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James Hulme Canfield Papers

Identifier: mss-343

Collection Description

The James Hulme Canfield collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, notebooks from his professorship at the University of Kansas, speeches and various family memorabilia. Box 1 contains a variety of family papers including some of Canfield's college papers, his father's recollections and his aunt's (Ellen Hulme) estate papers. Boxes 2 and 3 contain general correspondence arranged chronologically. Of particular note are letters from his daughter, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and his wife, Flavia, during trips to the family home in Arlington, Vermont and two extended European trips. Also of note are the originals of letters to Canfield concerning his resignation from Ohio State University (1899) from which he typed excerpts into a scrapbook which is located in Box 6. Box 4 contains the notebooks from the courses he taught at the University of Kansas which Canfield placed on reserve in the Library for his student's use. Box 5 contains a collection of speeches on various topics which Canfield delivered throughout his career as an educator 1877- 1909. Boxes 6 and 7 contain miscellaneous family scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and memorial articles written on Canfield following his death.


  • 1830-1909


Language of Materials



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.


James Hulme Canfield, father of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, was born in Delaware, Ohio March 18, 1847. He lived in New York City (Brooklyn) until age 8 and then, after the death of his mother, went to live with his paternal grandmother and an aunt in Arlington, Vermont. His father, Eli Hawley Canfield, remained in New York City, minister to congregations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

James Canfield graduated from the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in July of 1864. He attended Williams College (1864-68) and upon graduation moved west, first to Iowa, to work for various railroad companies. In 1871 he studied in the law office of Hall and Gould in Jackson, Mi., and was admitted to the bar in 1872. He remained in law practice there until 1877. Canfield married Flavia A. Camp in 1873.

James Canfield taught at the University of Kansas from 1877 to 1891. He was first professor of History and English Language and Literature and then of History and Political Science. In 1889, at his request, a position as Professor of American History and Civics was created for him. During this time he was also secretary, and in 1889, president of the National Education Association. He remained active in the NEA through the early 1900's. Canfield left Kansas in 1891 for the position of Chancellor to the State University of Nebraska at Lincoln. In 1895 he became President of Ohio State University, resigned the position in 1899 and became Librarian at Columbia University. He remained in this position until his death.

James Hulme Canfield died March 29, 1909 after a January 1909 street car accident which eventually led to two apoplexy attacks (strokes).


7 boxes


The James Hulme Canfield collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, speeches, notebooks from his professorship at the University of Kansas and family memorabilia. Of particular interest are letters from his daughter, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and his wife, Flavia Camp Canfield, during trips to the family home in Vermont, and during two extended European trips.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Inventory of the James Hulme Canfield Collection, 1830-1909
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)