Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Houston Philosophical Society Records, 1808-2004, bulk 1940-2004



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Houston Philosophical Society.
Title: Houston Philosophical Society Records
Dates: 1808-2001, bulk 1940-2004
Abstract: The Houston Philosophical Society was established in 1920 at the University Club in downtown Houston to bring together the intellectual community both on and off campus. Many members of the Rice University community have been invlode as leaders in the society. These records consist of minutes from the Executive Committee and general meetings, notices to members, treasurer's reports and other financial records, rosters and directories, new member nominations, constitutions and procedure guidelines.
Identification: Rice UA Houston Philosophical Society Records
Quantity: 4 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Rice University Archives, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX

Historical Sketch

The first meeting of the Houston Philosophical Society was held on January 18, 1920 at the University Club in downtown Houston. It was organized to bring together the intellectual community both on and off campus. Its purpose was to "stimulate interest in modern developments in science and philosophy." The word "philosophical" is used in its broadest sense and members of the society represent all departments of the arts, sciences, and letters.

At that first meeting Professor H. A. Wilson was elected as president, Professor G. C. Evans as secretary, and Mr. S. G. McCann (the registrar at Rice) as treasurer. Three additional members were elected to serve on the executive council: Professors C. W. Heaps, H. B. Weiser, and R. A. Tsanoff. The persons listed here, whose main work was respectively in physics, mathematics, history, chemistry, and philosophy, indicate the wide range of interests that has characterized the Society from the beginning.

The monthly meetings held during the academic year normally consist of a dinner, followed by a business session and then the address of the evening by either a member of the Society or an invited guest speaker. Time is reserved for questions or discussion after the address.

The members of the Society are elected based on their high intellectual and professional achievements. Originally an all male organization, in 1987 the bylaws were changed so that they did not imply that one had to be male to be a member. By the next year several women had been elected. Today the Society has no gender or racial restrictions and has a maximum membership of 240 members divided into eight sections as follows:

  • Astronomy, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics
  • Medicine
  • Business and Economics
  • Education, Health, and Physical Education, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, and Social Science
  • History, Journalism, Language, Literature, and Library Science
  • Architecture, Fine Arts, Music, and Theater
  • Government and Law

Members pay annual dues but are exempt if they have achieved Life Membership status. This membership is granted to active members of the Society who are over the age of 70, and who have been active members for a period of at least 10 years.

Parts excerpted from the 1998 Houston Philosophical Society Directory/Handbook


Scope and Contents

The Houston Philosophical Society Records consist of minutes from the Executive Committee and general meetings, notices to members, treasurer's reports and other financial records, rosters and directories, new member nominations, constitutions and procedure guidelines. There is one roll of microfilm minutes for 1964-May 1974. One binder belonging to President W. T. Cannady, 1998-99 is included. These documents are divided in to 7 series as identified below.

Until April 2000, the documents were filed by subject, i. e., Minutes, Notices, Treasurer's Report, etc. in chronological order. Beginning April 2000 the documents are kept together by meeting number and date. A new series was started at that point.


 

Arrangement

Series I: Notices / Correspondence, 1928-2001 - 1 box
Series II: Membership, 1940-2000 - 1 box
Series III: Financial, 1922-1996 - 1 box
Series IV: General, 1808-2001 - 4 folders
Series V: President's Binder, 1998-1999 - 1 box
Series VI - Meeting Minutes, 1920-2000 - 2 boxes
Series VII - Meeting Records, 2000-2004 - 1 box

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the Houston Philosophical Society Records must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.


Index Terms

Subjects (Organizations)
Houston Philosophical Society.
Formats
Correspondence.
Minute books.
Speeches.
Constitutions.
Directories.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Houston Philosophical Society Records, 1808-2001, Rice University Archives, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Acquisition Information

These records have been placed with the Woodson Research Center by various members of the Society over a number of years-S. W. Higginbotham, K. Kolenda, John A. S. Adams, John Boles, Harold Raley received in 1974, 6/1984, 10/1988, 2/1989, 6/1992, 9/1993, 11/1993, 7/1995, 6/1996, 12/1996 and 2/2003.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Processed by Lee Pecht


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series I: Notices / Correspondence, 1928-2001

Contains Notices, for both the Executive and business meetings. Some attachments to these notices may include new member nominations. Also filed here are correspondence files and meeting reservations.
Box Folder
1 1 Notices, 1928-44
2 Notices, 1945-58
3 Notices, 1971-81
4 Notices, 1982-92
5 Notices, 1993-99*
* See individual meeting files for latest records
6 Notices, Executive Committee, 1971-96
7 Correspondence, 1971-2001
8 Correspondence, Executive Committee, 1986-94
9 Meeting reservations, 1988-March 2000*
* See individual meeting files for latest records



 

Series II: Membership, 1940-2000

Contains membership rosters, directories and handbooks, change forms and membership nominations/ supporting letters.
Box Folder
2 1 Permanent record of membership, c. 1952
2 Membership rosters, 1940-73
3 Membership rosters, 1980's
4 Membership rosters, 1990's
5 Membership rosters, 2000's
6 Membership directories/handbooks
7 Handbook/directory change forms, 1991-99
8 Membership nominations/supporting letters, 1988-90
9 Membership nominations/supporting letters, 1991-96



 

Series III: Financial, 1922-1996

Contains bills and financial records, various financial journals and Treasurer's reports. There is a personal file from Treasurer Fraser A. McAlpine.
Box Folder
3 1 Bills - Faculty Club, 1984-94
2 Bills - General, 1983-88
3 Check register, 1985-89
4 Dues records
5 Financial Statements, 1983-89
6 Treasurer's reports, 1973-96* **
* See individual meeting files for latest records
** See 1998-March 2000 Executive Committee Minutes
7 Treasurer Fraser A. McAlpine personal file, 1988-90
8 Treasurer's journal, 1922-40
9 Bank journal, 1922-46



 

Series IV: General, 1808-2001

Contains governing documents, such as the Society Constitution and procedure guidelines. There is also a copy of the Philosophical Society of Texas Constitution.
Box Folder
4 1 Constitution, Philosophical Society of Texas, 1808, 1837
2 Constitution, Houston Philosophical Society, c. 1990
3 Practices, Procedure, and Calendar, 1999/2000
4 Secretary's duties, c. 2001



 

Series V: President's Binder, 1998-1999

Contains copy of binder belonging to President W. T. Cannady, 1998-99.
Box Folder
5 1 W. T. Cannady, President, 1998-1999



 

Series VI: Meeting Minutes, 1920-2000

Contains minutes of the Executive Committee meetings as well as the business meetings, going back to 1920. Some of the minutes are bound into journals. There are some summaries of the speakers' addresses with the business meeting minutes.
Box Folder
6 1 Minutes book, 1920-42
2 Minutes book, Executive Committee, 1920-50
3 Minutes book, 1942-57
4 Minutes book, photocopies 1920-64,
5 Minutes book, 1957-1964
6 Minutes book, 1964-74
7 Microfilm of minutes, 1964-May 1974
Box Folder
7 1 Minutes, 1977-83
2 Minutes, 1984-87
3 Minutes, 1988-90
4 Minutes, 1991-93
5 Minutes, 1994-96
6 Minutes, 1997-March 2000*
*see individual meeting files for latest records
7 Minutes, Executive Committee, 1986-March 2000*
*see individual meeting files for latest records



 

Series VII: Meeting Records, 2000-2004

Contains minutes of the Executive Committee meetings as well as the business meetings, going back to 1920. Includes Minutes, Executive Committee, Notices, Treasurer's Reports, etc. Some of the minutes are bound into journals. There are some summaries of the speakers' addresses with the business meeting minutes.
Box Folder
8 1 Meeting No. 568, April 20, 2000
2 Meeting No. 569, Executive Comm. Sept. 21, 2000; July 11, 2000
3 Meeting No. 570, October 19, 2000
4 Meeting No. 571, November 16, 2000
5 Meeting No. 572, January 18, 2001
6 Meeting No. 573, February 15, 2001
7 Meeting No. 574, March 15, 2001
8 Meeting No. 575, April 19, 2001
9 Meeting No. 579, January 17, 2002
10 Section Membership Summary, January 17, 2002
11 Meeting No. 581, March 21, 2002
12 Meeting No. 582, April 18, 2002
13 Meeting No. 583, September 19, 2002
14 Meeting No. 584, October 17, 2002
15 Meeting No. 585, November 21, 2002
16 Meetings, 2003
16 Meetings and Correspondence, 2004