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Dana Carleton Munro papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

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Dana Carleton Munro was born in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1866. He graduated from Brown University in 1887 and left for Germany two years later to pursue his studies in medieval history. Munro remained abroad at the Universities of Strasburg and Freiburg for several years before he returned to the United States and began teaching history at the University of Pennsylvania. The first edition of Munro's widely used textbook, The Middle Ages, was published in 1902 and that same year Munro took a teaching position at the University of Wisconsin. In 1916, he became chairman of the history department of Princeton University and held that position until 1928. Munro served as the president of the American Historical Association and the Medieval Academy and the managing editor of the American Historical Review. He carried out sweeping scholarly research for a book on the crusades, but was not able to finish the project before his death in 1933.

George Lincoln Burr (1857-1938), whose many letters to Munro are included in this collection, was a historian who taught at Cornell University and discovered the Loos Manuscript (a sixteenth century denunciation of witch trials). Despite Burr's prominence in the field of medieval history, he wrote to Munro (regarding an edition of The Middle Ages) that it was "absurd that [he] should presume to be a critic of [Munro's] work. [Munro] might with better grace criticize [Burr's]."

John Life LaMonte (1902-1949) was the author of The World of the Middle Ages: a Reorientation of Medieval History and Feudal Monarchy in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and served as the Henry C. Lea Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Pennsylvania from 1940 until his early death (at age forty-six) in 1949.


Leitch, Alexander. "Munro, Dana C."A Princeton Companion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978).

This collection contains papers of Dana Carleton Munro, a celebrated medieval historian and expert on the crusades. The first four folders in the collection contain documents relating to Munro's education at the German Universities of Strasburg and Freiburg from 1889 to 1892. The next two folders contain correspondence and editorial criticism from his professional career, and the last two folders in the collection contains notes by historian John Life LaMonte, which are of ambiguous connection to Munro's work and post-date his death. Munro's papers date between 1889 and 1928, and LaMonte's date from about 1945 to 1949.

The first folder in this collection is comprised of ten uniform booklets containing handwritten notes from lectures that Munro attended at the University of Strasburg in 1889. Several of the books record lectures given by Professor Paul Scheffer-Boichorst on topics including the Hohenstaufen dynasty of German kings and early medieval history. Two notebooks relate to the auxiliary sciences of history and detail the types of paper, parchment, papyri and inks used in antiquity as well as various alphabets, scripts, scribal abbreviations and symbols of punctuation common in early manuscripts. There is also a notebook containing some notes about Shakespeare.

The collection's next folder also contains notes on history lectures, but in a less consistent format than the notes contained in the first folder. Dated between 1889 and 1892, these notes were probably taken during lectures at both Strasburg and Freiburg. One booklet relates to English economic history and another contains sparse notes on theology and what appear to be lists of primary and secondary research sources. Notes written on loose pieces of paper including the backs of library cards from the University of Strasburg cover topics such as the Filioque controversy, renaissance, church history and 12th century German history. All of Munro's notes from his studies at Strasburg and Freiburg contain elements in both German and English.

Folder three contains printed publications and certificates Munro accumulated while in Germany (1889-1891). Those from Strasburg include two pamphlets (regarding rules for University students and the statutes of the committee of the student body) and Munro's diploma, which lists the courses he completed. Munro's student identification card from the University of Freiburg and a course catalog from the University are also present in this folder, along with a pamphlet on the heritage and genealogical history of some families in Leipzig. Though undated, folder four (a handwritten, alphabetized index primarily of medieval texts) seems to have been put together during the same period of Munro's life.

Folder 5 contains a 1928 postcard sent to Munro by one of his students as well as a letter from Earle W. Dow written in 1910. This letter expresses Dow's desire that the two scholars' academic works be "well dovetailed" and includes a list of chapters Dow planned to write for an upcoming book. Folder six contains extensive editorial criticism for various editions of Munro's textbook, The Middle Ages, sent to him in 1913, 1917 and 1921 by George Lincoln Burr. A librarian and history professor at Cornell University, Burr also served as general editor of the Century Historical Series which published The Middle Ages. A typewritten transcription of all of Burr's letters is also included in folder six.

The last two folders of this collection contain some papers of John Life LaMonte, who served as the Henry C. Lea Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Pennsylvania from 1940 to 1949. However, besides a shared academic field, the association of La Monte and Munro's papers is unclear. LaMonte's files, dating from 1945 to 1949, include documents such as lecture schedules, required and recommended reading lists, and midterm examinations from courses he taught on medieval history as well as two copies of an outline for a book or lecture series on the history of the crusades. Also included is a detailed outline (undated) of The World of the Middle Ages, a book which was published in 1949.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Rive Cadwallader
Finding Aid Date
February 3, 2016
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Notes on European history lectures, 1889.
Box 1 Folder 1
Notes on history lectures, 1889-1892.
Box 1 Folder 2
University publications and certificates, 1889-1891.
Box 1 Folder 3
Index of research sources, undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
Correspondence, 1910, 1928.
Box 1 Folder 5
Editorial criticism from George L. Burr (in the form of letters), 1913-1921.
Box 1 Folder 6
John LaMonte files; syllabi, notes and outline of The World of the Middle Ages, circa 1945-1949.
Box 1 Folder 7-8

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