Yale offered more papers on Kent State
Ed Stannard , Register Metro Editor

-NEW HAVEN The widow of the former president of Kent State University, who served in the aftermath of the 1970 fatal shootings by National Guard troops, would like his final papers to go to Yale University's archives.
Eva Olds, who lives in Sherwood, Ore., said she prefers that the collection, on which Glenn A. Olds based his memoirs, go to the school where he earned a doctorate, rather than the one enshrouded in controversy after four students were shot dead.

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"I've talked with the children and believe that Yale is really the only proper place for my husband's papers," she said. "I wouldn't want to divide it up."

Glenn Olds died in March 2006 at age 85.

After serving at Kent State in Ohio, he had served as president of Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. Earlier, he consulted on forming the Peace Corps and served at the United Nations under President Nixon.

Both Yale and Kent State have extensive May 4, 1970, collections, and Kent State holds Olds' presidential papers. The final destination for his remaining archives grew uncertain because Yale had closed its Kent State collection to new donors.

Paul D. Keane, one of the founders of the Yale collection, has been representing Eva Olds and believes her husband's papers would be safer at Yale.

Keane attended both schools.

He and author Peter Davies originally donated their Kent State-related papers to Yale because Kent State "refused to guarantee Peter Davies that his papers would be preserved as evidence in the civil trial," Keane said.

In response to e-mails from Keane asking him to intervene, Yale President Richard C. Levin said the university would consider taking Glenn Olds' papers if his widow made the request.

"It is customary to keep papers such as those of Dr. Olds in the place where scholars would expect to find them, and where the surrounding context is relevant, in this case, Kent State University," Levin wrote.

He said that Yale archives would need to know how much of Olds' career his papers document. "We have not heard directly from Mrs. Olds regarding her late husband's papers ... so we cannot make any determination as to whether Mr. Olds' larger archive, as opposed to those papers relating solely to his time at Kent State, would be suitable for Yale."

Eva Olds, who has been dealing with personal and family health issues in the last year, said she isn't planning to call Yale.

"I'm not going to do anything. If anyone is interested, they can contact me," she said.

Cara Gilgenbach, head of special collections and archives at the Kent State Library, said the 37 cubic feet of Olds presidential papers are the most important holding for Kent State, and it's common for scholars to have to go to more than one location to research their subject.

"This person had a long, diverse career. As long as you know that the papers are basically at a professionally run repository, it's very easy to refer people to that place."

Gilgenbach said she would be willing to talk to Eva Olds about her husband's papers but she wouldn't initiate contact. "That might be seen as actively trying to stir up controversy, and we're not interested in doing that," she said.

Yale's Kent State collection was in the media spotlight this spring when one of nine students wounded in the shootings released an audiotape that he said included a National Guard officer's order to fire on students. The tape had been donated to Yale in 1989.

Ed Stannard can be reached at or 789-5743.

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New Haven Register 2007