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Guide to the George Holmes Howison papers, ca. 1862-1917
BANC MSS C-B 1037  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: George Holmes Howison papers,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1862-1917
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 1037
    Creator: Howison, George Holmes
    Extent: Number of containers: 6 boxes, 2 cartons and 1 oversize folder
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts of articles and lectures, and notes, of professor of philosophy, University of California, Berkeley. Many letters from his former students relate to the department of philosophy at Harvard at the time of Josiah Royce, William James and others.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], George Holmes Howison papers, BANC MSS C-B 1037, The Bancroft Library, Universtity of California, Berkeley


    George Holmes Howison, philosopher and professor of the University of California, was born in Maryland in 1834. He graduated from Marietta college in 1852, and took his master's degree there in 1855. He did further work at Lane Theological Seminary, graduating in 1855. He then taught mathematics from 1864 to 1866, at Washington University in St. Louis. and at the age of 35 published a textbook on analytic geometry. Here from 1866 to 1869 he also taught political economy. From St. Louis, Howison went to Boston, teaching logic and philosophy of science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1871 to 1879, and lecturing in ethics at Harvard from 1879 to 1880. He then traveled to Europe in 1881, and attended the University of Berlin in 1881 and 1882. During the academic year of 1883 and 1884 he was lecturer in philosophy at the University of Michigan. Appointed professor of the Mills Chair of Philosophy at the University of California in the fall term of 1884, Howison founded and later became head of the Department of Philosophy. In 1900 and in 1909 he returned to Europe, renewing ties with philosophers abroad. He published many articles and essays, among others The Limits of Evolution and The Concept of God, He died on December 31, 1916.

    Scope and Content

    The papers, transferred from Archives to the Bancroft Library in March 1966 and December 1968, contain correspondence, manuscripts and printed copies of articles and lectures, and notes relating to philosophy and mathematics. Many of the letters from Howison's students reveal the close-knit world of Harvard during the reign of Josiah Royce, William James. Hugo Münsterberg and George Herbert Palmer, and show the emergence of psychology as a study distinct from philosophy.
    Some materials were removed from the papers: letters from Howison to G. M. Stratton; letters to Stratton concerning his book on Howison; and miscellaneous reviews concerning the book. These have been transferred to the Stratton papers (C-B 1032); miscellaneous letters to Joseph Cummings Rowell, transferred to the Rowell papers (C-B 419); letters to John W. Buckham relating to the book on Howison which he co-authored with G. M. Stratton (C-B 459); and letters to Irving Stringham pertaining to a birthday dinner for Howison in November 1904 (C-B 963).