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Interview with Charles Newton

Newton, Charles (1985) Interview with Charles Newton. [Oral History]

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An interview in two sessions, January 1983, with Charles Newton, lecturer in English, emeritus, in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Mr. Newton graduated from the University of Chicago (PhB 1933). During World War II, headed public relations at MIT Radiation Laboratory, under directorship of Lee A. Dubridge, who subsequently became Caltech’s president (1946-1969). In 1947, Mr. Newton came west to Caltech at Dubridge’s invitation, assuming the title of assistant to the president. Here he worked mainly in public relations, publications, and fund-raising for the institute, notably helping to run the 1958 development campaign, which raised $18 million and added eighteen new buildings to the campus. He resigned as assistant to the president in 1966 and became a full-time lecturer in English in the humanities division, becoming emeritus in 1975. In this wide-ranging interview, he discusses his college days at Chicago; his early career in advertising and writing for radio; his friendship with Chicago classmate Louis Ridenour, which led to the appointment at the Rad Lab. He recalls his Rad Lab days and the offer to come to Caltech as Dubridge’s assistant. Campus atmosphere in the postwar period. Relationships with the trustees. 1958 development campaign. Nature of the undergraduate student body. DuBridge as fund-raiser; contrast between the administrations of R. A. Millikan, Dubridge, and Harold Brown. Faculty opposition to nuclear test ban. Caltech’s attrition rate. Teaching humanities; evolution of the humanities division. The interview concludes with a number of amusing anecdotes.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Administration, humanities
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Newton_C
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Newton, Charles. Interview by Rachel Prud’homme. Pasadena, California, January 1983. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Administration
Subjects > Humanities
All Records
ID Code:271
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:19 Sep 2018 20:12
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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