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Walter R. Hepner Memorial Collection, 1892-1977 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Matthew Nye (Intern)

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Collection Overview

Title: Walter R. Hepner Memorial Collection, 1892-1977Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1940-1969

Primary Creator: Hepner, Walter R. (1891-1976)

Extent: 4.75 Linear Feet


I. Office Files, 1892-1977

II. Speeches, 1934-1975

III. Travel, 1959-1967

1. Paper Material


Date Acquired: 02/16/1977. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: College presidents' spouses--California--San Diego--Biography--Sources, College presidents--California--San Diego--Biography--Sources, Hepner, Frances K. (Frances Keating), Hepner, Frances Keating, Hepner, Walter R. (Walter Ray), b. 1891--Archives, Hepner, Walter R. (Walter Ray), b. 1891--Correspondence, Hepner, Walter R. (Walter Ray), b. 1891--Travel, Hepner, Walter Ray, 1891-1976, San Diego State College, San Diego State College--History--Sources

Forms of Material: Personal Papers, Slides

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Walter R. Hepner Memorial Collection documents aspects of Hepner's professional administrative career and his involvement with the community at large, including international travel. The collection dates from 1892 to 1977, with the bulk of documents created between the 1940s and 1960s. The majority of the collection consists of paper materials such as correspondence, retirement mementos, memorial artifacts, and personal scrapbooks. It contains a significant number of speeches written during and after Hepner's tenure as President of San Diego State College (SDSC). The collection also consists of a large amount of materials from the Hepners' travels, both paper and photographic slides. The collection has been divided into three series: Office Files, Speeches, and Travel. The Travel series is made up of two subseries: Paper Materials and Slides.

The Office Files series consists of a number of small folders with materials dating from 1892-1977.  These folders contain small amounts of random material such as news articles relating to Hepner's career and community involvement dating from 1929-1977; biographical material from 1892-1974; information on some of the conferences attended by Hepner while president of SDSC, 1936-1952; personal and professional correspondence from 1924-1975, with the bulk coming from the 1950s; information on the dedication of Hepner Hall in 1976; a small collection of papers from Frances Hepner, including her correspondence, 1932-1977; mementoes from Hepner's memorial in 1976; a small amount of material from his publications, 1935-1971; papers from Hepner's involvement with the Rotary Club; and scrapbooks, which include a small amount of personal photos dating back to Hepner's infancy in 1892. This series is filed alphabetically according to subject title.

The Speeches series includes transcripts of speeches and some articles that were written by Hepner. This series documents Hepner's involvement with the community between 1934 and 1953, his involvement with the Rotary Club between 1950 and 1975, and his tenure as SDSC President between 1935 and 1952. Hepner has provided a contents list that has been placed in the front of each file. Speeches were written both for incoming students and graduating classes, for important community events, and for Rotary Club gatherings. Also documented in this series is SDSC history during the Second World War, as some speeches focusing on campus issues during war time. This series is arranged alphabetically according to subject.

The Travel series dates from 1959-1967 and is comprised of two sub-series. The first is Paper Materials, which consists of documentation gathered from the Hepners' international travels. There is printed matter such as brochures, pamphlets and maps; and there is written material, such as verse that was scripted by Hepner to document many of his and his wife's travels. Much of the travel paper material was originally stored in scrapbooks by Mrs. Hepner, and consists of the printed material, written verse, and a small amount of photographs. The second sub-series, called Slides, consist of approximately 1,000 photographic slides. A talented amateur photographer, Hepner documented the scenic elements of most of their travels. This entire series has been filed alphabetically by subject title.

Biographical Note

Walter Ray Hepner was born in Covina California, October 30, 1891. The son of a major orange grower, Hepner received his A.B. (1913), A.M. (1916) and Ed.D (1937) from the University of Southern California. He also completed two years of graduate study in Sociology and Education at the University of Chicago from 1917-1919. Hepner married Frances Hepner in 1919 and they had one son, Walter Ray Hepner, Jr.

Hepner's administrative career in public education began in 1919 with a position as principal of Polytechnic Evening High School in Long Beach, California. From 1920 to 1926, he worked for Fresno city schools, eventually becoming Superintendent of Schools. In 1928 Hepner became Superintendent of Schools for the city of San Diego. In 1934 he was appointed Chief of the Division of Secondary Education in the California State Department of Education, and moved to Sacramento. The following year, 1935, Hepner returned to San Diego as President of San Diego Sate College (SDSC), where he remained until his retirement in 1952. He was SDSC's third president, following Samuel T. Black and Edward L. Hardy.

During Hepner's tenure at SDSC, the college broadened its academic programs in business, technical and liberal arts, and education. The college acquired eight new buildings, the open air theatre, four building extensions, and 167 acres which more than doubled the original land base. Enrollment increased from 1,250 to 4,000, course offerings from 404 to 1,431, and faculty from 63 to 222.

In March of 1947, Hepner was selected by the War Department to serve with a small group of educational leaders on an advisory commission to the U.S. Office of Military Government in Berlin. He also spent ten summers teaching at San Jose State (1924), Stanford (1927 and 1934), Claremont (1930), U.C.L.A. (1935 and 1942), and U.S.C. (1938, 1940, 1941, and 1948). He was appointed to two state committees by Governor Earl Warren; one on juvenile justice and the other on mental hygiene. Hepner had a devout interest in community service, participating in over twenty local, state, and national councils and commissions devoted to educational, cultural, and civic causes such as the San Diego Army and Navy YMCA Board of Directors, San Diego Council Boy Scouts of America, California Society of Secondary Education, and the San Diego Rotary Club.

Along with numerous articles in educational magazines, Hepner published three text books: The Good Citizen (1924), Junior Citizens in Action (1928), and Laboratory Textbook in Civics (n.d.). Each of these was co-written by his wife Frances and published by Houghton & Mifflin. Hepner also wrote Junior College Survey of Northern San Diego County with Walter Morgan in 1935 and Factors Underlying Unpredicted Scholastic Achievement of College Freshmen in 1937. In 1971, San Diego State University published Hepner's The San Diego State College: the Third Regime, 1935-1952, which consists mainly of excerpts from "The Presidents Corner" in the campus newspaper, The Aztec.

As President emeritus, Dr. and Mrs. Hepner vacationed around the world, and traveled to some International Rotary Club conventions. Their trips took them to the Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. With his 35mm camera Hepner documented many of their travels. In 1974 Hepner and his wife moved to Baltimore, Maryland to be near their son. Hepner passed away on January 13, 1976. Mrs. Hepner gathered the contents of this collection, which was stored at home, and donated it to the San Diego State University on February 17, 1977.

Subject/Index Terms

College presidents' spouses--California--San Diego--Biography--Sources
College presidents--California--San Diego--Biography--Sources
Hepner, Frances K. (Frances Keating)
Hepner, Frances Keating
Hepner, Walter R. (Walter Ray), b. 1891--Archives
Hepner, Walter R. (Walter Ray), b. 1891--Correspondence
Hepner, Walter R. (Walter Ray), b. 1891--Travel
Hepner, Walter Ray, 1891-1976
San Diego State College
San Diego State College--History--Sources

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Accruals: 1995, 2007

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. Permissions is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish.  Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Acquisition Source: Frances K. Hepner

Related Materials:

Malcolm A. Love Papers

Brage Golding Papers

Thomas B. Day Papers

SDSU Historical Collection

Edward Lawyer Hardy Papers

Samuel T. Black Papers

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Walter R. Hepner Memorial Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Office Files, 1892-1977],
[Series 2: Speeches, 1934-75],
[Series 3: Travel, 1959-67],

Series 1: Office Files, 1892-1977Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Articles, 1924-76Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Biographical, 1927-34Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Conferences, 1936-52Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1936-52Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence, 1936-52Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Dedication of Hepner Hall, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Hepner, Frances K., 1932-77Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Memorial, 1976Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Memorial, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Patron's Board Minutes, 1947Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Personal, 1946-53Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Publications, 1935-71Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Publications, 1935-71Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Publications, 1935-71Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Publications, 1935-71Add to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Retirement, 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Rotary Club, 1955-75Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Scrapbook, 1892-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook, 1935-76Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Scrapbook, 1952-74Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Writing, 1948-67Add to your cart.
Box 9: Scrapbooks, originals, 1892-1976Add to your cart.
Box 10: Scrapbooks, originals, 1892-1976Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Office Files, 1892-1977],
[Series 2: Speeches, 1934-75],
[Series 3: Travel, 1959-67],

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