Charles W. Morris collection
Scope and Contents
The collection spans one box and five folders. The collection consists of photocopies of correspondence spanning the years 1937-1939. The collection also contains correspondence from 1976. Photo copies of press clippings, course outlines, manuscripts, and New Bauhaus catalogs are also present.
- circa 1930-1979
Language of Materials
Material in English
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Charles William Morris was born May 23, 1901 [some sources, such as the Library of Congress, cite his birth year as 1903]. In 1922 he earned his BS at Northwestern University focusing on engineering and psychology. Shortly after obtaining his BS, Morris began his doctoral work in philosophy at the University of Chicago under the tutelage of George Herbert Mead. His work at the University focused on a symbolic theory of mind, a subject that he would base his dissertation on; he completed his doctoral work in 1925.
After the completion of his PhD, Morris began his teaching career. His first position was at Rice University where he taught philosophy from 1925-1931. After leaving Rice University he became an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago, a position he held from 1931-1947. In 1948 Morris became a lecturing professor of philosophy staying with the University of Chicago; he held the lecturing profession for a decade. Morris left the University of Chicago in 1958 and subsequently accepted an offer to become a Research Professor at the University of Florida. He would remain in this position until the time of his death in 1979.
Morris was primarily interested in the semantic branch of philosophy. He believed that logical positivism, behavioral empiricism, and pragmatism should be unified. While at Rice University he wrote The Six Theories of Mind which was published by the University of Chicago. Morris followed this publication with Signs, Language, and Behavior, a work which sought to flesh out the relationship he perceived between syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics. Both of these works attempted to refresh and unify the philosophical ecology.
In 1934 Morris began a relationship with Europe and European philosophers, having taken a sabbatical from the University of Chicago and beginning to travel abroad. During his explorations he met Bertrand Russell, Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath and Mortiz Schlick. Morris was also introduced to the logical positivist movement and was soon enamored. While speaking at the Eighth International Congress of Philosophy he spoke of his desire to unify pragmatism and positivism. He was such a supporter of the European philosophy movement that he helped many German and Austrian philosophers emigrate to the United States. This emigration would allow Morris to work with Carnap again and they would eventually start the Encyclopedia publishing through the University of Chicago in America. By 1943 the Encyclopedia slowed down and it was only Morris securing outside funding that allowed the publication to exist until its final publication in the 1970s.
Morris met and married Gertrude E. Thompson with whom he had a daughter, Sally Morris Petrilli in 1925. He married his second wife, Ellen Ruth Allen, in 1925. Morris passed away on January 15, 1979.
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Metadata Rights Declarations
- License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.
This collection contains photocopies of correspondence and papers, 1937-1939; 1976, of Charles W. Morris (1901-1979), instructor at New Bauhaus, American School of Design, Chicago. Included are letters from László Moholy-Nagy and others concerning the hiring of Morris as an instructor at New Bauhaus, and the proposed closing of the school in 1938. Also included in the collection are course outlines, clippings, New Bauhaus catalogs, and manuscripts.
The Collection is arranged into the following series:
- Series 1: Biographical materials, circa 1930-1979, 1 box/5 folders
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was a gift of Morris' daughter, Sandy Perilli, 1985.
The materials in this collection were withdrawn from MISCELLANEOUS SMALL COLLECTIONS (AG 8, Subgroup 29) by Kristi Bradford, May 1990. The finding aid was updated by Phoenix Smithey in 2017 and by Tai Huesgen in 2020.
- Charles W. Morris collection circa 1930-1979
- Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
- © 2020
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
- Language of description
- Script of description
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- Finding aid encoded in English