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Grover Edward Maxwell papers

Identifier: 480

Scope and Content

This collection contains papers from graduate and undergraduate students, research papers submitted by Maxwell's colleagues for pre-publication review, correspondence, and miscellaneous items.

A majority of the graduate and undergraduate papers include topics about Epistemology, the mind/body problem, and the philosophy of science. Many of the undergraduate papers concern foundationalism in Epistemology, and focus on the writings of Bertrand Russell, a philosopher upon whom Maxwell concentrated much of his studies. Included in the collection are correspondence from Sir Karl Popper, Adolph Grumbaum, Wilfred Sellars, Paul Feyerabend, and Wesley Salmon.

The largest part of the correspondence in the collection is in regard to Maxwell's dispute with the University in 1980 over a pay raise while Director of the Center of the Philosophy of Science.


  • 1957-1980


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote from the Grover Edward Maxwell papers should be arranged with the head of the University of Minnesota Archives.

Copyright of works created by students and Maxwell's colleagues is retained by the record creator.

Biographical Sketch of Grover Maxwell (1918-1981)

Professor Grover Edward Maxwell was born on June 21, 1918 in Rockvale, Tennessee. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee in 1941. Upon graduation, he became a research chemist for the Tennessee Valley Authority. In 1943, World War II interrupted Maxwell's work and he received nine months of training in meteorology and subsequently saw 18 months of active duty in the U.S. Navy in the Marshall Islands. At the close of the war, Maxwell returned to his position at the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In 1946, Maxwell returned to the University of Tennessee to begin graduate work in Chemistry, and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1950. At this point Maxwell came to the University of Minnesota on a postdoctoral fellowship. After his fellowship, he joined General Mills as a research chemist. In 1951, he accepted his first teaching position at the University of Connecticut, and in 1953 became an associate professor at Adelphi College in New York.

In 1954 he decided to return to the University of Minnesota as a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy. While he was in graduate school he also worked as a teaching assistant in the department. Maxwell's concentration focused around the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science, and in 1958, he became a research assistant at the Center and an Assistant Professor for the Philosophy Department. He continued his teaching career at the University, becoming an Associate professor in 1960 and a full professor in 1964. In that same year, Maxwell also served as acting director for the Center for the Philosophy of Science.

In 1968 Maxwell decided to run for office. As an opponent of the Vietnam War, he ran for the fifth congressional District seat. He was defeated in the democratic primary by Don Fraser.

Maxwell was made director of the Center for the Philosophy of Science in 1971. During his tenure at the University, he published more than 50 articles on philosophy and was given numerous National Science Foundation Grants between 1964 and 1978. In 1980 he resigned the position over a wage dispute. Maxwell had requested a pay raise from the University, but they hesitated and a bitter struggle ensued. The same philosophers who sent Maxwell their work for review came to his aid sending letters vehemently arguing in favor of Maxwell's request. Sir Karl Popper argued that Maxwell was one of the top three men in the field and was thus entitled to the raise. When the request was finally refused, Maxwell resigned his position as director of the Center of the Philosophy of Science. He died in 1981 of cardiac arrest.


2 boxes (2.6 linear ft.)


The collection contains the papers of Grover Maxwell, professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota.


Maxwell's correspondence is organized in alphabetical order using the name of the sender. In instances where he received more than one correspondence from the same person, they are placed in chronological order. The graduate, undergraduate, and colleague papers are also arranged alphabetically.

Source of acquisition

The collection was donated to the University of Minnesota Archives on October 11, 1989.

Related Material

Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science papers

Inventory of the Grover Edward Maxwell papers, 1957-1980
Ellen Miller; updated by Renee Weddle
Updated April 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area