© 2006 University of Chicago Library
Coulter, John Merle. Papers
1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Special Collections Research Center
John Merle Coulter (1851-1928), botanist and chair of the Botany Department of the University of Chicago, 1896-1926. The Papers contain the correspondence and personal papers of Coulter’s parents, relating mainly to a brief missionary tour to China. The collection also includes letters and school mementos, drafts of many of Coulter's postwar lectures and articles, and miscellaneous papers relating to his activities during the last five years of his life.
When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Coulter, John Merle. Papers
John Merle Coulter (1851-1928), was born in China to Presbyterian missionaries Moses and Caroline Coulter. He received an AB (1870) and an AM (1873) from Hanover College, then completed a PhD at Indiana State University in 1882.
Coulter served as Professor of Natural Sciences at Hanover College from 1874 to 1879 and Professor of Biology at Wabash College from 1879 to 1891. From 1891 to 1893, he was President of Indiana State University, then of Lake Forest College, from 1893-1896. In 1896, he became Chair of the Botany Department at the University of Chicago, where he remained until his retirement in 1925. In retirement, Coulter worked with the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Yonkers, New York.
In addition to his academic appointments, Coulter served as Assistant Geologist and Botanist for the Hayden Survey of what is now Yellowstone National Park (1872) and, in 1875, co-founded the Botanical Bulletin, soon renamed the Botanical Gazette. A staunch evolutionist and Presbyterian, he had a particular interest in the correlation of science and religion.
The John M. Coulter Papers contain the correspondence and personal papers of Coulters parents. These items relate mainly to the brief missionary tour of the Coulters at the Presbyterian Mission at Ningbo, China, which was terminated by Moses Coulter's death in 1853. The collection also includes letters and school mementos, drafts of many of Coulter's postwar lectures and articles, and miscellaneous papers relating to his activities during the last five years of his life. These activities included a trip to China and Japan in 1923, a project to write biographies for college students of important men of science, and the directorship of Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Yonkers, New York. The Collection is divided into two series.
The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:
Series I: Moses and Caroline Coulter Papers
This series includes letters and personal papers evidently preserved by Mrs. Caroline E. Coulter. They relate mainly to the brief missionary tour of the Coulters at the Presbyterian Mission at Ningbo, China, which was terminated by Moses Coulter's death in 1853. The highlight of this portion of the collection is a small group of letters written to Mrs. Coulter by friends still in Ningbo following her return to the United States in 1854 with her two small sons, John and Stanley (sometimes referred to as "Diddi" in the letters). These letters describe the continuing activities of the mission in the mid- and late 1850's and early 1860's and give some picture of the attitudes of the missionaries themselves.
|Box 1 Folder 1|
Commonplace Book: "To Mrs. Cara E. Coulter from her Affectionate Husband Moses S. Coulter." Contains: 1) Essays by Moses Coulter, June-July, 1845. 2) Journal of a Voyage from New York to China kept by Caroline Coulter, 1849. 3) "The Battle," a poem by Moses Coulter, 1846.
|Box 1 Folder 2|
Diaries of Moses Coulter, Sept. 4, 1848-Jan. 1, 1849: Lettered "A" and "B".
|Box 1 Folder 3|
Will of Moses S. Coulter, Sept. 30, 1851.
|Box 1 Folder 4|
Letters to and from Moses S. Coulter.
|Box 1 Folder 5|
Fragment of a letter describing Moses Coulter's last illness, c. 1853. (The letter is unsigned, but it appears to be in Caroline Coulter's hand.)
|Box 1 Folder 6|
Mr. and Mrs. H. V. Rankin. 15 letters, 1854-1861.
|Box 1 Folder 7|
Joseph K. Wright. 6 letters, 1853-1859.
|Box 1 Folder 8|
Mr. and Mrs. R. Q. Way. 9 letters, 1854-1870.
|Box 1 Folder 9|
Dr. and Mrs. D. B. McCartee. 8 letters, 1855-1874.
|Box 1 Folder 10|
Mrs. E. A. Goddard. 2 letters and one fragment, 1856-57.
|Box 1 Folder 11|
Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Hopper. 2 letters, 1859.
|Box 1 Folder 12|
Other missionary letters: Caroline A. Cobhold[?]. 1 letter, June 13, 1855. Unsigned. 1 letter, May 29, 1863.
|Box 1 Folder 13|
Jane Coulter to her daughter-in-law (Caroline) and her grandson, letters, 1853-1868.
|Box 1 Folder 14|
Postcards addressed to Caroline Coulter from John Coulter and members of his family. 18 cards, none dated.
|Box 1 Folder 15|
John Coulter's children to their grandmother, Caroline Coulter, none dated.
|Box 1 Folder 16|
Miscellaneous. 3 letters, 1 telegram.
|Box 1 Folder 17|
Letters by Caroline Coulter. 3.
Series II: Papers of John M. Coulter
This series comprises the principal portion of the collection is made up of letters and school mementos preserved by John M. Coulter’s mother and his mother-in-law, Anna M. Gaylord, drafts of many of Coulter's postwar lectures and articles, and miscellaneous papers relating to his activities during the last five years of his life: a trip to China and Japan in 1923, a project to write biographies for college students of important men of science, and the directorship of Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Yonkers, New York.
|Box 1 Folder 18|
Letters addressed to John Coulter by friends of his mother and by relatives. 4 letters, 1859-76.
|Box 1 Folder 19|
John M. Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter. 9 letters, 1872-79. 1862-70.
|Box 1 Folder 20|
John M. Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter and Georgie Gaylord Coulter. 3 letters, 1879-84.
|Box 1 Folder 21|
John M. Coulter to Georgie Gaylord [Coulter]. 7 letters, 1872-73.
|Box 1 Folder 22|
John M. Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter. 11 letters, 1872-73.
|Box 1 Folder 23|
John Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter. 6 letters, May-June, 1903.
|Box 1 Folder 24|
John Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter. 9 letters, July-August, 1903.
|Box 1 Folder 25|
John Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter. 12 letters, Sept.-Nov., 1903.
|Box 1 Folder 26|
Others in family to Caroline Coulter. 8 letters, June-Oct., 1903.
|Box 1 Folder 27|
Georgie Coulter to her mother, Anna M. Gaylord. 18 letters, May-Oct., 1903.
|Box 1 Folder 28|
John M. Coulter to Caroline Coulter. 22 letters, Oct., 1905 - March, 1906.
|Box 1 Folder 29|
Other members of family to Caroline Coulter. 2 letters, Nov., 1905.
|Box 1 Folder 30|
Georgie Coulter to Anna M. Gaylord. 21 letters, 1905-06.
|Box 1 Folder 31|
John M. Coulter to Caroline E. Coulter. 3 letters.
|Box 2 Folder 1|
Compositions by John M. Coulter: "Lines dedicated to my mother on her 34th birthday, Mar. 24, 1862." "Description of Waveland Collegiate Institute." Feb., 1863.
|Box 2 Folder 2|
Student Notebook: English Literature.
|Box 2 Folder 3|
Reports of Standing: Hanover College, 1866, 1868, 1870 (5 reports)
|Box 2 Folder 4|
Certificate of Marriage: John M. Coulter to Georgie M. Gaylord. Jan. 1, 1874. Pasted in front of a copy of The Marriage Gift by James Petrie.
|Box 2 Folder 5|
Botanical Gazette, edited by John M. and M. Stanley Coulter: Mailing list for 1889 and miscellaneous papers.
|Box 2 Folder 6|
Notebooks (2). Notes made on European trips of 1903 and 1905. (Back of 1905-06 notebook contains cancelled draft of an article on Asa Gray.)
|Box 2 Folder 7|
China -Japan Trip (1923-24): Itinerary.
|Box 2 Folder 8|
China-Japan Trip (1923-24): Postcards, photographs, and clippings.
|Box 2 Folder 9|
Boyce Thompson Institute: Birthday greeting, Nov. 20, 1926, signed by members of staff. Copy of Contributions, Jan. 1, 1925.
|Box 2 Folder 10|
Encyclopedia Britannica, correspondence concerning articles for. Sept., 1928.
|Box 2 Folder 11|
|Box 2 Folder 12|
Telegrams of sympathy. Testament of Hyde Park Men's Club.
|Box 2 Folder 13|
Letters of sympathy.
|Box 2 Folder 14|
Coulter's lapsed life insurance policy. Correspondence with Mutual Life Insurance, by Merle Coulter (son), Dec., 1928-Jan., 1929.
|Box 2 Folder 15|
Letter to Merle Coulter, concerning his share in estate.
|Box 3 Folder 1|
List of addresses and papers
|Box 3 Folder 2|
The Botanical Opportunity
|Box 3 Folder 3|
Botany as a National Asset
|Box 3 Folder 4|
Development of Botany in the United States
|Box 3 Folder 5|
The Evolution of Botanical Research
|Box 3 Folder 6|
The Evolution of Plants
|Box 3 Folder 7|
The Future of Botany
|Box 3 Folder 8|
The New Botany
|Box 3 Folder 9|
The Biological Background of Religious Education
|Box 3 Folder 10|
The Case for Religions
|Box 3 Folder 11|
Christianity and Science
|Box 3 Folder 12|
The Cooperation of Science and Religion
|Box 3 Folder 13|
Evolution and Christianity (another version of folder 12)
|Box 3 Folder 14|
Evolution and its Explanations (reprint from Christian Century, May 22, 1922.)
|Box 3 Folder 15|
The History of Organic Evolution
|Box 3 Folder 16|
The Meaning of Evolution
|Box 3 Folder 17|
The Methods and Results of Science
|Box 3 Folder 18|
The Need for Cooperation
|Box 3 Folder 19|
Original Exploration of Yellowstone National Park
|Box 3 Folder 20|
Our National Park
|Box 3 Folder 21|
The Personal Faith of a Scientist
|Box 3 Folder 22|
The Present Status of Organic Evolution
|Box 3 Folder 23|
The Role of Science in Modern Civilization
|Box 3 Folder 24|
The Science of Religion
|Box 4 Folder 1|
Welcoming talk: "It is a great pleasure to the Institute Staff to welcome this group of Chemists..."
|Box 4 Folder 2|
Welcoming talk: "It is a great pleasure to welcome this group of pathologists..."
|Box 4 Folder 3|
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
|Box 4 Folder 4|
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (another version)
|Box 4 Folder 5|
Research at the Boyce Thompson Institute
|Box 4 Folder 6|
Work of the Boyce Thompson Institute
|Box 4 Folder 7|
Correspondence: Otis Caldwell to John M. Coulter.
|Box 4 Folder 8|
Correspondence with scientists concerning source material for biographies.
|Box 4 Folder 8.5|
|Box 4 Folder 9|
Liberty Hyde Bailey, Ms of Coulter's biography.
|Box 4 Folder 10|
Hugo De Vries, Ms of Coulter's biography.
|Box 4 Folder 11|
Rafinesque, Ms of Coulter's biography.
|Box 4 Folder 12|
The International Mission of Universities.
|Box 4 Folder 13|
The New Spirit.
|Box 4 Folder 14|
Book reviews for Science: General Botany by C. Stuart Gager Flora of the Panama Canal Zone by Paul C. Stanley.
|Box 4 Folder 15|
Report: International Congress of Plant Sciences.
|Box 4 Folder 16|
Report: Philadelphia Symposium.
|Box 4 Folder 17|
Report: American Electrotheraputic Association, 37th Annual Meeting.
|Box 4 Folder 18|
Report: Winter Potatoes (about Dr. F. E. Denny)
|Box 4 Folder 19|
Daily Science News Bulletin, May 15, 1926 (notice of an article by Coulter in Science.)
|Box 4 Folder 20|
List of Books from the Library of John M. Coulter.
|Box 4 Folder 21|
Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings.
|Box 4 Folder 22|
|Box 4 Folder 23|
Part of a letter, unaddressed and unsigned (8 pages, unnumbered) describing "a short visit to Pootoo." (Probably to Caroline Coulter).
|Box 4 Folder 24|
Letter: C. F. Cowan to Leila Garritt, with Photograph (unidentified).
|Box 4 Folder 25|
Miscellaneous fragments and sheets: most in JMC's hand, but back of one drawing bears note with signature M.S.C.