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Paul Klapper Papers

Identifier: SCA-0054

Scope and Contents

The Paul Klapper Collection consists of materials ranging from 1899 to 1985. The bulk of the collection covers Klapper’s time spent as President of Queens College (1937-1948). The collection contains correspondence, administrative papers (budget, finances), public speeches, photographs, awards and certificates, books from his personal collection, and his doctoral hood awarded by Yeshiva University in 1938.


  • 1895-1985
  • Majority of material found within 1937 - 1948





Collection is open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition.


The Paul Klapper Collection is physically owned by the Queens College Libraries. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assignees. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Queens College assumes no responsibility for the infringement of copyrights held by the original authors, creators, or producers of materials.

Biographical Note

Paul Klapper was born in Jassy, Romania on July 17th, 1885. In 1892 he and his parents Louis and Rachel Klapper immigrated to the United States. Klapper enrolled in the City College of New York in 1899 at the age of fourteen as a sub-freshman. He graduated in 1904 with an Artium Baccalaureus (A.B.) degree - what is now called a Bachelor of Science degree. He taught in the New York City public schools and continued his education at New York University, where he received a Master of Arts in 1907. Later that year, he returned to City College as both tutor and instructor in the Department of Education, positions he held until 1914. In conjunction with teaching at City College, he continued his graduate studies at NYU, receiving a Ph. D. in 1909.

In 1917, Klapper became head of the Department of Education at City College. In addition to his departmental duties, Klapper also served as Director of the Summer Session, a post he held until 1922. By the year 1919, Klapper was named Acting Dean, and in January of 1922 he was appointed Dean of City College. He served in this role until 1937, when he moved on to Queens College.

Queens College, the fifth municipal four-year college in the CUNY system, opened its doors in 1937 with Klapper serving as the new college’s first president. He personally selected the four hundred students who enrolled that first year, as well as the college’s first faculty members. Upon being appointed, Klapper was given a testimonial dinner at the Hotel Astor on October 30th, 1937. In attendance at this prestigious event were distinguished public figures such as Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Governor Herbert H. Lehman, the editor of The New York Times John H. Finley, and President of City College Frederick B. Robinson. Klapper served as president of Queens College for the next eleven years until his retirement in 1948.

Over the course of his career, Klapper received various honorary degrees from such institutions as Yeshiva University, Columbia University, and Queens College. He served as a member on the board of trustees for The State University of New York, Brandeis University, and The New York State Commission Against Discrimination. He was also affiliated with The National Education Association, The Association of School Administrators, and The American Association of University Professors. Klapper was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

After his retirement, Klapper served as Acting Dean of Teacher Education for the five municipal colleges. He served as visiting professor at the University of Chicago from 1949-1951. He died on March 25th, 1952, at the age of sixty-six.


12 Linear Feet (6 boxes )


The Paul Klapper Collection contains the correspondence, administrative files, certificates and awards, photographs, public speeches, programs, newspaper clippings, a doctoral hood, and his personal book collection of the first President of Queens College. The bulk of the collection covers 1937-1948, from the founding of the school until Klapper's retirement.

Arrangement Note

The Paul Klapper Collection is arranged in nine series, many with subseries:

Series I: Departments and Divisions Subseries A: Departments Subseries B: Divisions

Series II: Committees

Series III: Faculty and Students Subseries A: Faculty Subseries B: Staff Subseries C: Students

Series IV: Administrative Files Subseries A: Board of Higher Education Subseries B: Budget Subseries C: Buildings Subseries D: General Subseries E: Legislative Conference Subseries F: NYS Commission on the Need for State University Subseries G: The Strayer Report

Series V: Military Subseries A: Selective Service Subseries B: General

Series VI: Events Subseries A: Commencements Subseries B: Other Events Subseries C: Testimonial Dinner, 1937

Series VII: Personal Subseries A: Awards and Certificates Subseries B: Doctoral Hood Subseries C: Klapper’s Early Education Subseries D: Correspondence Subseries E: Honors and Gifts Subseries F: Memoriam Subseries G: Photographs Subseries H: Publications Subseries I: Public Speeches and Addresses Subseries J: Teaching

Series VIII: Scrapbook

Series IX: Bound Publications Subseries A: Titles by Paul Klapper Subseries B: Titles by George Santayana Subseries C: Other


Queens College

Processing Information

Processed by Dan Brenner, Spring 2014. Edited and Approved by Alexander Dolan-Mescal, Spring 2014.



Paul Klapper Papers
Processed by Dan Brenner, Spring 2014. Edited and approved by Alexander Dolan-Mescal, Spring 2014. Machine readable finding aid created by Dan Brenner, Spring 2014.
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Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us