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Victor Lowe collection of Alfred North Whitehead materials

Identifier: MS-0282

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection is formed by correspondence between some members of the Whitehead family: Alfred North Whitehead, his wife Evelyn Willoughby-Wade Whitehead, their son Thomas North Whitehead (known as T. North) and his wife Margaret Whitehead (who signed her letters as Margot) dating from the 1920s-1940s. Besides the correspondence, the collection includes a smaller amount of material relating to Whitehead: reprints, clippings, photographs, and manuscript material and several of his annotated books spanning 1899-1949.

Johns Hopkins University professor Victor Lowe separated the letters into four groups: List B, List C, and List D. The fourth group was labelled "Letters of ANW to N (33) & to Margot (2)".

The correspondence which Lowe grouped as List B is mostly addressed to Mrs. Whitehead in 1948 after the death of her husband. A carbon-copy typescript of a lecture apparently prepared by Whitehead and entitled "Science and Liberty. A Comparison of England and America" is included with List B.

Letters in List C are mostly from 1924 with a few from other years. Much of this is incoming correspondence to Whitehead and copies of his outgoing correspondence to colleagues. Lowe assigned letter/number designations to these letters, and they are filed in this manner.

Letters in List D have also been assigned letter/number designation and are further separated into yearly segments, 1925, 1925-1927, 1928-1934. The bulk of the letters are T. North's to his father, a few to his mother. Some letters of Margaret to her in-laws are also included. Of interest is a letter of Gertrude Stein to Whitehead and a copy of his response (1914).

The last group of letters is primarily those of Whitehead to his son T. North. Lowe did not assign numbers to this group. The letters have been filed chronologically, 1919-1929.

The annotated books belonging to Alfred North Whitehead are primarily the major works of philosophers: Kant, Plato, Descartes, and Santayana. Lecture notes of James Tobin and and T. G. Henderson, Whitehead's students in the 1930s, are also included.


  • Creation: 1899-1949
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1924-1939


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.

Biographical Note

Alfred North Whitehead was an English mathematician and philosopher. He was born on the Isle of Thanet in 1861. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and lectured there, 1885- 1911. Whitehead taught at the University of London, 1911-1924. He came to the United States in 1924 as professor of Philosophy at Harvard University and remained there until 1930. Along with his former pupil, Bertrand Russell, he wrote Principia Mathematica published in 1910. He also published The Principles of Natural Knowledge (1919), Science and the Modern World (1925), and Adventures of Ideas (1933). Alfred North Whitehead died in 1947.


3.29 Cubic Feet (7 legal size document boxes)

Language of Materials



Alfred North Whitehead was an English mathematician and philosopher born on the Isle of Thanet in 1861. The bulk of the collection is formed by correspondence between some members of the Whitehead family: Alfred North Whitehead, his wife Evelyn Willoughby-Wade Whitehead, their son T. North Whitehead, and their daughter-in-law Margaret Whitehead dating from the 1920s-1940s.


The material was collected by Victor Lowe in preparation of the two volume biography "Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and His Work."


This collection formed part of the basis for Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and His Work, Volumes I and II

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in May 1990.

The material which Hopkins professor Victor Lowe placed on deposit in Special Collections consisted of a suitcase belonging to Alfred North Whitehead containing correspondence and annotated books belonging to Whitehead.

Letters and other items have been removed from the suitcase and separated into two document boxes. The books are contained in four document boxes.

Apparently, Lowe devised a system for separating the items to suit his research methods. The collection has been processed without significantly changing Lowe's system.

Rachel Gattermeyer revised multiple notes in this finding aid in March 2024 to bring it into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request. The title was changed from the Alfred North Whitehead collection to the Victor Lowe collection of Alfred North Whitehead materials to more accurately describe the content.

Alfred North Whitehead collection
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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