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Edmund Janes James Papers

Identifier: 3/11

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Most of Edmund Janes James' papers are held at the University of Illinois, with small collections held at the University of Pennsylvania and at Northwestern. Northwestern's collection fills one box and spans the years 1881-1965, with the majority of the materials dating between 1902 and 1904, the years of James' presidency.

Biographical information about James includes the biographical sketch originally published in the Evanston Index newspaper in 1902, the memorial published by the University of Illinois on his death in 1925, and few other items, mostly written after his death. There is also a small amount of information about his wife and children.

Because James' election and inauguration were widely publicized (especially the installation ceremonies), most of the clippings date from 1902 and describe James' arrival in Evanston in March and the installation events in October. James' election and installation are further documented in the file containing the Board of Trustees' nomination, offer, and confirmation of James' acceptance; in the file that exhaustively covers the planning and publications leading up to the events of October 19-22, 1902; and in the file of response letters from notable academic invitees (including one from Woodrow Wilson, who was not able to attend). 

Additional correspondence files incorporate both original and photocopied letters from William Rainey Harper of the University of Chicago (mostly concerning vacation pay for which James was seeking reimbursement) and a file of general correspondence. Of interest is the document in the Board of Trustees file with the draft of James' proposal to Andrew Carnegie.

The remaining folders include one discussing the creation (after his death) of a portrait of James; a few examples of the circulars and letters James sent to alumni to engage their support; one or two reprints of articles; and a file of duplicate programs from the 1902 ceremonies.


  • 1881 - 1965
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1902 - 1904


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.


1.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The papers of Edmund Janes James, filling one box, deal almost exclusively with James' term as Northwestern University's thirteenth president (1902-1904).


The papers of Edmund Janes James are contained in a series of topical folders. The two principal clusters of folders contain biographical information, and information about James' election and installation.

Source of Acquisition


Method of Acquisition

This collection is comprised of materials in the University Archives’ Presidential Biographical Files, compiled at an unknown date.

Guide to the Edmund Janes James Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US