to club ideals, are particularly well documented. The documentation for any other time period is poor with the exception of the Potter Club Alumni Association's Board of Director's minutes which span from 1948 to 1961. See also the Edward E. Potter Papers (UA-802.002).

Photographs of Edward Eldred Potter and Edward Eldred Potter Club and Alumni Association members from the University Archives Photograph Collection are available for viewing online from the University at Albany Libraries' Digital Collections database.

Edward E. Potter Club and Alumni Association, Inc.
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: The Potter Club Records, 1931-1970. 0.33 cubic feet. Arranged alphabetically.

The Potter Club Records consist of club papers, correspondence, and financial and membership information creating an incomplete record of the club's origin and activities from the 1930's through, approximately, 1970. Most of the documents come from and deal with the 1960's, including several versions of the club's constitution, evaluations, correspondence, minutes of the Board of Directors, alumni directories, and financial information. Much of the correspondence and minutes of club meetings address housing issues and behavioral standards for club members. The evaluations address the club's concerns over its adherence to the ideals represented by Edward E. Potter. Also included in the series are a petition, dated May 26, 1931, for recognition of the State Union which became the Potter Club, a list of twelve charter members of the club, and several editions of the Potter Post, the club's newspaper.

Series 2: The Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc., 1948-1972. 0.4 cubic feet. Arranged alphabetically.

The Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc., records contain correspondence, minutes, and financial information documenting the incorporation of the Association on February 17, 1948, and some of its activities through, approximately, 1970. Most of the documents come from and deal with the 1960's. Included within the series are the Certificate of Incorporation, Constitution of the Association, minutes of the Board of Directors, and several issues of the Potter Club Alumni Newsletter.

Edward E. Potter Club & Alumni Association, Inc.
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: The Potter Club Records, 1931-1970

Box 1

Board of Directors Meetings, Summaries/Agendas, 1960's
Budget, Income, 1963-1965
Constitution of Potter Club, 1963, 1964, 1967
Correspondence, 1960's
Directories of Club Alumni, 1963?
Evaluations of Club, 1933, 1960's?
Greek System: Non-SUNY Albany, 1962-65

Greek System: SUNY Albany, 1962-64 Housing, undated
Ledger, Potter Club Expenses, Guest List for Theme Party (theme, the 1920's) undated
Letterhead and Envelopes (blank)
Meetings of Club, Summaries, 1965
Pins, donated by Bernard Kerbal '33
Origin and Purpose of Potter Club
Petition to President Brubacher for recognition of State Union, May 26, 1931: including the original constitution of what became the Potter Club and a letter re: discovery of original constitution, May 1, 1974
Pledge List, 1965, and Pledge Manual
Phonograph record (45 format) "Music For You" by the Saylesmen, gift of Paul Ward
Photograph, framed composite of Potter Club, 1968
Poems Written on Potter Club Stationery
Potter "Man of the Year" recipients, 1935-1961
Potter Post, 1952, 1964-1967
President's Register, Potter Club, 1962?
Relationship to Inter-Fraternity Council, undated
Scholarships/James Warden Memorial and Scholarship, 1960's
Social Functions: Menu, Invitations, Music Contract, 1966
Songs, undated
SUNY Albany: General, 1966-67

Edward E. Potter Club & Alumni Association, Inc.
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: The Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc., 1948-1972

Box 1

Addresses, Members of Potter Club Alumni Association?
Certificate of Incorporation, Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc., February 17, 1948: Also includes: Certificate of Amendment to Certificate of Incorporation, 1972
Constitution of Potter Club Alumni Association, Inc.
Correspondence, 1948, 1960's
Correspondence re: Tax Status and Investments, 1950, 1962
Financial Statements, Final and Interim Reports, Proposed Budget, 1960's
Ledger, Minutes of Meetings, Board of Directors, 1948-1961
Ledger, Pledges and Loans, 1948-1949
Meeting, Annual, June 10, 1967
Minutes, Meetings, Correspondence of Board of Directors, 1960's, 1970
Photo, color print of 415 State Street, donated by Jim Panton'53, (in UA Photo Coll.)
Potter Club Alumni Newsletter, 1963-1965, 1967
Prospectus and Correspondence re: Purchasing House for Potter Club, 1959, 1961
Embossing Press for Potter Club Alumni Association Seal

Edward E. Potter Club & Alumni Association, Inc.
Box and Folder List

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Oversize Items
(Stored with boxes)

Memoirs of Edward Eldred Potter, in a case, inscribed to the Potter Club by Cordella Rose Potter Lackey, May 27, 1935. Photographs of E. E. Potter and original correspondence from President Brubacher, E. E. Potter, and Edouard Chavet are pasted into the volume.
Photograph of the Potter Club, 1968, framed composite photo (8" x 11")
Paddle, Ray Cole '53
Paddle "Spring Formal" 1951

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Last updated August 21, 2007