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Loren C. Eiseley Collection

Title: Loren C. Eiseley Collection

Creator: Eiseley, Loren C., 1907-1977

Dates: 1889-1992 bulk 1921-1977

Quantity: 1 box (0.5 linear feet)

Collection Number: MS 0139

Language: English

Restrictions: None

Access and Use: For information on access or copyright, please see our guidelines or email archives@unl.edu.

Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Loren C. Eiseley Collection (MS 0139). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.


Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on 3 September 1907, Loren Corey Eiseley attended Lincoln Public Schools and graduated from the University of Nebraska Teachers College High School in 1925. Clyde Eiseley, Loren's father, traveled frequently as a hardware salesman. Loren's mother, Daisey (Corey), deaf since early childhood, had a distant relationship with her son. Loren spent much of his childhood exploring the grasslands, ponds, and creeks near his home. He became interested in anthropology and paleontology at an early age while visiting Morrill Hall, now known as the University of Nebraska State Museum, with his uncle.

Upon graduation from high school, Eiseley worked at several menial jobs before entering college at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. A bout with tuberculosis interrupted his education for a period of time, but Eiseley eventually graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln with a B.S. degree in English and Geology/Anthropology in 1933. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania and received an A.M. degree in Anthropology in 1935 and a Ph.D. in 1937.

In 1937, Eiseley married Mabel Langdon, who was also a graduate of the University of Nebraska. The Eiseley's moved to Kansas where Eiseley started his teaching career as an assistant professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Kansas. Eiseley left the University of Kansas in 1944 to become Head of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Oberlin College in Ohio. After three years, he left Ohio and returned to the University of Pennsylvania where he became Chairman of the Department of Anthropology in 1947. Eiseley held that position until 1959 when he accepted the position of Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1961 he stepped down as Provost and became Chairman of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. Eiseley remained at the University of Pennsylvania until his death in 1977.

Eiseley was active in several professional and academic honor societies including Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Anthropological Association, and the Society of American Archaeology. Besides being a respected scientist and educator, Loren Eiseley was also an award-winning author and poet. Some of his most influential works include The Immense Journey (1957), Darwin's Century (1958), The Firmament of Time (1960), Notes of an Alchemist (1972), and All The Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life (1975). Eiseley's works are best known for their examination of evolutionary theory and for their unique combination of science and humanism.

Loren Corey Eiseley died on 9 July 1977 and is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala-Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Scope and Content:

This collection features correspondence, articles by and about Eiseley, biographical and genealogical materials, including a scrapbook, information about the Loren C. Eiseley Memorial Convocation at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in 1977, and selected photographs and negatives of Eiseley and his family.

The majority of the collection consists of biographical and genealogical materials about Loren Eiseley and his family. The correspondence consists mainly of letters between Eiseley and various individuals seeking genealogical information about the Eiseley family name. Besides the Eiseley family line, other families represented in the genealogical materials include the Coreys, McKees, Prices, Rudds, and Shepards. The genealogical materials include a manuscript by Grace Corey Price that describes several family lines in detail. Also included are family trees, marriage certificates, memorial service programs, letters, newspaper clippings, and family crests.

The materials include a few handwritten transcriptions of Eiseley's works that appeared in The New York Herald and The American Mercury. The transcriptions appear to have been done by Eiseley's uncle, William B. Price, who was the State Auditor of Nebraska from 1932 until his death in 1935. The folder also contains an article written by Eiseley that appeared in the Nebraska Alumnus in 1958.

Other items in the collection include Eiseley's certificate of graduation from the University of Nebraska Teachers College High School, several citations from various honor societies including Sigma Xi and Alpha Kappa Delta, and commencement programs from the University of Nebraska and the University of Pennsylvania. The collection also contains several articles about Loren Eiseley and his family, including obituaries for Loren Eiseley, Mabel Eiseley, and various Eiseley family members. A scrapbook contains newspaper articles about Loren Eiseley as well as a few articles about Eiseley's wife, Mabel Langdon, and his father, Clyde Eiseley. Most of the articles relate to Eiseley's contributions to the UNL literary magazine, The Prairie Schooner, or to his work on various archaeological excavations and teaching assignments.


Eiseley, Loren C., 1907-1977

Anthropologists -- United States

Authors, American -- 20th century

Naturalists -- United States

Container List: Box 1. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1932, 1952-1976 (see also oversize box 5) Box 1. Folder 2. Transcriptions and articles, 1930, 1958 Box 1. Folder 3. Curriculum vita, 1965 Box 1. Folder 4. Certificates, 1921-1936 Box 1. Folder 5. Commencement programs, 1925-1973 Box 1. Folder 6. Articles, press releases, newspaper clippings, 1961-1965, 1992 Box 1. Folder 7. Obituaries, Eiseley family Box 1. Folder 8. "Family Names, Ancestral Lines"compiled by Grace Corey Price Box 1. Folder 9. Genealogy, Eiseley, Clyde and Daisey Corey (see also oversize box 5) Box 1. Folder 10. Genealogy, McKee Box 1. Folder 11. Genealogy, Price, William B. and Grace Corey (see also oversize size box 5) Box 1. Folder 12. Genealogy, Rudd Box 1. Folder 13. Genealogy, Shepard Box 1. Folder 14. Genealogy, Family crests Box 1. Folder 15. Genealogy, miscellaneous Box 1. Folder 16. Scrapbook, 1921-1938 Box 1. Folder 17. Loren C. Eiseley Memorial Convocation, 1977 (see also oversize box 5) Box 1. Folder 18. Miscellaneous Box 1. Folder 19. Photographs Box 1. Folder 20. Negatives
Related Material and Resources: Additional Loren Eiseley materials appear in several collections in the UNL Archives & Special Collections. A list of these materials is available in the repository. Books by Loren Eiseley can be located through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries on-line catalog, which is available through IRIS. The majority of Loren Eiseley's papers are located at the University Archives and Records Center, University of Pennsylvania. Eiseley materials can also be found at several other repositories in Lincoln, Nebraska, including the Nebraska State Historical Society Library/Archives, the University of Nebraska State Museum/Archives, and the Heritage Room of Bennett Martin Public Library, Lincoln, Nebraska.

If you have questions about the Archives & Special Collections, please email "archives@unl.edu."
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