Skip to main content

James Rowland Angell personal papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 2

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, which makes up the bulk of the papers, together with writings, speeches, reports, printed matter and photographs. The family correspondence contains a long series of letters (1890-1894) from Marion Isabel Watrous before her marriage to Angell in 1894. Prominent among his professional correspondents are Charles Bakewell, John Dewey, William James, A.H. Pierce and George Dudley Seymour. Also included are papers relating to Angell's inauguration as president of Yale University and his term of office. Additional papers include minutes and reports of the Rockefeller Foundation and of the General Education Board (also endowed by Rockefeller funds) on both of which James R. Angell served as member and trustee. The minutes and reports of the General Education Board document its support for various programs to reorganize general education in the United States and to improve education for women, blacks and children. The minutes of the Rockefeller Foundation detail its support for research projects in the natural sciences and the humanities.

Note: The Presidential Papers of J.R. Angell (RU 24) are cataloged separately from his personal papers.

Dates

  • 1833-1986
  • Majority of material found within 1880 - 1947

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. James Rowland Angell, 1967, Katharine B. Woodman, 1983, 1987, and Alfred H. Fuchs, 2005.

Arrangement

Arranged in six series and additions: I. Personal Documents and Papers. II. Correspondence. II. Writings. IV. Printed Materials. V. Newspaper Clippings and Photographs. Oversize.

Extent

19.75 Linear Feet

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0002

Overview

Correspondence, which makes up the bulk of the papers, together with writings, speeches, reports, printed matter and photographs. The family correspondence contains a long series of letters (1890-1894) from Marion Isabel Watrous before her marriage to Angell in 1894. Prominent among his professional correspondents are Charles Bakewell, John Dewey, William James, A.H. Pierce and George Dudley Seymour. Also included are papers relating to Angell's inauguration as president of Yale University and his term of office. Additional papers include minutes and reports of the Rockefeller Foundation and of the General Education Board (also endowed by Rockefeller funds) on both of which James R. Angell served as member and trustee. The minutes and reports of the General Education Board document its support for various programs to reorganize general education in the United States and to improve education for women, blacks and children. The minutes of the Rockefeller Foundation detail its support for research projects in the natural sciences and the humanities.

Biographical / Historical

James Rowland Angell was born in Burlington, Vermont, on May 8, 1869. Shortly afterwards his family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his father, James Burrill Angell, became President of the University of Michigan. As a young boy he accompanied his father on a trip around the world and spent a year and a half in China. James was the youngest of three children; his sister, Lois, was six years his senior and his brother, Alexis, twelve.

After graduating from the Ann Arbor public schools in 1886, he entered the University of Michigan where he received his A.B. degree in 1890. Although during his freshman year he followed the classical course, as an upperclassman he elected work in philosophy and psychology. He continued these studies as a graduate student at the University of Michigan and, under the guidance of John Dewey, received his M.A. degree with philosophy as a major and economics and American history as minors. In 1891 he left Michigan to work under William James at Harvard. He went to Germany the following year where he studied at the universities of Berlin and Halle and completed a Ph.D. thesis in German on Kant. Before receiving his degree, Mr. Angell returned to the United States to assume a teaching position at the University of Minnesota. His teaching career was continued at the University of Chicago where, in 1904, he was promoted to a professorship in experimental psychology. In 1911 he became Dean of the Faculties and, after a brief period in Washington during World War I, became Acting President of the University of Chicago. At the end of the war, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and was appointed Chairman of the National Research Council. He was invited to become President of the Carnegie Corporation in 1920. Mr. Angell was also editor of Psychological Monographs from 1912 to 1922.

When the Yale Corporation approached him with the offer of the Yale Presidency in 1921, they broke a two century tradition of selecting only Yale graduates for that office. During the sixteen years of Angell's Presidency, the Yale School of Nursing, the Department of Drama, the Institute of Human Relations, the Yale Observatory at Johannesburg, and many important professorships came into being. Under the direction of his shrewd business judgement, the university endowment funds increased fourfold and building programs affecting Yale's library, gym, art gallery, law school and medical school were undertaken. Angell's years as Yale's President were outstanding for their educational leadership as well as their able administration.

After retiring from Yale in 1937, Mr. Angell became educational consultant for the National Broadcasting Company. In the years which followed he continued his interest in Yale, became a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and, after 1944, a director of the Hall of Fame.

During his career as educator and psychologist, Mr. Angell was active in numerous organizations, wrote several books and received many awards. His membership in associations included the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Psychological Association, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Science, the English-Speaking Union, Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Kappa Delta Pi. Psychology, his first book, was followed by Chapters in Modern Psychology in 1911, Introduction to Psychology in 1913 and American Education in 1937. Mr. Angell also wrote many articles in scientific journals. Among the honors he received were the French Legion of Honor and the Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

James Rowland Angell married Marion Isabel Watrous in 1894. Their son, James Waterhouse Angell, is a noted economist, and their daughter, Marion, the former wife of William Rockefeller McAlpin. After Mrs. Angell's death in 1931, Mr. Angell was married to Katherine Cramer Woodman. They resided at 155 Blake Road, Hamden, Connecticut, until Mr. Angell's death in 1949.

Separated Materials

Two record albums ("The Last President of NBC — This is your Company" and "A Presidential Proclamation.") concerning Mr. Angell's career with the National Broadcasting Company are located in the Historical Sound Recordings department. Two engravings that belonged to him, The Turner Gallery and Piante di Roma, can be found in the graphic Arts Collection of the library.
Title
Guide to the James Rowland Angell Personal Papers
Author
Compiled and edited by Michel-Ann Levine Moskowitz under the supervision of David C. Maslyn
Date
March 1969
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • November 2007: Finding aid revision description not supplied.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)