Skip to main content

Cain (Leo F.) Writings

Identifier: DH-2007-008

Scope and Contents

This collection documents Dr. Cain's writings for conferences, speeches, commencement addresses, journal articles, and essays relating to the field of special education. Included in his essays and journal articles are his research and studies in special education including surveys, discussions, and reports. His conference writings include professional training and development issues including approaches to change and establishment of resources in higher education. An interview with Cain while he was Vice President at San Francisco State College is also included as well as a certificate of The Great Seal of California from Cruz M. Bustamante, California's former Lieutenant Governor. This collection documents the growth and development of special education trends and its inclusive issues in higher education in California colleges and nationwide.


  • 1948-2001; undated
  • Majority of material found within 1948-1997


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Dr. Leo F. Cain Biography

Dr. Leo F. Cain was the founding President of California State University, Dominguez Hills. Previously he was a Vice President of San Francisco State College. He graduated from Chico State College and Stanford University after having earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. He holds a school psychologists' credential, an administrative credential, and a California Life Diploma granted on general secondary and general elementary credentials. He began his professional career in the Oroville City Schools as an elementary school teacher and principal, then moved to the San Francisco Schools as a counselor and teacher of English and Social Science, and later taught at San Francisco Junior College as an instructor in Psychology. He then became a research associate with the American Council on Education, and served one summer at San Jose State College as a Professor of Psychology. Later he went to the University of Maryland as Assistant Professor and Lecturer in Educational Psychology, with emphasis on the problems of exceptional children, and from there moved into the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., as Director of Education in the National Training School for boys.

In the years 1943 and 1944 he was a Classification Officer with the United States Maritime Service. From 1944 to 1946 he was a training officer in the Corrective Services Division of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

Following the war he returned to the University of Maryland as a lecturer; moved on to the University of Oklahoma, becoming Professor of Special Education and Educational Psychology, and from there was invited to come to San Francisco State College in 1947 as Director of Special Education. He then became Dean of Educational Services for the summer sessions of that institution, and in 1957 was elevated to the position of Vice President.

Dr. Cain has a distinguished list of associations with other colleges and universities, professional organizations, and community activities, and is the author of numerous publications.

As a psychologist, Cain created educational programs for teachers of both gifted and disadvantaged children. Cain was tapped in 1962 to head a design team for a new state college, originally planned for the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The campus opened in the fall of 1965 anticipating 400 students. Classes were held in Rolling Hills Estates bank building and the faculty was so small that Cain taught some courses.

Land values continued to soar on the peninsula, and the budget-strapped California State College University Board of Trustees soon settled on a 346-acre campus in Carson, overlooking, oil wells and tract housing. Cain fashioned a curriculum and administrative system stressing individuality and participation of students in planning, with flexible schedules enabling full-time employees to get college educations at night and on Saturdays. He also made provisions for accelerated completion of degrees and developed job-related programs leading to employment at graduation. By the time Cain retired in 1976, his new campus was a permanent fixture in the state university system, with 7,000 students. The enrollment today is 14,000.


2 boxes

.834 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



CONTENT WARNING: This finding aid contains records that have been identified as including offensive or harmful original or creator supplied language. This language has been retained in order to preserve historic context of the material. This collection contains the conference writings, speeches, symposium proceeding summary, meeting addresses, essays, reports, discussions, journal articles written by Leo Cain in the years preceding his appointment to Cal State Dominguez Hills, and includes citations about Cain.


Arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Conferences (1963-1973)
  2. Series II. Speeches (1960-1972)
  3. Series III. Publications and Writings (1956-1976)

Related Material

Content Warning

This finding aid contains records that have been identified as including offensive or harmful original or creator supplied language. This language has been retained in order to preserve historic context of the material.

Processing Information

Papers were arranged and processed by Charissa O. Jefferson in January 2011.


Inventory of the Leo F. Cain Writings Collection
Finding aid prepared by Charissa O. Jefferson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747