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Grundy Steiner (1916-2004) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/9/4

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Grundy Steiner Papers contain biographical materials, correspondence, teaching files, research notes, and publications spanning the years 1937-2004. With the exception of one clipping from 1937 and obituaries from 2004, all the records in this collection date from the 1950s through the early 1980s.

The biographical materials consist of Professor Steiner’s personal data forms from Northwestern, small biographies written and updated for the university’s record, death notices for Steiner (2004) and his wife (1974), and miscellaneous general biographical items. Included, also, are three decades of correspondence with colleagues, students, and research partners. Much of the correspondence is signed "Lapidarius," which was a nickname Steiner often used when writing to his colleagues and others fluent in Latin. The exact source of the nom de plume is uncertain, but it likely comes from a pun on the word’s Latin meaning, "stone" or "stonier," which is somewhat homophonic for "Steiner." It might also possibly derive from his time as a cryptologist in the United States Army Signal Corps.

The vast majority of the papers in this collection are undated, untitled teaching files of various descriptions (e.g. examinations, course handouts, prepared lecture notes, handwritten notes, copies of primary sources, etc.). The teaching files were pre-arranged by the donor, and the donor’s folder headings have been retained although many of them overlap in content or scope. For example, papers pertaining to Vergil might be found not only in the folders marked "Vergil" but in the "Examinations," "Class Handouts," and "Latin Literature" folders as well. Likewise, papers pertaining to Steiner’s Greek Mythology course (Classics B60) might be found in the folder of the same name as well as in the folders "Sophocles," "Greek Comedy," and "Tragedy." Additionally, the bulk of the teaching notes and primary source copies were likely used in multiple courses, and course numbers at Northwestern systematically changed at least three times during Steiner’s teaching career.

The next section of the collection consists of materials relating to articles and presentations that Steiner gave or published in the 1950s and 1960s. The first three folders (Box 4, Folders 7-9) each contain a full copy of the presentation for which they are named. The three folders of article research notes (Box 4, Folders 10-12) were each subdivided by the donor and the subdivisions have been maintained. They also contain partial copies of the finished articles. The publications consist of a single galley of a pamphlet created by Steiner (an excerpt of Cicero’s De Officiis) and a copy of the published pamphlet.

Box 5 of the collection contains restricted materials including sensitive correspondence, a file pertaining to a student, a folder of recommendation letters written by Steiner on behalf of his students, and a copy of one of his advisee’s dissertations.


  • 1937 - 2004
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1955 - 1984
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/11/2005


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


4.50 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Grundy Steiner (1916-2004) Papers cover the years 1937 to 2004. They consist largely of teaching files and correspondence from Professor Steiner's time teaching Latin and classics at Northwestern University (1947-1984). The papers contain research notes for publications, classes, and lectures, as well as biographical materials like Northwestern personnel records and biographies.


The Grundy Steiner Papers are organized into: biographical materials; correspondence (general correspondence; and correspondence with individuals); course desdcriptions; teaching files (arranged alphabetically); presentations; research notes; and publications. The materials are followed by a group of restricted materials.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Theresa Sisk Graybill, November 2005 (accession #05-128).

Separated Materials

3.5 cubic feet of duplicate, extraneous materials were discarded.

Guide to the Grundy Steiner (1916-2004) Papers
Emily Davidson
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