Guide to the Thomas Franklin Holgate (1859-1945) Papers
|Collection Title:||Thomas Franklin Holgate (1859-1945) Papers|
|Collector:||Holgate, Thomas Franklin (1859-1945)
|Language of Materials:||English|
|Abstract:||The Thomas Franklin Holgate Papers offer a brief glimpse of the work of a competent university administrator during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century; a view of an effective and practical promoter of higher education for blacks; a productive and stimulating teacher and writer in mathematics; and an administrator (especially in financial matters) sought-after by many educational and religious organizations. The papers contain biographical material; addresses and writings; correspondence; material relating to Holgate Library and Holgate Science Speaking Competition; and material concerning mathematics.|
|Acquisition Information:||1) Material transferred to the University Archives at an unknown date prior to June 1, 1974, and arranged in 2 boxes as Series 3/12; 2) Gifts from Miss Frances Holgate and Mrs. Barbara Holgate Young, March 7, 1977; 3) Materials removed during the processing of the Walter Dill Scott Papers (Series 3/15). Addition This addition to the Thomas Holgate Papers was separated from Accession Number 02-22, donated to the University Archives by Holgate's grandson, Thomas Young, on March 12, 2002. Addition This addition to the Thomas Holgate Papers was donated to the University Archives by Holgate's grandson, Thomas Young, on February 10, 2006, as Accession Number 06-25.|
|Processing Information:||Robert J. Schmid; William K. Beatty; September - December, 1975. November - December, 1980. Addition Sarah Rose; August 2003. Addition Janet Olson, February, 2006|
|Separated Materials:||A small amount of duplicate and extraneous material was discarded. Addition A number of photographs were separated and added to the relevant folders in the University Archives' Photograph Collection: several photographs of Thomas Holgate and of the trophy he was awarded by Northwestern University students (added to the Thomas Holgate file); one photograph of a mathematics classroom in University Hall (added to the University Hall—Interiors file); several photographs of the Northwestern University campus model that Frances Holgate built (added to the Frances Holgate file). Newspaper clippings relating to the 1968 takeover of the Bursar's Office at Northwestern were added to the relevant subject file. Two letters and some architectural sketches by Frances Holgate were added to her file in the University Archives, Room 110.|
|Conditions Governing Access:||None. Addition: Permission to view the folder relating to the sale of 617 Library Place should be sought from the University Archivist. Addition: None.|
|Repository:||Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Thomas Franklin Holgate was born on April 8, 1859, in Hastings County, Ontario, Canada, the son of Thomas and Eleanor Wright Holgate. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Victoria College, University of Toronto, in 1884, and a Master's degree, in absentia, from the same institution in 1889.
Holgate began his professional teaching career in 1874, teaching in the public school system of Ontario. Upon graduation from college in 1884, he became a mathematics master (instructor) at Albert College, Belleville, Ontario. He remained in this position until 1890 when he became a fellow at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received a Ph.D. from Clark University in 1893. He joined the Northwestern University faculty in 1893 as an instructor in the Mathematics Department. During the year, he became involved in the activities of the first International Congress of Mathematicians held in conjunction with the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. He also devoted considerable attention to the preparation of a series of Colloquium Lectures by Felix Klein held in Evanston following the Congress.
In 1894, after only one year at Northwestern, he was made a full professor. In 1897, he played an instrumental role in the formation of the Chicago section of the American Mathematical Society and served as Secretary from 1897 to 1905. In 1902, he was appointed Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, a position he held for the next seventeen years.
In 1904, following the resignation of President Edmund James, Holgate was appointed President Ad Interim of Northwestern University. He served in this capacity until the selection of Abram Harris as President in 1906. During his first two-year term as acting president, the Norman Harris Lecture Foundation was established, a department of education was added to the College of Liberal Arts, a training school for nurses was established, the geology, zoology, and romance language departments were enlarged, the athletic field on Central Street was opened, and the University was able to pay off a quarter-million-dollar debt. Additionally,
he served as Secretary for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904.
Between 1906 and 1916, Holgate held the Noyes Professorship of Pure Mathematics, secured legislation for revision and codification of the Illinois school laws, traveled to Rome where he was Secretary/Delegate to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1908, and was a member of a commission to reorganize the Chicago Public Library.
In 1916, with the resignation of Abram Harris, Holgate was once again called upon to serve as acting president of the University. As acting president from 1916 to 1919, Holgate instituted democratic reforms in the selection of deans; Northwestern was elected to membership in the Association of American Universities; the Law School's course of study was lengthened to four years; degree courses in physical education and public speaking were installed; student military training was established on campus; and 3,600 soldiers and sailors were trained in mechanical subjects as part of the University's commitment to the United States' war effort.
During World War I, Holgate assisted Walter Dill Scott in personnel work for the War Department. He was also influential in the formation of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and served as President from 1917 to 1918.
In 1919, with the selection of Lynn Harold Hough as President of the University, Holgate retired from his major administrative duties and was made Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts. He continued, however, to teach mathematics for the next fifteen years, retiring in 1934. He spent the 1921-,22 academic year in China as a visiting professor at the University of Nanking. His experiences in China served to reinforce an interest in foreign students and he acted as their advisor upon his return to Northwestern.
Holgate's research interests were in the fields of pure geometry and ruled surfaces of the fourth order. His translation of Theodore Reye's Geometrie der Lage (Geometry of Position) was published in 1898. His other published works include Elementary Geometry (1901) and Projective Pure Geometry (1930). He also wrote a "History of the Mathematics Department at Northwestern University, 1855-1905," and a thirty-page summary of Northwestern University's activities during World War I, "Northwestern in the Great War."
Holgate received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the University of Illinois in 1905, Queen's University in 1919, and Northwestern University in 1937. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the University Club of Evanston, the University Club of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.
In addition to his university activities, Holgate was prominent in civic and religious affairs and was particularly concerned with administrative problems of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served five terms as a member of the Methodist Church's General Conference; was a member of its Board of Education for Negroes; and from 1924 to his death in 1945, was a member of the church's Board of Education, serving as its treasurer from 1934 to 1938. From 1923 to 1925, he was president of the Chicago Church Federation. In recognition of his support of educational opportunities for black students, the library at Bennett College in North Carolina was named for him.
Dean Holgate was married twice. On August 2, 1885, in Bath, Ontario, Canada, he married Julia Caroline Sharp, the daughter of a local farmer, John Sharp. She died in 1887. His second marriage to Georgina Angela Burdette, the daughter of Daniel Burdette, a. manufacturer, took place in Newburgh, Ontario, Canada, July 23, 1890. The Holgates had four
children: Eleanor, born in 1894, who later married the noted scholar, Owen Lattimore; Robert Burdette, born in 1895; Barbara (Mrs. George H. Young), born in 1899, and Frances Burdette, born in 1902.
Thomas Franklin Holgate died of a heart ailment in Evanston at the age of 86 on April 11, 1945. Funeral services were held on April 13, 1945 at the First Methodist Church of Evanston.
Despite the fact that his formal title was that of President Ad Interim, Holgate was one of the most accomplished, significant, and influential administrators in Northwestern's history, and enjoyed an extraordinarily long and productive academic career, while maintaining an avid interest in foreign, civic and religious affairs.
Scope and Content
The Thomas Franklin Holgate Papers offer a brief glimpse of the work of a competent university administrator during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century; a view of an effective and practical promoter of higher education for blacks; a productive and stimulating teacher and writer in mathematics; and an administrator (especially in financial matters) sought-after by many educational and religious organizations.
The papers are arranged in five main categories: biographical material; addresses and writings; correspondence; material relating to Holgate Library and Holgate Science Speaking Competition; and material concerning mathematics.
The biographical material includes articles, diaries, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and some material concerning Georgina Burdette Holgate (Dr. Holgate's second wife). The diaries are especially valuable because they record many of Holgate's major appointments in Evanston and elsewhere, provide data concerning his many trips, and accounts of his expenses. The later diaries also contain information about the four Holgate children and their families, occasional personal items and lists of his reading, and more detailed financial records.
The addresses and writings include some reprints of mathematical articles by Holgate and typescripts of his two unpublished historical essays, “A History of the Department of Mathematics, Northwestern University, 1855-1905,” and “Northwestern in the Great War, 1917-1919.”
The general correspondence is primarily administrative and relates to his two terms as acting president (1904-1906, 1916-1919) and to his service as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (1902-1916). Among the letters from Holgate's first term as acting president are many bitter ones concerning the marketing and text of Arthur H. Wilde's “Northwestern University - A History, 1855-1905” (1906). There are smaller amounts of correspondence with officials of the Norwegian-Danish Theological Seminary (1904) and the Swedish Theological Seminary (1904-1905). Most of the material during Holgate's term as Dean relates to appointments and curricular matters. Some of the personal correspondence during these first two periods contains invitations to Holgate to assume positions at other colleges and universities. The correspondence during Holgate's second term as acting president includes material on the admission of Northwestern to the Association of American Universities; the search for a new head of the Chemistry Department; the search for a new librarian (ultimately Theodore Wesley Koch); the School of Commerce; and the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The correspondence with various individuals may be described briefly as follows:
Completing the correspondence section is a substantial folder of letters pertinent to the Holgate's stay in China (1921-1922) and a small amount of letters and other items related to the Holgate's European visits in 1903 and 1907. Some of the Chinese items are photocopies of letters to Professor Grant in which Holgate describes in some detail his work, the scenery, and the educational and political institutions. Included here is the carbon of a general two-page letter (April 2, 1927) from A. J. Bowen (President of the University of Nanking) describing the attacks in Shanghai by revolutionary Chinese soldiers (March 21) on Bowen and other foreigners, in which seven were killed and the rest were saved primarily by shelling from U.S. and British ships.
The folder of material on the Holgate Library at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, primarily contains items concerned with the groundbreaking for and dedication of the library named for the man who served as Treasurer of the College's Board of Trustees for many years.
The mathematics category includes correspondence and reviews concerning Holgate's tests of geometry and his translation from the German of Reye's standard works on the geometry of position. Also here are correspondence and notes dealing with various mathematical topics and courses, and a partial draft for a book entitled “Elementary Plane Geometry, A Second Course.” Of special interest are Holgate's brief accounts of the early days of the Chicago Chapter of the American Mathematical Society and of the “Evanston Colloquium” held at the time of the Columbian Exposition (1893). Correspondent/span dates Topic William Deering /1903-1912 Financial and administrative matters, Board of Trustees business. Ulysses S. Grant /1906—1920 - Holgate's closest friend. Administrative material pertaining to the College of Liberal Arts (Professor Grant was acting dean, 1907-1908), personal items. Ludwig Muller /1937—1939 - Visiting Professor of German at Northwestern, Muller family lived in the Holgates' home. Personal letters growing out of the year 1928-1929. Walter Dill Scott /1917-1944, NU president Administrative and curricular matters, personal items dealing with Holgate's working and retirement salaries. Henry Seely White /1897-1944 - Holgate's colleague in the Department of Mathematics (to 1905) and later at Vassar. Technical subjects in mathematics, obituaries of White and some personal letters from his survivors. Abram van Epps Young /1918-1922 - Chairman of the Department of Chemistry. Letters regarding Young's leave of absence and retirement, the seven-page text (May 10, 1918) of Young's comments to Holgate at a dinner at the University Club of Evanston while inducting Holgate into the “ancient order of the XXV's.”
Arrangement of Materials
The papers are arranged in five main categories: biographical material; addresses and writings; correspondence; material relating to Holgate Library and Holgate Science Speaking Competition; and material concerning mathematics. All of the material in individual folders is arranged chronologically by date.
Container List / Contents
- Biographical Material