Research Center

At the heart of the Institute for American Thought is a research center that supports the work of the scholarly editions while providing a unique resource for students and scholars worldwide. The Institute’s collections feature the largest consolidated accumulations (in xerographic form collected from scores of archival deposits) of the extant papers of Peirce, Santayana, Douglass, and the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, as well as all of the scholarly records deriving from the many years of textual study for each of the three editions.

The Peirce Edition’s collections form the core of the research center’s holdings, and include the library of Max H. Fisch (1901-1995), an internationally renowned scholar recognized for his work on Charles Peirce and Giambattista Vico. In addition to comprehensive collections of books and periodicals relating to these authors, the Max Fisch Library contains over 13,000 volumes in philosophy, the classics, literature, history, psychology, religious studies, sciences, and languages, many of which are out of print today. Fisch’s papers include a comprehensive biographical reference catalog that, along with the edition’s master reconstruction of Peirce’s known writings, draw research scholars from all over the world.

The Research Center also houses the Burks Collection of documents and exhibits related to the ENIAC, a later-day milestone in American intellectual and technological development that became, by the end of the Second World War, the world’s first electrical general-purpose computer. Arthur Burks, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan, was a principal team member on the ENIAC project during the mid-1940s; he later became a leading Peirce scholar, focusing his work on Peirce’s technical and logical writings, and served as an executive consultant to the Peirce Edition. Documents in the Burks Collection include an original copy of John von Neumann’s famous report on computing, a document that served as a conceptual blueprint for the computer revolution in the twentieth century.

These core holdings have been united with the major research collections of other prominent scholars to form the Research Center. The most significant of these is the Charles Morris collection, which includes the American philosophy component of Morris’s working library and his correspondence with a wide range of American and European intellectuals documenting his significant role in the development of American philosophy and the history of science before and after the Second World War. This collection is of pivotal importance for the study of the history of the Unified Science Movement and the related cross-fertilization of American pragmatism with European positive thought. There is also important correspondence between Morris and the Italian philosopher, Furruccio Rossi-Landi.

Another important collection is the Eisele Papers. Carolyn Eisele is well known as the scholar who, more successfully than anyone else, promoted the study of Peirce’s mathematical and scientific contributions. Eisele is largely responsible for establishing that Peirce was not only an important mathematician but that he was also a first rate historian of mathematics and science. Her correspondence includes significant exchanges with Peirce scholars and with mathematicians and historians. Her papers include a wide range of materials related to Peirce’s mathematics, science, and scientific method. Eisele’s personal library, together with the extensive personal library of Max H. Fisch, makes up the most substantial component of the Institute’s book collection. But there are also significant contributions from the personal libraries of Paul Weiss, Charles Morris, Edward Moore, Arthur Burks, Richard Tursman, and others.

Within the common resource of the research center, the Max Fisch Library has now been extended to include the significant collections of the Santayana Edition. These materials include a master set of manuscript photocopies from Santayana collections held by libraries throughout the country, a comprehensive library of books by and about Santayana, translations of his works, a reference library in philosophy, and a searchable electronic database that includes scanned copies of Santayana’s books, articles, and letters. The edition also holds the papers of John McCormick, Santayana’s principal biographer; this collection includes a record of Santayana’s extensive marginalia, gathered from the many libraries containing portions of his personal library. Finally, the Institute’s research center is also affiliated with the substantial scholarly resources of IU Bloomington’s Howells Edition, which has published volumes for A Selected Edition of William Dean Howells and trained scholarly editors for more than 35 years.

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is integrated into the operations and control regimen of the IAT’s Research Center, where two internationally-recognized Bradbury scholars work: Professor Jonathan R. Eller and Professor William F. Touponce, authors of Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction and where a library of 5,000 volumes of Bradbury related materials are already housed.

The Bradbury center contains generous gifts from prominent Bradbury collectors, as well as Professor Eller and Professor Touponce’s working libraries, research copies of Bradbury’s seven decades of professional correspondence, and research copies of typescripts, galleys, and page proofs for most of Bradbury’s major published works. The date and author records for the correspondence files are already being correlated into a prototype compilation known as the Bradbury Chronicles Correspondence Database (BCCdb).

Other campus research centers involved in the study of American culture have made plans to affiliate with the Institute for American Thought in the coming years.

Out-of-town visitors may secure lodging accommodations in one of the many hotels in nearby downtown Indianapolis. Anyone wishing to see the collections in the Research Center is advised to coordinate their visit with Martha Rujuwa. She may be contacted at 317-274-2173 or mrujuwa[at]iupui[dot]edu . The Research Center is located in the basement of the Education & Social Work building on IUPUI’s campus. Visitor parking is available in the Sports Complex Parking Garage located across the street from the Institute on 875 New York Street.