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A Guide to the Papers at the Indiana University Archives
Electronic finding aid encoded by Ryan K. Lee
Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management
1320 East Tenth Street
Herman B Wells Library E460
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Jordan, David Starr, 1851-1931.
3.4 cubic feet (4 boxes)
Materials are in English.
David Starr Jordan was born in Gainesville, New York on January 19, 1851 to Hiram J. and Huldah Lake (Hawley) Jordan. He received his BA and MS degrees from Cornell University in 1872. In 1879 Jordan was hired as professor of Natural History at Indiana University, and in 1885 he was elected as the seventh president of IU. Jordan held that position until 1891, when he left IU to become Stanford University’s first president. Jordan died in 1931. The David Starr Jordan papers total 1.2 cubic feet and span the years 1874-1929. The Jordan papers are divided into two series: Correspondence and Publications, lectures, and addresses.
This collection is open for research.
Advance notice is required.
David Starr Jordan was born in Gainesville, New York on January 19, 1851 to Hiram J. and Huldah Lake (Hawley) Jordan. After home schooling and attendance at area schools, Jordan won the local scholarship to the newly founded Cornell University. By his junior year in Ithaca, Jordan was named instructor in Botany. Upon completion of his thesis, "Wild Flowers of Wyoming County" in 1872, Cornell awarded Jordan both his BS and MS degrees.
Following his years at Cornell, Jordan held several short-term teaching posts before coming to Indiana in 1874 as an instructor at Indianapolis High School. He joined the Butler University faculty in 1875, and in 1879, he left Butler for Indiana University, where he was a professor of natural history. In a short time, the popular professor received recognition as an outstanding educator and scientist. In 1885, Jordan was named the 7th President of the University. He was the youngest person as well as the first non-clergyman to hold that position. The election to this post came as a complete (and unwelcome) surprise to Jordan, who was really hoping to receive a permanent position with the United States Fish Commission. As reported in the Bloomington Saturday Courier (January 17, 1885), at a scheduled lecture shortly after the election, Jordan stated, "Let me speak frankly, my friends. I enter these new relations to my adopted state with no feeling of exultation or of gratified ambition....If the duties of the President kill the work of the naturalist, these duties must be taken by another hand."
Dr. Jordan served as Indiana University President until 1891. During his tenure Jordan initiated or promoted several important changes at IU. Among the most important changes were 1) Transformation of the faculty. During Jordan's tenure, the number of IU faculty members increased from 18 to 29. Many of these new faculty represented the type of scholar/teacher that Jordan felt was needed in the modern university; 2) Allowing students more freedom in selecting a major and in designing their own curriculum; and 3) Increasing the number of departments and courses.
Jordan was so successful in this position that in 1891 Senator and Mrs. Leland Stanford asked him to head a new university named for their deceased son. He accepted the position, and persuaded 6 IU professors and 37 students to accompany him to Stanford. Jordan held the post of President at Stanford until 1913, when he moved to the position of Chancellor of Stanford. In 1916, he retired and assumed the position of Chancellor Emeritus until his death in 1931.
Collection is organized into two series: Correspondence and Publications, lectures, and addresses
The David Starr Jordan Papers total 3.4 cubic and span the years from 1874-1929. This collection does not include any records from the period 1885-March, 1891, when Jordan was president of Indiana University. These records can be found in the Office of the President records, Collection C77.
The Jordan papers are divided into two series: Correspondence and Publications, lectures, and addresses. The Correspondence series consists of twelve letters arranged chronologically spanning the years 1880-1899. Five of the letters were written by Jordan and seven are written to him. Two of the letters relate to Jordan's research interests (1880 letters), and three letters (1891 letters and 1899 letter) relate to qualifications of candidates for faculty positions. The 1883 letter written by Jordan from Germany describes his thoughts after hearing about the 1883 fire that destroyed the IU Science building and most of Jordan's collection of specimens. The 1884 letter from M.K.D. urges Jordan to accept the IU presidency, if elected. The remaining five letters from 1884 relate to discussions of John Coulter as a candidate for the IU President position, and a description by Coulter of his requirements for a biological laboratory at IU.
The Publications, lectures, and addresses series totals approximately 3.3 cubic feet of records, is arranged chronologically, and spans the years from 1874-1929. This collection of writings represents much of Jordan's scholarly output during his lifetime, but it is by no means complete. The general subject content of the series breaks down as follows: scholarly writings related to his research on fishes and vertebrate animals, including his Manual of the Vertebrate Animals of the Northern United States; works on contemporary topics such as war and peace, eugenics, evolution, education and the state of the universities; and several works containing Jordan's poetry, including his publication To Barbara.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in IUCAT, the IU Libraries' online catalog. Materials about related topics, persons or places can be found by searching the catalog using these terms.
Six items containing biographical information about Jordan were removed and placed in his reference file.
See also Jordan records as President of IU, Collection C77; see also the Jordan reference file for biographical information about him; see also the records of Jordan as President of Stanford-originals at the Stanford University Archives and microfilm at the IU Archives, Accession 0159.
Completed in 2005. Updated and revised in 2010.
re: cancelled visit to IU
re: Fire at Indiana University. Probably to President Lemuel Moss.
(Incomplete, Includes Numbers 4-5, 8, 22-25, 27-28, 31, 33, 35-37, 41-47, 49-55, 58, 67-69, 71-75, 77)
(1st printing 1909)