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Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records, 1927-1934
87 boxes (102 cubic feet ft.)
Collection number: MG2

Corporation formed in 1927 to organize the composition, editing and publication of the first Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. Collection includes correspondence; original manuscripts, translations and drafts of articles; organizational files and business records.
Hampshire College Archives

Historical Note

The Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences originated as a jointly sponsored project of ten leading American scholarly associations in the field of social science. (They are: the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Social Workers, the American Economic Association, the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the National Education Association.) The intent was to construct a comprehensive synthesis of the knowledge provided by different disciplines, in such a way that their differing prespectives would shed new light on the common problems of the social sciences. The enterprise was placed under Edwin R.A. Seligman as editor-in-chief; Alvin Johnson was named associate editor. Financial support was obtained from the Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Russell Sage Foundations, and the Macmillan Company was enlisted as publisher.

Having already a broad base of support in the American intellectual community, in 1927 Seligman went abroad to meet with leading European scholars, and met with an enthusiastic reception. The procedure worked out for the organization and composition of the Encyclopaedia was as follows. Lists of possible topics were widely circulated for comment and criticism, then responsibility for individual articles carefully assigned to authorities in each field. Translation or Englishing, if needed, fact checking, and bibliographical checking of completed articles were all performed by the editorial staff in New York, and any doubtful points as well as editorial revisions were referred back to the original author. Final proofreading of the typeset galleys was also done by the editorial staff. The 15 individual volumes were published between 1930 and 1935.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Correspondence; original manuscripts, translations and drafts of articles; organizational files and business records. Widely supported by the American and European intellectual communities, correspondents and contributors include Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, Max Eastman, Felix Frankfurter, Carl J. Friedrich, Louis R. Gottschalk, Melville J. Herskovitz, Granville Hicks, Sidney Hook, John Maynard Keynes, Kenneth S. Latourette, Max Lerner, Bronislaw Malinowski, Karl Mannheim, Margaret Mead, Paul Miliukov, Lewis Mumford, Joseph Needham, Frederick Law Olmsted, Henri Pirenne, Roscoe Pound, Edward Sapir, and Arthur M. Schlesinger. Note, however, that many of the more famous authors wrote only one article for the encyclopaedia, and their correspondence files are accordingly small.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc., Records, bulk 1927-1934. Archives, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 01002.

History of the Collection

Gift of the Macmillan Company (through the good offices of Jeremiah Kaplan, President of Macmillan) to Hampshire College, 1969.

Processing Information

The manuscript group of the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences was given to Hampshire College by the Macmillan Company in 1969, through the good offices of Jeremiah Kaplan, President of Macmillan. At that time they were in storage at the Morgan-Manhattan Storage Company, 81st St. and Third Ave., New York, N.Y. The records were in 117 records boxes, each 10.5" x 10.5" x 15". The files had been appraised in 1962 as worth approximately $108,250.

Hampshire College did not take delivery of the files until December 1970, when they were apparently stored in the library loading dock. The decision was made not to advertise Hampshire's possession of the files until they had been processed; however, no provision was made for processing the files. In 1974, the original boxes had deteriorated to the extent that the contents had to be repacked in new boxes in order to move them out of the loading dock; since the new boxes were larger, the collection now consisted of 59 boxes. The boxes were moved from storage area to storage area, coming under the care of the College archivist when the archives were formally established in 1980. In 1984, an outside researcher managed to track down the location of the files, and expressed interest in coming to use them. A detailed inventory of the contents of the boxes was made, and the individual series distinguished. A preliminary catalog was prepared for the researcher, who successfully used the collection that summer. However, it was apparent that the collection badly needed physical processing: although the paper of letters and manuscripts was in decent shape, the file folders were fast disintegrating and the problems caused by rusting paper clips would only worsen. Although a grant proposal covering the cost of physical processing was prepared at that time, it was not funded, and it gradually became clear that internal library resources would have to be utilized to process the collection.

In academic year 1988-89, and especially in the summer of 1989, library staff from Public Services utilized available time to process the collection. All file folders were replaced with new acid-free ones; all metal fasteners and the remains of rubber bands were removed, crumpled sheets flattened, and everything was placed in order in new records boxes. Finally, in August 1989, the collection was fully processed and cataloged--twenty years after the gift had been accepted by the College.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Hampshire College Archives
Johnson Library Center
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA 01002

Phone: (413) 559-5761
Fax: (413) 559-5419


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