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Emersonian Literary Society records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 142

Scope and Contents

The Emersonian Literary Society records documents the activities of the Emersonian Literary Society.  The collection includes records books that document the weekly meetings of the society, as well as membership and included correspondence.  The ephemera portion of the collection documents annual events hosted by the Emersonian and other literary societies, tickets to society events, and Debris clippings about the group.  Unfortunately, there is no documentation of the Emersonian or other societies after the series of mergers and name changes in the twenties and thirties.  The collection might be useful tor researchers interested in Purdue history, literary societies, material culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and extracurricular activities of students.  Types of materials include: records books, programs, tickets, correspondence, a diploma, and clippings.


  • 1887 - 1924


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University.

Historical Information

The Emersonian Literary Society was founded in 1887 to supplement the already strong tradition of literary societies at Purdue.  This was due primarily to increasing enrollment at in the older literary societies and at Purdue in general.  Students began work to start the society in 1886, but a charter was not granted by the faculty until 1887.  The society focused on the intellectual development of its members, particularly in the discussion and debate of literary works and current events.  Due to declining membership and interest in literary societies in general, the Emersonian merged with the Irving in 1924, forming the Irving-Emersonian Literary Society.  In 1926, the Irving-Emersonian was absorbed by the national honorary fraternity Kappa Phi Sigma, effectively joining three literary societies.  Kappa Phi Sigma appears to have been active until 1937, when it no longer appears in the student handbook section on activities and organizations.


1.292 Cubic Feet (One cubic foot box and one flat folder)


The Emersonian Literary Society records is arranged into two series.
  1. Ephemera
  2. Records Books

Custodial History

The records were created by the Emersonian Literary Society and subsequently housed in the searchable stacks before being transferred to the Archives and Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from Purdue Libraries searchable stacks, date unknown.

Processing Information

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained.  All materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes. Oversized certificates, and other printed material [OVS]; photographs; and artifacts have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.
Emersonian Literary Society records, Purdue University
Virginia Pleasant
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. First edition completed on April 10, 2015.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States