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History of Ideas Club records

 Collection
Identifier: RG-15-120
The History of Ideas Club was founded in 1923 by a small circle of Hopkins professors including A. O. Lovejoy, George Boas, and H. C. Lancaster. The records of the History of Ideas Club range in date from 1923 to 1977 and include: minutes, abstracts, correspondence relating to the various functions of the club, lists of members and of speakers and topics; financial reports from 1950 to 1962; and the text of the Lovejoy Lecture given by Frank E. Manuel at the commemoration of Lovejoy's 100th birthday.

Dates

  • 1923-1977

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.57 Cubic Feet (1 letter size document box, 1 letter half-size document box)

Biographical / Historical

The History of Ideas Club was founded in 1923 by a small circle of Hopkins professors including A. O. Lovejoy, George Boas, and H. C. Lancaster. The purpose of the club, as stated in its constitution, was "to bring together members of the University for the occasional presentation and discussion of papers and informal communications in the field of the 'history of ideas' i.e., the historical study of the development and influence of general philosophical conceptions, ethical ideas, and aesthetic fashions, in occidental literatures, and of the relations of these to manifestations of the same ideas and tendencies in the history of philosophy, of science, and of political and social movements."

The club's membership comprised professors of Johns Hopkins and other universities and Johns Hopkins graduate students. The club met six times each year, and at each meeting a paper was read and discussed. Some of the notable speakers were: Niels Bohr, Alexandre Koyre, W. F. Albright, A. O. Lovejoy, and Hopkins presidents Ames and Bowman. Topics ranged from the problem of causality in physics to animism in Wordsworth.

In 1947 a motion was passed to publish (under the auspices of the club) a volume of collected papers of A. O. Lovejoy. The volume, entitled Essays in the History of Ideas, appeared in 1948 and was well received. In 1959, the club came out with another publication, The Forerunners of Darwin, comprised of essays on the philosophic and scientific foundations laid in the century before Origin of Species was published. Professor Lovejoy was a major contributor to the work.

In 1964, on funds bequeathed to the University by Professor Lovejoy, the Lovejoy Lecture was established. This annual event was not restricted to members; nonetheless the club undertook responsibility for it. The Lovejoy Lecture has since become one of the highlights of the academic calendar.

Scope and Contents

The records of the History of Ideas Club range in date from 1923 to 1977 and include: minutes of all meetings from 1923 to 1970, except those which took place between March 1933 and April 1935; abstracts (filed with the minutes) of papers read at the meetings; correspondence relating to the various functions of the club, including a special file of correspondence having to do with a volume of Professor A. O. Lovejoy's collected papers published by the club; lists of members and of speakers and topics; financial reports from 1950 to 1962; and the text of the Lovejoy Lecture given by Frank E. Manuel at the commemoration of Lovejoy's 100th birthday.

One subject included in the record group which is likely to be of special interest to many researchers is a number of letters handwritten by Professor Lovejoy.

Arrangement

The files are arranged by type of record in the order of importance of the materials they contain. Files containing the club's constitution and minutes come first, followed by files containing correspondence, and then by ones with membership in chronological order.

Custodial History

The Special Collections Department of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library transferred part of the records to the Archives. The remainder was transferred by Nancy Thompson, Administrative Assistant, Department of Philosophy.

Accruals

Accession Numbers: 81.44, 85.7

Processing Information

Processed by Wendell O'Brien and Parker Williams.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA