George Herbert Ryden correspondence
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
George Herbert Ryden (1884-1941), a history professor at the University of Delaware and Delaware State Archivist, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. After working as a clerk at the Kansas City Southern Railway Company for three years, he attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He received a degree in history and economics in 1909, and then attended Yale University where he earned a master's degree in European and American History in 1911. Ryden served as an assistant in the history departement at Yale until 1918.
From January through June 1918, Ryden lectured on the diplomatic background of World War I to soldiers. He continued his lectures and other military activities in Italy and Paris beginning in July 1918. Transferred as a major to the American Red Cross, Ryden worked on post-war civilian relief in Russia.
After teaching a citizenship class at Dartmouth, Ryden joined the University of Delaware's faculty in 1922. Through President Walter Hullihen's new sabbatical system, Ryden returned to Yale for 1926-1927 to complete his doctorate. His expanded thesis, "The Foreign Policy of the United States in Relation to Samoa," was published as a book by Yale University Press in 1933.
Ryden was named head of Delaware's Department of History and Political Science in 1928. He also taught at the University of Kansas during the summers of 1930 and 1936, as well as at the University of Minnesota in the summer of 1932.
George Ryden was appointed State Archivist of Delaware in 1930. He also served on the Historic Markers Commission, the Delaware Swedish Tercentenary Commission, the Delaware Dutch Tercentenary Committee, and the Delaware Statues Commission.
Ryden was president of the University of Delaware chapter of the American Association of University Professors from 1929 to 1931. He later was a regional coordinator for an AAUP membership campaign and ultimately served as National Chairman of the AAUP's Committee on Organization and Conduct of Local Chapters.
Ryden was a founding member and served as the first president of the Delaware History and Social Science Club in 1933. It was affiliated with the Middle States Association of Teachers (which later became the Middle States Council for the Social Studies), of which Ryden later served as president.
The child of Scandinavian immigrants, Ryden held several positions in the Swedish-American Historical Foundation and its Philadelphia museum. These positions included both corresponding and recording secretary of the museum's Board of Trustees. Ryden died in October 1941 in Chicago's Augustana Hospital.
"Ryden, U. of D. Staff Member, Dies in Chicago." October 13, 1941. Journal Every Evening. Wilmington, DE.
The George Herbert Ryden collection consists of correspondence files from 1927 to 1941, with the bulk of the letters from 1936 to 1939. It includes carbon copies and some originals of Ryden's outgoing letters as well as letters he received in the conduct of his affairs. However, at least a third to a half of the collection are carbons of others’ correspondence copied to Ryden because of his positions with the AAUP or Swedish-American Historical Foundation and Museum.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically; however the subjects of the letters cluster around the group in which Ryden was most active at the time. Most of the letters from 1929 through 1937 deal with the AAUP. Earlier letters include those between Ryden and Winifred Robinson, Dean of the Women's College, written while Ryden was completing his PhD at Yale; and then notes about the opening of the University's academic year. Mixed in with early letters are copies of several final examinations Ryden gave at Delaware and Women's Colleges.
Letters from 1933-1934 heavily concentrate on the formation of the Delaware History and Social Science Club. Many of the spring 1936 letters deal with the Middle States Association meeting held in April 1936 in Wilmington and Newark.
By late 1938, the letters concentrate on the Swedish-American Historical Foundation and the Museum. They deal mostly with the normal governance of the Museum, but in 1940 and 1941 a number deal with problems between the Board of Trustees and the Museum's curator.
Throughout the collection are letters from people inquiring about teaching positions at the University. Interesting single letters include March and May 1941 letters, from the Wabash Railway Company and Trans-World Airlines respectively, asking for the names of people attending the Swedish-American Historical Foundation Convention in Philadelphia, in order to procure business.
In 1940-1941, the Swedish-American Historical Museum tried to arrange a lecture by Carl Sandburg. In addition to typed copies of correspondence relating to the proposed lecture, there is a typed letter signed by Sandburg dated June 28, 1941.
The letters are arranged chronologically.
Boxes 1-3: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes
Processed by Rhonda R. Newton, June 1993. Encoded by Special Collections staff.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2007 June 23
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S.Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec