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Thomas F. Moran papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 275

Scope and Contents

The Thomas Moran papers document the scholarly work and interests of Dr. Thomas F. Moran. The collection consists of unpublished manuscripts written by Moran, including essays, speeches, and lecture notes; publications containing articles written by Moran; newspaper clippings written or collected by Moran; and correspondence.

Also included are material about Thomas Moran produced following his death, including newspaper clippings of his obituary and funeral service; material from a memorial event held at Purdue; journal articles written about Moran’s life and impact; and a leather medal awarded to Moran posthumously by the Sigma Delta Chi society.


  • circa 1888-1929
  • Majority of material found within 1914 - 1922


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Access Informaiton

This 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

Dr. Thomas Francis Moran was an author and researcher, leader in education and collegiate sports, and avid participant in philanthropic movements. He was born at Columbia, Michigan on January 9, 1866. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1887, and was admitted to the Michigan Bar that same year. From 1887 to 1892, Moran served as the Superintendent of Schools at Elk River, Minnesota. While there he met Louise Upham, whom he married in 1896. After leaving Elk River in 1892, Moran attended John Hopkins University, where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy in 1895.

Following his graduation from John Hopkins in 1895, Moran accepted a position at Purdue University as a Professor of History and Head of the Department of History and Economics. Working with President Smart, Moran was responsible for organizing the Western Intercollegiate Conference (now known as the Big Ten Conference) in 1896, and remained Purdue’s representative to the conference until his death in 1928. Moran was also involved in the establishment of the Purdue Memorial Union and organizing the 1924 semi-centennial celebration of Purdue University.

In addition to his work at Purdue, Moran taught summer classes at the University of Illinois in 1914, and served as the Fred Morgan Kirby Lecturer on Civil Rights at Lafayette College (Pennsylvania) in 1921. He was an active member of the American Historical Association and American Political Science Association, and served as a member of the Indiana State Historical Commission from 1923 to 1925. In 1918, he served as the associate director of the speaking division of the Committee on Public Information in Washington, D.C.

Moran's interests revolved around American presidents, the American government, World War One, education, and democracy. He published a number of books and articles on these subjects, his most well-known including “The Theory and Practice of the English Government,” 1903; “The Formation and Development of the Constitution," 1904; and “American Presidents: Their Individualities and Their Contributions to American Progress,” 1917.

Moran passed away suddenly on October 21, 1928. A memorial event in his honor was held at Purdue on November 16, 1928.


2.678 Cubic Feet (Two cubic foot boxes, one letter-size full-width manuscript box, one letter-size half-width manuscript box, and two legal-size folders)


Material are arranged chronologically in five series by subject and material type. The newspaper series maintains original order for the 1100 numbered clippings, and arranges the unnumbered clippings chronologically.
  1. Manuscripts
  2. Publications
  3. Newspaper Clippings
  4. Correspondence
  5. Honoring Thomas Moran

Physical Access Information

Material in this collection are fragile and should be handled with care.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Leather medal transfered by Frank Hockema on July 9, 1943. Date and source of acquisition of remaining material is unknown.

Separated Materials

Essays "Ethics of Modern Science," "Literature of Science," and "Paper by Stanley Coulter," speech "Address by Stanley Coulter," and notes "Notes on Biography of Stanley Coulter" moved to MSF 481, Stanley Coulter papers.
Letters from Charles R. Barnes moved to MSF 25, Charles R. Barnes papers.
A copy of "American Presidents: Their Individualities and Their Contributions to American Progress" was separated from the collection and is now part of the Archives and Special Collections General Book Collection (923.1 M79a2).
Fairs publication by Colin Simkin moved to MSF 531, Arvill W. Bitting Collection of World Expositions and Fairs.
Scrapbook on medical school controversy #2 and journal articles on Indiana medical schools moved to MSP 174, Purdue University School of Medicine collection.

Processing Information

All materials have been rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Rusted staples and paper clips have been removed from the materials. The original order of the materials has been retained whenever possible. Material not maintained in original order have been arranged chronologically.
Thomas F. Moran papers
Under Review
William Niner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Third edition.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-06: Collection description updated by Adelle Rogers.
  • 2023-02-20: Collection processed and description updated by William Niner.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States