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Louis Martin Sears papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 338

Scope and Contents

The Louis Martin Sears Papers (1911-1960; 4 cubic ft.) document the professional career of historian and author Louis Martin Sears. Types of materials in the collection include writings, speeches, correspondence, printed material, and a photograph of Sears. The bulk of the papers consist of typescripts or manuscripts for various articles, speeches, books, or book reviews written by Sears. There are also five folders among the faculty folder publications which contain articles by Louis Martin Sears.


  • 1911 - 1960
  • Majority of material found within 1928 - 1958
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/2004


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

Author and historian Louis Martin Sears was born in Chicago on June 4, 1885. His mother died during childbirth so he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Louise Hawley Martin.

Sears received Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago, which awarded him its Alumni Citation for Public Service in 1950. Sears joined the faculty of Purdue University in 1920. Prior to coming to Purdue as an assistant professor in 1920, he taught in high schools at Birmingham, Alabama, Joliet, Illinois, and Chicago.

Sears became an associate professor at Purdue in 1922, and was promoted to a full professor of history in 1925. In 1953, Sears received the Sigma Delta Chi "Best Teacher" award, and he was commencement speaker to the 1955 graduating class of Purdue University. In addition to his teaching duties at Purdue, Sears taught summer terms at the University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of West Virginia, University of Cincinnati, University of Wisconsin, and New York University. He also taught for a full year at Duke University.

After retiring from Purdue in 1956, Sears went to Washington, D.C. to complete work on several books he was writing. Sears authored several history texts and numerous journal articles, primarily relating to United States diplomatic history. Some of his books include John Slidell, Jefferson and the Embargo, A History of American Foreign Relations, George Washington, and George Washington and the French Revolution. Sears was active in the Indiana and Mississippi Valley historical societies, the American Historical Association, and the Academy of Political Science. He was a fellow of the Royal History Society of Great Britain, a member of the University of Chicago Literary Society, the Cosmos Club in Washington, and Phi Beta Kappa. He was an honorary member of the Purdue chapters of Sigma Delta Chi, Scabbard and Blade, Phi Gamma Mu, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Town and Gown Club of Lafayette, Indiana. Dr. Sears was Professor Emeritus of History at Purdue when he died on May 14, 1960, in George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. Sears is buried in Lockport Cemetery in Lockport, Illinois. He never married.


1.453 Cubic Feet (Four letter-size full-width manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The Papers are comprised of the following series: I. Writings by Sears, 1911-1960; II. Correspondence, 1936-1959; III. Research Materials, 1935-1957; IV. Printed Material, 1922-1958; V. Photographic Material, undated. The Writings series includes journal articles and reprints, typescripts, books, critical reviews, speeches, commencement addresses, talks for conference proceedings, course papers, essays, and memoirs. Also included in this series are two sets of meeting minutes of the Parlor Club taken by Sears in 1946. The Correspondence series includes incoming and outgoing correspondence primarily relating to Sears' various writing projects. The Research Materials series includes Sears' notes and references to sources used by him in his writings and research. The Printed Material series includes journal articles, pamphlets, and other assorted materials given to Sears or collected by him. The Photographic Material series consists of one photographic print of Sears, undated

Physical Access Requirements

The collection is stored offsite; 24 hours notice is required to access the collection.

Separated Materials

Photographic print was placed in Purdue File.
Louis Martin Sears papers
In Progress
Sammie Morris 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 2005-03-10.

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