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Minor, William Sherman, (1900-1991) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Minor, William Sherman, (1900-1991)

Historical Note:

William Sherman Minor, born December 4, 1900 to Anna Elizabeth Russ and William Elsworth Minor, was most notably the founder and director emeritus of the Foundation for Philosophy of Creativity, a pioneer in the field of creative communication. He was a member of the Society for the Philosophy of Creativity, the American Philosophical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, the American Society for Aesthetics, the American Society for Value Inquiry, the Society for the Study of Process Philosophies, the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, the Metaphysical Society of America, and the Illinois Philosophical Association. Minor was also heavily active in his local churches, from the Carbondale Church of the Good Shepard, the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, and the First Baptist Church in Morgantown, West Virginia. In addition to co-writing several books and articles in philosophy, religion, and ethics, he was an extremely active mentor during his teaching career and gave numerous lectures, speeches, and addresses.

Minor began his college education at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, receiving his A.B. in 1924. He then attended The University of Chicago Divinity School, where he also began teaching philosophy of creativity at The University of Chicago Chapel in 1931. During his time in Chicago, he also taught at Hyde Park People’s College, focusing mostly on vocational and adult education. He received his B.D. from Chicago in 1931 after studying religious humility, especially in relation to Saint Augustine. He would receive his PhD in Philosophy and Religion from Chicago in 1971 after finishing his dissertation, Creativity in Henry Nelson Wieman.

In 1935, Minor began a Professorship of Philosophy and Psychology of Religion at The Bible College of Missouri at The University of Missouri in Columbia, where he stayed until 1943. In 1944, he began a Professorship of Philosophy at Earlham College, where he also served as Counselor to Students.

In 1946, Minor left Earlham to be an Associate Professor of Philosophy at West Virginia University, where he taught mostly Ethics and Aesthetics. He took a leave-of-absence for research in 1964 to continue his work as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Creative Philosophy, which he helped incorporate in 1957. He would resign from West Virginia University in 1966, after his paid leave ended.

Minor came to Carbondale with his sister, Galia, in 1964 to continue the work of The Foundation for Creative Philosophy, developing collaboration between the Foundation for Creative Philosophy and the Southern Illinois University Foundation. He was an active participant in the Society for Philosophy of Creativity, sponsored by the Foundation and meeting biannually with several divisions of the American Philosophical Association. The Foundation also published Monograph Serials and Festschrifts in the philosophy of creativity.

While in Carbondale, Minor also served as an adjunct professor in the College of Communications and Fine Arts, teaching creative and analytic communication courses, holding “creative interchanges” with other faculty, and providing lectures on the philosophy of creativity.

Minor retired in 1981, and died on November 3, 1991. At the time, he was survived by his two sisters, Galia Marie Minor and Faye Minor Magill, with both of whom he corresponded frequently.

Sources: Vita and Obituary.
Note Author: Elizabeth Caitlin Hartman

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