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Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies, 1855-1867 (bulk 1855): Finding Aid

Published in 1993

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 287
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies
  • Dates: 1855-1867
  • Bulk Dates: 1855
  • Size: 1.25 linear inches (1 volume)
  • Creator: United States Naval Academy. Department of Ethics and English Studies
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The United States Naval Academy Department of Ethics and English Studies' Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies was written in October 1855. The document provides an outline of the course in Ethics and English Studies taught to midshipmen at the Naval Academy in the mid-1850s.

History of the Department of Ethics and English

At its founding in 1845, English Studies at the Naval Academy, originally comprising the teaching of English grammar, geography, and history, was headed by Chaplain George Jones. In 1850, leadership of the Department was assumed by Professor Joseph E. Nourse, who oversaw the Department's expansion into the field of ethics and political science. Ethics and English Studies became the Department of English Studies, History, and Law in the 1873-1874 academic year, then under the leadership of Professor James R. Soley. Eventually renamed the Department of English and History, the department was subsumed, along with the Department of Economics, into the Department of English, History, and Government in 1937.

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Description of Contents

The United States Naval Academy Department of Ethics and English Studies' Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies, comprising a single volume, was written in October 1855, possibly by Department Head Joseph E. Nourse. The document provides an outline of the course in Ethics and English Studies taught to midshipmen at the Naval Academy in the mid-1850s.

The volume's table of contents denotes sections on Ethics, Kent of the Constitution of the United States, Kent on the Law of Nations, Rhetoric, History of Ancient and Modern Times, English Grammar, and Descriptive and Physical Geography. The opening section on the instruction in ethics, which also includes notes on the constitution, includes notes on philosophy, natural religion, reciprocity, violation of personal liberty, the Bill of Rights, veracity (promises, contracts, and oaths), and duties in civil society. The section on ethics is followed by Questions on Kent's Commentaries (presumably James Kent's Commentaries on American Law. Topics covered by the questions include war, piracy, embargoes, privateering, neutrality, contraband, and blockades, among many others. These two sections represent the bulk of the volume.

Following the questions based on Kent are shorter sections of questions on Newman's Rhetoric, verbal criticisms, literary taste, and simile and metaphor. Study of the subject of history is represented by several pages of "Subjects for Historical Exercises," focusing primarily on American colonial history and the Constitution. Despite their being noted in the table of contents, the volume does not include sections on grammar or geography.

Newspaper clippings dated 1867 have been pasted over some of the memoranda in the volume. The clippings pertain to such topics as religion at the service academies, cholera deaths on the Isthmus of Panama, a proposed pneumatic railway between New York and New Jersey, the Amazon River, and Turkish Christians.

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Arrangement

The Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indianapolis, Indiana on September 20, 1954.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to the teaching of English at the Naval Academy is available in RG 405.4 Entry 201a, Records of the Department of English, History, and Government, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies, MS 287

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1993. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1993 and revised by David D'Onofrio in May 2014.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching
  • Ethics -- Study and teaching
  • Military ethics -- Study and teaching
  • United States Naval Academy -- Curricula
  • United States Naval Academy. Department of Ethics and English Studies

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Memoranda for the Course in Ethics and English Studies, 1855, 1867

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