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Warbeke papers

Identifier: MS 0731

Scope and Contents

The John Martyn Warbeke papers consist of published and unpublished writings, lecture and speech notes, research notes, notes on other speakers, course records, correspondence, original music scores, materials from The Holyoke (Massachusetts) League of Arts and Crafts, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs. Most of the material relates to his work as a teacher and scholar at Mount Holyoke, 1906-1944. His published and unpublished writings, 1907-1946, deal with philosophic questions such as "Religion and Peace", "Are We Morally Delinquent?" and "The Limit of the Judgment of Value". Writing across the span of two world wars, he was particularly concerned with the question of peace as well as the relationship between war and religion. Lecture and speech notes, 1913-1944, include notes for courses he taught at Mount Holyoke and Amherst concerning "Aesthetics", "Ethics", "Philosophy of Religion", and "History of Psychology". His research notes and notes on speakers, ca. 1911-1944, include notes about books and about speakers such as Bertrand Russell, Rudolph Eucken and Arthur Hass. Correspondence, 1906-1944, includes several letters from friends and a 1916 draft of a letter to the editor of the "New York Times" arguing that liberal arts colleges should not be seen as businesses but rather as tools for academic freedom. Also included are the responses to his 1923 questionnaire asking "Has the Faculty of a College of Liberal Arts a Religious Function?" and a copy of a letter sent by Warbeke to the Mount Holyoke Board of Trustees in 1935 recommending the selection of a man to replace Mary Woolley as president of the College. Three music scores in the collection are original works composed by Warbeke between ca. 1910 and 1950. Material from The Holyoke (Massachusetts) League of Arts and Crafts, 1925-1929, consists of membership lists, by-laws and constitution, letters written by Warbeke to the members, and exhibition programs. Course records date from Warbeke's years as a student, 1898-1906, and consist of a course outline and two notebooks, one of them in German. Memorabilia, 1907-1950, consists of programs from concerts and recitals in which Warbeke played the organ, awards of recognition, a passport, a court paper recognizing Warbeke's wife Norah as the executrix of his will, a plaque recognizing ten years of service at Mount Holyoke College, a 1907 diploma from Universität Liepzig, and several 1911 letters of recommendation written for him by the faculty and administration of Williams College. Biographical information, 1936-1965, consists of newspaper articles about him. Photographs, ca. 1930-1950, include both formal and informal pictures of Warbeke alone and with others as well as negatives of photographs.


  • Creation: 1898-1965

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

John Martyn Warbeke was born on May 28, 1879 in Marion, New York. He attended Knox College and Bradley Institute in Peoria, Illinois from 1898-1901 before transferring to Princeton University, where he received a B.A. in 1903. He received his Ph.D. from the Universität Leipzig in 1906 and married Norah McCarter of Castle Rock, Ireland in 1908. He studied at Oxford University from 1920-1921. From 1906-1912 he was an instructor of German and philosophy at Williams College. He joined the faculty of Mount Holyoke College in 1912, where he taught courses in ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of religion and Greek philosophy, and served as Philosophy Department Chair from 1936 until his retirement in 1944. He was also a visiting professor of philosophy at Amherst College, 1919-1923. He was a musician who played the organ and composed music for the organ alone and in combination with other instruments. He was a member of the American Philosophic Association (serving as director 1937-1940), the Association for the Advancement of Science, the New York Browning Society, and he was founder and president of The Holyoke (Massachusetts) League of Arts and Crafts. He wrote extensively and contributed to magazines such as the "American Magazine of Art", the "Forum" (Philadelphia), "Philosophia", and the "Journal of Philosophy". His books include "The Searching Mind of Greece", and "The Power of Art", published posthumously in 1952. He died on May 21, 1950 in South Hadley, Massachusetts at the age of seventy.


4 boxes (Faculty/Staff)

Language of Materials



Warbeke, John Martyn, 1879-1950; philosopher and college teacher. Mount Holyoke College faculty member, 1912-1944. Papers consist of published and unpublished writings, lecture and speech notes, research notes, notes on other speakers, course records, correspondence, original music scores, materials from The Holyoke (Massachusetts) League of Arts and Crafts, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs; primarily pertaining to his work as a scholar and teacher.


Arranged in 12 series: Series 1. Published Writings. Series 2. Unpublished Writings. Series 3. Lecture and Speech Notes. Series 4. Research Notes. Series 5. Notes on Other Speakers. Series 6. Course Records. Series 7. Correspondence. Series 8. Music Scores. Series 9. Holyoke League of Arts and Crafts. Series 10. Memorabilia. Series 11. Biographical Information. Series 12. Photographs.

Warbeke papers, 1898-1965.
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© 2004
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Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA