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Cording, Ruth James (1911-2008) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Cording, Ruth James (1911-2008)


Historical Note:

Ruth James Cording, of Welsh and Irish descent, was born May 23, 1911 and grew up in Auburn, New York. Her paternal grandfather, Evan Thomas James, emigrated in 1866 from Wales to southern New York state. Her father, Edward L. James, a Baptist minister, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Wheaton College in 1930.

The Wheaton College connection continued with Ruth's graduation in 1933 with a major in Literature. She married Edward A. Cording, who retired as Director of the Conservatory of Music in 1970. They have three children, all of whom graduated from Wheaton College - Dr. Edward James Cording ('60), Robert Paul Cording ('62), and Margaret Cording Petty ('70).

Teaching and writing have been a large part of Mrs. Cording's life and ministry. She served Wheaton College as Special Instructor in Children's Literature (1958-60). She has authored and published the following: The Joy of Remembering Our Children (1984), The Joy of Remembering Our Guests (1982), The Joy of Remembering Special Friends: A Birthday Journal (1981), The Turquoise Bracelet (1959), and Glenn and Bill at Prospect Point (1953). She was also Feature Editor of the Wheaton Alumni magazine in the 70s.

In preparation for Wheaton College's Centennial in 1960, the Historical Project Committee, chaired by Dr. Kamm, was established. This resulted in the collection and preliminary inventory of some administrative records and memorabilia. In October 1962, the Executive Council re-established the position of College Archivist in the Library, and Ruth Cording was chosen for the staff position. It was during Ruth's tenure as Wheaton College Archivist, 1962-70, that her reconnection with, and love of Wales, was nurtured. Taking a Library Science course, under Miss Ivy Olson's instruction, Ruth chose "Wales" as reference topic. Since that time, there have been numerous trips to Wales, continued correspondence and collection of materials focused on Welsh language and literature.

Another part of the care and preservation of manuscripts, for Ruth Cording, came in her work with Dr. Clyde Kilby and his C. S. Lewis material. By 1965 this began to form a special collection, and ultimately became the Marion E. Wade Center, housed in the Nicholas building. From 1965 to 1985, Ruth assisted in the arrangement and description of of materials collected by the Marion E. Wade Center.

As the manuscript preservation of the College Archives expanded to include other collections, besides those in the Marion E. Wade Center, the need grew for a Special Collections Department of Buswell Library. Here the College Archives and Special Collections were to find a home. Ruth Cording assisted throughout this process, and has now become a donor of the Ruth James Cording Welsh Language and Literature Collection.

Ruth Cording died May 5, 2008, just shy of her 97th birthday.

Note Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff






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