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Josiah Bunting Papers

Identifier: DC038
The Josiah Bunting Papers consist of correspondence, reports, speeches, published writings, newspaper clippings, memoranda, and notes collected primarily during his tenure as Head Master of The Lawrenceville School. The bulk of the documents pertain to The Lawrenceville School business. Topics of note include academics among secondary schools, drug and alcohol use among students, school sports, the transfer to coeducation, long range planning, campus construction projects, and fund raising. Also included is a small amount material created during the tenure of Head Master Bruce McClellan that had been interfiled with the Bunting material.


  • 1969 - 2009
  • Majority of material found within 1987 - 1995


Conditions Governing Access

Series 1: Correspondence and Series 4: Subject Files personal information on students and are closed. Series 2: Reports and Series 3: Speeches and Remarks are open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies and digital photographs may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from the Archivist. Researchers are responsible for determining any other copyright questions.


4 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Josiah Bunting III was born in 1939 in Philadelphia, and later moved to Litchfield, Connecticut. He was educated at the Hill School in Pennsylvania and at the Salisbury School in Connecticut. After high school he enlisted in the United Stated Marine Corps. Bunting served in Vietnam during the height of the war, and was honored with the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnam Honor Medal second class. Following his return from Vietnam, he entered Virginia Military Institute, where he majored in English. Bunting graduated third in his class in 1963 with a degree in English. He received a Rhodes Scholarship, and traveled to England to pursue a master’s degree in history from Oxford.

In 1965 Bunting married Diana Cunningham of Lima, Peru. Diana holds a degree in Art History from Hollins College. She is an artist in her own right, as well as an avid rider. Diana accompanied Si when he accepted his first teaching post at West Point in 1969. Here he taught history and social sciences. From West Point Bunting moved on in 1972 to the US Naval War College, where he taught, and also served as acting head of the strategy department. The following year Bunting Presided over Briarcliff College. He would remain at the college, which had long been failing to thrive, until it merged with Pace University in 1977. Following the collapse of Briarcliff, Bunting accepted an adjunct professorship at Hampton-Sydney, a men’s college in Virginia. He remained there until 1987, when he was selected to replace the retiring Bruce McClellan as headmaster of the Lawrenceville School. At Lawrenceville Bunting presided over the transition to coeducation, which had begun in the last years of Bruce McClellan’s headmastership. Along with the logistical challenges of welcoming female students to campus, Bunting partnered with the board of trustees to launch an aggressive fundraising campaign to benefit increased scholarship funding and much-needed construction projects. During the Bunting administration, the aging John Dixon Library was converted to an art gallery, and the new Bunn Library was opened. The Clark Music building was finished, and the Kirby Science building was constructed. The largest construction project of Bunting’s tenure was the faculty housing on Campus Hill. This massive project promoted Lawrenceville’s historic residential ideal by allowing all faculty members to live on campus.

Bunting was a strong believer in community-mindedness as an important value in the education of students. During his time as headmaster he was a staunch supporter of student groups and student government, and encouraged his pupils to participate as much as possible in civic affairs. His was also a strong believer in the importance and value of military service and encouraged students to consider this path more than many previous headmasters.

In 1995 Bunting accepted the position of Superintendent at his alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute. At VMI he oversaw the transition to coeducation much as he had at Lawrenceville. In 2004 Bunting left VMI, and was appointed chairman of the National Civil Literacy Board of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and in 2007 he was elected president of the Lehrman American Studies Center. Also a member of UNESCO and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Josiah Bunting is now the president of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.


The Josiah Bunting Papers are arranged into four series: Series 1: Correspondence, 1979-1996; Series 2: Reports, 1969-1995; Series 3: Speeches and Remarks, 1987-1994; Series 4: Subject Files, 1972-2009.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection consists of a series of transfers from the Bunting family and the Head Master's Office.


Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with The Lawrenceville School Stephan Archives guidelines.

Information in the biographical note was gathered from material within the Bunting papers. The Lawrenceville Lexicon: A Compendium of All Things Lawrenceville, Merrell Noden, editor, was also consulted.

Processing Information

The Josiah Bunting Papers were processed by Casey Babcock in June of 2012. The biographical note was written by Zoe Vybiral.
Josiah Bunting Papers: Finding Aid
Casey Babcock and Zoe Vybiral
August 23, 2012
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Lawrenceville School Stephan Archives Repository

Box 6128
2500 Main St.
Lawrenceville 08648 U.S.A. US