The Santayana Edition began at the University of Tampa in 1976, moved to Texas A&M University in 1985, and came to the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts (SLA) at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 1999. In 2004 the Edition became a founding member of the Institute for American Thought (IAT) in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Under the administrative umbrella of the IAT, five scholarly editions, the Frederick Douglass Papers, the Peirce Edition Project, the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, the Josiah Royce Papers, and the Santayana Edition, share office space and professional and administrative staff.

The Santayana Edition was initiated by members of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, particularly John Lachs of Vanderbilt University, and Morris Grossman of Fairfield University. In 1976 Herman Saatkamp, then at the University of Tampa, was asked to coordinate and develop the project; and in 1977, with a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), he began research on the status of Santayana’s works. Following an extensive search, significant material was located in Spain, England, Italy, Canada, and the United States. The bulk of Santayana’s manuscripts are housed at the libraries of Columbia University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Temple University, the University of Texas, the University of Virginia, the University of Waterloo, and the Rockefeller Archive Center. Some of this material is published in random editions, but much of it remains inaccessible. Until the Santayana Edition, there had been no systematic effort to discover uncollected papers and materials. As a result of this research, Saatkamp, with the help of John Jones, compiled George Santayana: A Bibliographical Checklist, 1880–1980 (Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1982), which includes listings for both primary and secondary sources, book reviews, dissertations, manuscripts, letters, and other materials in collections, along with three indices (the Bibliographical Checklist is updated annually in Overheard in Seville:Bulletin of the Santayana Society, of which an archive is available through the IUPUI University Library.


In the process of editing The Works of George Santayana, the Santayana Edition has acquired an archive that includes photocopies of original Santayana manuscripts and papers held by libraries around the country. In addition to the photocopies of Santayana’s manuscripts and papers, the collection includes books published by Santayana, two Santayana books owed by John Dewey, books published about Santayana, translations of Santayana’s works, other philosophical reference books, copies of Santayana photographs, original photographs donated by individuals taken of significant Santayana sites (such as his European homes), and Santayana’s academic robe. The Santayana Edition is developing an electronic database that will include scanned copies of Santayana’s books, articles, and letters. The database will be searchable by topic or keyword. Archival collections, apart from the working materials generated by preparation of the edition, include the materials assembled by Santayana’s most recent biographer, John McCormick, and Santayana scholar Richard C. Lyon.


Funding for the Critical Edition of the Works of George Santayana is provided by the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts and The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a federal agency which supports the study of such fields as history, philosophy, literature, and languages. Additional funding has been provided by members of the Santayana Society, Indiana University, and the Comité Conjunto Hispano-Norteamericano para la Cooperación Cultural y Educativa.