Skip to main content

MS 676 - U. S. Student Association


The United States Student Association (USSA) Collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections in 1993, with a second addition acquired in 2005, to be part of the National Student Affairs Archives. The Collection is comprised of the papers of Dr. Dennis Trueblood who was on the National Advisory Board/Council during the formative years of the USSA. The Collection consists of meeting (Congress) files, chronological and subject files, and publications. The papers date from 1946 to 1966. These papers were donated with the assistance of Dr. Jack Graham, Professor Emeritus of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Dr. Trueblood headed the College Student Personnel Program at Southern Illinois and also served as president of the American College Personnel Association. No restrictions exist on the research use of this collection and duplication is permitted for administrative and scholarly purposes. The collection was arranged and finding aid prepared by Ann Bowers, National Student Affairs Archivist, in October 2005.

The following history of the USSA is excerpted from A Brief History of NSA and USSA, written by Angus Johnston, USSA National Corporate Secretary, 1990-1992, and available on the USSA web site:

In 1946 students from the United States and 37 other countries met in Prague to launch the International Union of Students. Upon their return, the American students called for a new national student organization. Hundreds of students attended a planning meeting in Chicago that December and a Constitution Convention was held the following year, officially establishing the United States National Student Association (NSA). In its first years of operation, it drafted a Student Bill of Rights and worked to strengthen student government and expand access to higher education.

From the beginning NSA members debated whether it should be a non-partisan organization or whether it had the responsibility to enter the political arena. Its original non-partisan stance was for all practical purposes eliminated when the NSA went on record in opposition to educational segregation. In 1951, NSA condemned "McCarthyism" but not McCarthy, and in 1953, it condemned South African apartheid but only in higher education. This "middling" road resulted in criticism from the conservatives which accused NSA of being a communist front and from the Communist Party for being too right-wing.

The 1950s also brought serious financial difficulties. These difficulties were eliminated when the CIA approached the leaders with a secret offer of large-scale funding which was accepted. For the next fifteen years, a small group of officers and staff worked closely with the CIA while others in NSA leadership positions were kept in the dark.

NSA officers and staff used their position to gather information on student leaders abroad for the agency and some alumni worked to ensure that NSA took "correct" positions on controversial questions. Most of the students were motivated by a sincere belief in the rightness of the government's cause. Self-interest also was a motivation as several received draft deferments and other help from the government.

By the late 1950s and 1960s, the NSA became involved in civil rights, opening up a civil rights office in Atlanta and developing ties with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. NSA also joined with the Students for a Democratic Society in antiwar protests. In 1967, a former staffer, Michael Wood, told a reporter from Ramparts magazine about the CIA connections. The Ramparts article exposed the CIA links with several organizations and brought the NSA almost to the point of dissolving. Instead it re-emerged as a radical group endorsing the Black power movement struggle and initiating a task force working to deny Lyndon Johnson re-nomination for President in 1968, instead replacing him with a candidate committed to ending the war in Vietman.

By 1974, NSA, criticized by other student organizations for not also advocating for higher education issues, created a separate foundation to carry out non-political work. This allowed the NSA and the National Student Lobby to merge in 1978 under the new name, United States Student Association. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the USSA located new funding sources, provided organized assistance to state student associations and in 1985, co-sponsored the first Grass Roots Organizing Weekend for campus leaders. The USSA advocated multicultural leadership when in 1989 the Congress mandated that people of color fill half the seats on the Board of Directors. In succeeding years, similar amendments ensured the representation for women, lesbians, gays and bisexuals on the Board.

USSA is the oldest and largest student group in the country and is reflective of what has occurred since WWII with the American student movement. Its current vision statement includes the following statements:

USSA believes education is a right and works on building grassroots power among students to win concrete victories that expand access to education at the federal, state and campus level.

The organization tracks and lobbies federal legislation and policy, and organizes students from across the country to participate in the political process, through testifying in official Congressional hearings, letter-writing campaigns, and face-to-face lobbying visits between students and their elected officials.

In addition, USSA trains and organizes students to win concrete victories on their campuses-like stopping fee hikes, expanding retention and recruitment programs for underrepresented students and improving campus safety.

Record Group

The United States Student Association collection is divided into three record groups: Congresses; Chronological/Subject Files; and, Publications. These record groups and divided into record series which are described below.


Congress Files
1946-1957, 1960-1961, 1966, 1968
Arranged chronologically
Includes programs, planning correspondence, publicity, presentations and speeches for the annual conference of the United States Student Association. Also includes files documenting the first conference held in Chicago in 1946 followed by a constitutional convention in 1947 which officially established the United States National Student Association.

Chronological/Subject Files

Chronological Files
1948-1956, 1958, 1961, 1963, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes correspondence, reports, evaluations, organizational background, news releases about US National Student Association and its business by members of the National Advisory Council. Also includes photo of Dennis Trueblood in 1963.

Subject Files
1948, 1949, 1952-1955, n.d.
Arranged by subject and within chronologically
Includes files documenting the USNSA's responses to the Indiana Daily Student newspaper article about links between communism and the USNSA; the USNSA and international issues/students; segregation; and activities of the Ohio Region, USNSA.


1948, 1949-1958, 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968,n.d.
Arranged by title and within chronologically
Includes scattered issues of the Advisory Council newsletter, The Student Government Bulletin, the NSA News, handbooks and brochures.

1948-1962, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes monographs (most in mimeograph format) published by the USNSA or connected to the USNSA on various subjects of interest to students and higher education. Topics covered include student leadership, student government, discrimination, international students, campus justice, values, purchase cards and parking.


Record Group: Congresses

Box 1

  1. National Student Conference (Chicago), December 1946
  2. Constitutional Convention of the US National Student Association (University of Wisconsin), August 30-September 7, 1947
  3. First Annual Congress (University of Wisconsin), August 23-28, 1948
  4. Second Annual Congress (University of Illinois), August 24-September 3, 1949
  5. Third Annual Congress (University of Michigan), August 23-31, 1950
  6. Fourth Annual Congress (Iowa State College), August 20-29, 1951

Box 2

  1. Fifth Annual Congress (Indiana University), includes photographs, August 18-27, 1952
  2. Sixth Annual Congress (Ohio State University), August 24-September 2, 1953
  3. Seventh Annual Congress (Iowa State College), August 22-31, 1954
  4. Eighth Annual Congress (University of Minnesota), August 21-31, 1955

Box 3

  1. Ninth Annual Congress (University of Chicago), August 21-31, 1956
  2. Tenth Annual Congress (University of Michigan), August 20-30, 1957
  3. Thirteenth Annual Congress (University of Minnesota), August 22-September 1, 1960
  4. Fourteenth Annual Congress (University of Wisconsin), August 20-30, 1961
  5. Nineteenth Annual Congress (University of Illinois), August 20-September 1, 1966
  6. Twenty-First Annual Congress (Kansas State Univ.), August 17-24, 1968
  7. Mid-Year Lobbying Congress, 1976

Record Group: Chronological/Subject Files

Box 1

  1. Chronological File, 1948-1951
  2. Chronological File, 1952
  3. Chronological File, 1953
  4. Chronological File, 1954-1956, 1958, 1961
  5. Chronological File, n.d.
  6. Subject File-The Indiana Daily Student and the USNSA, 1952
  7. Subject File-International Issues, 1949, 1952-1955, n.d.
  8. Subject File-Ohio Region, 1948
  9. Subject File-Segregation, 1954-1955, n.d.

Record Group: Publications (Serials)

Box 1

  1. Advisory Council Newsletter, 1949-1952
  2. Student Government Bulletin and Report, Volume 1, #1-8, October 1952-May 1953
  3. Student Government Bulletin and Report, Volume 2, #1-6, 8, October 1953-May 1954
  4. Student Government Bulletin, Volume 3, #2-8, November 1954-May 1955
  5. Student Government Bulletin, Volume 4, #2-3, 5-8, November 1955-May 1956
  6. Student Government Bulletin, Volume 5, #1-4, November 1956-April 1957
  7. The NSA News, May 1948, November 1955- February 1956, December 1957, February 1958, May 1958, October 1958, November 1960
  8. NSA Momentum, 1976
  9. Brochures, n.d.
  10. The American Student, Winter 1966

Record Group: Publications (Monographs)

Box 1

  1. Foreign Student Summer Project (M.I.T.), 1948
  2. Student Personnel and Guidance Services, 1948
  3. Student Leadership and Government for Higher Education, 1949, 1953
  4. Student Government Survey, 1949
  5. A Call To Order-Guide to Parliamentary Procedure, 1952
  6. Statement in Answer to "The Students for America", 1953
  7. Fair Employment Practices Act in the States in 1953: A New Dimension for Student Government, c. 1953
  8. Discrimination and the Campus, [1953]
  9. Course Evaluation, 1954
  10. The Tools of Giving: Handbook for Student Fund Raisers, 1954
  11. Towards a Democratic Campus: A student's Manual for Better Human Relations, 1955
  12. Campus Justice, [1955]
  13. Guides for the Student Body President, [1956]
  14. Student Leadership in American Education, [1956]
  15. The American Student-Profile and Promise (USNSA-1947-1957), [1957]
  16. The College Student and the Changing South 1958
  17. Student Responsibility in Higher Education: A Guide to Campus Programming, 1958
  18. Mass Communication on Campus, 1958
  19. Entering the Academic Vocation: What Can Students Do? [1959]
  20. Better Education for More College Students: Backgrounds and Bases for Student Responsibility, 1959
  21. Purchase Card System, n.d.
    Student Discount Service [1959]
  22. The World of the American Student: Collection of Essays [1959]
  23. Human Relations Agencies, 1959
  24. Student Responsibility in Advising, Counseling and Tutoring, [1959]
  25. Campus Parking, 1960

Box 2

  1. Working Papers: the Aims of Education, 1962
  2. Readings in Campus Values and Climates, 1962
  3. Readings in Relationship of Institutions of Higher Education to Legal Owners and Sources of Financial Support, 1962
  4. Readings in Civil Rights, North and South, 1962
  5. In Loco Parentis, 1962
  6. Readings in Campus Communications, 1962
  7. Readings in Student Educational Peace Report, 1962
  8. Student-Faculty-Administration Relations and the Role of Students in Policy Formation, 1962
  9. Academic Freedom, 1962
  10. Readings in Student Community Involvement, 1962
  11. Readings in Structure and Role of Student Government, 1962
  12. A Guide to Campus International Programming, 1962
  13. Student Welfare Goals and Programs, 1962
  14. Codification of Policy, 1974
  15. Academic and Social Honor Systems, n.d.
  16. Education in the National Emergency, n.d.
  17. How to Plan a Symphony Forum, n.d.
  18. A Continuing Leadership Program, n.d.