University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Leonard Bloomfield Papers 1935-1943

© 2009 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Bloomfield, Leonard. Papers




0.1 linear feet (1 folder)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Leonard Bloomfield, philologist and linguist. The Leonard Bloomfield Papers consists of a notebook and two reprints, extending from 1935 to 1943.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Bloomfield, Leonard. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Leonard Bloomfield was born on April 1, 1887 in Chicago. Bloomfield attended from Harvard University (B.A.1906), the University of Wisconsin (1906-08), the University of Chicago (Ph.D 1909), the University of Leipzig (1913-14), and the University of Göttingen (1914).

Bloomfield was an instructor of German at the University of Cincinnati from 1909 to 1910 and at the University of Illinois from 1910 to 1913. He was an Assistant Professor for comparative linguistics and German at the University of Illinois from 1913 10 1921, and an Assistant Professor of German at Ohio State University, Columbus from 1921 to 1927. He was professor at the University of Chicago from 1927 to 1940. At Chicago, he became Chairman of the Department of Linguistics, which was started in 1933. He became Professor of Germanic Philology and Acting Chairman of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. In 1940 he resigned from the department and left for Yale, where he had been offered a Sterling Professorship in Linguistics.

His specialty for years was Germanic languages, but later he became interested in languages from a scientific viewpoint. With Edward Sapir, Bloom can be considered one of the two most prominent American linguists of the first half of the twentieth century. In 1914 he wrote Introduction to the Study of Language, which was in later editions just called Language (1933). The book became the standard introduction to linguistics for thirty years. With his students, particularly Bernard Bloch, Zellig Harris, and Charles Hockett, Bloomfield established the school of thought that has come to be known as American structural linguistics, which dominated the field until the1960s.

Bloomfield helped to start the Linguistic Society of America in 1924, and served as its president in 1935. He was a member of the International Committee of Linguists.

His other works include Tagalog Texts With Grammatical Analysis (1917), Menomini Texts (1928), Sacred Stories of the Sweetgrass Cree (1930), Plains Cree Texts (1934), The Stressed Vowels of American English (1935), Linguistic Aspects of Science (1939), Spoken Dutch (1945), and Spoken Russian (1945).

Bloomfield married Alice Sayers in 1909. The couple had two sons.

Leonard Bloomfield died on April 18, 1949 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Scope Note

The Leonard Bloomfield Papers consists of one notebook and two reprints. The notebook contains handwritten notes on Burmese grammar, spelling, and pronounciation. The reprints are of “Linguistic Aspects of Science” (1935) and “Language or Ideas?” (1936).

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Notebook and articles

  • Spiral notebook, containing handwritten notes on Burmese grammar, spelling and pronunciation, dating from Bloomfield's studies of Burmese at Yale, 1942-1943
  • "Linguistic Aspects of Science," reprint, 1935
  • "Language or Ideas?" reprint, 1936