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Harry Norman Gardiner papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00395

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the professional papers of Harry Norman Gardiner, Smith College Professor of Philosophy. The papers are arranged in eight series and contain clippings, correspondence, curricular materials, photographs and speeches.

Dates of Materials

  • 1855 - 1930
  • Majority of material found within 1870 - 1930


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Harry Norman Gardiner was born on November 6, 1855 in Norwich, England. He received his primary education in Bristol and spent four years as a businessman in England before emigrating to the United States in 1874 with the hopes of becoming a minister. He graduated from Amherst College in 1878 with high honors and immediately entered Union Theological Seminary in New York. After graduating in 1881, his outstanding success and dedication to his studies earned him a fellowship in Europe. Two years later, he returned to Amherst College to pursue a Master of Art (1885).

Gardiner joined the Smith College faculty in 1884 as an instructor in mental and moral philosophy. During his career he became well known both in Northampton and in the philosophical and psychological academic community. Gardiner was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Association and became president of the organization in 1907. He was a charter member of the American Psychological Association and an advisory editor of the Psychological Review, a journal to which he frequently contributed. He also published in the Psychological Bulletin, Encyclopedia Americana, and Encyclopedia Britannica. His book titled Outlines in Modern Philosophy was published in 1892.

Gardiner was a member of the Century Club of New York, the Amherst College Club of New York, served as the vice-president and as trustee for the Nonotuck Savings Bank of Northampton and as a deacon at the First Church of Northampton. When Gardiner retired from Smith College in 1924, he had taught there for forty years and served as department chairman. Upon his retirement, Gardiner became the first man to be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters from Smith College. In 1926, one of the new dormitories in the quadrangle was named the Harry N. Gardiner House. Proud of this honor, he would often bring guests to "his house" for dinner.

After his retirement, Gardiner still remained close to Smith and the surrounding community. He sometimes led morning chapel and substitute taught philosophy classes. President William Allen Neilson and Gardiner collaborated upon a history of the college with the working title Smith College: the First Seventy Years. Although Neilson continued working on the manuscript after Gardiner's death, it was never completed.

On December 29, 1927 Gardiner had just finished a late afternoon tea date with President Neilson and was walking home to his Main Street apartment when he was struck by a oncoming automobile. A cracked skull caused the instant death of the seventy-two year old. He willed Smith College his books and manuscripts on psychology and philosophy, his portraits of philosophers, and a Spanish crucifix. He was survived by his niece, Mrs. Hilda (Edwards) Hamlin (Class of 1912), who was his only living relative.


6.854 linear feet (19 containers)

Language of Materials



Faculty. Collection contains correspondence, lecture notes and publications, and correspondence.


This collection is organized into eight series:

  1. Biographical Material
  2. Correspondence
  3. Lecture Notes
  4. Notes
  5. Photographs
  6. Publications
  7. Speeches
  8. Writings

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Harry Norman Gardiner, 1927. Portions of the collection may have been received from other sources papers were donated to the College Archives.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.

Finding aid to the Harry Norman Gardiner papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White, Elizabeth Carron.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2018-11-06: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063