Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz and Morris Lazerowitz papers
Scope and Contents
- 1930 - 2001
- Ambrose, Alice, 1906- (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Box #6 is CLOSED until 2070 due to student grades.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
It is due to Lazerowitz and a few others in the Cambridge philosophical community of the 1930s that The Blue Book (1933-1934) and The Brown Book (1934-1935), two central texts in the Wittgenstein canon, were written and published. Both books were published after the philosopher's death, and are essentially transcripts of Wittgenstein's lectures and dictations during those years. In a ca. 1990 document called "Recollections of Wittgenstein" and described as "preparatory materials for tape recording at E. Carolina University," Lazerowitz writes, Wittgenstein was demanding, of both himself and others. The ruling passion of his life was to do philosophy properly. The compelling force of his own values communicated itself, and with both himself and others there was no compromise with those values, whether intellectual, moral, or aesthetic. (p. 4)
This passage not only vividly captures Wittgenstein's single-minded passion for philosophy, but also highlights the clarity, vigor, and accuracy of Lazerowitz's thought and prose. One could in all fairness say that, just as Lazerowitz was immensely fortunate to study with Wittgenstein, he was equally fortunate to have in her and her compatriots students capable not only of transcribing his words, but also of understanding and later teaching them to others.
Lazerowitz received a second doctoral degree from Cambridge, and in 1935 she left England and accepted a teaching position at the University of Michigan, which she held for two years. In 1937, she came to Smith College and, along with her husband Morris Lazerowitz, whom she married in 1938, spent the remainder of her career in the Smith Philosophy Department. She achieved full professor status in 1951, and was named Sophia and Austin Smith Professor of Philosophy in 1964, a chair she held until her retirement in 1972. Though Lazerowitz's early association with Wittgenstein is probably the most glamorous part of her career, it does not in any way represent the scope and depth of it. She wrote Essays in Analysis (1966) and co-authored with her husband six more books, including Fundamentals of Symbolic Logic (rev. 1962), Essays in the Unknown Wittgenstein (1984), and Necessity and Language (1985). She and Morris Lazerowitz co-edited G. E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect (1970) and Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophy and Language (1972). Her articles, papers, and lectures on logic, language, skepticism, epistemology, Wittgenstein, and Wittgenstein contemporary G. E. Moore earned her a respected place in 20th-century philosophy.
Unlike the solitary and anguished Wittgenstein, whose work so deeply influenced her career, Lazerowitz was socially active both in the academy and in her community. She served as editor of The Journal of Symbolic Logic from 1953 to 1968, and as President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association (APA). Perhaps closer to her heart was the position of chair of the APA Committee on Freedom for Latin American Philosophers. At Smith, she chaired the Smith College Community Chest Drive. Even after her retirement she was highly sought-after as a teacher and continued to teach and guest-lecture at Smith and other universities around the country until her death, at the age of 94, on January 25, 2001.
14.75 linear feet (15 containers)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Finding aid to the Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Finding aid prepared by manosca.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: manosca101 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2018-11-09: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of the College Archives Survey
- 2019-11-25: Added boxes 1-13, updated extents and dates
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