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Henry Nelson Wieman papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Materials



Speeches, Lectures, and Sermons

Teaching Materials and Student Work

Posthumous Correspondence and Events

Printed Materials

Henry Nelson Wieman papers, 1910-1994 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Christina M. Gould

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Collection Overview

Title: Henry Nelson Wieman papers, 1910-1994Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1910-1975

ID: 3/RG 4/FP 17-19-F1

Primary Creator: Wieman, Henry Nelson (1884-1975)

Extent: 26.0 Cubic Feet

Arrangement: Arranged in seven series:  (1) Biographical Materials;  (2)Correspondence; (3)Writings; (4) Speeches, Lectures, and Sermons; (5)Teaching Materials and Student Work; (6) Posthumous Correspondence and Events, 1975-1994; and (7) Printed Materials.

Subjects: Philosophy, American, Philosophy - United States - 20th century, Wieman, Henry Nelson, 1884-1975

Forms of Material: Artifacts., Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence., Dewey, John, 1859-1952 - Correspondence, Diaries., Dissertations., Hartshorne, Charles, 1897-2000. - Correspondence, Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 - Correspondence, King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 - Correspondence, Legal documents., Manuscripts for publication., Photographs, Sound recordings, Speeches, addresses, etc., Theses, Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965. - Correspondence, Whitehead, Alfred North, 1861-1947 - Correspondence, Wieman, Henry Nelson, 1884-1975 - Correspondence, Wills., Writings.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Henry Nelson Wieman papers, spanning from 1910-1994, include correspondence to and from Dr.Wieman concerning his philosophical and theological ideas as well as personal matters. Besides correspondence, the papers contain teaching materials, theses, dissertations and work done by Dr. Wieman's students as well as publications, manuscripts, sermons, and lectures by Dr. Wieman and by others.

Along with the written versions of his sermons, lectures and speeches are some audio recordings of these. Included in the biographical series of this collection are materials pertaining to Dr. Wieman's education, his personal memberships, journals, photographs, certificates and awards.  The Henry Nelson Wieman papers also include correspondence and audio materials from conferences and other events occurring after his death and in his honor or pertaining to his ideas.

Finally, these papers incorporate Dr. Wieman's collection of printed materials including reprints, journals, and books. This collection features a letter to Dr. Wieman from Martin Luther King Jr. written on August 5, 1953.  Some other correspondents include Paul Tillich, William Ernest Hocking, John Dewey, Charles Hartshorne, and Alfred North Whitehead.

Biographical Note

Henry Nelson Wieman (1884-1975), one of America's leading theologians, was born on August 19, 1884 in Richhill, Missouri.  He received an A.B. in 1907 from Park College in Parkville, Missouri and studied at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He was awarded a fellowship to continue his research in Jena and Heidelberg, Germany under Nobel Prize winning religious philosopher Rudolf Euken.  In 1912, he returned to the U.S. and served as minister for two years in St. Joseph, Missouri and Davis, California.  Wieman then continued his studies at Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1917.  From 1917 to 1927, Wieman taught in the philosophy department at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and then he served as a professor of religion at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

After his retirement from the University of Chicago in 1947, he taught at the University of Oregon, Washington University in St. Louis, Grinnell College, and at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  In 1966 Wieman retired for the second time. A prominent exponent of naturalistic theism, Wieman is best known for his attempts to apply scientific methods to religion.  His views on American theological thought came to the fore in 1926 when he published Religious Experience and the Scientific Method. In this work Wieman concluded that a proper religion must make a place for science if it is to face the facts of the contemporary world. He died in 1975.

Subject/Index Terms

Philosophy, American
Philosophy - United States - 20th century
Wieman, Henry Nelson, 1884-1975

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center


The Henry Nelson Wieman collection is now Henry Nelson Wieman Papers (FP17-19-F1). The following accessions have been incorporated to comprise one collection:

17-19-F1 (Accession #23) contains correspondence and various published and unpublished writings including books, articles, book reviews, papers, speeches, and lectures. 

17-19-F5 (Accession #316) consists largely of letters, articles, and manuscripts ranging in dates from 1910-1975.  Among these are notes and rough drafts for several unpublished books which are undated and for two of his published books.  Also included are notes from speeches, lectures and classes, book reviews written by Wieman about other books and clippings of reviews about Wieman's books.  Among correspondents are Paul Tillich, William Ernest Hocking, John Dewey, Charles Hartshorne, Alfred North Whitehead, and many other noted philosophers and theologians.  Included with the collection is a diary kept by Wieman while he traveled in Heidelberg and Jena in 1910-1911 on a traveling fellowship award from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a package of his academic hoods, along with gown and mortarboard.

Accession# 389: VFM 823; Xerox copies of two letters from Wieman to Philip Dennis, May 26 and July 19, 1972, and transcriptions of ten lectures, nine of which are by Wieman and one by John Childs. 2 TLS (Xerox), 3 pp.; 10 TMS (Xeroxed transcriptions)

Accession #401;  MISC VOL - Fitz, Erle W.; vol of transcripts of discussions with Henry Nelson Wieman Oct 1973-May 1974

Accession #480; Broyer, John; VFM - Wieman, Henry Nelson; letters, 1965-1974 from HNW to John Broyer discussing philosophical ideas (xerox)

Accession #501; Broyer, John; VFM 1354- Wieman, Henry Nelson; Articles by Weiman; "Creativity in History" and "God and the Modern World" presented to SIUC faculty, 1962 and 1963

Accession#589: Charles, Florence W.; Letters from Wieman to his daughter, Florence, 1965-1975, MSS COLLECTION 135

Accession#676: Correspondence, 1969-1974, from Henry Nelson Wieman to Creighton Peden. (See inventory for details) 23 TLS, 36 pp.; 1 ALS, 1 p.; VFM 1482

Accession #715: Letters to Wieman, on occasion of his 90th birthday, 1974; MISC VOL 140.

Accession #877: 20 tapes of Creativity Conference held after Wieman's death

Accession#1702: Wieman, Henry Nelson from Laura Wieman estate. Correspondence re acquisition in Wieman folder

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: Donation.

Original/Copies Note: Name Index to General Correspondence:  Copies of letters written by Weiman are indexed under the name of the addressee.  A few of his correspondents have sent Wieman letters to be included in the collection.

Related Materials:

MF 5      Wieman, Henry Nelson

The Organization of Interest, a dissertation, [1917], Harvard University.  Positive, 1 reel, 20 ft.

MISC VOL 117, Accession #412; Minor, William S.; dissertation "Creativity in Henry Nelson Wieman" by Minor, 1971.

VFM 1449, Accession #615: Ross, C. Philip Collection of Henry Nelson Wieman; Letters, 1966-1975, largely from Henry N. Wieman to C. Philip Ross. Also, included are a few newsclippings and photographs. 61 pieces (see inventory for more complete description)

VFM 1443, Accession #642: Some reflections on Henry Nelson Wieman by Bernard E. Meland, presented at a Memorial service at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, Sunday, July 6, 1975. TMs, 10 pp.

MISC VOL 139, Accession #714: Bound volume containing photocopies of articles by various authors concerning Wieman's life and work.

Preferred Citation: [after identification of item(s), Henry Nelson Wieman papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Materials],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1911-1994],
[Series 3: Writings],
[Series 4: Speeches, Lectures, and Sermons],
[Series 5: Teaching Materials and Student Work],
[Series 6: Posthumous Correspondence and Events, 1975-1994],
[Series 7: Printed Materials],

Series 1: Biographical MaterialsAdd to your cart.
This series contains materials related to Dr. Wieman's biography and contains journals, notebooks, artifacts, honorary degrees, certificates, personal data, interviews and photographs.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: InventoryAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Photographs of Dr. WiemanAdd to your cart.
Was located in Photograph collection #8, Folder 14
Folder 3: Photographs of Dr. Wieman and othersAdd to your cart.
Was located in Photo collection #8, folder 15
Folder 4: Photographs sent or given to Dr. WiemanAdd to your cart.
Was in Photograph collection #8, folder 16
Folder 5: Wieman family photosAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Photos and Negatives from Hotel KirkwoodAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Photos of Dr. Wieman, Earl Fitz, and Charlie Palmgren; Wieman's home, 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 8: 1963 PhotosAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Photos of William MinorAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Correspondence related to Dr. Wieman's healthAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Interviews with Laura and Dr. Wieman, 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Wieman's personal data including full bibliographyAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Dr. Wieman's minister's handbook and wedding servicesAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Dr. Wieman's notebooksAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Dr. Wieman's notebooksAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Dr. Wieman's notebooksAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Iliff School of Theology, congratulatory greeting for Dr. Wieman's 90th birthdayAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Meadville Theological School, Divinitas Doctorem, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Southern Illinois University, Doctor of Humane Letters, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Grinnell College, Honorary Doctor of Letters, 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Southern Illinois University, Honorary Life Membership, Alumni Association, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Obituaries and memorials for Dr. Wieman, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Dr. Wieman's journal from Jena, Germany, 1910Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Volume of Honorary Letters, 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Newspaper clippings about Dr. WiemanAdd to your cart.
Folder 26: Autobiographical Sketch and Newspaper clippings about Dr. WiemanAdd to your cart.
Folder 27: Discussions with Henry Nelson Wieman by Earl W. Fitz, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Interviews with Henry Nelson Wieman, Laura Wieman and Earl FitzAdd to your cart.
Folder 29: Dr. Wieman's transcripts from Occidental College, Park College, and HarvardAdd to your cart.
Folder 30: Wieman's Park College Writings, 1907Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Park Alumniad, Spring 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Dr. Wieman's Last Will and TestamentAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Item 1: Academic RegaliaAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Item 1: Award for distinguished service to the cause of liberal religion, 1975Add to your cart.
Box 60Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Lecture Announcement PostersAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Diplomas and CertificatesAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Materials],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1911-1994],
[Series 3: Writings],
[Series 4: Speeches, Lectures, and Sermons],
[Series 5: Teaching Materials and Student Work],
[Series 6: Posthumous Correspondence and Events, 1975-1994],
[Series 7: Printed Materials],

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