Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
John K. Osborn Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: John K. Osborn Papers,
Creator: Osborn, John K. (John Kenneth), 1904-
Inclusive dates: 1930, 2009
Extent: .25 cubic feet (in 1 box)
Papers consists mainly of correspondence to/from Osborn while teaching at Hillsdale College, largely about education, Hillsdale College, and Central Michigan University.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:


Access Restrictions:

John K. Osborn Papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

John K. Osborn Papers, 1931, 2009, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


The collection is organized alphabetically by topic.



John Kenneth Osborn (1901-) attended the University of Michigan from at least 1931 through 1934. His 1934 Ph.D. thesis was entitled, A comparison of reactions to personality and achievement test items. On June 16, 1927 in Ann Arbor, John wed Delight Elizabeth Evans (born December 16, 1902), the daughter of John L. and Gusta Evans of Bangor, Wisconsin. Osborn taught as a Professor of Education and served as Director of Teacher Training at Hillsdale College from 1934 until 1939. From the correspondence it is clear that CMU, particularly Professor David M. Trout, was interested in hiring Osborn as early as 1934. Because of the low salaries and the unavailability of Mount Pleasant housing options in 1934, Osborn, who was responsible for the care and housing of his in-laws as well as his wife, Delight, declined the 1934 job offer by CMU. Osborn was hired by CMU in 1939, where he taught education and psychology until 1970. He was remembered by his peers as a “serious-minded, dedicated person.” Osborn was also an ordained minister and worked as the part-time pastor of the Rosebush Presbyterian Church. John K. Osborn died at the age of 88 in Reinbeck, Iowa, on August 13, 1992. (This information is from the collection, his obituary of August 31, 1992 in CMLife, and a note about him in Centralight, Spring 1993.)

Delight Osborn graduated from the LaCrosse, Wisconsin School of Nursing in 1923 and from the School of Education at the University of Michigan in 1928. She worked as a registered nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital and a hospital in Wisconsin before working as the school nurse at the lab school at CMU from 1958 to 1970. Delight was also an ordained deacon of the Presbyterian Church and a member of First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant, as well as other women’s organizations. On September 26, 1986 Delight died in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, at the age of 83. She was survived by her husband, John, son, John William Osborn, and a brother. (This information is from her obituary of September 29, 1986 in the Morning Sun.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The majority of the collection is correspondence to/from John K. Osborn. The correspondence is divided into CMU, Department of Public Instruction, and Hillsdale College folders. The CMU correspondence is between Osborn, Professor David M. Trout, and President Eugene C. Warriner. In a letter of September 13, 1938, from Trout to Osborn, Trout notes the severe housing shortage and salary cuts by the Governor of Michigan effective July 1 through September 1, 1938 and a desire to hire Osborn in 1939. The Hillsdale correspondence focuses on Osborn getting his thesis published and finding a job through various placement sources, and his correspondence with Willfred Mauck, then President of Hillsdale College, about the Teacher Training Program which Osborn directed. Also included are a few of Osborn’s student papers from the University of Michigan, a report about the teacher training program at Hillsdale, three bibliographies, and biographical material, as well as one folder of papers written by Osborn, 1930-1931..

Subject Terms

    • Central Michigan University. Psychology Department
    • Central Michigan University--Faculty.
    • Hillsdale College--Faculty.
    • Hillsdale College--History.
    • University of Michigan--Alumni and alumnae.
    • University of Michigan--Students.
    • Michigan--Department of Public Instruction.
    • Osborn, John K. (John Kenneth), 1904-
    • Warriner, Eugene Clarence.
    • Trout, David McCamel, 1891-
    • Teachers--Training of.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    John K. Osborn Papers [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials (Copies), 2009
    Box   1 F   2
    A Bibliography of Speech Defects, University of Michigan, Special Graduate Assignment, 1931
    Box   1 F   3
    Central Michigan University Correspondence, 1937-1938
    Box   1 F   4
    Department of Public Instruction, Lansing, Correspondence, 1934-1938
    Box   1 F   5
    Hillsdale College Correspondence, 1934-1939
    Box   1 F   6
    Income Tax Return, 1938
    Box   1 F   7
    Papers, 1930-1931
    Box   1 F   8
    Professional Education: Bibliography, 1937
    Box   1 F   9
    The Teacher Training Program at Hillsdale College, 1934
    Box   1 F   10
    Tentative Bibliography on Prediction of Academic Success in Higher Education, 1931
    Box   1 F   11
    A Variation of the Substitution Experiment, University of Michigan, 1932