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Hoose Library of Philosophy: Collections, History, Art & Architecture and Digital Humanities Projects and Resources: FLEWELLING COLLECTION

A brief guide to the USC James Harmon Hoose Library of Philosophy and its rare book and manuscript special collections, history, and art and architecture. USC Libraries news, events, projects and services.

Definitions for Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sources

This information was copied directly from Librarian, Christal Young's Research Guide for HIST100 to learn more please click on the link to go directly to the HIST100 Research Guide. 

Primary vs. Secondary sources continued....

Understanding both the history of the discipline you are interested in and understanding the cultural, political, and social era of the particular text you are studying depends on reading and knowing history. History’s major activity is to gather evidence regarding the past, evaluate that evidence within the temporal scope of the period under study, and then access how that evidence contributes to our understanding of that period.

Historical research relies on a wide variety of sources, primary and secondary and oral tradition.

Primary Sources:

  • Eyewitness accounts of events
  • Oral or written testimony
  • Found in public records or legal documents, minutes of meetings, newspapers, diaries, letters, artifacts such as posters, billboards, photographs, drawings, papers
  • Located in university archives or special collections, or local historical society collections or privately owned collections

Secondary Sources:

Are scholarly interpretations and critiques of the historical period of interest that you are studying. In the study of modern history the difference between primary and secondary sources are usually clear. In ancient and medieval history this distinction is not so clear.

  • Secondhand accounts of events
  • Oral or written
  • Found in textbooks, encyclopedias, journal articles, newspapers, biographies, media such as film or tape recordings

Oral Tradition:

Who were the Flewelling family?

Flewelling Collection

Professor Ralph Tyler Flewelling, as director of philosophy at USC and with the support of the Seeley Wintersmith Mudd Foundation, began developing the Hoose Library of Philosophy during the mid-1920s. From the first, his plans embraced the acquisition of books possessing a combination of scholarly and bibliophilic qualities; and by the time it was installed in new quarters in Mudd Memorial Hall in 1930, the library contained a modest group of such volumes.

Comprising approximately 2,500 volumes, they include manuscripts, incunabula and such works as Hobbe’s Leviathan (1651), and Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (1690).

The Flewelling Collection is currently housed within Special Collections in the Doheny Memorial Library.

To learn more about our Flewelling Collection for research and instructional services please contact me via my contact information located on the far right of this page or  Special Collections.

You may also contact:

Melinda Hayes, Rare Books Librarian 
(213) 740 5141
DML 205B

Ralph Tyler Flewelling

Ralph Tyler Flewelling was the head of the School of Philosophy at USC when Mudd Hall was built in 1929. He was an ardent book collecter. He was the author of many books and was one of the leading figures in the personalist movement in American philosophy.

Source: Public Art in LA by Ruth Wallach

Did you know.....

A MLIS student, Lisa Crow, did a study of the Hoose Library of Philosophy and shared some of her findings on her blog

An excerpt from her study regarding Ralph Tyler Flewelling and his importance to USC, the creation of the Department of Philosophy, and how the Hoose Library of Philosophy was heralded for its collections and contributions to not only the field of Philosophy but to the history of California, of Los Angeles, and the mission of the Hoose Library of Philosophy which is still in place today. 

"Flewelling was born in  Michigan in 1871. He attended country schools, then went to the University of Michigan, Alma College, and the Garrett Biblical Institute. He became a Methodist minister assigned to a church near the Boston Public Library, a fortuitous location since Flewelling was an avid reader. He made the acquaintance of German philosopher Rudolf Eucken and the two remained lifelong friends. Eucken would later help Dr. Flewelling with his acquisitions for the Hoose Library. 
It was in Boston, presumably, that Flewelling encountered the philosophical school of Personalism. He studied the work of Borden Parker Bowne, professor of philosophy and a leader in the school of Personalism.  Flewelling maintained a correspondence with Bowne's widow throughout his early years at USC. According to Nethery, Flewelling:
lost some of the more traditional tenets of his faith, including the virgin birth of Christ – though decidedly not that of the incarnation. There was never a more steadfast Christian than Ralph Tyler Flewelling; but it was the humanity of Jesus that was central to his mature philosophy and religion …
By 1916, at the age of forty-five, he was ready to begin an essentially new career in education; and a call from the young and struggling University of Southern California gave him the opportunity he sought (Nethery, 1976 p xi)."

USC Libraries

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Dr. Melissa Miller
Dr. Melissa L. Miller
Faculty Head, Hoose Library of Philosophy / Humanities Librarian

Assistant Professor, Marshall School of Business: Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) program

Subject Areas: Humanities; Philosophy; Religion; Classics; Anthropology; Linguistics


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