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S. Colum Gilfillan Papers

Identifier: Spec-Coll-00021

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, books, pamphlets, and reprints from journals on invention; materials on patents and scientific related papers. The collection is arranged in the order in which Professor Gilfillan arranged them: by selected topic.


  • 1915-1978

Biographical / Historical

S. Colum Gilfillan was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 5, 1889, to Rev. Joseph A. and Harriet Woodbridge (Cook). He received his A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1910; his A.M. from Columbia in 1920; and his Ph.D. in 1935. Gilfillan married Louise H. Wenzel on September 15, 1922; their children were Barbara Wenzel and Marjorie Wenzel. Gilfillan was acting Associate Professor of Social Sciences at the University of the South, 1921-1924; instructor of Sociology and Economics at Grinnell College, 1924-1926; Curator of Transportation and Social Sciences at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, 1928-1929; and Assistant Professor of Sociology, Purdue University, 1937-1938. Between 1929 and 1937 he worked variously as a researcher with the Presidents Research Committee on Social Trends, the National Resources Committee, and the National Industrial Conference Board. He devoted later years largely to inventions and developing patents. He served at the Base Hospital 15, A.E.F., France, in World War I; and was a member of the American Sociological Society and Phi Beta Kappa. He authored: Inventing the Ship, 1935; Rome's Ruin by Lead Poison (posthumous), 1990; The Sociology of Invention, 1935; Technical Trends in National Policy, 1937. He lived most of his life in Chicago, Illinois.


2.5 Linear Feet

S. Colum Gilfillan papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections Repository

Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland OH 44106-7151 United States