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Burnham Terrell papers

Identifier: uarc 01228

Scope and Content

The collection consists of teaching and course related materials-syllabi for 1000-, 3000-, 5000- and 8000-level classes in Philosophy, bibliographies, annotated reprints and lecture copy and notes, and a small amount of administrative material related to the Philosophy Department and CLA Honors Program; clippings, correspondence, essays and drafts relating to Terrell's participation in political activities including anti-Vietnam protests and vigils on campus, civil rights protests during the 1960s including the Morrill Hall takeover and administration reponses, protests pertaining to police survellience on the University of Minnesota campus; tenure procedures, and participation in DFL electoral politics; and materials documenting a translation project of a German publication on the life of David Hume that Terrell ceased working on due to concerns about plagerism in the original manuscript. This grouping also contains correspondence between Terrell and his editors and publishers of other translation projects he worked on during his career.

The collection of teaching materials covers courses for which Terrell was well known and regarded, including courses on George Berkeley, David Hume, the history of ethics, Medieval philopsophy and Francis Brentano. There are extensive hand-written notes in most of the course folders. Reprints refered to in bibliographies have been removed from the collection save where they are annotated.

Terrell was also a participant in two of the most signifcant social protests of the civil right era (1960-1969), the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (March, 1965), and the March on Washington (August, 1963). In both cases, Terrell was a member of Minnesota delegations. There is some personal writing and reflection in the collection, but this group of materials is mainly composed of clippings and and handouts Terrell accumulated during both protests.

Terrell was also well known on campus for his longstanding presense in the 7 year long Vietnam War Vigil (1966-1972), and ongoing weekly silent protest against the war. Other materials related to Terrel's outspokeness against the war include letters to the editor of the Minneapolis Tribune and Star and the Minnesota Daily and intermitent correspondence with U.S. Representative Donald Fraser and Senator Eugene McCarthy about anti-war legislation and activities.

Terrell was prolific translator, and the third segment of the collection contains publisher correspondence about translation projects Terrell worked on, as well as documentation from a project that was abandoned in 2004. In 2003, Terrell had taken on the German-to-English translation of a history of the life and work of David Hume by an acquaintance, Gerhard Streminger. Mid-way through the project, Terrell became concerned about similarities in his translation and an original English-language biography of Hume that Streminger would have consulted for the new publication. The folder of correspondence contains an exchange between Terrell and Streminger and Terrell's rendering of evidence concerning the allegded plagerism. The complete Streminger manuscript is in the collection, along with some of the Terrell translation and correspondence detailing Terrell's concerns.


  • 1960-2004

Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Use of Materials

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


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch or Historical Note

Dailey Burnham Terrell was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on November 12, 1923. He graduated in 1945 from Swarthmore College, and received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1955. He taught at Syracuse University before joining the Department of Philosophy faculty at Minnesota in 1949. Terrell was promoted to full professor in in July, 1958.

Terrell chaired the Philosophy Department from 1961-1964. In 1967, he was appointed director of the CLA Honors program, and served in that position until 1972. He was heavily involved in service to the campus, serving on numerous departmental, collegiate and university committees, many of which focused on student and staff -related issues. Terrell was invited to chair the University Commission on Campus Demonstrations, formed in 1968 by President Malcom Moos. The commission was charged with studying problems arising from several years of campus anti-war demonstrations and to "recommend policies by which the University...can deal with these problems." Terrell himself was involved with a wide range of political issues, on- and off- campus, most notably as a member of a group of Vietnam war protesters who held silent vigils on campus protesting the war. The anti-war vigil lasted for over 7 years, with Terrell and a colleague being the last of the protesters to hold the corner of 17th and University Avenues in silent protest. On a more lighthearted note, Terrell was a devoted advocate of chess-playing, and in addition to mentoring young chess players across the state, he called publically for chess to become a varsity sport, and wrote several chess cheers to underscore his committment to the idea.

In addition to his administrative work for the department and the Honors Program, Terrell was a popular teacher. He taught courses in Medieval and Gothic philosophy, as well as modern British Philosophy, Edmund Berkeley and David Hume. His own research for much of his career centered on translating and analysing the work of the German philosopher Franz Brentano and Brentano's followers, and developing his own ideas on "Ethical Theory".

Burnham Terrell died in Houston, Texas on November 13, 2013.


3 boxes (3 cubic feet)


The collections contains course and teaching materials, professional and personal correspondence, manuscripts, notes and clippings for Burnham Terrell, professor of philosophy and first director (1967-1971) of the CLA Honors Program.


The papers were arranged into three general groupings: teaching and course materials; political involvement and the Bentano translation project. They have been left in this arranagement.

Source of acquisition

The collection was donated to the University of Minnesota Archives by Joan Terrell and transferred to the Archives from the Terrell home in Houston, Texas in May, 2015.

Related Materials in University Archives

Grover Edward Maxwell papers

Herbert Feigl papers

Processing Information

The collection was processed in June, 2015 by Susan Hoffman

Burnham (Dailey) Terrell papers, 1960-2004
Susan Hoffman
June 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area