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The Collected Letters of Henry Northrup Castle

Henry Northrup Castle

Publication Year: 2013

George Herbert Mead, one of America’s most important and influential philosophers, a founder of pragmatism, social psychology, and symbolic interactionism, was also a keen observer of American culture and early modernism. In the period from the 1870s to 1895, Henry Northrup Castle maintained a correspondence with family members and with Mead—his best friend at Oberlin College and brother-in-law—that reveals many of the intellectual, economic, and cultural forces that shaped American thought in that complex era. Close friends of John Dewey, Jane Addams, and other leading Chicago Progressives, the author of these often intimate letters comments frankly on pivotal events affecting higher education, developments at Oberlin College, Hawaii (where the Castles lived), progressivism, and the general angst that many young intellectuals were experiencing in early modern America.

The letters, drawn from the Mead-Castle collection at the University of Chicago, were collected and edited by Mead after the tragic death of Henry Castle in a shipping accident in the North Sea. Working with his wife Helen Castle (one of Henry’s sisters), he privately published fifty copies of the letters to record an important relationship and as an intellectual history of two progressive thinkers at the end of the nineteenth century. American historians, such as Robert Crunden and Gary Cook, have noted the importance of the letters to historians of the late nineteenth century.

The letters are made available here using the basic Mead text of 1902. Additional insights into the connection between Mead, John Dewey, Henry and Harriet Castle, and Hawaii’s progressive kindergarten system are provided by the foundation’s executive director Alfred L. Castle. Marvin Krislov, president of Oberlin College, has added additional comments on the importance of the letters to understanding the intellectual relationship that flourished at Oberlin College.

Published with the support of the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. v-9

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pp. vii-viii

George Herbert Mead began corresponding with Henry Northrup Castle in the summer of 1883, shortly after they graduated from Oberlin College. During their time on our campus, the two had become close friends. They edited the Oberlin Review, our student newspaper, fueled each other’s deep interest in literature and culture, and delighted...

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pp. ix-xxx

It is with great pleasure that the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, one of America’s oldest family foundations, has supported the reissuing of the substantial correspondence of George Herbert Mead and Henry Northrup Castle. These letters, the originals of which reside in the University of Chicago’s Castle and Mead Collection, contain valuable...


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pp. xxxi-xxxiv

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A Few Recollections of Henry's Childhood

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pp. 1-6

My first distinct recollection of Henry is in connection with a visit to Molokai, where Edward and Mary Hitchcock were living with their young family of growing children. Mother took the three youngest children, Carrie, Henry, and myself. Henry must have been about two years old, perhaps more, but I am uncertain...

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The Collected Letters of Henry Northrup Castle

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pp. 7-812

I want to see you very much. I intend to enjoy myself up here, though I am afraid I am going to be homesick. I am afraid my knee is not getting any better. I think it is about the same as it was when I left Honolulu. Please send the clothes up as soon as possible, for I will need them, I think. I wish Father...

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444313
E-ISBN-10: 082144431X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821420119
Print-ISBN-10: 0821420119

Page Count: 832
Publication Year: 2013