[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua51011View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
UAI 15.1038

Ticknor, George, 1791-1871. Records of the Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures kept by George Ticknor, 1816-1835 and undated: an inventory

Harvard University Archives

[link]


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: UAI 15.1038
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Ticknor, George, 1791-1871.
Title: Records of the Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures kept by George Ticknor, 1816-1835 and undated.
Date(s): 1816-1835 and undated.
Quantity: 1.06 cubic feet (1 document box, 2 flat boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The letters, Corporation votes, reports, and news clippings in this collection document the activities of George Ticknor, Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures at Harvard from 1816 to 1835. The records also illustrate the interaction between George Ticknor, Harvard faculty, and members of the Harvard Corporation, in their attempts to harmonize competing education reform proposals at Harvard in the early nineteenth century.

Acquisition information:

The materials in this collection are University records and were acquired in the course of University business. The records were deposited in the Harvard University Archives in April 1896.

Processing Information:

This material was first classified and described in a Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The material was re-processed in 2011. Re-processing involved a collection survey, enhanced description of items from the nineteenth century, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Dominic P. Grandinetti in September 2011.

Researcher Access:

Records of the Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures kept by George Ticknor are open for research. Access to fragile original documents may be restricted. Please consult the Public Services staff for further details.

Copying Restriction:

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Preferred Citation:

Ticknor, George, 1791-1871. Records of the Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures kept by George Ticknor, 1816-1835 and undated. UAI 15.1038, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives

Historical Note on George Ticknor

George Ticknor (1791-1871), educator and author, served as the first Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures at Harvard from 1817 to 1835. After his arrival at Harvard, Ticknor became disenchanted with the school curriculum, characterizing the College as a well-disciplined high school, and began an effort to reorganize the College around four main goals: the division of students in courses according to academic proficiency and merit; the division of the College into departments grouped around related subjects; an elective system from which students could select their own courses above a prescribed minimum; and an open door policy which would allow students who were not candidates for a degree to take specialized courses at Harvard. After lengthy discussion and debate among members of the Corporation, the Board of Overseers and faculty, Ticknor's reform proposals were largely adopted in June 1825. However, the 1825 reform laws withered in the face of resistance by Ticknor's colleagues and by 1827 the reforms were abandoned in the College at-large, except in the Department of Modern Languages, where under Ticknor's direction they were largely successful. Ticknor resigned his professorship in May 1835 after becoming discouraged over the prospects of reform at Harvard College. He spent his remaining years traveling abroad, writing books and articles, and helping to establish the Boston Public Library.

Historical Note on the Smith Professorship of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures

The Smith Professorship of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures was founded in 1816 under the will of Abiel Smith, a Boston storekeeper and businessman.

References

Arrangement

The records are in two series:

Scope and Content

This collection documents the activities of George Ticknor, Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures at Harvard from 1816 to 1835. The records also illustrate the interaction between George Ticknor, Harvard faculty, and members of the Harvard Corporation, in their attempts to harmonize competing education reform proposals at Harvard in the early nineteenth century. The records are arranged in two series: Documents arranged by George Ticknor and Letterbook. The two series consist of letters, Corporation votes, reports, and news clippings and contain overlapping subject content. In some cases copies of the original letters found in Ticknor's letterbook can also be found in the documents arranged by George Ticknor.
Series: I. Documents arranged by George Ticknor, 1816-1835. This series details the selection and appointment of George Ticknor as Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures, as well as the concurrent professorship of Belles Lettres; delineates the rules and regulations of the Smith professorship; refer to the development of George Ticknor's program of lectures, including his teaching methodology, theories of instruction, and the organization of modern language instruction at Harvard; and illustrates Ticknor's reform efforts at Harvard College from 1821 to 1827 to alter Harvard's academic organization, particularly around the division of the College into departments and the subdivision of students according to proficiency and merit, rather than alphabetically by class. This series also documents the financial difficulties that Harvard experienced in 1826, referring to suggested remedies, including a proposed salary reduction for professors; and the establishment of the Department of Modern Languages.
Series: II. Letterbook, 1816-1828 and undated. The letterbook documents George Ticknor's appointment as Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures along with the concurrent Professorship of Belles Lettres (1816-1817); his years in Europe purchasing books for the Harvard College Library (1817-1819); the development of Ticknor's early program of modern language instruction and his initial reform efforts at Harvard (1821-1823); Ticknor's further advocacy of academic reform at Harvard (1823-1827); and the establishment and operation of the Department of Modern Languages (1826-1828). The letterbook also notes the routine administrative functions performed by Ticknor in his management of modern languages at Harvard such as his arrangement of the times and days of examinations and lectures, his arrangement of recitation rooms for the language department, his establishment of student fees for courses, the grading of students, and his committee involvement. The letterbook also provides information about Ticknor's language classes and the modern language department, the academic progress of students, books studied and read in class, and subjects taught to students.
The records were assembled as an archival collection by the archivist at an unknown date from various sources without regard to original provenance in order to document University professorships.

General

This document last updated 2011 November 8.

Superseded call numbers

The call number for all the material in the Records of the Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures kept by George Ticknor is now UAI 15.1038. To assist researchers in identifying materials noted in previous citations, the list below provides references from obsolete call numbers to new box and folder numbers. Please use the current call number, UAI 15.1038, with the appropriate box and folder number in place of the superseded call number when citing material from this collection.

Formerly UAI 15.1038.2 Professorship records: Smith Professorship of French and Spanish, 1816-1828 (1 volume)

Formerly UAI 15.1038.3 Professorship records: Smith Professorship of French and Spanish, 1819-1835 (1 container)

Container List


hua51011