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Finding Aid of the William Everett Welmers Papers
1304  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Everett Welmers Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1944-1980
    Collection number: 1304
    Creator: Welmers, William Everett, 1916-
    Extent: 16 boxes (8 linear ft.) 1 oversize box
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    abstract: William Everett Welmers (1916-1988) was a professor of linguistics and African languages at UCLA, becoming emeritus professor in 1982. His publications include Igbo: a learner's dictionary (1968), African language structures (1973), and A grammar of Vai (1976). The collection consists of Welmers' professional papers, including tape recordings, research materials and notes, printed and manuscript writings, data, word lists, manuals, vocabulary notes, and papers by students and colleagues. The material reflects the relationship between his linguistic research and missionary activities, including information on aspects of linguistics, Central and Southern African history, classification of African languages, and specific African languages such as Igbo, Kpelle, Lugbara, and Yoruba.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Everett Welmers Papers (Collection 1304). Department of Special Collections, University Research Library, UCLA.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Professor William E. Welmars, 1982.

    Biography

    Welmers was born on April 4, 1916 in Orange City, Iowa; AB, Hope College, 1936; ThB and Th, Westminster Theological Seminary, 1939; Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania, 1943; member, Lutheran Mission, Liberia, 1946-48 and 1954-55; linguistic research in Africa as fellow in the American Council of Learned Societies, 1948-50; visiting assistant professor of linguistics (1950-51) and acting associate professor (1951-54), Cornell University; associate professor, Kennedy School Missions, Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1955-60; in 1960 became professor of linguistics and African languages at UCLA, becoming emeritus professor in 1982; publications include Igbo: a learner's dictionary (1968), African language structures (1973), and A grammar of Vai (1976); he died in 1988.

    Chronology

    1916 Born on April 4 in Orange City, Iowa.
    1936 Graduated summa cum laude from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a B.A.; majored in philosophy.
    1939 Graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with ThB and ThM degrees.
    1940 On June 21 married Beatrice Faye Fairbanks.
    1943 Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Ph.D.
    1943 Became pastor of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    1943-1946 Taught Chinese and Japanese languages to the United States Army's specialized training program.
    1946-1948 Engaged in linguistic research and missionary work at the Lutheran Mission, Liberia.
    1948-1950 Fellow in the American Council of Learned Societies. In this capacity engaged in linguistic research in what was then French West Africa, the Gold Coast, Dahomey, Nigeria and Eritrea. Drove from the westernmost to the easternmost point of Africa with his wife and children -- first family to drive from west to east Africa.
    1950-1954 Assistant professor of linguistics and later associate professor of linguistics at Cornell University.
    1954-1955 Returned to Liberia to work with Lutheran Mission.
    1955-1960 Associate professor of linguistics at Kennedy School Missions, Hartford Seminary Foundation.
    1959 Consultant to the U.S. Office of Education.
    1960-1982 Professor of linguistics and African languages at the University of California, Los Angeles.
    1967 Honored with Litt. D. by Hope College.
    1972 Involved in research in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
    1982 In the Fall quarter retired from full-time faculty status at the University of California, Los Angeles; became professor emeritus.
    The previous history was compiled from:
      Jacobson, Leon C. “William E. Welmers: A biographical sketch and list of publications” in Larry M. Hyman, Leon C. Jacobson and Russell G. Schuh's (eds.) Papers In African Linguistics In Honor Of William E. Welmers, Studies in African Linguistics, Supplement 6 (Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, African Studies Center) pp.vii-ix.
      Jaques Cattell Press, ed. Directory of American Scholars. 8th edition. New York: R.R. Bowker Company, 1982 p.559.
      Wilkes, Deborah John. “Professor William Evert Welmers Interviewed.” African Studies Center Newsletter (Fall 1982) pp.3-9.
      Who's Who In America, 1982-83. 42nd ed. Chicago, IL: Marquis Who's Who, Incorporated, 1982 p.3522.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of professional papers, including tape recordings, research materials and notes, and printed and manuscript writings of Dr. Welmers, UCLA professor of linguistics and African languages. Includes data, word lists, manuals, vocabulary notes and other materials relating to various African languages, including tape recordings of Kpelle lessons and a card file of English-Vai word translations. Also includes papers by students and colleagues. The material reflects the relationship between his linguistic research and missionary activities, including information on aspects of linguistics, Central and Southern African history, classification of African languages, and specific African languages such as Igbo, Kpelle, Lugbara, and Yoruba.

    Expanded Scope and Content

    William Everett Welmers, retired professor of linguistics and African languages at UCLA, donated his papers on July 20, 1982, to the Department of Special Collections in the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles.
    The collection consists of the donor's professional papers spanning the years from 1944 to 1980. The papers are open for use without restrictions.
    This collection was processed and the register prepared by Nancy Korman and Barbara Orbach, Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
    The William E. Welmers collection is comprised primarily of his professional papers, although products of his personal activities are reflected in Series 1 and his correspondence. While the papers cover the years 1944-1980, the bulk of the material relates to activities engaged in during the 1960s and 1970s. The major part of the collection consists of notes and research materials. This includes data, word lists, and papers by students and colleagues.
    Several items in the collection bear no indication of date. This material is indicated by n.d. Items contained in each file have been left in their original order to indicate the way in which Welmers assembled the materials. The titles Welmers assigned to individual files are indicated in brackets.
    Welmers' papers reveal his interest in linguistic principles and a number of African languages. Moreover, the material reflects the relationship between his linguistic research and missionary activities. The collection includes information on aspects of linguistics, Central and Southern African history, classification of African languages, and specific African languages such as Igbo, Kpelle, Lugbara and Yoruba.
    For the most part, Welmers' file arrangement has been retained in establishing the three series. The first series is comprised of a few personal items, 1961, 1977; n.d. Series 2 contains Welmers' writings, 1944-1978. The last series consists of notes and research materials including tape recordings of Kpelle lessons, and a card file of English-Vai word translations.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Personal materials.
    • Writings by Welmers.
    • Notes and research materials.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Welmers, William Everett, 1916- --Archives.
    University of California, Los Angeles. Dept. of Linguistics--Faculty--Archival resources.
    Linguists--United States--Archival resources.
    African languages.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Manuscripts for publication.