Guide to the Paul Witty (1898-1976) Papers

Collection Title: Paul Witty (1898-1976) Papers
Dates: 1925-1979
Identification: 14/14
Creator: Witty, Paul, 1898-1976
Extent: 7 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Paul Andrew Witty was born July 23, 1898, in Terre Haute, Indiana, to William L. and Margaret (Kerr) Witty. He obtained his B.A. from Indiana State Normal School in 1920, his M.A. (1923) and Ph.D. (1931) from Columbia University. After working as a school psychologist and teaching educational psychology at the University of Kansas, Witty came to Northwestern in 1930 as a professor of education and director of the Psycho-Educational Clinic. The Paul Witty Papers are arranged in seven categories: biographical material, correspondence, army, teaching materials, research and consulting files, professional activity files, and articles, books, and other publications. Materials relating to Witty's service in the U.S. Army include official orders and memos as well as some training materials, primarily for soldiers with reading difficulties. This latter group includes several issues of the Our War newsletter featuring the cartoon, “Private Pete.” The small number of items in the teaching files includes some course materials for Witty's work at Northwestern and course materials and grades for courses he later taught at DePaul University and the University of South Florida.
Acquisition Information: The Paul Witty Papers were donated to the University Archives by Dr. Walter Barbe on November 25, 1977, as Accession #77-26. Small amounts of material from the Archives' biographical files (Accession #79-19 and Accession #79-136) were incorporated with the papers on July 25, 1979.
Processing Information: William K. Beatty, September-October, 1983.
Separated Materials: 16 35mm film strips (12 Walt Disney Make-Believe Stories and 4 single Disney items); 4 photographs (3 black and white, 1 color), and five diplomas and one certificate have been placed in the appropriate Archives' non-textual collections. The five diplomas are: Lincoln County (Nebraska) Public Schools (elementary), June 1, 1912; Wiley High School, Terre Haute, Indiana, June 9, 1916; Indiana State Normal School, B.A. in education, June 10, 1920; Columbia University, M.A., Feb. 28, 1923; Columbia University, Ph.D., June 3, 1931. The certificate commissioned Witty a Kentucky colonel on Dec. 4, 1968.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Paul Andrew Witty was born July 23, 1898, in Terre Haute, Indiana, to William L. and Margaret (Kerr) Witty. He obtained his B.A. from Indiana State Normal School in 1920, his M.A. (1923) and Ph.D. (1931) from Columbia University. After working as a school psychologist and teaching educational psychology at the University of Kansas, Witty came to Northwestern in 1930 as a professor of education and director of the Psycho-Educational Clinic.

From 1942 to 1944 Witty, serving as a major in the U.S. Army, developed an effective reading program for low-literacy soldiers. Named professor emeritus upon his retirement from Northwestern in 1966, Witty died on February 11, 1976, in Chicago.

Witty became widely known for his work with gifted and creative children, involvement in a variety of reading programs, and his annual studies of children's viewing of television. He was a prolific author, contributing to the literature in education and psychology. He was also active as an editor, speaker, and consultant.

Scope and Content

The Paul Witty Papers are arranged in seven categories: biographical material, correspondence, army, teaching materials, research and consulting files, professional activity files, and articles, books, and other publications.

The biographical material includes curricula vitae, biographical articles, pages from an album presented to him at a testimonial dinner held on May 13, 1966, notes for his will, lists of his publications, clippings, and press releases. Notes and other records concern Witty's various illnesses, and financial and travel matters. Also included are programs for his testimonial dinner and for the presentation ceremony of the Sixth Annual Gregorian Educator Award, held April 3, 1970.

The correspondence relates primarily to Witty's publications, speaking engagements, and other professional activities. There is little material of a personal nature. Two substantial folders contain suggested endings, submitted by elementary school students, for unfinished stories in Highlights for Children.

Materials relating to Witty's service in the U.S. Army include official orders and memos as well as some training materials, primarily for soldiers with reading difficulties. This latter group includes several issues of the Our War newsletter featuring the cartoon, “Private Pete.”

The small number of items in the teaching files includes some course materials for Witty's work at Northwestern and course materials and grades for courses he later taught at DePaul University and the University of South Florida.

The research and consulting folders contain information gathered in a study of the television programs from which elementary students acquired new words. Also here are some reports and notes for a survey of programs for the gifted at eight high and seven elementary schools in the Chicago Public School system. Walter Barbe collaborated with Witty on this project.

A folder of material relating to professional societies of which Witty was a member includes notes, expense data, and organizational records. The latter pertain to the Chicago Area Reading Association, the National Society for the Study of Education, and the American Association for School Administrators, among others. Materials relating to papers presented by Witty at professional meetings consist primarily of texts (full or excerpted), related correspondence and notes.

The bulk (4.5 boxes) of the series is comprised of Witty's publications files. Included here are notes and manuscripts for many articles and notes and manuscripts for several booklets and for biographical sketches, editorials, and stories for children. One of these stories, “Don and the Prairie Fire,” is based on one of Witty's boyhood experience. There are also some book reviews by Witty, and many reprints of his articles although they represent only a small fraction of his complete writings.

Subjects

Personal Name

Witty, Paul, 1898-1976

Subjects

Educators--Illinois--Biography

Reading--Study and teaching


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Material
    • Personal data, 1940-76Box 1, Folder 1
    • Health related material, 1967-75Box 1, Folder 2
    • Finances and travel, 1967-74Box 1, Folder 3
    • Bibliographies, n.d.Box 1, Folder 4
    • Clippings, 1936-76Box 1, Folder 5
    • Press releases, 1944-66Box 1, Folder 6
    • Programs, 1938,1963-72Box 1, Folder 7
  • Correspondence
    • General, 1925,1939-65Box 1, Folder 8
    • General, 1966Box 1, Folder 9
    • General, 1967Box 1, Folder 10
    • General, Jan.-June, 1968Box 1, Folder 11
    • General, July-Dec., 1968Box 2, Folder 1
    • General, 1969Box 2, Folder 2
    • General, 1970-79Box 2, Folder 3
    • “Highlights”, 1970-71Box 2, Folder 4
    • “Highlights”, 1970-71Box 2, Folder 5
    • Recommendations, 1960,1967-70Box 2, Folder 6
  • Army
    • Correspondence, orders, memos, 1942-44Box 2, Folder 7
    • Training materials, n.d.Box 2, Folder 8
  • Teaching Materials
    • ED C70, C85, n.d.Box 3, Folder 1
    • DePaul University, n.d.Box 3, Folder 2
    • Grades - DePaul University, University of South Florida, 1966-69Box 3, Folder 3
  • Research and Consulting
    • Word Source; pre-reading, 1970Box 3, Folder 4
    • Survey of Chicago Public Schools, 1964Box 3, Folder 5
    • “Highlights”, n.d.Box 3, Folder 6
  • Professional Activities
    • Notes, expenses, correspondence, 1964-75Box 3, Folder 7
    • Papers presented: correspondence, texts, 1957-71Box 3, Folder 8
  • Articles and Books
    • Typescripts, notes A-D, n.d.Box 3, Folder 9
    • Typescripts, notes E, n.d.Box 3, Folder 10
    • Typescripts, notes F-G, n.d.Box 3, Folder 11
    • Typescripts, notes H, n.d.Box 3, Folder 12
    • Typescripts, notes I-P, n.d.Box 4, Folder 1
    • Typescripts, notes Q-R, n.d.Box 4, Folder 2
    • Typescripts, notes S-Z, n.d.Box 4, Folder 3
    • “Yearbook on Early Training:” proposal, n.d.Box 4, Folder 4
    • “Children Look at Their Teachers”, n.d.Box 4, Folder 5
    • “Reading for the Gifted and Creative Student”, n.d.Box 4, Folder 6
    • “What Reading Means to You”, n.d.Box 4, Folder 7
    • Helping the Gifted Child - ch. 2, 5, n.d.Box 4, Folder 8
  • Publications for Children
    • Disney … Hoover, n.d.Box 4, Folder 9
    • Jackson … Lincoln, n.d.Box 4, Folder 10
    • Millay … Wilson, n.d.Box 4, Folder 11
    • Editorials, 1971-73Box 5, Folder 1
    • Languages, n.d.Box 5, Folder 2
    • Stories A-Z, n.d.Box 5, Folder 3
    • I Can Do It and My Book About Me, 1966, n.dBox 5, Folder 4
  • Other Publications
    • Article fragments, n.d.Box 5, Folder 5
    • Article fragments, n.d.Box 5, Folder 6
    • Article fragments, n.d.Box 5, Folder 7
    • Article fragments, n.d.Box 5, Folder 8
    • Article fragments, n.dBox 6, Folder 1
    • Book reviews, n.d.Box 6, Folder 2
    • Contracts, royalties, and permissions, 1952,1970-72Box 6, Folder 3
    • Reprints, 1926-33Box 6, Folder 4
    • Reprints, 1934-39Box 6, Folder 5
    • Reprints, 1940-49Box 6, Folder 6
    • Reprints, 1950-57Box 6, Folder 7
    • Reprints, 1958-59Box 7, Folder 1
    • Reprints, 1960Box 7, Folder 2
    • Reprints, 1961-69Box 7, Folder 3
    • Reprints, 1970-75Box 7, Folder 4
    • Reprints: “Highlights for Children”, 1953-73Box 7, Folder 5
    • Reprints, n.d.Box 7, Folder 6
    • Flyer for film, 1955Box 7, Folder 7