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Max D. Steer papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 360

Scope and Contents

The Max D. Steer papers (1931-2004; 17 cubic feet) document the academic and scientific career of Prof. Steer. The collection details the many different facets of his career at Purdue University including teaching, publishing, primary research, campus-wide, national, and international committee involvement, and awards. This collection would be very useful to anyone researching in the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences at Purdue because Steer is the founder of that department. There is a great deal of documentation on Steer’s committee involvement with American Speech and Hearing Association, International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, and his research on international speech and audiology programs supported by the United States Senate. Types of materials include newspaper clippings and articles, article manuscripts and primary research materials, correspondence, committee minutes and correspondence, publications, and awards. The papers are organized into six series: Manuscripts, Correspondence, Committee materials, Published materials, and Artifacts, awards, and audio-visual materials. History of Speech and Audiology clinic The program in Speech Pathology at Purdue University began in 1935 when Professor M. D. Steer joined the faculty. Its primary function at that time was to provide remedial services to those university students who had deviant speech skills. A year later, an undergraduate academic training program was started. The graduate program began in 1940. In its earlier years, the program was part of the Department of English. In 1947, the bachelors program was introduced. The first doctoral degree was granted in 1948. The SLHS program was one of the first in the country to achieve accreditation in both speech pathology and audiology from the Educational Standards Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The program has experienced continual growth. In honor of M. D Steer, the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Purdue University was renamed the M. D. Steer Audiology and Speech-Language Clinics in 2006. Source: Please see the attached finding aid for a box and folder list.


  • 1931 - 2004
  • Majority of material found within 1934 - 1983
  • Other: Date acquired: 03/03/1999


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Max David Steer was an internationally known authority in bio-acoustics and experimental phonetics applied to speech and language pathology. A New Yorker who devoted his entire professional career to Purdue, Steer graduated from Long Island University with a B.S. degree in psychology and speech. He completed an M.S. degree in pathology, audiology and voice science and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology, speech pathology and voice science at the University of Iowa. Professor Steer became the first Distinguished Professor in the School of Humanities, Social Science and Education at Purdue University since the school was formed in 1963. Steer also served as department head of the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences from 1963 to 1970.

Steer, who is listed in Who’s Who and American Men of Science, was awarded an honorary LL.D. degree from Long Island University in 1957. He received the Honors of the American Speech and Hearing Association in 1958, and was elected to the select membership of the Collegium International de Phonologie Experiementale in 1969. He was a member of Sigma Xi and a Fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

Steer also performed government work beginning with joining the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1942 as aviation psychologist and head of the Acoustic Laboratory, School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida. He was discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1946 when he returned to Purdue. Other government work throughout his career included serving as a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Division of Research of the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped in the U.S. Office of Education and as a consultant to the Bureau of Higher Education Division of Graduate Programs of the same agency. He also participated as a Consultant for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Past president of the American Speech and Hearing Association and the American Speech and Hearing Foundation, Steer was also chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the former organization and was also as vice president of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics.

Having served on many state committees over the years, Steer was one of the founders and a past president of the Indiana Speech and Hearing Association, and also served as chairman of the Indiana Hearing Commission and consultant to the Fort Wayne State Hospital and Training Center.

Steer was a past president of the University Club at Purdue University and devoted considerable time to various academic committees and served on the Graduate Council, the University Senate, the Faculty Athletic Affairs Committee, the Campus Appeals Committee and the Purdue Research Foundation.

Author of more than 135 articles and research reports, Steer served as a visiting lecturer in universities at home and abroad on subjects of psycho-acoustics, bio-acoustics, experimental phonetics and speech pathology.


13.233 Cubic Feet (Twenty-nine letter-size full-width manuscript boxes, three legal-size full-width manuscript boxes, and one cubic foot box)

Arrangement Note

1. Manuscripts, 1931-2004 (3.6 cubic feet) Materials in the series are arranged chronologically. Subseries A: Personal materials This subseries includes curriculum vitas, newspaper clippings, and articles about the career of Max D. Steer. Subseries B: Professional materials This subseries includes items written by Max D. Steer. Examples include article manuscripts, speeches, notes, teaching materials, student papers, etc. 2. Correspondence, 1947-1990, (0.5 cubic feet) Materials in this series include personal and professional correspondence and memos. Materials in the series are arranged chronologically. 3. Department of audiology and speech sciences and clinic materials, 1936-1986, (0.8 cubic feet) Materials in this series include patient files, staff list, photographs, newspaper clippings, department budget, staff handbooks, newspaper clippings, and clinic 50th anniversary celebration materials. Valuable historical information about the department and policy and procedure manuals for working in the clinic are included in this series. Materials are arranged chronologically. 4. Committee materials, 1959-1990 (5.6 cubic feet) Materials are arranged chronologically. Subseries A: Purdue University committee materials Materials included in this subseries are PRF committee, Purdue Sires, Purdue Retirees, and Tarkington Hall faculty fellows correspondence and minutes. Subseries B: National committee materials Taking up the bulk of this subseries are the following: 1) Study on international assistance for speech and hearing programs by United State Senate subcommittee and 2) ASHA committee materials. Subseries C: International committee materials Documented in this subseries is Steer’s involvement with the following international organizations: Federacion Lation-Americana de Sociedades de Foniatria Logopedia y Audiologia (FLASFLA), International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Affairs Committee (IAC) of the American Speech and hearing association (ASHA). Included within these records are correspondence, speeches, and papers directly related to each organization. 5. Published materials, 1934-1983 (4 cubic feet) Materials are arranged chronologically. Subseries A: Published materials written by M.D. Steer Materials included in this subseries are published journal articles written by M.D. Steer. Subseries B: Published materials not written by M.D. Steer Materials included in this subseries are published journal articles written by other audiology scientists and colleagues of M. D. Steer. Subseries C: United State Navy publications Materials included in this subseries are published technical reports written by Steer and colleagues during his time in the U.S. Navy. 6. Artifacts, awards and audio-visual materials, 1936-1999 (1 cubic foot) Materials are arranged chronologically when possible. Subseries A: Awards Materials included in this subseries are paper certificates from Purdue University, the state of Indiana, national associations, and international associations. Subseries B: Audio-visual materials Materials included in this subseries are audiocassettes of lectures and slides of Purdue University campus buildings. Subseries C: Artifacts Materials included in this subseries are a gavel, gavel blocks, and awards.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Max and Ruth Steer on March 27, 1997, June 23, 1998, August 7, 2009, July 21, 2010

Accruals and Additions

All additions have been integrated into the main collection.

Addition I, June 23, 1998, donated by Ruth Steer

Newspaper articles: They teach Others to Hear and Talk Psi Iota Xi Sorority is sponsor of an institute for girls who may become speech and hearing therapists Sunday The Indianapolis Star Magazine June 29, 1958; Clinic Head Honored by Association Friday Evening February 20, 1959 The Jo… IND (6 copies); Prof. Finds Anti-Sub Net deadly No date, no source; Dr. Steer Given Highest Speech, Hearing award No date, no source; Steer Named to Committee No date, no source; Speech, Hearing Director to Address Dinner Meeting No date, no source; Speech, Hearing Unit Lauds Hoosier Doctor No date, no source; Diploma; Ph.D Awarded from State University of Iowa February 1, 1938; Certificates; The Society of the Sigma Xi member Iowa 24 March 1937; The Society of the Sigma Xi Associate Iowa 28 March 1935; The Long Island University Alumni Association Alumni Unity Long Island University class of 1932, Awarded Brooklyn NY June 6, 1952; The American Speech and Hearing Association Advanced Clinical Certificate in Speech First day of January 1950; The Indiana Society for crippled Children Certificate of Appreciation September 15, 1954;

Photographs: Max D. Steer speaking to group, no date, no site; Max D. Steer with another man, signed “with compliments & thanks for your courtesy & hospitality To the board of the Ind Soc for Crippled Children (looks like same site as item 1, photographs); Steer date and site not provided, looks like one half of photo; Group date 26-6-59 (?) site (?); Steer at podium No date, No site; 4 Naval officers, last names on back including steer no date or site; Male & Female Naval officers, last names on back, no date or site; Steer at desk no date or site; Steer at desk with pipe no date or site; Steer signed To Mother and Dad love Mack no date; Naval Officer in front of school of Aviation Medicine signed to Max whose fine help has been appreciated Signature; LL.D Award 1957 Long Island Univ.; Group include Steer, signed and loose card with names (? Accompany this photo); The Purdue University Bands Distinguished Service Award January 27, 1976; The Purdue Residence Hall council for Outstanding Achievement in the area of Faculty Fellow Program second day of April 1986; Group of Naval Officers including Steer no date or site; Honorary Big Niner USS Essex a ship of the United States Navy, 30 July 1960 signed R.L. Fowler Captain USN; Steer & Capt Fowler on the bridge, signed It has been a pleasure to have you on board USS Essex 27 July – 4 August 1960 Capt R. L. Fowler U.S.N. Commanding officer; The Purdue Retiree Hall Council presents this award of excellence to Max D. Steer, for Outstanding Achievement in the area of Faculty Fellow Program eighth day of April 1987

Addition II, September 6, 2009, donated by Ruth Steer

Packet of newspaper clippings and materials concerning Max Steer.

Addition III, September 30, 2010, donated by Ruth Steer

Retirement congratulatory letter, 1976; bound, “Purdue Visions,” 1992; wall plaques in honor/recognition; newspaper clippings of career; facts about Dept. of Speech and Audiology; two desk paperweights; correspondence; Sagamore of the Wabash award, 1976

Related Materials

College of Liberal Arts Records, Purdue University

Processing Information

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained. All materials have been housed in acid-free boxes. Materials have been refoldered where necessary. Artifacts and audio-visual items have been housed together for preservation purposes.
Max D. Steer papers
In Progress
Shauna Borger and Keertana Marella
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second Edition. Collection description was first completed 2012-10-03.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-06: Collection description updated by Keertana Marella

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States