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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), but also his work relating to education, military training, and pharmaceutical surveys. Portions of the papers relate to Elliott's positions at the University of Montana and the University of Wisconsin. Some personal papers are included which document Elliott's academic background, family, and personal life. A small collection of Elliott's personal belongings, such as medals and awards, academic regalia, and books from his personal library are included in the collection. Types of materials in the papers include: correspondence; reports; meeting minutes; printed material (brochures, publications, newspaper clippings, books); biographical information; notes and transcripts of speeches; certificates; diplomas; schedules and itineraries; rosters and lists; ledgers; charts; research notes; articles of incorporation and bylaws; photographic materials; audio-visual materials; sheet music; scrapbooks; artifacts; ephemera; surveys; press releases; works of art on paper; and daily appointment books. The scrapbooks, in particular, thoroughly document the life, career, and activities of Elliott, and his appointment books contain notations to significant events such as bringing Amelia Earhart to Purdue University. The papers include correspondence between Elliott and noted individuals such as George Ade, John T. McCutcheon, and others. Documents in the collection also relate to Elliott's relationships with and/or memories of prominent people such as Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, Booth Tarkington, Frederick Hovde, Lillian Gilbreth, Chase S. Osborn, David Ross, Thomas Francis Moran, Lord Halifax, and artist Maude Phelps Hutchins. Subjects covered extensively in the papers include higher education, pharmaceutical education and surveys, military training, the United States Armed Forces Institute, the Purdue Research Foundation, the War Manpower Commission, the Army Ordnance Corps, the Purdue Aeronautical Corporation, and the Elliott Hall of Music at Purdue University. Researchers should note that most of Elliott's working papers as Purdue President, along with many of his personal papers, were destroyed in a warehouse fire after Elliott retired from Purdue.


  • 1890-1975
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1960
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1959


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Some material in this collection are in the public domain, while other material copyrights are held by Purdue University. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

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 then doubled, 28 major buildings where constructed on campus, and the university’s net worth nearlytripled. TheDivision 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. UnderElliott, 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 Researchwhich funded the purchase of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra (nicknamed Purdue’s “Flying Laboratory”).


22.80 Cubic Feet

Arrangement Note

The original collection arrangement by Elliott was preserved.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Estate of Edward C. Elliott on November 30, 1959.

Related Materials

George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers George Ade Papers Frank & Lillian Gilbreth Library of Management Frank & Lillian Gilbreth Papers Frederick L. Hovde Papers [url=]Purdue University Archives photograph collection, 1880-2010[/url] [url=]Purdue University Artifact Collection, 1880-2008[/url]
MSF 275, Thomas F. Moran papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries. Related series include: Series 5.

Processing Information

Artifact moved to Purdue Artifact Collection.
Edward C. Elliott papers
In Progress
Joanne Mendes, Archives Assistant
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States