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Julius Seelye Bixler Papers, 1919-1985
1.042 linear feet (3 containers)
Collection number: CA.MS.00038

Abstract:
Professor of Religion at Smith College and later President of Colby College. Contains correspondence, biographical information, lecture notes, photographs, publications and writings spanning Bixler's career.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Smith College Archives

Biographical / Historical

Julius Seelye Bixler was born on April 4, 1894, in New London, CT, to James William Bixler and Elizabeth J. Seelye Bixler. His father was a clergyman who was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate. His maternal grandfather, Julius Seelye, was president of Amherst College from 1876-90, and his grand uncle was L. Clark Seelye, the first president of Smith College. J. Seelye Bixler attended the Classical High in New London, where he played football. He matriculated at Amherst College with the class of 1916, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the senior honorary society "Scarab," won first prize in the commencement speaking contest, was song leader for his class, and also was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi fraternity.

After his graduation from Amherst in 1916, he became an instructor of Latin and English at the American College in Madura India for a year, before returning to the States to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York. In September of 1917 he married Mary Harrison Thayer, Smith College class of 1917. During World War I, he served in the army until December of 1918. He soon returned to Amherst College for graduate study in the spring of 1919, and the following school year served as Director of Religious Activities, while completing the requirements for an MA, which he received from Amherst in 1920.

In 1920 Bixler became a lecturer at the American University in Beirut, Syria, which is where the first of his four daughters, Mary Harriet, (Smith College '42) was born. In 1922, he returned to the United States to study at Yale, and the following year conducted research at Harvard for his thesis on William James before returning to Yale to receive his Ph.d. in 1924. Bixler received honorary degrees from many institutions. In 1924 he became a member of the Smith College faculty, acting as Assistant Professor of Religion and Biblical Literature from 1924- 25, Associate Professor of Religion and Biblical Literature, 1925- 29 and Professor of Religion and Biblical Literature, 1929-33. From 1928-29, Bixler took a leave of absence to study and conduct research at the University of Freiberg, Germany. In 1933, he became Bussey Professor of Theology at Harvard, a position that he held until 1942, when he accepted the position of President of Colby College, which he held for 18 years.

As president of Colby College, his achievements included relocating the campus from downtown Waterville to a 900 acre site on the edge of the town, as well as building 27 new campus buildings, more than doubling the numbers of faculty and students, increasing the endowment from $1 million to $8.5 million, and increasing the annual budget from $400,000 to $2.5 million. He also founded both the art and music departments.

After stepping down from his position of president in 1960, Bixler became a visiting lecturer for the State Department and also helped to set up a liberal arts program at Thammasart University in Bangkok in 1962. He has published extensively, including six books, numerous pamphlets and brochures, essays, contributions to books and periodicals.

Bixler died of pneumonia at the age of 90, on March 28, 1985 at his daughter's home in Weston, MA.

Scope and Contents

The Julius Seelye Bixler Papers contain publications spanning Bixler's career. The publications are on the topics of religion, biblical literature and philosophy ranging in date from 1926 through 1969 and two undated publications.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Preferred Citation

Julius Seelye Bixler Papers, Smith College Archives, CA-MS-00038, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

The Julius Seelye Bixler Papers were donated over a period of time to the Smith College Archives from a variety of sources.

Processing Information

Processed by Gayla B. Spaulding.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English
Bibliography

Religion in the Philosophy of William James, 1926 Immortality and the Present Mood, 1931 Religion for Free Minds, 1939 Conversations with an Unrepentant Liberal, 1946 A Faith that Fulfills, 1951 Education for Adversity, 1952

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Colby College
1941-1960

Box 681: folder 1
Biographical Information
1927-1985

Box 681: folder 2
Correspondence
1928 1933 1969 undated

Box 681: folder 3
Courses
undated

Box 681: folder 4
Lectures
1929-1934

Box 681: folder 5
Photographs
1019-1980

Box 681: folder 6
Publications


Box 682
"Albert Schweitzer"
1962

Box 682
"Albert Schweitzer's Unity of of Life & Thought
1960

Box 682
"Best Things in Worst Times"
1943

Box 682
"Can the Campus be a Democracy?"
1968

Box 682
"Can Religion Become Empirical?" in Nature of Religious Experience
1937

Box 682
"Changes in Education Aims Needed after the War"
c1943

Box 682
"Contribution of Existenz-Philosophie"
1940

Box 682
"Deeper Ranges of Authority"
1949

Box 682
"Dialogue in Limbo"
1935

Box 682
Education for Adversity
1952

Box 682
"Education for Hardship"
1958

Box 682
"Experiment in Undergraduate Thinking"
1957

Box 682
"Failure of Martin Heidegger"
1963

Box 682
Faith that Fulfills
1951

Box 682
Four Approaches to Belief, 1-4
1956

Box 682
"Humanities and the Open Door to Faith"
1958

Box 682
"Ideas of God as Affected by Modern Thought"
1950

Box 682
Immortality and the Present Mood
1931

Box 682
Josiah Royce-Twenty Years After
1936

Box 682
Letters from Dr. A. Schweitzer in The Colby Library
1964

Box 682
Religion in the Philosophy of William James
1926

Box 683: folder 1
Professor Dewey Discusses Religion
1930

Box 683: folder 2
Men and Tendencies in German Religious Thought
1930

Box 683: folder 3
The Mystic and His Absolutes
1935

Box 683: folder 4
The Spirit and the Life:A Dialogue
1937

Box 683: folder 5
The Skeptical Revolt
1937

Box 683: folder 6
Religion for Free Minds
1939

Box 683: folder 7
Two Questions Raised by William James' Essay on the Moral Equivalent of War
1942

Box 683: folder 8
The Problem of Religious Knowledge
1942

Box 683: folder 9
Science, Materialism and the Human Spirit
1949

Box 683: folder 10
Reflections on the Art of Teaching
1951

Box 683: folder 11
Old Salzburg and New World
1951

Box 683: folder 12
Reappraisals: The Existentialists and William James
1958 - 1959

Box 683: folder 13
Notes on the Education of a College President
1961

Box 683: folder 14
What is American in American Philosophy
1963

Box 683: folder 15
The Two Blessings of Joseph (Honors Convocation Address)
1964

Box 683: folder 16
On Being Absurd!
1969

Box 683: folder 17
Productive Tensions in the Work of Albert Schweitzer
n. d.

Box 683: folder 18
The Resources of Religion and the Aims of Higher Education
n. d.

Box 683: folder 19

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Bixler, Julius Seelye, 1894-
  • Smith College--Faculty.


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