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Series I. Personal, 1899-1988

Scope and Content Notes:

These files mostly relate to Sellars' life prior to joining the Philosophy Department at the University of Minnesota in 1946, and highlight Sellars' interests and activities beyond philosophy and academic life. The files contain correspondence, financial records, military service files, and manuscripts, as well as records pertaining to his mother and to his first wife. The files are further described in the following subseries: Correspondence and General Files, Educational Materials, and Photographs.

Subseries 1. Correspondence and General Files, 1899-1988

Scope and Content Notes:

While the majority of these files center on Sellars' personal pursuits, the bibliographies, biographical material, and curriculum vitae provide succinct summaries of Sellars' professional career. The core of the personal files is the correspondence, which emphasizes the friendships that Sellars developed during his years in Europe. A large portion of the correspondence occurs between Sellars and his first wife and details the early development of their relationship. Researchers interested in understanding Sellars' personal associations with other philosophers should refer to the professional correspondence in Subseries IV. In addition to correspondence, there are financial records that are arranged topically and pertain to matters such as his salary, real estate purchases, and royalty earnings. The military service files detail his enrollment, training, and service in the United States Navy during World War II. This section also contains the personal papers of Sellars' mother and first wife. These personal papers contain legal documents relating to their estates and entrance to the United States, as well as their interest in writing.

Oversize Awards and certificates, 1959-1987

Box 1
Folder 1 Bibliographies, 1951-1987
Folder 2 Biographies and profiles, 1964-1982
Folder 03-05 Colloquium on Sellarsian Philosophy, 1987

Section: Correspondence

Folder 6 Andler, Pierre, 1935-1950
Folder 7 Downie, Susanna, 1967-1986
Folder 8 Extended family, 1952-1973
Folder 9 Holiday greetings, 1954-1978
Folder 10-12 Miscellaneous, 1931-1986
Folder 13 Oxonian, 1964-1984

Box 2
Folder 01-03 Sellars, Gertrude Mary, 1937-1970
Folder 4 Sellars, Helen, 1937-1962
Folder 5 Sleeth, Charles, 1936-1987
Folder 6 Curriculum vitae, 1969-1984
Folder 07-08 Day planners and address books, 1959-1977
Folder 9 Family records, 1931-1963

Section: Financial records


Box 3
Folder 01-02 Correspondence on salary, 1938-1988
Folder 3 Medical bills, 1950-1979
Folder 4 Real estate in Connecticut, 1959-1963
Folder 5 Real estate in Minnesota, 1948-1961
Folder 06-08 Real estate in Pittsburgh, 1964-1986
Folder 9 Real estate rentals, 1967-1978
Folder 10-14 Royalty statements, 1964-1987
Folder 15 Forms of identification, 1912-1967
Folder 16 Genealogical research, 1981-1983
Folder 17 Memoir of 1932 Mexico trip, 1997

Section: Military service


Box 4
Folder 1 Enrollment materials, 1942-1943
Folder 2 General, 1944-1951
Folder 3 Orders and directives, 1943-1945
Folder 4 Training booklets, 1943-1944
Folder 5 Miscellaneous files, 1951-1985
Folder 6 Newsletters from University High School, 1971-1983
Folder 7 Newspaper clippings, 1934-1987

Section: Papers of Gertrude Mary Sellars

Section: Caricature, undated

Folder 8 Marriage license, will and estate, 1938-1971
Folder 9 Miscellaneous, 1935-1960s
Folder 10 Naturalization papers and passports, 1934-1966
Folder 11 Short story materials, 1947-1959

Section: Papers of Helen Sellars


Box 5
Folder 1 Legal, 1899-1982
Folder 2 Miscellaneous writings, undated
Folder 03-08 Translation of "Philosophy of Art," undated

Subseries 2. Educational Material, 1922-1953

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries documents Sellars' education, principally in philosophy, from his high school years in France and Germany through his graduate education at Oxford and Harvard. The bulk of the material dates from the later 1930s and emphasizes his post secondary education. The files are separated into the following sections: Early Education, Class Papers, Lecture Notes, and Miscellaneous Materials.

The majority of documents found within this subseries have been digitized. Each digital image is represented as a PDF. The entire folder contents are scanned and represented online.

Section: Early education

Scope and Content Notes:

The files pertaining to Sellars' early education date from 1922-1930 and focus predominately on his time at the Lycee Louis Le Grand in France. These files contain grade sheets, a graded paper and administrative files. One noteworthy document is the "philosophie" notebook, since it may be the earliest existing example of Sellars' philosophical writing. This section also contains administrative materials from a German institution attended briefly by Sellars.


Box 6
Folder 1 Lycee Louis Le Grand general files, 1922-1930
Folder 2 Lycee Louis Le Grand notebook on "Philosophie," undated
Folder 3 University of Munich material, 1930

Section: Papers written for courses

Scope and Content Notes:

This section consists of essays written by Sellars during his undergraduate and graduate education. The essays mostly date from Sellars’ time at Oxford and Harvard and are arranged alphabetically by title. The essays are usually handwritten, but in about ten cases there are typed versions available. The topics covered by the essays include the works of Hume and Bradley, ancient Greek philosophy, ethics, psychology, political institutions, and English Law. Of particular interest are the essays on Kant, which cover several related topics and are supplemented by two notebooks. These notebooks contain Sellars’ handwritten notes on writings by and about Kant, which generally consist of direct quotes from the original sources.

Folder 4 "Antimony of Pure Reason," undated
Folder 5 Bradley, undated
Folder 6 Comments on philosophy, undated
Folder 7 Cook Wilson, undated
Folder 8 Economics of interest, undated
Folder 9 English law, undated
Folder 10 "Epiphenomenalism and Emergent Materialism," undated
Folder 11 "An Examination of the Cogito," c. 1935
Folder 12 "The First Analogy," undated
Folder 13 "The First Antinomy," undated
Folder 14 Greek skepticism, 1953
Folder 15 Heraclites and Parmenides, 1953
Folder 16 Hume and relations, undated
Folder 17 Induction, undated
Folder 18 "Introduction to the Philosophy of Schelling," undated
Folder 19 "Is the A Priori Analytic?," undated
Folder 20 Kant and the antimonies, 1935-1937
Folder 21 "Kant," undated
Folder 22 "Kant on Space," undated
Folder 23 "Kant Papers for H. H. Price Collection," undated
Folder 24-25 Kant papers on various topics, undated

Box 7
Folder 1 "Kant's Refutation of Idealism," undated
Folder 2 Notes on Kant and substance, undated
Folder 3 Notes on Kant, time, direct awareness, undated
Folder 4 "Let us first ask the question what is it that is true?," undated
Folder 5 Nature undated
Folder 6 "Negation," undated
Folder 7 "A Note on Emergence and Predictability," undated
Folder 8 "Objectivity and Subjectivity in Value Theory," undated
Folder 9 "Outlines of a Naturalistic Cosmology," undated
Folder 10 "Perception," 1931-1932
Folder 11 "Political Institutions," 1935
Folder 12 Prichard and Cook Wilson, undated
Folder 13 "The Problem of Rent," undated
Folder 14 Psychology and ethics, undated
Folder 15 Santayana and Kant, undated
Folder 16 "The Second Analogy is....," undated
Folder 17 "Some Comments on Carnap's 'Scheinproblem," undated
Folder 18 "Some Comments on the Theory of Political Rights," undated
Folder 19 "Some Remarks on the Receptacle," undated
Folder 20 "The Sophists," 1933
Folder 21 "Universals," undated
Folder 22 "Utility, Value & Welfare," undated

Section: Course lecture notes

Scope and Content Notes:

The lecture notes are handwritten notes taken by Sellars during his post-secondary education. They are filed alphabetically by lecturer and consist of both loose sheets and bound notebooks. The lecture notes are usually labeled with the lecturer’s name and the topic of the course but in a few instances the lecturer is unknown. The notebooks may have one series of notes starting from the front of the notebook, and a second series starting from the back of the notebook, with the rear-forward handwriting inverted. Both types of notes may include reading lists for the course. In a few cases, there are typed, word-for-word transcriptions of the handwritten notes. Topics include the works of Hume, Lewis, Plato, Spinoza, and Wittgenstein, as well as logic, epistemology, and ethics. In addition to the lecture notes taken by Sellars, this section also contains two typed versions of notes created by Wittgenstein’s students in the 1930s.

Folder 23 "Austin - Leibnitz," undated
Folder 24 "(Buffalo Notebook?)," 1933
Folder 25 Carritt - Dialectical Materialism, undated
Folder 26 "Demos-Plato/Huntington Math," undated
Folder 27 "Deductive Science of Ethics," undated
Folder 28 "Huntington - Postulate Theory," undated
Folder 29 'Kneale Political Philosophy," undated

Box 8
Folder 1 Lewis - Hume and Parmenides, undated
Folder 2 Lewis - Epistemology, undated
Folder 3 Lewis - Logic, undated
Folder 4 "Lewis - Theory Knowledge," undated
Folder 5 "Mure-Hegel," undated
Folder 6 "H.H. Price - Problems in the Theory of Knowledge," Undated
Folder 7 "Pritchard Lectures on Berkeley's Theory of Knowledge" Trinity Term '35, 1935
Folder 8 "Pritchard - Ethics," undated
Folder 9 "Pritchard - The Nature of Moral Obligation," undated
Folder 10 "Quine - Logical Positivism," Undated

Box 9
Folder 1 Ross - Unlabeled, undated
Folder 2 Ross - Kant's moral theory and ethics, undated
Folder 3 Ross - Mr. Ryle - Induction and probability, 1936
Folder 4 Ross - Smith - Kant, undated
Folder 5 Ross - Stevenson - Hume, 1938
Folder 6 Unknown - Economics tutorial, undated
Folder 7 Unknown - International relations, undated
Folder 8 Unknown - Isaiah Berlin reading notes, undated
Folder 9 Unknown - Logical positivism, undated
Folder 10 Unknown - Political history, undated
Folder 11 Unknown - Spinoza, Wittgenstein, Plato, Logic, undated
Folder 12-13 Unknown - Wittgenstein Dictations, 1934-1937 1934-1937

Section: Miscellaneous

Scope and Content Notes:

This section contains correspondence written to Sellars in regards to his education at Oxford. Primarily, this correspondence is comprised of brief notes of congratulations sent to Sellars for passing exams. There are also several letters of recommendation Sellars received from members of the Oriel College faculty. Researchers may also be interested in Sellars’s correspondence with his first wife Gertrude Mary Sharp, which is located in the personal correspondence section and discusses his education and their developing relationship. In addition to correspondence, this section also contains examination booklets and exams. The majority of these files contain exam questions. However, two of the Oxford files contain Sellars’s handwritten answers to examinations. Sellars’s GRE scores are also located here. The remaining files document some of Sellars non-professional activities and interests while in graduate school. More specifically, it includes receipts from the doctor and bookstore, artifacts from the Jowett Society, the Oriel College Boat Club, and administrative documents dating from Sellars’s time at Oxford and Harvard.


Box 10
Folder 1 Address book and checkbook, 1934-1937
Folder 2 Bookstore receipts, doctor's bills 1936-1938
Folder 03-05 Correspondence, 1935-1956
Folder 6 Exams - GRE scores, undated
Folder 7 Exams - Oxford PPE bibliography, 1935
Folder 8 Exams - Oxford PPE questions, 1931-1936
Folder 9 Exams - Oxford answers on general PPE, undated
Folder 10 Exams - Oxford answers on logic, undated
Folder 11 Exams - Harvard Ph.D. questions, 1925-1938
Folder 12 Exams - University of Buffalo questions, 1934-1939
Folder 13 Jowett Society, 1936-1937
Folder 14-15 Miscellaneous memorabilia, 1933-1940
Folder 16 Oxford administrative and financial documents, 1934-1940

Subseries 3. Photographs, 1932-1987

Scope and Content Notes:

The vast majority of the photographs are posed portraits that document the personal and professional aspects of Wilfrid Sellars's life. The images of Wilfrid Sellars are arranged chronologically from his infancy through 1987. Additional files contain the images of other philosophers such as Gilbert Ryle, Antony Flew, and Spinoza. The family photographs feature Sellars's immediate family, such as his first wife, parents, and siblings, as well as his extended family. The miscellaneous images include photographs and negatives of unidentified individuals. In addition there are some items documenting Sellars's late interest in koi fish and lily pads.

Section: Wilfrid Sellars


Box 11
Folder 1 Childhood portraits, undated
Folder 2 Naval and posed portraits, 1932-1950s
Folder 3 Miscellaneous photographs, undated
Folder 4 Minnesota philosophy department portraits, 1946-1950s
Folder 05-08 Colloquium on Sellarsian Philosophy, 1987

Box 12
Folder 01-02 Portraits of other philosophers, undated

Section: Sellars family

Folder 03-05 Sellars, Gertrude Mary, 1930s-1940s
Folder 6 Sellars, Helen, undated
Folder 7 Sellars, Helen and Roy Wood, undated
Folder 08-11 Sellars, Roy Wood, undated-1973

Box 13
Folder 01-02 Extended family, undated
Folder 03-05 Miscellaneous, undated