Roy Wood Sellars papers: 1914-1946
Summary Information
Title: Roy Wood Sellars papers
Creator: Sellars, Roy Wood, 1880-
Dates: 1914-1946
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
Professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan; correspondence; notebook containing philosophical jottings; papers of Helen Maud Sellars describing visit to Russia in 1946; and photographs.
Call number: 85438 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Jennifer King, October 1992

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was donated by Professor Claude Eggertson.(Donor No. 2390) in 1984 and 1992.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Roy Wood Sellars papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Roy Wood Sellars was born in Edmonsville, Ontario, Canada on July 9, 1880. After graduating in 1898 from Ferris Institute in Big Rapids Michigan, he continued his higher education at the University of Michigan, receiving his A.B. in 1903 and his Ph.D. in 1908. In 1911, Sellars married Helen Maud Stalker and they had two children, Wilfred and Cecily. Sellar's career as a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan began in 1918. He became a full professor in 1923 and this same year he served as president of the American Philosophical Association. During his tenure at the University of Michigan, Sellars wrote fourteen books and many journal articles. He retired in 1950 but continued as professor emeritus of philosophy until his death on September 4, 1973.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mainly of the papers of Roy Wood Sellars with some materials of his wife Helen and his son Wilfred. The collection includes correspondence and writings with a scattering of individual and family photographs.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Philosophy.
  • Soviet Union -- Description and travel.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Photographs.
  • Sellars, Helen Maud.
  • Sellars, Roy Wood, 1880-1973.
  • University of Michigan. Dept. of Philosophy.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • Sellars, Roy Wood, 1880-1973.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • Baldwin, James Mark, 1861-1934.
  • Boutroux, Etienne E. (Etienne Émile), 1845-1921.
  • Ferris, Woodbridge N., 1853-1928.
  • Muirhead, John Henry, 1855-1940.
  • Santanyana, George, 1863-1952.
  • Sinclair, May.
  • Strong, Charles Augustus, 1862-1940.
  • Taylor, A. E. (Alfred Edward), 1869-1945.
  • Wenley, R. M. (Robert Mark), 1861-1929.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Roy Wood Sellars [series]

The Roy W. Sellars series of the collection is comprised of correspondence from 1914 through 1945. Included are both personal letters from his family and professional letters from colleagues. Correspondents include James M. Baldwin, Etienne E. Boutroux, Woodbridge N. Ferris, John H. Muirhead, George Santayana, May Sinclair, Charles A. Strong, Alfred E. Taylor, and Robert M. Wenley. Much of Sellar's papers consist of his published writings. Included are the articles, "An Analytic Approach To The Mind-Body Problem," which appeared in the September 1938 issue of The Philosophical Review, and "A Correspondence Theory of Truth," from the November 20, 1941 issue of The Journal of Philosophy. During his lifetime Sellars wrote fourteen books. His book, The Next Step in Religion, published in 1918 constitutes part of the collection. The collection also includes Sellar's copy of Aristotle's Politics which he annotated and used for his course on Aristotle. Finally, some of Sellars's unpublished writings appear in the collection, including an essay about Job and what seem to be chapters of a book.

Box   1  
Bibliographic information
Box   1  
Correspondence 1914-1945 (4 folders)
Box   1  
Published Writings
Box   1  
The Next Step in Religion
Box   1  
Aristotle's Politics
Box   1  
Unpublished manuscripts
Sellars Family [series]

The Helen Maud Sellars papers include correspondence from 1918 through 1946 noteworthy for a series of letters discussing her great-grandfather's genealogy. In 1934, Helen Sellars participated in a summer tour of Moscow which she described in stories and analytical essays. The collection includes an essay entitled, "We Study In Moscow," which discusses aspects of her trip.

The Wilfred Sellars folder contains correspondence, mostly from Wilfred to his Uncle Will. Also included are newspaper clippings documenting Wilfred's acceptance to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition, this folder has two of Wilfred's term papers which he wrote while attending Oxford University.

Helen Maud Sellars
Box   1  
Correspondence 1918-1946
Box   1  
Trip to Moscow 1934
Box   1  
Wilfred Sellars
Photographs [series]

The photographs in this collection are divided into two separate folders. One folder has many pictures of Roy Sellars. The second folder contains photographs of Helen, family pictures, and a series of Wilfred's school portraits.

Box   1  
Roy Wood Sellars
Box   1