Fred Carrington Cole, 74, who was president of Washington & Lee University from 1959 to 1967 and then spent 10 years as president of the Council on Library Resources in Washington, died of congestive heart failure May 6 at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Before becoming president of Washington & Lee, he spent 13 years at Tulane University, where he was a history professor, dean and academic vice president.

During Dr. Cole's tenure at Washington & Lee, faculty salaries were raised substantially to compete with larger universities, and student financial aid was tripled. Dr. Cole also oversaw the restoration of the Lee Chapel, the construction of dormitories and a science building, and a reorganization of the administrative staff.

In 1967, Dr. Cole became president of the Council on Library Resources, a national foundation concerned with advances in the storage and retrieval of information. He retired in 1977 and moved to North Carolina a year later.

Dr. Cole was born in Franklin, Tex. He graduated from Louisiana State University, where he also earned a doctorate in history. He served in the Navy in Europe during World War II.

Dr. Cole was a member of the Academy of Political Science and a founder of The Journal of Southern History and the Southern Biography Series.

Survivors include his wife, the former Lois Ferguson, of Chapel Hill; three sons, Fred C. Jr., of Columbia, Md., Grey, of Oxford, Miss., and Taylor M., of Wilson, N.C.; one daughter, Caroline C. Cornwell of Providence, R.I.; two brothers, Dr. R. Taylor Cole of Durham, N.C., and Luther Cole of Franklin; one sister, Margaret C. Elliot of Texas, and four grandchildren.