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Charles Dewey Tenney Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Subject Files

Biographical

Teaching

Writings

The Centennial Period

Correspondence


Charles Dewey Tenney Papers, 1906-1993 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Elizabeth C. Hartman

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Collection Overview

Title: Charles Dewey Tenney Papers, 1906-1993Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1923-1973

ID: 3/RG 4/FP 17-19-F12

Primary Creator: Tenney, Charles D. (Charles Dewey) (1906-1983)

Extent: 29.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged into 6 series: (1) Subject Files; (2) Biographical; (3) Teaching; (4) Writings; (5) The Centennial Period; (6) Correspondence.

Date Acquired: 09/01/1990. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Education - Philosophy, Foundation for Philosophy of Creativity, Philosophy - Study and teaching, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - Administration, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - Faculty, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. School of Journalism, Whitehead, Alfred North, 1861-1947

Languages: English, Russian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Charles Dewey Tenney Papers consist of correspondence to and from Dr. Tenney, biographical information and personal photographs and art collections, materials relating to his teaching career and the organization of the department of philosophy including the Collected Works of John Dewey and The Library of Living Philosophers, documents concerning his administrative roles in the university, writings authored by Tenney as well as other scholars, and documents relating to the Centennial Period and the project Resources for Tomorrow.

Correspondence concerns both professional and personal matters; notable and frequent corresponders include Paul Schilpp, Burnett Shryock (first Dean of the School of Fine Arts, son of University President Henry William Shryock), William S. Minor (Director of the Foundation for the Philosophy of Creativity), and University President Roscoe Pulliam. Biographical materials include transcripts, appointment contracts and descriptions, and letters of recommendation. Teaching materials include student writings, exam questions and answers, as well as personnel files and other departmental documents; included in the same series are files concerning the Library of Living Philosophers, for which Tenney wrote one articles, as well as files concerning the Collected Works of John Dewey. Writings include materials by Tenney, both published and unpublished, as well as writings by others. The subject files span the length of Tenney’s administrative career, and deal primarily with university organization and matters concerning the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Materials concerning The Centennial Period cover event planning and publication stipulations, as well as Tenney’s directing of the Resources for Tomorrow, a project primarily focused on the writing, compiling, and editing of his manuscript, The Discovery of Discovery.

Collection Historical Note

Born September 19th, 1906, Charles Dewey Tenney came to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, then known as Southern Illinois Teachers College, in 1931. During the next 42 years, Tenney served his institution in an almost countless number of capacities, spanning from coach to professor to administrator. He was not only instrumental in the organization of the university as it expanded rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, but was also a prolific writer, publishing works in English and philosophy. In 1969, he was named University Professor, becoming but the fourth person to garner the title; in 1979, he received the University's Distinguished Service Award. Tenney retired in 1973, and died in April of 1983 in Carbondale after suffering a stroke.

Tenney began his life in Helena, Montana; he moved to Idaho in 1923 to earn his undergraduate degree from Gooding College, where his father served as president. There he studied English and Philosophy, participated in the debate team, and met his wife, Maude. The research interests he cultivated there, mostly concerning aesthetics and creativity, followed him throughout the rest of his life; some of his writings from this time period were later featured in his work The Discovery of Discovery. After completing his undergraduate studies in 1927, Tenney gained his Master’s at University of Oregon in 1927; he continued his doctoral studies there, also spending a year at Harvard University so as to study under the great Alfred North Whitehead. By the time he completed his student career in 1931, Tenney was already a noted scholar, publishing materials in chemistry, philosophy, and English, specializing in the thought of George Meredith and Whitehead’s cosmology.

Tenney immediately began his teaching career as Professor of English at Southern Illinois in 1931. He soon began organizing philosophy courses, eventually developing the Philosophy Department and serving as the Acting Chairman for several years; he also served as Acting Head for the Art Department for a time, possibly helping out his close friend, Burnett Shryock (son of University President Henry Shryock). During this time, he also served as tennis coach, debate coach, and adviser for student publications.

In 1945, following the death of President Roscoe Pulliam, Tenney considered leaving his post for other openings in philosophy or administration, unsure of a future for himself at Southern. However, Tenney decided to stay, and became Administrative Assistant to the new president, Delyte Morris, in addition to teaching. In 1952, he was designated Vice-President for Instruction. During these administrative years, Tenney was heavily involved in university organization and planning.

After 25 years of administrative work, Tenney stepped down to begin his work as Project Director for Resources for Tomorrow, a division of the University’s Centennial Celebration proceedings and publications. This allowed him to work on the next aspect of his legacy, a mammoth manuscript on the processes of creativity and insight: The Discovery of Discovery, which was to be published as part of the Centennial Celebration. Part of this work involved the assistance of other scholars, collecting quotes elucidating discovery in virtually every branch of knowledge; these quote became interspersed throughout the series of essays authored by Tenney.

Throughout his life, Tenney was a prolific writer, composing many short stories, poems, speeches and articles, many of which were published. Most notable of these works is “Aesthetics in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre,” which became part of Volume XVI of the Library of Living Philosophers. He also kept detailed journals of life events and musings on readings.

Unfortunately, Tenney’s failing health prevented the completion of his project before the end of the Centennial Period. However, Harold M. Kaplan, Ralph E. McCoy, and Lewis E. Hahn, all previously involved in the project, completed editing the manuscript, and published it in 1991. In the Editor’s Preface, they wrote: “This work is presented as a memorial to Charles D. Tenney, in recognition of his distinguish career as university administrator, scholar, teaching, and writer… He had the all too rare ability to present complex and abstract ideas with simple eloquence.” Such ‘simple eloquence’ can be found in his statement of University Objectives, emblazoned in stone within Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

Biographical Note

Born September 19th, 1906, Charles Dewey Tenney came to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, then known as Southern Illinois Teachers College, in 1931. During the next 42 years, Tenney served his institution in an almost countless number of capacities, spanning from coach to professor to administrator. He was not only instrumental in the organization of the university as it expanded rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, but was also a prolific writer, publishing works in English and philosophy. In 1969, he was named University Professor, becoming but the fourth person to garner the title; in 1979, he received the University's Distinguished Service Award. Tenney retired in 1973, and died in April of 1983 in Carbondale after suffering a stroke.

Tenney began his life in Helena, Montana; he moved to Idaho in 1923 to earn his undergraduate degree from Gooding College, where his father served as president. There he studied English and Philosophy, participated in the debate team, and met his wife, Maude. The research interests he cultivated there, mostly concerning aesthetics and creativity, followed him throughout the rest of his life; some of his writings from this time period were later featured in his work The Discovery of Discovery. After completing his undergraduate studies in 1927, Tenney gained his Master’s at University of Oregon in 1927; he continued his doctoral studies there, also spending a year at Harvard University so as to study under the great Alfred North Whitehead. By the time he completed his student career in 1931, Tenney was already a noted scholar, publishing materials in chemistry, philosophy, and English, specializing in the thought of George Meredith and Whitehead’s cosmology.

Tenney immediately began his teaching career as Professor of English at Southern Illinois in 1931. He soon began organizing philosophy courses, eventually developing the Philosophy Department and serving as the Acting Chairman for several years; he also served as Acting Head for the Art Department for a time, possibly helping out his close friend, Burnett Shryock (son of University President Henry Shryock). During this time, he also served as tennis coach, debate coach, and adviser for student publications.

In 1945, following the death of President Roscoe Pulliam, Tenney considered leaving his post for other openings in philosophy or administration, unsure of a future for himself at Southern. However, Tenney decided to stay, and became Administrative Assistant to the new president, Delyte Morris, in addition to teaching. In 1952, he was designated Vice-President for Instruction. During these administrative years, Tenney was heavily involved in university organization and planning.

After 25 years of administrative work, Tenney stepped down to begin his work as Project Director for Resources for Tomorrow, a division of the University’s Centennial Celebration proceedings and publications. This allowed him to work on the next aspect of his legacy, a mammoth manuscript on the processes of creativity and insight: The Discovery of Discovery, which was to be published as part of the Centennial Celebration. Part of this work involved the assistance of other scholars, collecting quotes elucidating discovery in virtually every branch of knowledge; these quote became interspersed throughout the series of essays authored by Tenney.

Throughout his life, Tenney was a prolific writer, composing many short stories, poems, speeches and articles, many of which were published. Most notable of these works is “Aesthetics in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre,” which became part of Volume XVI of the Library of Living Philosophers. He also kept detailed journals of life events and musings on readings.

Unfortunately, Tenney’s failing health prevented the completion of his project before the end of the Centennial Period. However, Harold M. Kaplan, Ralph E. McCoy, and Lewis E. Hahn, all previously involved in the project, completed editing the manuscript, and published it in 1991. In the Editor’s Preface, they wrote: “This work is presented as a memorial to Charles D. Tenney, in recognition of his distinguish career as university administrator, scholar, teaching, and writer… He had the all too rare ability to present complex and abstract ideas with simple eloquence.” Such ‘simple eloquence’ can be found in his statement of University Objectives, emblazoned in stone within Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

Subject/Index Terms

Education - Philosophy
Foundation for Philosophy of Creativity
Philosophy - Study and teaching
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - Administration
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - Faculty
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. School of Journalism
Whitehead, Alfred North, 1861-1947

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Accruals: 8 accessions added in Summer 2014: #1248 (7/1/1991, donated by Maude Tenney); #1481 (1/7/1992, donated by Ralph McCoy); #1671 (6/14/2000, no donor identified); #1703 (11/2/2000, donated by Maude Tenney); #1984 (3/10/2006, no donor identified); #1987 (no date or donor identified); #818 (2/24/2006, no donor identified); #1697 (10/29/2000, donated by William S. Minor)

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Acquisition Source: Accession #1205

Preferred Citation: [Item], Charles Dewey Tenney Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Processing Information: Processed by Elizabeth C. Hartman from April to June of 2014.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Subject Files, 1927-1980],
[Series 2: Biographical, 1906-1993],
[Series 3: Teaching, 1930-1976],
[Series 4: Writings, 1921-1977],
[Series 5: The Centennial Period, 1967-1974],
[Series 6: Correspondence, 1930-1977],
[All]

Series 2: Biographical, 1906-1993Add to your cart.
Series 2 consists of biographical materials concerning Tenney, including appointment information, transcripts, cirriculum vitaes, and letters of recommendation. Also of note are Tenney's musing about leaving Southern Ililnois University, found in Box 5, Folder 19. Also included are personal photgraphs in the form of slides, as well as a few pieces from Tenney's personal art collection.  Box 13 contains slides of personal images (travels, family, etc.) as well as pieces of artwork owned by Tenney.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Transcripts, Curriculum Vitaes, and Appointment documents, 1945-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Publicity, 1945-1978Add to your cart.
Newspaper articles, etc. Also includes a Gooding College reunion piece written about Tenney.
Folder 21: Awards, 1957-1973Add to your cart.
Certificate of honorary membership for the Chimeran Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1972 May; Phi Eta Sigma initionation, 1964 March; Battle of the Bed Pan Award for Effort, 1957; Certificate for Recognition of 42 years of service to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1973
Folder 22: Health documents, 1906, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: Family documents, 1923-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Financial documents, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Photographs, 1927-1974Add to your cart.
Headshots; Gooding College debate team (1927); faculty parties (1947, 1951); retirement dinner (1974); Maude Tenney (wife)
Box 13Add to your cart.
Slide Box 1Add to your cart.
Slide Box 2Add to your cart.
Slide Box 3Add to your cart.
Slide Box 4Add to your cart.
Slide Box 5Add to your cart.
Slide Box 6Add to your cart.
Slide Box 7Add to your cart.
Slide Box 8Add to your cart.
Slide Box 9Add to your cart.
Slide Box 10Add to your cart.
Slide Box 11Add to your cart.
Slide Box 12Add to your cart.
Slide Box 13Add to your cart.
Slide Box 14Add to your cart.
Item 1: Handmade book, undatedAdd to your cart.
A small, hand-painted, hand-printed book full of quotes. The book was probably created by Tenney, considering the quotes chosen and the similarity between the drawing strokes found within and those in his notebook sketches. Also, the last page has two names: "Carol and Kim," assumedly the Plochmanns, with whom Tenney corresponded; if the book is not by Tenney, it is by one of them.
Item 2: Drawing by Polly Winkler-Mitchell, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Painting by E. Toledo of Taxco, Mexico, undatedAdd to your cart.
Volume 1: The Chagall Posters, Series AAdd to your cart.
Volume 2: The Chagall Posters, Series BAdd to your cart.
Volume 3: The Chagall Posters, Series CAdd to your cart.
Box 16Add to your cart.
Volume VII: Sagebrush Echo, 1927Add to your cart.
Charles Dewey Tenney's copy, rife with autographs; no page numbers, but the presidential note (Charles Wesley Tenney, Charles Dewey Tenney's father) can be found in the first few pages; Charles Dewey Tenney in the first few pages of ii.Students in the senior section (his picture and name are 2 pages before the prose written about him), and in iv.Speakers and Writers.  Gooding College Yearbook.
Volume VII2: Sagebrush Echo, 1927Add to your cart.
Charles Wesley Tenney's copy, rife with autographs; no page numbers, but the presidential note (Charles Wesley Tenney, Charles Dewey Tenney's father) can be found in the first few pages; Charles Dewey Tenney in the first few pages of ii.Students in the senior section (his picture and name are 2 pages before the prose written about him), and in iv.Speakers and Writers.  Gooding College Yearbook.
Volume IX: Sagebrush Echo, 1929Add to your cart.
Annie Maude Beamer's (later Maude Tenney, Charles Dewey Tenney's wife) copy, rife with autographs; In Memoriam to Helen Alice Tenney (Charles Dewey Tenney's sister) on p.7; President Charles Wesley Tenney on pp.14-15; Maude Tenney on pp.25, 27.  Gooding College Yearbook.
Volume X: Sagebrush Echo, 1930Add to your cart.
Maude Beamer's (later Maude Tenney, Charles Dewey Tenney's wife) copy, rife with autographs; unidentified pictures housed between p.16 and p.17; Maude found on p.9, p.32; President Charles Wesley Tenney (Charles Dewey Tenney's father) on p.5.  Gooding College Yearbook.
Volume XI: Sagebrush Echo, 1931Add to your cart.
President Charles Wesley Tenney (Charles Dewey Tenney's father) on p.13.  Gooding College Yearbook.
Box 28Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Personal correspondence, 1917-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Letters of recommendation for Tenney, 1929, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Applications for employment, 1938-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook, 1920sAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Photograph of University Objectives in Morris Library Hall of PresidentsAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Gooding High School; transcripts, memorabilia, 1919-1923Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Gooding College; application, grades, memorabilia, 1923-1927Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Gooding College memorabilia, 1925-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Harvard University - official registers, departments of English and Philosophy, 1930-1931Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Awards: Idaho spelling contest (circa 1945); Psi Kappa Pi initiation (1946); National Society of Literature and the Arts membership (1975), 1945, 1946, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Award, acknowledgment from Southern Illinois Incorporated, 1969 February 25Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Award for Distinguished Service, 1980 May 17Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Congratulatory correspondence concerning Distinguished University Professor award, 1979-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Establishment of posthumous memorials and scholarships, 1983-1991Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Award, Southern Illinois University Foundation Cornerstone Club, recognition and membership, 1980 September 5Add to your cart.
Folder 16: News and publications concerning Tenney, 1930-1991Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Awards for Maude Tenney, 1959, 1963, 1964Add to your cart.
Completion of conversational spanish courses (1963); Veteran's Association, Certificate of Devotion to Volunteer Duty (1959, 1964)
Folder 18: Charles Wesley TenneyAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Financial and retirement documents, 1958-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Valley Road House PlanningAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: House blueprintsAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Still life painting, unknown author, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: Landscape painting [Tenney?], undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: McCoy, Ralph E. Tribute to Charles D. Tenney, 1983 April 7Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Condolence correspondence to Maude Tenney after Charles' death, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Correspondence concerning purchase of Tenney library, 1990-1992Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Personal correspondence of Maude Tenney, 1974-1993Add to your cart.
Box 29Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Southern Illinois University memorabilia/programs, 1949; 1971; 1980sAdd to your cart.
1971 Commencement program; President's Council Dinner and Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture Series programs (1988, 1989); Honors Day program, (1988); Southern Illinois University Foundation President's Council pamphlet (1986); Inauguration of Delyte Wesley Morris as Eighth President of Southern Illinois University (1949 May 5)
Item 1: Award, Southern Illinois University Foundation Cum Laude Fellowship recognition and membership, 1977Add to your cart.
Volume 1: Personal finances record book, 1938-1941Add to your cart.
Item 2: Vinyl recording. Tenney, Charles D. "How to be free", 1955 May 27Add to your cart.
Item 3: Vinyl recording. Hamlet (with Paul Scofield, Diana Wynyard, Wilfrid Lawson)Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Subject Files, 1927-1980],
[Series 2: Biographical, 1906-1993],
[Series 3: Teaching, 1930-1976],
[Series 4: Writings, 1921-1977],
[Series 5: The Centennial Period, 1967-1974],
[Series 6: Correspondence, 1930-1977],
[All]

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