The Benson Latin American Collection

Eyler N. Simpson Papers and Institute of Current World Affairs Records, 1927-1938

Descriptive Summary

Creator Simpson, Eyler Newton
Title Eyler N. Simpson Papers and Institute of Current World Records
Dates: 1927-1938
Abstract Correspondence, written works, photographs and other materials documenting the life and work of Eyler Newton Simpson and the Institute of Current World Affairs.
OCLC Record No. 32870424
Extent 1.5 linear feet
Language English.
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Dr. Eyler Newton Simpson, a University of Texas alumnus (B.A. 1921), worked in Mexico 1927-1928 as a field representative for the Institute of Current World Affairs. The mission of ICWA, which was founded in 1926, is the observation and study of foreign areas of contemporary significance. In the late 1920s, Dr. Simpson was expected to acquire an understanding of the social, religious, racial, political, economic and other forces operating in Mexico; to make, as rapidly as possible, a series of orientation studies covering those forces; and to cultivate relationships with people who commanded influence in and knowledge of Mexico.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, written works, photographs and other materials documenting the life and work of Eyler Newton Simpson and the Institute of Current World Affairs. The collection consisted originally of one booklet of letters from Dr. Eyler Newton Simpson to Walter S. Rogers, 1927-1928, described in detail below. New additions have greatly augmented the collection, particularly with more material from Simpson.

Accessions to the collection have come from two individuals, Karen Stehling and Mark Fries, and the collection retains the distinction between those two groups of documents.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons and Organizations)
Simpson, Eyler Newton
Rogers, Walter Stowell, 1877-
Puig Casauranc, J. M. (José Manuel), 1888-1939
Sáenz, Mosés, 1888-1941
Institute of Current World Affairs--Records and correspondence
Coppage, Keith
Subjects (Topics)
Indians of Mexico--Mexico--Education--History --Sources
Subjects (Places)
Mexico--Description and travel
Mexico--Social life and customs
Mexico--Social conditions
Mexico--Politics and government--1910-1946
Other Entries
Institute of Current World Affairs
Simpson, Eyler Newton
Rogers, Walter Stowell, 1877-

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Eyler N. Simpson Papers and Institute of Current World Affairs Records, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Acquisition Information

The bound letters from Dr. Eyler Newton Simpson to Walter S. Rogers for the Institute of Current World Affairs were donated to the Benson Latin American Collection in 1983 by Mrs. Karen Stehling. The remaining material was acquired in 2012.

Box and Folder Inventory


Stehling Accessions

1 Biographical Information, 1934
1 Vita of Dr. Eyler N. Simpson, circa 1934
Correspondence, 1927-1934
2 Letters from Dr. Eyler Newton Simpson to Walter S. Rogers, 1927-1928
[1 bound volume; 223 leaves]
Typescript copies of letters written from July 10, 1927, to December 22, 1928, by Eyler Newton Simpson, field representative in Mexico for the Institute of Current World Affairs, to Walter Stowell Rogers, the director of the Institute.
The letters were meant to be weekly reports but do not strictly conform to that schedule. They detail the progress of Simpson's studies of Mexico, his efforts to make contacts and obtain information, and his attempts to suit his activities and reports to the requirements of the newly-formed Institute (founded in 1926). Simpson's letters portray the life of a U.S. citizen residing in Mexico in 1927-1928 through descriptions of his experiences, living conditions, and the atmosphere of the place and time. His writings also shed light on the social conditions, customs, and the political situation and current events (including relations with the U.S.), in Mexico in the late 1920s.
The letters Simpson wrote in 1927 contain detailed information relating to his study of the development of education in Mexico, especially as affected by social and racial divisions and differences. His descriptions of trips to rural schools include information about his journeys, about the physical details of and history of places visited, and about the physical appearance, facilities, curricula, students and faculty of the schools, as well as the theories behind the development of several types of rural schools in Mexico. Individual schools described in detail include Villa Alta in Tlaxcala, the Escuela Central Agricola in Guanajuato, the Cultural Mission at Actopam, and the Escuela Normal Rural de San Antonio de la Cal. Simpson also described the Escuelas al Aire Libre and the Escuelas Normales Rurales, as well as the development, organization, operations, and results obtained by the Dirección de Misiones Culturales. He also wrote a report describing the development, the nature of the work, and the physical facilities of the Nuevo Instituto de Higiene. Frequent references appear to Dr. J. M. [José Manuel] Puig Casauranc, Secretary of Education, and his Subsecretary, Moises Sáenz.
Letters written in 1928 (after Simpson had completed his study of education) were devoted primarily to the forwarding of prepared articles, to setting out future plans (for trips, areas of study) and requesting their approval, and to clarifying questions of procedure in ICWA business. Efforts to establish procedures and to execute the organization's mission are illustrated in questions posed by Simpson concerning the ramifications of having his articles published in Mexico, the ethics of accepting railroad passes from government officials, the logistics of obtaining funds, subscriptions and stationery, and the level of expenditure on office supplies and standard of living. Other subjects studied by Simpson during the period covered by these letters include the sisal/henequen industry in Yucatán, agrarian affairs in Mexico, and the cattle industry in northern Mexico, but letters written in the course of those studies lack the topical detail of those written during his study of education. Some of them do, however, contain descriptions of Simpson's trips.
Other topics treated in some detail include the 1927 campaign for the presidency of Mexico. Simpson provided sketches of the proceedings of the convention of the Confederación Regional Obrera Mexicana and of the sixth annual convention of the Partido Laborista Mexicano. References to the Sixth Pan-American Conference are also present.
Also mentioned frequently in the letters is Mrs. Keith Coppage, Simpson's colleague; many references, although not substantive, can be found to Ambassador Dwight Whitney Morrow and President Plutarco Calles. A number of references were made to José Vasconcelos, usually in the context of educational efforts. Later letters refer often to the Julius Rosenwald Fund and a Mr. Embree. The Fund was interested in contributing to the development of education in Mexico; that interest was resisted by the Mexican government, which feared cultural imperialism.
The letters are numbered 3-50, but letters 7 and 38 are missing. Leaves 83-84 (found between letters 14 and 15) have no letter number.
Leaves bear penciled numbers (2-251) in lower right-hand corner, but there are no leaves numbered 1; 22-27; 51-53; 78-82; 103; 124; 139; 144; 163; 183; 192; 202; 210-213; 246.
The bottom half of leaf "2" is missing; the leaves of item 49 are bound out of order; leaf "221 "has had a portion cut out.
3 Letters from Dr. Eyler Newton Simpson to Walter S. Rogers, 1929-1934
[259 leaves]
Typescript copies of letters, with some telegrams, written from February 8, 1929, to September 18, 1934.
Written Works, 1932-1934, Undated
4 "Recent Developments in Mexico in the Field of Money and Banking," by Eyler N. Simpson, July 1932
Includes correspondence, Sep 1932 - May 1933, acknowledging receipt of the report.
5 "The Mexican Agrarian Reform Problems and Progress," by Eyler N. Simpson. Agricultural Studies series 1, number 9, July 1933
Includes correspondence, Oct 1933 - Aug 1934, acknowledging receipt of the report.
6 "Individuals Consulted by Dr. Aydelotte and Simpson in Chile," N.d.
Marked "Highly Confidential No. 3, Dr. Simpson."
7 Other, N.d.


Fries Accession

2 Biographical Information, 1927-1938, undated
1 Family documents, 1927-1938, N.d.
2 Portrait photograph, N.d.
3 Other photographs, N.d.
4 Other family documents, 1957, 1965, N.d.
Correspondence, 1927-1937, undated
5 1927-1929
6 1930
7 1931
8 1932-1933
9 1934
10 1935
11 1936
12 1937
13 Undated
14 Correspondence with John D. Crane, 1927-1933
15 Correspondence with Rosenwald Fund and E.R. Embree, 1928-1933
Written Works, 1929-1934, Undated
16 Journal of Eyler Simpson, 1931-1934
17 "The National University of Mexico," Nov. 1929
18 "Memorandum in re: rural normal schools in Mexico," N.d.
3 Lectures:
1 Pre-Conquest Cultures in Latin America
2 Puerto Rico
3 Americanism Crosses the Rio Grande
4 Cultural Complex
5 Patagonia Social: El Método Científico y la Actividad Científica
6 Agrarian Problems
7 Industrial Evolution
8 Russian Novelists
9 Emile Zola
10 Balzac
11 Flaubert
12 French Novels
13 Tolstoy
14 German Literature
15 Agrarian Laws
16 Anthropology, general
17 Alvaro Obregón
18 Language
19 Music
20 Plutarco Elías Calles
21 "Los Problemas Sociales en México," 1930
22 "La Sucesón Presidencial en 1928"
23 Other