Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to President E. O. Lovett's Personal Papers, 1871-1957 MS 060

creator Lovett, Edgar Odell, 1871-1957
Title: President E. O. Lovett - Personal Papers
Dates: 1871-1957, Bulk Dates 1908-1946
Abstract: The personal papers of Edgar Odell Lovett, first President of Rice Institute, span almost his entire life. The collection has material about his education at UVA and in Europe, his career at Princeton, his hiring by the Board of Trustees of the Rice Institute, and extensive personal correspondence with friends and societies he was involved with throughout his life. The collection also includes reprints of articles and speeches written by Lovett throughout his life.
Identification: MS 060
Quantity: 7.5 linear ft.7.5 cubic feet, 7.5 linear feet
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical Note

Edgar Odell Lovett, mathematics professor and president of Rice Institute (now Rice University), was born in Shreve, Ohio, on April 14, 1871, the son of Zephania and Maria Elizabeth (Spreng) Lovett. After graduating from Shreve High School he entered Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia, where he graduated in 1890 at the age of nineteen. From 1890 until 1892 he was professor of mathematics at West Kentucky College; in 1892 he became an instructor at the University of Virginia, where he continued his studies and received the degree of M.A. and Ph.D. in 1895. The following year he studied in Europe at the universities of Christiana and Leipzig; he received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the latter in 1896. In 1897 Lovett lectured at Johns Hopkins University and the universities of Virginia and Chicago. In September of that year he became instructor in mathematics at Princeton University. He was promoted to assistant professor and head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton.

In 1907 he was asked to head Rice Institute, then being planned at Houston; he was recommended for the post by Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton. He accepted in 1908, moved to Houston, and was formally inaugurated as the first president of the institute on October 12, 1912; he continued in this capacity until his retirement on March 1, 1946. Thereafter, he was associated with Rice as president emeritus, director, and consultant.

He was a member of many learned societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, the London Mathematical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Circolo Matematico di Palermo, Societe Mathematique de France, and the Royal Astronomical Society. The degree of L.L.D. was conferred on him by Drake University, Tulane University, Baylor University, and Bethany; that of Sc.D. was conferred upon him by Colorado College. In 1898 Lovett married Mary Ellen Hale of Mayfield, Kentucky; they had two daughters and two sons. He died on August 13, 1957, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.

Excerpted from The New Handbook of Texas, vol. 4, 1996. 308.

Scope and Contents Note

The personal papers of Edgar Odell Lovett span almost his entire life. The collection has material about his education at UVA and in Europe, his career at Princeton, his hiring by the Board of Trustees of the Rice Institute, and extensive correspondences with friends and societies he was involved with throughout his life. The collection includes Lovett's personal correspondence, material about academic societies,reprints of articles and speeches produced by Lovett throughout his life. Whereas the Lovett presidential collection in the Rice University Archives does not include much information from the 1930s, these papers include a great deal of material from that time period.


Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials from President E.O. Lovett - Personal Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924
Subjects (Organizations)
Rice University.
College presidents

Related Material

For more information on Lovett, please consult the presidential papers in the Rice University Archives, at the Woodson Research Center, as well as Woodson Research Center's Information Files on Lovett.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

President E. O. Lovett's Personal Papers, 1871-1957, MS 60, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

The personal papers of Lovett were once part of the official Rice presidential papers. In the summer of 2000, these papers were removed from the archive collection and designated as a manuscript collection because of their unofficial nature.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series I. General 1887-1950
5 document boxes.

Scope and Contents note
Boxes 1-5 contain information related to Lovett's years at Princeton, as well as mathematical notes, personal memorabilia, and even a copy of Lovett's Leipzig dissertation. Box 5 deals specifically with Lovett's relationship with Woodrow Wilson.
Box Folder
1 1 TILKA member roster, 1889-1890
2 Houston Art League
3 "Literary Jottings"
4 Newspaper Clipping Re: Houston Music Festival Association, Texas Welfare Commission, 1912
5 Masonic Membership, 1907
6 Misc. notes, articles, and memorabilia
Box Folder
2 1 Princeton Discipline Committee
2 Lecture notes, G. W. Hill lectures, Columbia 1893-1894,
3 Notes
4 Notes
5 Correspondence Re: Dissertation, notes
6 Notes
7 Notes-Mathematical, 1923
8 "The Theory of Perturbations and Lie's Theory of Contact-transformations" - Lovett's Leipzig dissertation
Box Folder
3 1 Princeton Astronomical Expedition, 1902-1907
2 MS copy of Article on "Problem of Dirichlet"
3 Math Problems, 1891-1900
4 No-Tsu-Oh Carnival, 1911-1912
5 Personal and Miscellaneous, 1894-1951
6 Letters of Recommendation and Correspondence Re: Minnesota professorship, 1897
7 Certificates
8 Lovett, Dr. E. O., Miscellaneous, 1907-1950
9 Newspaper Clippings, 1922, 1927
10 Rice News Clippings, 1911-1941
11 Rice News Clippings, 1909-1931
12 Rice News Clippings, folder 2, 1910-1928
13 Personal Miscellaneous
Box Folder
4 1 Receipts: Miscellaneous, 1937-1948
2 Receipts: Clothing, 1933-1946
3 Receipts: University Club (in NYC), Rice Faculty Club, 1933-1946
4 Receipts: Stationary, Books, 1937-1948
5 Receipts: Books for Lovett's office, 1935-1937
6 Receipts: Medical, 1935-1948
7 Receipts: Floral, 1940-1947
8 Bills-Receipts: Houston Country Club, 1932-1945
Box Folder
5 1 Lovett-Wilson and Axson-Wilson Papers, microfilm
2 Newspaper Clippings Re: Wilson, 1910-1965
3 Wilson-Lovett Correspondence, 1904-1923
4 Wilson-Lovett Correspondence, typed transcripts
5 Miscellaneous Material and Clippings Re: Wilson
6 Book jackets of books about Wilson


Series II. Academic Societies 1903-1956
5 document boxes.

Scope and Contents note
Boxes 6-10 house Series II. This series contains information about Lovett's involvement with the American Philosophical Society, various mathematical and astronomical societies, and the Philosophical Society of Texas.
Box Folder
6 1 American Philosophical Society, 1903-1916
2 American Philosophical Society, 1917-1920
3 American Philosophical Society, 1921-1926
4 American Philosophical Society, 1927-1928
5 American Philosophical Society, 1929
6 American Philosophical Society, 1930
Box Folder
7 1 American Philosophical Society, 1931-1933
2 American Philosophical Society, 1934
3 American Philosophical Society, 1935
4 American Philosophical Society, 1936-1937
5 American Philosophical Society, 1938-1939
6 American Philosophical Society, 1940-1941
7 American Philosophical Society, 1942-1943
Box Folder
8 1 American Philosophical Society, 1944-1945
2 American Philosophical Society, 1946-1948
3 American Philosophical Society, 1949-1956
4 Astronomical Societies, 1916-1926
5 Astronomical Societies, 1927-1935
6 Astronomical Societies, 1936-1940
7 Astronomical Societies, 1941-1955
Box Folder
9 1 Mathematical Societies, 1908-1912
2 Mathematical Societies, 1914-1917
3 Mathematical Societies, 1918-1922
4 Mathematical Societies, 1923-1927
5 Mathematical Societies, 1928
6 Mathematical Societies, 1929-1931
7 Mathematical Societies, 1932-1935
Box Folder
10 1 Philosophical Society of Texas, 1937-1938
2 Philosophical Society of Texas, 1939-1941
3 Philosophical Society of Texas, 1942-1943
4 Philosophical Society of Texas, 1944-1945
5 Philosophical Society of Texas, 1946-1956


Series III. Personal Correspondences 1886-1955
4 document boxes.

Scope and Contents note
Boxes 11-14 contain the personal correspondence of Lovett. These files contain many letters to and from Lovett, as well as many continuous strands of correspondences with long-time friends and colleagues.
Box Folder
11 1 Correspondence, 1886-1903
2 Correspondence, 1904-1908
3 Correspondence Re: Marion Institute w/ J.T. Murfee and H. O. Murfee, 1908-1912
4 Correspondence, 1909-1918
5 Correspondence, 1920-1926
6 Correspondence, 1930-1931
7 Correspondence, 1932
Box Folder
12 1 Correspondence, 1933
2 Correspondence, 1934
3 Correspondence, 1935
4 Correspondence, 1936
5 Correspondence, 1937
6 Correspondence, 1938
Box Folder
13 1 Correspondence, 1939
2 Correspondence, 1940
3 Correspondence, 1941
4 Correspondence, 1942
5 Correspondence, 1943
6 Correspondence, 1944
Box Folder
14 1 Correspondence, 1945
2 Correspondence, 1946
3 Correspondence, 1947
4 Correspondence, 1948
5 Correspondence, 1949
6 Correspondence, 1950
7 Correspondence Re: Harry Hanszen Testimonial, Sept.-Oct., 1950
8 Correspondence, 1951-1955, n.d.


Series IV. Reprints

Scope and Contents note
Boxes 15-16 contain copies of Lovett's speeches and articles, including many of the articles or papers he wrote for mathematical journals and society meetings.
15-16 Reprints