University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Frederick Ives Carpenter Papers 1885-1925

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Carpenter, Frederick Ives. Papers




1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)


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


Frederick Ives Carpenter (1861-1925), professor of English at the University of Chicago. Manuscripts, notes, lectures, correspondence, and essays reflecting Carpenter's interests in scholarship and the teaching of English literature. Includes material created while Carpenter was a student and later when he taught English literature at the University of Chicago. Also includes research on Edmund Spenser.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


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

Biographical Note

Professor of English. A.B., Harvard University, 1885. Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1895. Docent, University of Chicago, 1895-1897; instructor, 1897-1902; assistant professor, 1902-1904; associate professor, 1904-1910; professor, 1911.

F. I. Carpenter was born in Monroe, Wisconsin on November 29, 1861. After completing Chicago High School, he attended Harvard College from which he was graduated in 1885. While at Harvard he displayed an interest in literature, music and art, and was managing editor of the Herald, later known as the Harvard Crimson.

In 1885-1886 he was a student in France and Germany, and in 1886-1887 attended the Union College of Law, Chicago. He then entered into his father's business, a large lumbering firm in northern Michigan. Carpenter's interest in research and the study of literature, however, steadily became more dominant, and in 1892 he left the firm to become one of the first graduate students in English Literature at the University of Chicago. After receiving his doctorate in 1895, he remained at the University as a teacher and stayed until his retirement in 1911.

Carpenter, both as a graduate student and as a professor, was keenly interested in the problems of research in literature. He was aware of the inadequacies and the inaccuracies of the available bibliographies and reference books, and worked to correct the situation. Other contributions to scholarship which Carpenter made were his work in the establishment of Modern Philology and his long service as library adviser to the University of Chicago and trustee to the Newberry Library.

In 1911 Carpenter retired to manage the large estate that his father had left him. His interest in scholarship, though, never waned, and he continued to serve as a trustee for the Newberry Library; to purchase books for the English Department at the University of Chicago; to serve as secretary of the Modern Language Association's Committee on the Reproduction of Books and Manuscripts; and in 1923 to publish his Reference Guide to Edmund Spenser. He died January 28, 1925

Scope Note

The papers in this collection are those that Carpenter collected while a student at Harvard and a professor at the University of Chicago. They reflect his concern with scholarship and his interest in the teaching of English literature. Occasional papers are included which belonged to Carpenter when he was a high school and an undergraduate student.

Cross-reference for notebook for English 83B (English Literary Criticism, taught by Carpenter, see the Edward Kirby Putnam notebooks, folder 5.

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Subject Headings


Box 1    Folder 1

Chicago High School Forensic Papers, and papers written as a student at Harvard College

Box 1    Folder 2

Papers written while a student in Paris, 1885-1886

Box 1    Folder 3

Papers on the study and teaching of literature

Box 1    Folder 4

Miscellaneous bibliographies that Carpenter collected

Box 1    Folder 5

Papers on literary criticism

Box 1    Folder 6

Papers on the history of the English language and rhetoric

Box 1    Folder 7

Anglo-Saxon and Middle English Notes

Box 2   Folder 1

Draft of "The Cave [or Vision] of Despair. Spenser" by F. I. Carpenter, Ph.D. University of Chicago

Box 2   Folder 2

Papers and notes on Elizabethan Literature

Box 2   Folder 3

Bibliography and notes on John Milton

Box 2   Folder 4

Notes on English Pastoral and paper on Lyric Poetry; Notes on Lyric Anthology

Box 2   Folder 5

Notes on English Romantic School of Poetry

Box 2   Folder 6

"Hawthorne's Place in Literary History"; various papers on French and Italian Literature

Box 2   Folder 7

Subjects offered for final examination at the University of Chicago by F. I. Carpenter Copy of Examination in Renaissance Literature

Box 2   Folder 8

Notes and Manuscripts

  • Notes on Lectures by Thomas Davidson on the History of Mediaeval Philosophy
  • Carpenter's drafts of essays, "Object of Existence," "Misery of Existence," "Opinion," "Concerning Literature and the Philosophy of Expression," "Of the Justification of Learning in a Democracy," and "Hopes in God,"
  • Copies of F. I. Carpenter's poetry
Box 3   Folder 1

Draft of volume containing essays on English, French, and German writers

Box 3   Folder 2

Notes and copy of F. I. Carpenter's edition of Leonard Cox's The Arte or Crafte of Rhethoryke

Box 3   Folder 3

Notes on and transcripts of Thomas Watson's Italian Madrigals Englished, 1590.

Box 3   Folder 4

Correspondence with Henry R. Plomer, 1922-1924, concerning Spenser Mss.

Box 3   Folder 5

"Summary of Aug. Vermeylen's book on Jonker Jan Van der Noot, Dutch poet, 1540-95". Manuscript, 35 p. (See page 20 ff for the material on Spenser.)

Box 3   Folder 6

Annotated copy of A Reference Guide to Edmund Spenser.

Box 3   Folder 7

Correspondence concerning A Reference Guide to Spenser. 1923-1924