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Sanford Bates Collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Series 1a

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Sanford Bates Collection, 1906-1972 | SHSU Special Collections & University Archives

By Trent Shotwell

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Collection Overview

Title: Sanford Bates Collection, 1906-1972Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1930-1969

Primary Creator: Bates, Sanford, b. 1884 (1884-1972)

Extent: 52.0 Boxes

Arrangement: The collection consists of documents, publications, speeches, brochures, and correspondence documenting the life and work of Sanford Bates. This collection was previously organized and assigned an organizational scheme and item level numerical designation, as follows: box letter, file number, item letter, and page number – Box B, file 2, item A, page 1 is labeled [B2 A]1. Please note that correspondence is not arranged in chronological order. Also note that additional materials were located and inserted later, thus Boxes 1a through 6a contain bound correspondence.

Subjects: Bates, Sanford, b. 1884, Boys’ Clubs of America, Correctional personnel - Training of, Corrections - Standards, Criminals - Rehabilitation, Juvenile delinquency, Massachusetts. Department of Correction, New Jersey. Department of Institutions and Agencies, New York (State). Board of Parole, Parole, Prison reformers - United States - History, Probation, United States. Bureau of Prisons - History

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Sanford Bates Papers (1906-1972; fifty two boxes) documents the life of one of the country’s most influential criminologists and prison administrators.  These materials depict Sanford Bates’ personal life and career as a practicing lawyer in Boston, member of the Massachusetts Legislature and Senate, first Massachusetts Department of Corrections Commissioner, and first Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Sanford Bates also served as the Executive Director of the Boys Clubs of America, New York State Parole Commissioner, and Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies for the State of New Jersey.  Sanford Bates was involved with the United Nations and other international commissions during the later years of his life and the collection contains many documents and pamphlets related to his foreign undertakings.  His contributions to prisoner rehabilitation were vast and the collection includes many of his progressive papers.  Some of the many subjects include: state and federal prison administration, juvenile delinquency, probation, parole, correctional standards and staff training.  Along with the publications by Sanford Bates, the collection holds articles by many significant criminologists of the time, criminal justice newsletters and articles, and Bates’ personal library of books.

Collection Historical Note

Sanford Bates was born July 17, 1884 in Boston, Massachusetts.  His parents were Samuel Walker Bates and Sarah G. Bates.  He graduated from English High School in 1900 and was awarded several scholarships as well as the Franklin Medal.  He attended Northeastern University and received the LL.B. degree cum Laude in 1906.  He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and practiced law from 1906 to 1929.  He married Helen S. Williams in October of 1908 and they had two children.  Bates then served two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate.  He was a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1917 –1918 and beginning in 1918, he served as the Commissioner of Penal Institutions in Boston.  After being recognized for a capable administration, Bates was appointed the first Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction by Governor Calvin Coolidge in 1919.  With almost ten years as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Bates helped establish two new juvenile delinquent institutions and sponsored progressive legislation.  He also was influential in the establishment of the largest Massachusetts prison colony at Norfolk.

In 1929, Sanford Bates accepted a job in Washington D.C. as Superintendent of Federal Prisons. With the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1930, Bates’ title was changed to Director.  As Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Sanford Bates supported prisoner rehabilitation and penal reform.  Fifteen new Federal prison institutions became part of the Bureau under Bates and he worked to establish social work facilities and prison libraries.  

In 1936 Sanford Bates wrote Prisons and Beyond which was a detailed framework on prison reform and administrative technique.  Bates became the Executive Director of the Boys Clubs of America after leaving the Bureau of Prisons in 1937.  The next year he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Northeastern University and continued his writings on correctional administration and rehabilitation.  By 1940 he became the head of the New York Parole System and then in 1945 he became Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies for New Jersey.  While in New Jersey, he oversaw construction of a state mental hospital, a nursery for special needs children, and he introduced plans for a new 1200 bed penitentiary.

Significantly, Sanford Bates was involved with international corrections and was a liaison on behalf of the United States at several foreign conferences.  He was appointed as delegate to the International Prison Congress in 1925 and represented the U.S. for the International Prison Commission in 1932.  From 1946 to 1951 Bates served as President of the International Penal and Penitentiary Congress and in 1951, he was a member of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention.  He was appointed official delegate to the UN Conference on Crime held in London in 1960.

Sanford Bates retired in 1954 but continued working as a corrections consultant for many state and federal correctional agencies.  He worked as special consultant to the War Department, the American Bar Association, and the American Law Institute.  Bates became Special Assistant to the President’s Commission on Crime and Law Enforcement in 1966.  

Sanford Bates died at the age of 88 on September 8, 1972 two years after donating his collection of books, correspondence, speeches, and reports to the Newton Gresham Library at Sam Houston State University.  With his extensive knowledge and experience in criminal justice, Bates became known as the “Dean of American Corrections”.  From prisoner rehabilitation to progressive juvenile delinquent treatment, Sanford Bates helped frame the modern correctional field.

Subject/Index Terms

Bates, Sanford, b. 1884
Boys’ Clubs of America
Correctional personnel - Training of
Corrections - Standards
Criminals - Rehabilitation
Juvenile delinquency
Massachusetts. Department of Correction
New Jersey. Department of Institutions and Agencies
New York (State). Board of Parole
Parole
Prison reformers - United States - History
Probation
United States. Bureau of Prisons - History

Administrative Information

Repository: SHSU Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: Some materials in this collection are restricted due to personal content. Restrictions are noted at the file level.

Use Restrictions:

The materials represented in this finding aid have been made available for research, teaching and private use. For these purposes, you may reproduce (print, make photocopies, or download) these items without prior permission on the condition that you provide proper attribution of the source in all copies.

Please contact the Newton Gresham Library's Special Collections and University Archives department to request permissions to reproduce materials for any other purpose, or to obtain information regarding the copyright status of a particular digital image, text, audio or video recording.

Preferred Citation: Sanford Bates Papers. Thomason Special Collections, Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1],
[Series 1a],
[Series 2],
[Series 3],
[All]

Series 3Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 1Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder Item 1: 93rd Annual Congress of Correction Desk Plaque, 1963Add to your cart.
Portland, Oregon
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 2: Sanford Bates Signature Stamp, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 3: Sanford Bates Bank Deposit Stamp, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 4: Sanford Bates Glass Slide, no dateAdd to your cart.
The United States Government Committee on Public Information 4 Minute Men
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 5: Boys' Clubs of America Medal, 1940Add to your cart.
Blue Ribbon and Gold Medal
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 6: Optimist Club of West Hudson Award, no dateAdd to your cart.
"Friend to the Boy" award presented to Sanford Bates
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 7: Sanford Bates Rulers, no dateAdd to your cart.
One Leather Ruler and One Metal Ruler
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder Item 8: Sanford Bates Keys, no dateAdd to your cart.
One key ring with eight keys.  Two small keys in envelopes
Originals or Copies Note: Originals

Browse by Series:

[Series 1],
[Series 1a],
[Series 2],
[Series 3],
[All]


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