The Thomas E. Will papers contain business correspondence, printed material, Board of Regents minutes, reports, legal documents, notes and drafts, and newspaper clippings from 1896 to 1909, some of which is connected to Will's time as president of Kansas State Agricultural College (KSAC) from 1899 to 1901. There are approximately 430 items in the collection, which is housed in one document box. The papers are divided into seven series: 1) correspondence, 2) minutes, 3) legal documents, 4) reports, 5) printed material, 6) financial records, and 7) notes and drafts.
Correspondence with Regents, KSAC executive department members, KSAC faculty and staff, and the governor of Kansas make up a large portion of the collection. Also among correspondence are letters between J. D. Walters and Will. Many of the letters deal with normal procedures at KSAC, however, some of the correspondence concerns the resignation of President Will. The series is contained in five folders.
Board of Regents minutes make up the second series and they are contained in a single folder. Among the minutes are reactions of Regents (especailly Carl Vrooman and Susan St. John) to the dismissal of President Will and other college professors. Legal documents are filed in one folder, and many of them are contracts written up by the Board of Regents for college faculty and staff. Some of the contracts are actually signed by the Regents, but many of them are blank forms. Other legal records consist of statements of college debts owed and changes within the Board of Regents.
Reports, the fourth series, concern the political controversies around populism that caused outrage in Manhattan and KSAC. The fifth series, printed material, makes up a large portion of the collection. Such items as programs and articles concerning KSAC, articles written by Will, a Kansas Supreme Court brief by G.C. Clemons, and newspaper clippings are included in this series. Financial documents include statements and expenditures concerning the treasury department of KSAC. Also included in this series are copies of the college deficits for the fiscal years 1886–1899. Notes and drafts make up the final series of this collection. The authorship of many of these handwritten items is unknown and they are difficult to read.
Will, Thomas E.