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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials
  • Related Materials
  • Processing Information

  • Title: Abraham Kaplan Papers
    Creator: Kaplan, Abraham, 1918-1993
    Identifier/Call Number: 0054
    Contributing Institution: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Special Collections and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 17 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1942-1989
    Abstract: Abraham Kaplan (1918-1993) was a philosopher, an author and an educator. His collection contains correspondence, articles, lectures, speeches, book manuscripts, subject files, notes, and printed matter pertaining to his writings and academic career.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Abraham Kaplan Papers, Collection no. 0054, University Archives, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was transferred to the University Archives by Professor of Philosophy James Manley in 2001.

    Biographical / Historical

    Abraham Kaplan (1918-1993) was an American philosopher with a long and distinguished career. He was born June 11, 1918 to parents Joseph J. (a Rabbi) and Chava (Lerner) Kaplan in Odessa, Ukraine. Kaplan and his family immigrated to the United States in 1923 and he became a naturalized citizen in 1930.
    A student of philosopher Bertrand Russell, he graduated from the College of St. Thomas in 1937, did graduate study at the University of Chicago from 1937-40, and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1942. He began his teaching career as an assistant professor for New York University from 1940-45. He then went on to the University of California, Los Angeles to become an assistant professor from 1946-49, an associate professor from 1949-52, a professor of philosophy from 1952-63, and the chair of the department from 1952-65. He also taught at the University of Michigan from 1962-72 before he moved to the University of Haifa in Israel, where he became professor emeritus in 1978.
    Besides giving many lectures across the globe, Kaplan held visiting distinguished professorships at over twelve universities including the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He devoted much of his time to organizations such as the American Philosophical Association (president of Pacific Division 1947-58) and the Association for Jewish Philosophy.
    He married Iona Judith Wax (a child psychologist) November 17, 1939 and had two children: Karen Eva Kaplan Diskin and Jessica Aryia Kaplan Symonds.
    Kaplan traveled to and studied the cultures and beliefs of India, Israel, and Japan. As he himself put it: "I must identify myself: by training a positivist, by inclination a pragmatist, in temperament a mystic, in practice a democrat; my faith Jewish, educated by Catholics, an habitual Protestant; born in Europe, raised in the Midwest, hardened in the East and softened once more in California; psychoanalyzed, naturalized, denatured — in short, an American academician."
    He was also widely recognized for his endeavors — he was named one of the top ten teachers in the United States by Time magazine in 1966 and was both a Guggenheim (1945-46) and a Rockefeller (1957-58) Fellow.
    Kaplan died of a heart attack at the age of 75 on June 19, 1993 in Los Angeles.

    Scope and Contents

    The range of the Abraham Kaplan Collection covers the earliest to the latest of his published works, lectures and workshops given around the world, and many unpublished writings. Items include manuscripts (both published and unpublished works), offprints of published articles, publisher's review copies, bound volumes, correspondence, travel files, research, newsclippings, lecture notes, personal files, and cassette and reel-to-reel recordings of his lectures.


    The collection is arranged into the following series: Series 1. Subject Files; Series 2. Writings; Series 3. Publications; and Series 4. Recordings.

    Separated Materials

    Books from Kaplan's personal library have been separaed from the archival collection and can be located by searching the Library catalog for the keyword phrase "Abraham Kaplan Papers."

    Related Materials

    Kaplan, Abraham. American Ethics and Public Policy. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1958.
    Kaplan, Abraham. The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science. San Francisco: Chandler, 1964.
    Kaplan, Abraham. In Pursuit of Wisdom: The Scope of Philosophy. Beverly Hills, CA: Glencoe, 1977.
    Kaplan, Abraham. The New World of Philosophy. New York: Random House, 1961.
    Papers of Edward Hutchings, Jr., Archives, California Institute of Technology.
    Rudolf Carnap papers (Collection 1029). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    Western Behavioral Sciences Institute records (Collection 615). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed by Special Collections and Archives staff in 2001. The collection number was changed from SC2001.1 to 0054 and the collection title changed from Abraham Kaplan Collection to Abraham Kaplan Papers in 2020.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms