Skip to main content

Lewis Ellsworth Akeley papers

Identifier: MS-004

Content Description

The Lewis Ellsworth Akeley Papers contain materials from Akeley’s time as a professor and administrator at the University of South Dakota.

Most material is undated.

The Correspondence series is divided into three sub-series: Incoming, Outgoing, and Other. The material in the incoming and outgoing series contains correspondence primarily between Lewis Akeley and his colleagues and associates.

Much of the content in Other concerns the publication of Akeley’s memoir This Is What We Had in Mind.

The Printed Material contains newspaper articles covering Akeley’s birthday celebrations, Akeley’s views on atomic energy, the publication of his book This Is What We Had in Mind, and his passing in 1961.

The Typescripts include a wide range of writings from Lewis Akeley. Some of these writing may have also been published. Some of the writings include “Public Opinion in Democracy,” “Liberty and Freedom,” and “Science and Thought.” There are also several drafts of his memoir This Is What We Had in Mind.

The Manuscripts series are divided into two sub-series: Lecture Series and Miscellaneous. The Lecture Series contains philosophy lectures from Akeley. The content of the lectures includes introductory philosophy material, as well as an introduction to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. The miscellaneous Manuscripts include additional philosophy compositions from Akeley whose topics range from “The Progress of Science in the Nineteenth Century” to “The Social Mission of the Church.” Judging from the content of the material, the papers date from the beginning of the 20th Century to post-World War I. Whether or not these writings were meant for publication, the classroom, or for another purpose is unclear.

The Miscellaneous material contains requisition forms, a list of those receiving complimentary copies of Lewis Akeley’s memoirs, and a list of Akeley’s published articles.


  • Creation: 1900 - 1963


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research without restriction. Researchers are advised to contact the Archives and Special Collections prior to visiting. Advance notice may be needed to retrieve items for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers must obtain a signed Permission to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC. Permission to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information materials from ASC does not constitute permission from the holder of copyright or literary rights. The researcher is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce content from materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Lewis Ellsworth Akeley was one of the original faculty of the University of South Dakota. From 1887 until 1908 he served as a professor of chemistry and physics, but also taught courses in Latin, physical geography and physiology. Akeley assisted Alexander Pell in establishing an engineering department in 1903 which would become the College of Engineering in 1907. Akeley became the college’s second dean in 1908 and served until its end in 1933. Thereafter, at the age of 72, Akeley “retired” and taught part-time as a lecturer in philosophy until his mid-nineties. Akeley remained active with the university until his passing in 1961 at the age of 100.

Akeley was a professor of natural science who also believed that classicism was an integral part of education. With regard to the establishment of the College of Engineering, Akeley wrote, “I experienced a new birth that completed my academic journey through classicism to science and then to technology.” Much of the material in this collection contains his writings on philosophical topics.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The Lewis Ellsworth Akeley Papers contain materials from Akeley’s time as a professor and administrator at the University of South Dakota.


The papers are divided into five series: Correspondence, Printed Materials, Typescripts, Manuscripts, and Miscellaneous.

Lewis Ellsworth Akeley papers
Andrea M. Peterson
2006 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository