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Elliott, Edward C. (Edward Charles), 1874-1960



  • Existence: December 21, 1874 - June 16, 1960

Biographical Information

Edward Charles Elliott (1874-1960), educator and sixth president of Purdue University, was born December 21, 1874 in Chicago, Illinois to Frederick and Susan Elliott. He spent his childhood in North Platte, Nebraska. He graduated from North Platte High School in 1891 and went on to attend the University of Nebraska. There he studied chemistry, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1895 and a Master of Arts degree in 1897. After graduation, Elliott accepted a position as a high school science teacher in Leadville, Colorado. The following year he was elected to serve as superintendent of schools for Leadville. He served as superintendent until 1903 when he resigned to accept a fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College. It was at Columbia where Elliott made the decision to pursue a career in education administration. He graduated in 1905 with doctorates in philosophy and education.

Following his graduation from Columbia University, Elliott accepted the position of associate professor in education at the University of Wisconsin. Two years later, in 1907, he married Elizabeth Nowland, whom he had been courting since his years in Leadville, Colorado. The couple had four children John, Susanne, Marion, and Edward. Their home at 137 Prospect Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin, which was designed for the Elliotts by the architectural firm of Claude and Stark, was designated a historical landmark in 1975. In 1909, Edward Elliott was named director of the Course for the Training of Teachers at the University of Wisconsin. During these years he co-authored several significant studies on education and also developed a rating scale for teachers which was the first of its kind in the country. In 1916, Elliott accepted the newly created position of chancellor at the University of Montana. Despite administrative infighting, Elliott was able to establish a university code, start a university funds campaign to finance much needed construction, and modernize the university’s business offices. In May 1922 Elliott resigned from the University of Montana and accepted the position of president at Purdue University.

During Elliott’s 23 years as president for Purdue (1922-1945), the University saw its greatest period of growth in prestige and service. During his tenure, enrollment more than doubled, 28 major buildings where constructed on campus, and the university’s net worth nearly tripled. The Division of Educational Reference, the School of Home Economics, and Purdue’s Graduate School, among other programs, were all established during Elliott’s presidency. He was instrumental in establishing the Ross-Ade Foundation, the Purdue Research Foundation, and the Purdue Aeronautics Corporation. Under Elliott, Purdue became the nation’s first university to own and operate an airport (1930). Elliott brought Amelia Earhart and Dr. Lillian Gilbreth to Purdue as part of his efforts to promote educational opportunities for women. Earhart became Consultant for Careers for Women at Purdue, a role that Dr. Gilbreth, professor of industrial engineering, would assume after Earhart’s disappearance in 1937. Elliott, along with David Ross and others, helped establish the Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research which funded the purchase of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra (nicknamed Purdue’s “Flying Laboratory”).

In 1938, Elliott served as an educational advisor to the Committee on Educational Policy for the University of The Philippines. In 1940, Elliott temporarily took over as the athletic director of Purdue. During World War II, he served on the U.S. Committee on War-Time Requirements for Specialized Personnel (1942) and received a leave of absence from Purdue to serve as chief of the Division of Professional and Technical Employment and Training within the War Manpower Commission (1942-1943). In 1943, he resumed his duties as Purdue’s president. On June 30, 1945, Elliott retired from Purdue University after having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in December 1944. Upon his retirement, Purdue’s Board of Trustees created the office of President Emeritus for Elliott. In 1946, the Elliotts moved to Washington, D.C. where Elliott directed a nationwide study on pharmaceutical education, published as The Pharmaceutical Survey. In 1948, the Elliotts returned to Lafayette. Two years later, Elliott was named Director of Educational Relations for the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. He held this position until 1952. The following year, Elliott became an educational consultant to the Commanding General of the Army Ordnance Corps. In 1956, Elliott received the National Award of Meritorious Civilian Service for his work with the Ordnance Training Command. The next year, at the age of 82, Elliott suffered a mild stroke which left him partially paralyzed on his right side. He became an invalid and rarely left his home. In 1958, Purdue University renamed its Hall of Music the Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music, making it the first building named for a past president. Edward C. Elliott died June 16, 1960 at the age of 85. Over his lifetime, Elliott authored several books and articles on education and was awarded numerous honorary degrees and citations for distinction.

Found in 16 Collections and/or Records:

Bruce Rogers papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 35
Scope and Contents Correspondence, examples of work, photographs and ephemera relating to the life and career of typographer and book designer Bruce Rogers.
Dates: 1889-1957; Majority of material found within 1900s-1957

Frank K. Burrin papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 43, Placement: 04
Identifier: MSF 435
Scope and Contents Edward C. Elliott, Educator, 1970 [inscribed to President Hovde, signed by author]
Dates: 1970

College of Agriculture, Administration of the College of Agriculture records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 44
Scope and Contents The College of Agriculture, Administration of the College of Agriculture, Records (1869-2009; 124.95 cubic feet) consists of administrative books, correspondence, financial records, faculty minutes, reports, and other materials relating to the administration of Purdue University’s School of Agriculture.
Dates: 1869-2009; Other: Date acquired: 03/08/2008

Amelia Earhart at Purdue papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 450
Scope and Contents The Amelia Earhart at Purdue papers document Amelia Earhart's arrival at Purdue University, her time there, and the efforts to memorialize Earhart after her disappearance. Types of materials include correspondence, ephemera, administrative reports, photographs, publicity materials, and speeches.
Dates: 1935 - 2000; Majority of material found within 1935 - 1937

Edward C. Elliott papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 50
Scope and Contents The Edward C. Elliott Papers (1890-1975; 22.8 Cubic ft.) document the life and career of educator and former Purdue University President Edward Elliott. The majority of the papers date from 1940 to 1960. The papers reflect the original order as they were received from Elliott and his family, and therefore have not been divided into series or subject areas. The Elliott Papers document Elliott's education and career, particularly his tenure as President of Purdue University (1922-1945),...
Dates: 1890-1975; Majority of material found within 1940-1960; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1959

Elliott Hall of Music records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 125
Scope and Contents The Elliott Hall of Music records contain information about the building dedication in 1940, past performances, brochures, and a safety plan for the building drafted in 1960. The collection also includes five large albums containing photos and autographs of the acts who performed at the Hall of Music between its dedication ceremony in 1940 and 1965; notable figures include Bob Hope, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Clement Attlee.
Dates: 1940 - 1990

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Library of Management Research and Professional papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 8
Scope and Contents The Gilbreth Library of Management documents the pioneering research of Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth in the fields of time and motion study. Commonly referred to as the N-file, the collection covers the Gilbreths quest to find The One Best Way in job performance, worker satisfaction, efficient office management, and home economics.Types of material in the N-file include photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, notes, blueprints, newspaper clippings, reports, and research...
Dates: 1845 - 1959; Majority of material found within 1906 - 1924; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1938

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 7
Scope and Contents The Gilbreth Papers documents the professional and personal lives of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The collection consists of personal papers, letters, correspondence, photographs, and other memorabilia that Lillian Gilbreth collected during her life regarding her youth, marriage, family, and career. Types of materials in the collection include: personal correspondence between Frank and Lillian Gilbreth regarding their courtship, marriage, family, and work; correspondence between the Gilbreths...
Dates: 1869 - 2000; Majority of material found within 1949 - 1968; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1971

William M. Hepburn papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 173
Scope and Contents Materials relate to Purdue history, Purdue faculty members, the Purdue Library system, and various individuals affiliated with Purdue history such as Charles Major, Bruce Rogers, and Richard Owen. The collection also includes Hepburn's personal and professional correspondence, personal documents such as a passport and articles on Hepburn's birthplace, a collection of books, and publications from both the Indiana Library Association and the American Library Association.An unknown...
Dates: 1880 - 1962

Frederick L. Hovde papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 51
Scope and Contents The Frederick L. Hovde Papers (1908-1983; 63.5 Cubic ft.) document the life and career of engineer and educator Frederick Hovde. The vast majority of the papers document Hovde's business career, particularly his tenure as President of Purdue University (1946-1971), but also his work for the U.S. government and other agencies on nuclear and atomic energy, weapons research, national defense, and rocket ordnance research. A group of personal papers is included, documenting Hovde's academic...
Dates: 1908 - 1983; Majority of material found within 1946 - 1971; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1982

Horton B. Knoll papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 521
Scope and Contents The Horton B. Knoll papers document Knoll's research, working papers, notes and typescripts for his books, A record of a university in the war years, 1941-1945, published in 1947, and The Story of Purdue Engineering, published in 1963. Also included among the papers is research material, working papers, notes and information related to Purdue presidents Owen, Smart, Stone, Elliott, and Hovde. There is also information Knoll compiled for his intended biography of John Purdue, and historical...
Dates: 1865 - 1981; Majority of material found within 1940 - 1963

Andrey A. Potter papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 527
Scope and Contents The Andrey A. Potter papers document the career, education, and personal life of nationally renowned engineer and educator Andrey Potter (A.A. Potter). Types of materials in the collection include articles; speeches; surveys; research and lecture notes; certificates, diplomas, and awards; photographs; correspondence; printed material; scrapbooks; medals; ephemera; artifacts; books and manuscripts; obituaries; greeting cards; reports; letterhead; newspaper clippings; and meeting minutes. The...
Dates: 1893 - 1986; Majority of material found within 1930-1970; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1979

George Palmer Putnam collection of Amelia Earhart papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 9
Scope and Contents The George Palmer Putnam collection of Amelia Earhart papers (1785-1948; 31.1 cubic feet) documents the personal life, aviation career, and business activities of pilot Amelia Earhart. Types of materials include: advertisements, articles, artifacts, awards, blueprints, books, certificates, charts, commemorative coins, contracts, correspondence, data sheets, diagrams, ephemera, flight logs, licenses, maps, newspaper clippings, notebooks, notes, permits, photographs, poetry, postage stamps,...
Dates: 1785-1948; Other: Majority of material found within 1928-1937

David E. Ross papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 188
Scope and Contents The papers of David Ross, inventor, businessman, and chair of the Purdue Board of Trustees. Materials include certificates, deeds and other legal papers, genealogy materials, correspondence, newspaper clippings, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, and artifacts documenting the life and career of David Ross. His papers cover a wide variety of subjects relating to his life and various farms and land he owned, and Martin Steel Products, as well as subjects relating to Purdue University, such as...
Dates: 1870 - 1943

Purdue University Rules and Regulations Governing Students collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSK 2
Scope and Contents The Purdue University Rules and Regulations Governing Students collection documents some of the earliest Purdue student rules and regulations. Among the collection are various "Rules and Regulations Governing Students" brochures; pledge forms regulating behavior, "Matriculation Regulations and Pledge," a 1913 Regulations for the Government of Athletics and "Manual of the Corps of Instruction," 1914.Some of the unique rules and regulations found in the collection are; Dormitory...
Dates: circa 1880 - 1950

The Purdue University Semi-Centennial collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 120
Scope and Contents The Purdue University Semi-Centennial collection (1922-1925; 2.05 cubic feet) predominantly consists of correspondence (mostly correspondence to and from President Elliott), programs and program drafts, and newspapers and newspaper articles, in addition to a modest assortment of meeting minutes, posters, announcements, invitations, financial records, photographs.  These materials offer the researcher a comprehensive glimpse into the planning of the 1924 semi-centennial and the commemoration of...
Dates: 1922 - 1925