Fred Newton Scott papers: 1860-1931
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Fred Newton Scott collection includes correspondence, drafts of articles and reviews, diaries, daybooks, some personal materials, and photographs.

The correspondence is the core of the collection, consisting mainly of incoming letters to Scott from friends, colleagues, students, publishers, editors, authors, and learned societies. The letters deal mainly with literary and language questions and with Scott's lecture engagements, book reviewing, and other writings. The correspondence, arranged chronologically, is between Scott and four categories of individuals: Students; Journalists and publishers; Professional associates; and University colleagues and other.

I. Students

The wide-ranging influence of Scott's philosophy and teaching is amply illustrated through letters from his former students. They kept him informed of how they were putting his principles into practice as journalists or in academic teaching, and sought his advice on further developments in their work. The accomplishments of women students who had studied with him are particularly noteworthy. Gertrude Buck, whose dissertation on metaphor was considered a definitive study at the time, became a professor at Vassar College. In 1898, she had received the first Ph.D. in Rhetoric awarded by the University of Michigan. Other women students who went on to distinguished careers included Marjorie Nicolson, English professor and dean of Smith College; Helen Mahin, professor of journalism, University of Kansas; Ada Snell, Wellesley College; and Phyllis Povah Drayton, actress. Georgia Jackson was one of the first women to serve on the editorial staff of The American Boy magazine and later became editor of the Literary Digest. Other students of Scott were Frank Mitchell, Katherine Reed, Alice D. Snyder, Katherine Taylor, and Joseph M. Thomas.

Perhaps the most locally prominent among men graduates was Lee A. White who became editor of The Detroit News. Scott also numbered among his accomplished students, Avery Hopwood, playwright and donor of the Hopwood prizes; Wilfred B. Shaw, author and editor, and Director of Alumni Relations at the University of Michigan; Paul Osborn, playwright; Edgar A. and Paul Scott Mowrer, journalists; Joseph Thomas, Dean of the Senior College, University of Minnesota; James O. Bennett, journalist, The Chicago Tribune and Walter A. Donnelly, editor and Director of the University of Michigan Press.

II. Journalists and Publishers

As Scott developed courses in journalism he called on editors and publishers, some of whom had been his students, to lecture on the practical side of newspaper work. Much of this correspondence concerns arrangements for, and contents and evaluations of, these lectures. Since he was also concerned with improving journalistic writing, some letters deal with projects he undertook in cooperation with editors to raise the standards and styles of reportorial work. These professionals included James O. Bennett, Edmund Booth, George Booth, Frank Cobb, J.W. Cunliffe, Willard B. Gore, W.W. Harris, Roy Howard, Frank G. Kane, James M. Lee, Louis Ling, Milton A. McRae, C.M. Marstow, Robert Mountsier, Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Paul Scott Mowrer, Chases S. Osborn, E.G. Pipp, Arthur C. Pound, James Schermerhorn, James E. Scripps, Edwin E. Slosson, and Lee A. White.

III. Professional associates

Many of the letters in F. N. Scott's papers deal with his work on the National Council of Teachers of English and other professional organizations in which he played an active role. These are scattered throughout the collection but are not listed here. The largest amount of correspondence is that related to his interest in setting up an academy for the improvement of the English language. A British organization, the Society for Pure English, had been founded in 1913. In early 1922, a committee was organized, with Scott as chairman, to work with a British committee consisting of Robert Bridges, Henry Newbolt, and J. Dover Wilson, to form an international academy of English. The members of the American committee were: Henry Seidel Canby, Charles M. Gayley, Charles H. Grandgent, John L. Lowes, and John M. Manley. Other correspondents within organizations with whom Scott corresponded included John W. Bright, C.G. Hoag, F.P. Keppel, and Louise Pound. There also letters exchanged with Henry Ford.

IV. University colleagues and others

Included here are letters of Professor Thomas E. Rankin dealing with departmental affairs when he was acting chairman of the department in Scott's absence, and also his reactions to the later merging of the department with the Department of English. Aside from departmental and university concerns, the collection includes extensive correspondence with Jean Paul Slusser who became director of the Museum of Art following a long career teaching design and painting at the university. There is also correspondence with Regent Lucius Hubbard who shared Scott's interest in good English usage and in rare books. In addition, Scott was attracted to the health teachings of John Harvey Kellogg, stayed at his sanitarium in Battle Creek, and exchanged letters with him regarding his health regimen. Other correspondents include John Effinger, Peter Monro Jack, Clarence Cook Little, and Charles E. Whitman.

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