Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Wirt mss., 1899-1957, consist of correspondence and papers of William Albert Wirt, 1874-1938, educator, and of his wife, Mildred (Harter) Wirt, teacher.

Career of William Albert Wirt: born, January 21, 1874, Markle, Indiana; 1895-1897, superintendent of schools, Redkey, Indiana; 1897-1899, instructor in high school mathematics, Greencastle, Indiana; 1898, Ph.B., DePauw University; 1899-1907, superintendent of schools, Bluffton, Indiana; 1900, attracted public attention by his application of new educational methods; 1907-1938, as superintendent of schools, Gary, Indiana, developed the so-called "Gary system" of education which kept the children off the streets and increased the capacity of the school buildings by lengthening school hours and by a "work-study-play" or "platoon" system involving the inclusion of vocational and recreational subjects in the curriculum; 1914, engaged by the New York City Board of Education to spend one week in every four acting as an adviser in that city's attempt to organize its schools according to the "Gary System"; 1916, Ph.D., DePauw University; 1929, National Bank of America, Gary, Indiana, of which he had been president for almost 20 years, closed its doors; in 1934 his booklet, America Must Lose, in which he asserted that there was a deliberately conceived plot among some of the New Deal leftists to overthrow the established social order and substitute a planned economy, resulted in a congressional investigation by the Bulwinkle committee; from 1934 on devoted himself to a considerable extent to writing and speaking on his political views; died, Gary, Indiana, March 11, 1938.

The papers in this collection consist of administrative files of the Gary school system, personal correspondence with prominent educators, business executives and political figures, and papers relating to educational, economical and social problems. The bulk of the material covers the period from 1908 to 1934 while Wirt was superintendent of schools in Gary and when his "Gary System" had become nationally known. These is material on other schools using the plan particularly those in New York City. The papers from 1933 to 1935 deal chiefly with political, monetary and economical problems, and include some papers relating to the Bulwinkle committee investigation.

Materials in the collection from 1939 to 1957 are papers of Mildred (Harter) Wirt, (Mrs. William Albert Wirt), and are concerned with theatrical productions presented in Gary by the schools and by professional companies under the management of Mrs. Wirt.

The collection also contains mimeographed and printed material (i.e. newspaper clippings, pamphlets, reprints of articles, articles from magazines, etc.) relating to schools, the monetary question, economic conditions, and pictures of school and of dramatic productions and some maps and charts.

Among the correspondents represented in the collection are Lyman Abbott, Lewis Raymond Alderman, Robert Judson Aley, William Harvey Allen, James Rowland Angell, Roger Ward Babson, Harry Everett Barnard, Richard L. Barnum, Charles Austin Beard, Mary (Ritter) Beard, A. Howard Bell, Tiffany Blake, Eliza Ann (Cooper) Blaker, William Joseph Bogan, Randolph Silliman Bourne, Arthur J. Bowser, Albert Augustus Boyden, Henry Baker Brown, Henry Bruere, William Lowe Bryan, Roscoe Carlyle Buley, Frank Forest Bunker, William Paxton Burris, Amos William Butler, Nathaniel Butler, Joseph Mitchell Chapple, Thomas William Churchill, Grace Giddings (Julian) Clarke, Philander Priestley Claxton, Christopher Bush Coleman, George William Coleman, Carle Cotter Conway, Henry Frederick Cope, Fassett Allen Cotton, Wilbur Fisk Crafts, James Britton Cranfill, Herbert Croly, Samuel Jay Crumbine, Wilbur R. Curtis, Charles Hall Davis, William A. Dehority, John Dewey, James Leonard Donnelly, Rheta Louise (Childe) Dorr, Charity Dye, Edward Charles Elliott, Edwin Milton Fairchild, Harry Webb Farrington, Alice Prentice (Barrows) Fernandez, Reuben Fink, Abraham Flexner, Zona Gale, Elbert Henry Gary, Wilbert Warner Gasser, David Gibson, Ernst Goerner, Samuel Gompers, Frank Johnson Goodnow, James Putnam Goodrich, William Green, George Richmond Grose, Luther Halsey Gulick, Ernest Theodore Gundlach, Warren Gamaliel Harding, Henry G. Hay, Jr., William Harrison Hays, Beatrice Heiman, Burton Jesse Hendrick, Cheesman Abiah Herrick, Frederick Cleveland Hibbard, Linneaus Neal Hines, W.S. Hiser, Ernest Otto Holland, Carl Oliver Holmes, Herbert Hoover, Pryne Hopkins, Frederic Clemson Howe, Edwin Holt Hughes, George Edwin Hunt, John Newell Hurty, James H. Hyman, Ed Jackson, Harriet Merrill Johnson, Charles Hubbard Judd, Harry Pratt Judson, Arnold B. Keller, Robert Lincoln Kelly, Julian J. Kiser, Winthrop David Lane, Butler Laughlin, William Morris Leiserson, Clifton Harby Levy, Adolph Lewisohn, Benjamin Barr Lindsey, Daniel Benjamin Luten, Fred Lynch, William McAndrew, Warren Terry McCray, Willis C. McMahan, Paul Vories McNutt, Hugh Stewart Magill, Ezra Mattingly, Tristram Walker Metcalfe, John Purroy Mitchel, Raymond Moley, Paul Monroe, Albert Jay Nock, Frederic Austin Ogg, Garfield Bromley Oxnam, Homer Cling Parker, Wright A. Patterson, William Dudley Pelley, Clarence Arthur Perry, Amos Richard Eno Pinchot, Henry Pope, Sr., Henry Pope, 1903- , William A. Prendergast, James William Ramsey, James Henry Rand, Anna (Yeomans) Reed, Edward Aloysius Rumely, Herman E. Sasse, Herman Schneider, Walter Dill Scott, Albert Shiels, Benjamin Franklin Shively, Robert Soutter Sinclair, David Snedden, Winthrop Ellsworth Stone, Joseph Swain, Graham Romeyn Taylor, William Hale Thompson, William Joseph Thompson, John James Tigert, Worth Marion Tippy, Charles Richard Van Hise, Claude Halstead VanTyne, John Henry Walsh, Albert Edward Winship, Robert E. Wood, Thomas Denison Wood.

Some of the manuscripts in this collection are in a folio folder.

Collection size: 22,232 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.