University of Chicago Library

Guide to the James Sydney Slotkin Papers 1931-1962

© 2008 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Slotkin, James Sydney. Papers




3 linear feet (6 boxes)


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


James Sydney Slotkin, Associate Professor of Social Sciences, 1946-1957. The collection includes pmanuscripts and papers, teaching materials, correspondence and some research materials. It documents his broad interests in various topics in the social sciences: anthropology, sociology, esthetics, social psychology and methodology.

Information on Use


Open for research. No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Slotkin, James Sydney. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

James Sydney Slotkin was born in New York City on July 12, 1913.

Slotkin studied at the Experimental College at the University of Wisconsin between 1930 and 1932. In 1932 he came to the University of Chicago and earned his BA in 1934, majoring in anthropology. In 1935 he received his MA from the University of Chicago, and on July 27 of that year he married Elizabeth Josephine Cole, a fellow student. In 1940 he received his PhD from the University of Chicago, with a major in anthropology and a minor in social psychology.

He was an Instructor at Washington University in St Louis in 1941, and a Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin from 1942 to 1944. Between 1944 and 1946 he was an Assistant Professor at Howard University, and in the summers from 1943 to 1945 he was an Associate Professor at the University of Texas. In 1946 he returned to the University of Chicago as an Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, which he remained until 1957.

As a scholar, Slotkin had a broad range of interests, working in numerous fields, including: social anthropology; ethnohistory; social psychology; the history and methodology of social science and the sociology of knowledge. He published articles on a variety of topics, but major works included: Social Anthropology (1950); Personality Development (1952); and From Field to Factory (1960). Between 1949 and 1951, and again in 1954, he conducted ethnographic field work with the Menomini Indians of Wisconsin. As a result of his research into Peyote religion, published in such works as The Peyote Religion (1956) and Menomini Peyotism (1957), he became Secretary of the Native American Church of North America.

Slotkin died in Chicago on August 6, 1958.

Scope Note

James Sydney Slotkin was a student at the University of Chicago between 1932 and 1940 and Associate Professor of Social Sciences from 1946 and 1957. The collection includes published and unpublished manuscripts and papers, teaching materials, correspondence and some research materials. It documents his broad interests in various topics in the social sciences: anthropology, sociology, esthetics, social psychology and methodology.

The Slotkin papers have been organized into four series: Series I, Unpublished Manuscripts; Series II, Teaching; Series III, Published Material; and Series IV, Correspondence. It contains material from the period 1931-1962.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Sol Tax. Papers.

Elizabeth J. Slotkin. Papers.

Subject Headings


Series I: Unpublished Manuscripts

This Series is divided into six subseries by topic: (1) Major Works; (2) Papers on Metaphysics and Methodology; (3) Papers on Historical Topics; (4) Papers on Contemporary Problems; (5) Esthetics; and (6) Miscellaneous Papers. This organization largely follows the organization of the papers at the time of donation. The series contains material from the period 1931-1957, and includes draft and unpublished papers, term papers and some research materials.

Subseries 1: Major Works

Box 1   Folder 1

Social and Cultural Change, pp.1-233. 1948.

Box 1   Folder 2

Social and Cultural Change, pp.234-469. 1948.

Box 1   Folder 3

Social and Cultural Change, pp.234-321. 1948.

Box 1   Folder 4

Social and Cultural Change, plates and graphs. 1948.

Box 1   Folder 5

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Original, pp.1-158. c.1950s.

Box 1   Folder 6

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Original, pp.159-288. c.1950s.

Box 1   Folder 7

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Original. Illustrations. c.1950s.

Box 1   Folder 8

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Uncorrected draft, pp.1-133. c.1950s.

Box 2   Folder 1

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Uncorrected draft, pp.134-288. c.1950s.

Box 2   Folder 2

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Critical notes, unknown author, n.d.

Box 2   Folder 3

Scientific Method: With Particular Reference to Empirical Social Research. Call slips and Note cards, n.d.

Box 2   Folder 4

A History of the Social Sciences in Western Culture, 1950.

Box 2   Folder 5

Chapter 13 Social Anthropology, n.d.

Box 2   Folder 6

Chapter 14 ‘Social Life Cycle’: (believed to be a draft; a chapter 14 does not exist in published versions of Social Anthropology), n.d.

Box 2   Folder 7

Exogamy and Endogamy, c.1950s.

Subseries 2: Metaphysics and Methodology

Box 2   Folder 8

Aristotle’s Theory of Vision, 1931.

Box 2   Folder 9

Some Notes for a Theory of Metaphysics, 1932.

Box 2   Folder 10

N-Valued Systemic Functions, 20 March 1933.

Box 2   Folder 11

A Nihilistic Metaphysics, 21 October 1933.

Box 2   Folder 12

A Theoretic Justification of a New Method for the Graphic Representation of N-variable Correlations, 15 November 1933.

Box 2   Folder 13

A System of Metaphysics, 24 November 1933. Handwritten notes, n.d

Box 2   Folder 14

A Theory of General Methodology, 2 December 1933.

Box 3   Folder 1

Outline of a System of Empirical Ontology, 24 November 1934.

Box 3   Folder 2

Methodology, November 1934.

Box 3   Folder 3

Metaphysics, October 1935.

Box 3   Folder 4

The Logic of Systems, 15 February 1936; Second Draft, 17 February 1936.

Box 3   Folder 5

An Essay on the Methodology of Cultural Anthropology, 17 February 1936.

Box 3   Folder 6

An Outline of the Methodology of Cultural Anthropology, 17 February 1936.

Box 3   Folder 7

A Summary of a Theory of Historical and Scientific Methods, 27 February 1936; Draft, 15 February 1936.

Box 3   Folder 8

Psychological Basis. 3 Drafts dated 10 February 1936, 21 March 1936 and 3 April 1936.

Box 3   Folder 9

An Outline of Dialectical Materialism, 3 April 1936

Box 3   Folder 10

An Outline of Historical Materialism, 28 December 1936.

Box 3   Folder 11

Review of Robert K. Merton, ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’. 1949.

Box 3   Folder 12

The Methods of a Social Scientist, 1949.

Box 3   Folder 13

Logic, n.d.

Subseries 3: Historical Topics

Box 3   Folder 14

Anthropology Under Capitalism, 13 May 1936.

Box 3   Folder 15

Posca, 7 September 1937.

Box 3   Folder 16

The Letters on John Hus Attributed to Poggio-Bracciolini, 1948.

Box 3   Folder 17

Anthropology, 1948 and Bert F. Hoselitz, "The Social Sciences in the Last Two Hundred Years"

Box 3   Folder 18

Social Anthropology in the Future. Paper presented at 1957 meeting of the AAA.

Subseries 4: Contemporary Problems

Box 3   Folder 19

Jewish Nationalism and the Yiddishist Movement, 21 August 1935.

Box 3   Folder 20

John S. Slotkin and Elizabeth J. Slotkin, The Sociology of Genealogies and Antiques, 1948.

Box 3   Folder 21

Communism and the National-Colonial Question, n.d.

Box 3   Folder 22

Research materials for Communism and the National-Colonial Question.

Box 3   Folder 23

Anonymous, The Tragedy of a Negro University, 1946.

Subseries 5: Esthetics

Box 3   Folder 24

Archaic Greek Sculpture, June 5 1931.

Box 4   Folder 1

Translations from Anthologiae Palatinae, 1931.

Box 4   Folder 2

An Outline of Marxist Esthetics, 9 January 1937.

Box 4   Folder 3

Early Peruvian Textiles and Pottery, n.d. Includes research materials.

Subseries 6: Miscellaneous Papers

Box 4   Folder 4

Development of New York City, February 8 1932.

Box 4   Folder 5

Social Integration. Term Paper, Autumn 1932.

Box 4   Folder 6

Some Problems at the Basis of Social Anthropology. Term Paper, 17 December 1932.

Box 4   Folder 7

Ethnology. Term Paper, c.1932-33.

Box 4   Folder 8

A Theory of Negative Social Sanctions. Term Paper, March 14 1933.

Box 4   Folder 9

Some Remarks on Procedure in Law. Term Paper, March 14 1933.

Box 4   Folder 10

Review of A.H. Gardiner, ‘The Theory of Speech and Language’. Term Paper, May 23 1933.

Box 4   Folder 11

Mentality and Culture. Term Paper, May 26 1933.

Box 4   Folder 12

The Physical and Social Effects of Race Mixture and Isolation. Term Paper, May 31 1933.

Box 4   Folder 13

Some Aspects of Mayan Religion. Term Paper, May 31 1933.

Box 4   Folder 14

The Taxonomy of Cultures. Term Paper, 1 November 1933.

Box 4   Folder 15

A Theoretic Examination of the Relation Between the Individual and the Group. Term Paper, 19 December 1933.

Box 4   Folder 16

The Cultures of Middle America. Term Paper, March 13 1934.

Box 4   Folder 17

Comparative Semiology, c.1934, with Research Notes.

Box 4   Folder 18

The Individual and the Group. Term Paper, August 23 1935.

Box 4   Folder 19

The Implications of Individual Differences in Behavior for Social Anthropological Theory. Post 1946.

Box 4   Folder 20

A Theory of Comparative Social Organization, 1954, including Correspondence and Editorial Comments.

Box 4   Folder 21

Notes for Untitled Paper co-authored with H.F. Harlow, n.d.

Box 4   Folder 22

Scientific Credo, untitled papers, n.d.

Series II: Teaching

This series contains material from the period 1946 to 1955. The folders are organized as they were at the time of donation, and contain syllabi and class materials.

Box 4   Folder 23

Teaching Materials, c.1946-1956

Box 4   Folder 24

Teaching Materials, c.1949-1955

Series III: Published Material

This series contains material from the period 1932-1956. It contains reprinted articles, biographic material, some research material and a microfilm reproduction of "Bulletin of the Native American Church."

Box 4   Folder 25

Reprinted Articles, 1932-1956.

Box 5   Folder 1

"Bulletin of the Native American Church", ed. J.S. Slotkin, Microfilm Roll, c.1950s.

Box 5   Folder 2

Biographic Material and Appraisals of Work,

Box 5   Folder 3

Life Course in Middle Age; Correspondence and Related Material.

Series IV: Correspondence

This series contains correspondence from the period 1941-1958. It is organized largely in the order it was received: alphabetically by correspondent, with two folders at the end of the series containing correspondence relating to individual publications.

Box 5   Folder 4

Correspondence, A.

Box 5   Folder 5

Correspondence, B.

Box 5   Folder 6

Correspondence, C

Box 5   Folder 7

Correspondence, D

Box 5   Folder 8

Correspondence, H. Warren Dunham.

Box 5   Folder 9

Correspondence, Dorothy and Fred Eggan.

Box 5   Folder 10

Correspondence, F.

Box 5   Folder 11

Correspondence, G.

Box 5   Folder 12

Correspondence, H.

Box 5   Folder 13

Correspondence, I.

Box 5   Folder 14

Correspondence, J.

Box 5   Folder 15

Correspondence, K.

Box 5   Folder 16

Correspondence, Alex Krieger.

Box 5   Folder 17

Correspondence, L.

Box 5   Folder 18

Correspondence, Nancy Lurie (nee Oestreich)

Box 5   Folder 19

Correspondence, M

Box 5   Folder 20

Correspondence, Macmillan Company.

Box 6   Folder 1

Correspondence, J. Gilbert McAllister.

Box 6   Folder 2

Correspondence, Simon Marcson.

Box 6   Folder 3

Correspondence, N.

Box 6   Folder 4

Correspondence, O.

Box 6   Folder 5

Correspondence, P.

Box 6   Folder 6

Correspondence, R.

Box 6   Folder 7

Correspondence, Robert Redfield.

Box 6   Folder 8

Correspondence, S.

Box 6   Folder 9

Correspondence, Andrew Salter.

Box 6   Folder 10

Correspondence, Sascha S. Schnittmann.

Box 6   Folder 11

Correspondence, Social Sciences Research Committee.

Box 6   Folder 12

Correspondence, George Spindler.

Box 6   Folder 13

Correspondence, Samuel M. Strong.

Box 6   Folder 14

Correspondence, Students.

Box 6   Folder 15

Correspondence, T.

Box 6   Folder 16

Correspondence, Sol Tax.

Box 6   Folder 17

Correspondence, Dinko Tomasic.

Box 6   Folder 18

Correspondence, University of Chicago Contracts.

Box 6   Folder 19

Correspondence, Alfonso Villa.

Box 6   Folder 20

Correspondence, W.

Box 6   Folder 21

Correspondence, Weidenreich.

Box 6   Folder 22

Correspondence, K. Weinberg.

Box 6   Folder 23

Correspondence, Kurt H. Wolff.

Box 6   Folder 24

Correspondence, Permissions to Quote for Social and Cultural Change, 1948.

Box 6   Folder 25

Correspondence, Personal Development.