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James Foster Scott Papers, 1863-1946

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Scott, James Foster, 1863
Title
James Foster Scott Papers
Dates
1863-1946 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 boxes, (3 linear feet)
Collection Number
USU_COLL MSS 180
Summary
It is comprised mainly of the writings and correspondence of James Foster Scott and various family members.
Repository
Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives Division
Special Collections and Archives
Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
Logan, UT
84322-3000
Telephone: 435-797-2663
Fax: 435-797-2880
scweb@usu.edu
Access Restrictions
No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.
Languages
English

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James Foster Scott was born in India at Futteguhr, 50 miles from Agra, on January 22, 1863. His closest relatives were the Fosters of Chile, where his mother's brother, Julius Mulford Foster, of Milford, carried on a large milling business and left numerous descendants. His son, Manuel Foster, of Chile, was one of the noted lawyers of South America. Dr. Scott's father was the Rev. James Long Scott, a Presbyterian minister, and his mother was Eliza Jane Foster, a Presbyterian missionary, as well as a pioneer in women's education.

James Foster Scott attended Hastings Academy in Philadelphia and took an A.B. at Yale in 1884, where he was an athlete who rowed on the varsity crew and developed his great love of rivers and boats. A book written about him, Sourdough Gold, by Mary Lee Davis and published in 1933, tells chiefly of his solo trip down the Yukon in a small boat in 1898 when he piloted his boat over the famous White Horse Rapids and other dangerous places in Alaska.

Dr. Scott received an M.B. and C.M. from Edinburgh University and later an M.D., completing his post-graduate work at Vienna. For three years he was a member of the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps of the British army and spent three years in the British West Indies. At the age of twenty-seven he was made head of the Columbia Hospital in Washington, D.C. and was elected vice president of the Medical Society. He was considered one of the most brilliant young doctors in the profession and wrote a medical book that is still quoted by authorities. At the height of this early success and in the midst of a brilliant career and fashionable life in Washington D.C., Dr. Scott astonished his friends by giving it up and going to the wilds of the Yukon, after which he lived a retired life in the Virginia woods and spent time rowing the Potomac. As the book Sourdough Gold explains, he did not care to be a distinguished gentleman with a silky bedside manner but set out to find the real man beneath all the over-education he had received. Friends and neighbors say that no two people were ever more ideally happy than Dr. Scott and his wife in their "Kalokagathon" retreat, the Greek term for the Greek Ideal of the "Good and the Beautiful and True" which Dr. Scott made the principle of his life.

Dr. Scott wrote numerous volumes on philosophy with special emphasis on ethics and Christianity. Dr. Scott’s interests in these topics were partly derived from attitudes found his mother's family, enlightened Puritans that had migrated to America in 1635. These writings analyzed the relationship between Christian ethics and religion and the modern sciences.

Dr. Scott died on Wednesday, February 20, 1946 following an operation at the Emergency Hospital. Funeral services were held Friday at his home near McLean, Virginia. A physical culturist at 83, Dr. Scott was cutting down trees only a few days before, as was his daily exercise, together with shooting the rapids in his boat in the Potomac below his house on the hill. His death came before he was able to complete his writing, and he left in a fireproof safe the product of nearly 50 years of study and research intended for publication as a series of works on philosophy.

For over 30 years, Dr. Scott lived near McLean, Virginia where he was sometimes called the "Hermit of Scott's Island," an island he bought along the Potomac, upon which he built a house. Dr. Scott married Karen Gram on March 13, 1940 and they had no children.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The James Foster Scott collection covers his life span from 1863 to 1946. It is comprised mainly of the writings and correspondence of James Foster Scott and various family members. Dr. Scott spent approximately forty years studying philosophy and religion, and many of his writings deal with those subjects.

Important items of interest to a researcher would be Folder 2, Item 1, a thirty-two page letter to Coleman Jennings on the description of Dr. Scott's conclusions in the areas of philosophy and religion; Folder 3, Piece 19, "My Creed and My Prayer;" and Folder 13, Dr. Scott's Yukon experience in 1898.

For those interested in the Scott or Foster family genealogy or family history, there are several items of interest in this collection. There are two pages from Dr. Scott's father's family Bible containing family members' birth and death dates. There are also several overviews of Dr. Scott's life as well as some information on Dr. Scott's parents and other members of his family.

During processing, the processor compiled the Scott/Foster family information from Folder 12 on to four pedigree charts and fifty-one family group sheets. This information is included in Folder 12, Item 18, for the convenience of the researcher.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the James Foster Scott Papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation

Initial Citation: James Foster Scott Papers USU_COLL MSS 180, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.

Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 180, USUSCA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Miscellaneous Papers on the life of Dr. James Foster Scott, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 1

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 1
Item 1: Piece. l/2 sheet. Name, birth & death dates
Undated
Item 2: History written for "A History of the Class of '84, of Yale College"
1914
Item 3: Photograph and poem about Sourdough boys in the Klondike
Undated
Item 4: Troop 12 newsletter honoring Dr. James Foster Scott
Undated
Item 5: Who's Who in American Sports, National Biographical Society Inc. Entry on Dr. Scott
1928
Item 6: (Folded) Advertisement for Sourdough Gold based on Dr. Scott's experiences
Undated
Item 7: Program for Delta Phi & Philadelphian Literary Societies of West Philadelphia Academy (Scott is listed as Valedictory)
1880 June 15
Item 8: West Philadelphia Academy report card for James Foster Scott
1879 November 30
Item 9: Annual registration to practice, issued to Dr. James Foster Scott
1946
Item 10: Address in Philadelphia when sixteen years old
Undated
Item 11: Outline of James Foster Scott's life
Undated
Item 12: Outline of James Foster Scott's life and funeral service
Undated

Correspondence by James Foster Scott, 1925-1943Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 2

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 2
Item 1: Thirty-two pages to Coleman Jennings
1925 August 20
Item 2: Three pages to Daggett
1931 May 4
Item 3: To Mr. Hoffman
1936 July 26
Item 4: Four pages to Mrs. McMurray
1938 May 9
Item 5: Six pages to Karen (future wife)
1940 January 18
Item 6: To Mr. Conrad
1943 February 6
Item 7: To President Seymour, Yale University
1943 May 26

Miscellaneous Writings, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 3

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 3
Item 1: Triadic Norm
Undated
Item 2: (folded) 2 pages "A Little Parable"
Undated
Item 3: "Friendship"
Undated
Item 4: Sayings
Undated
Item 5: Goals
Undated
Item 6: Story "Personal appearance of Jesus"
Undated
Item 7: Notebook pages.
Undated
Item 8: "Suggestions for Outfit to Yukon"
Undated
Item 9: Four pages - "An Epic"
Undated
Item 10: "Friendship"
Undated
Item 11: Article by Zeller on "Friendship"
Undated
Item 12: Notebook page.
Undated
Item 13: Notebook page.
Undated
Item 14: Quote of Diveles.
Undated
Item 15: Page 121 of unknown manuscript.
Undated
Item 16: "A Voice From the Wilderness"
Undated
Item 17: Page 213 of an unknown manuscript.
Undated
Item 18: Working copy at "A Voice from the Wilderness"
Undated
Item 19: "My Creed and My Prayer"
Undated
Item 20: "To a Waterfowl"
Undated

Miscellaneous CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 4

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 4
Item 1: To Anita from Julis M. Foster
Undated
Item 2: Three pages to Floyd Bartlett from Julius M. Foster
1912 January 30
Item 3: To Mr. Jennings from ?
1925 July 27
Item 4: To Miss Adams from Allen Wilde
1933 October 9
Item 5: To Mary Lee Davis from T.D. Pattullo
1938 January 5
Item 6: To Mrs. Gram from Harry Foreman
1940 April 1

Writings of Helen Snow, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 5

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 5
Item 1: Page 3 of unknown letter
Undated
Item 2: Outline of Dr. Scott's life, etc.
Undated

Miscellaneous Writings of Various Unknown Authors, 1836Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 6

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 6
Item 1: Written by a missionary preparing to leave home
1836 October
Item 2: Heading: Mrs. E.D. Allen, McLean, Virginia
Undated
Item 3: Thoughts of James Foster Scott by Portia Bailey
Undated
Item 4: Two pages. Duns Scotus
Undated
Item 5: (Torn page) Education and Logic
Undated
Item 6: Quote from Cuthbert Lennox
Undated
Item 7: Two pages Reader's Digest - "The Source of All Our Strength," by A. Whitney Griswold
Undated
Item 8: "The Cloud" by Shelley
Undated
Item 9: Exploration of Kalokagathon
Undated
Item 10: Quote from Thomas A. Kempis
Undated
Item 11: Poem. (Unknown)
Undated
Item 12: Note on editorial changes
Undated
Item 13: Visitors List, etc.
Undated
Item 14: Poem
Undated
Item 15: Editor notes on photographs
Undated
Item 16: Two pages. Poem "The Quest"
Undated
Item 17: Poem written for James Foster Scott on his birthday by doctors and nurses at Columbia Hospital
Undated
Item 18: Pan - Sophism
Undated
Item 19: Two pages. "The Mysteries of Life"
Undated
Item 20: "Dogwood Trees"
Undated
Item 21: Thirteen page story - "A Roman Lawyer in Jerusalem First Century" by William Wetmore
Undated
Item 22: "Write" - Princess Hotel Bermuda
Undated
Item 23: Carol Bosche notes
Undated
Item 24: Book notes, quotes
Undated
Item 25: Quotes
Undated

Karen Scott Writings, 1946Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 7

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 7
Item 1: Journal pages
1946 February 20
Item 2: About Dr. Scott
Undated
Item 3: Rough draft of letter to Coleman
Undated
Item 4: Quotes
Undated
Item 5: Quotes
Undated
Item 6: Quotes
Undated
Item 7: Quotes
Undated
Item 8: Notes
Undated
Item 9: Sixteen pages - Rough drafts of letters and manuscript notes
Undated
Item 10: Notes on logic and science
Undated
Item 11: Notes on Dr. Scott
Undated
Item 12: Rough Draft of Dr. Scott's funeral service
Undated
Item 13: Four pages - notes on Dr. Scott
Undated
Item 14: Quotes about Dr. Scott
Undated
Item 15: Drawing of unknown purpose
Undated

Dr. Scott's Medical Records, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 8

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 8
Item 1: Mrs. John Ball Osborne
Undated
Item 2: Mrs. George Wallace
Undated
Item 3: Charles C. Worthington
Undated

Correspondence written by Karen Scott, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 9

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 9
Item 1: To Miss Hamilton - Post
1946
Item 2: To Mrs. Edward I. Roberts
1955 June 11
Item 3: To Swami Prabharananda
1951 August 1

Correspondence to James Foster Scott, 1904-1948Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 10

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 10
Item 1: From Colonial Secretary's Office, Bermuda
1904 December 14
Item 2: Five pages from Joseph Carson Jr
1932 April 17
Item 3: Two pages from Coleman
1933 October 19
Item 4: Two pages from Earl Poince
1933 November 23
Item 5: From Harriet Prince Parrish
1934 January 1
Item 6: From Mary Lee Davis
1934 February 14
Item 7: From Ruth Knowles
1934 October 9
Item 8: From Earl Prince
1934 November 21
Item 9: From Harriet Prince
1935 June 28
Item 10: From Coleman
1936 November 30
Item 11: From Alfred A. Wilde
1937 March 23
Item 12: Two pages - from David Herriott
(See Peace Plan FOLDER)
1938 January 17
Item 13: Two pages from William Haseltine
1938 January 12
Item 14: From Earl Prince
1939 January 26
Item 15: From Henry Forman
1940 April 6
Item 16: Two pages from Marx Lee Davis
1943 March 16
Item 17: Two pages from Henry Forman
1945 December 20
Item 18: From Sally Greenwood - July 30, 1948
(Written to Dr. Scott after his death. She didn't know he had passed away.)
1948 July 30
Item 19: From Harriett Prince
Undated
Item 20: From Harriett Prince
Undated
Item 21: Two pages from George Hogg
(explains unknown drawing in FOLDER 7, Piece #15)
Undated
Item 22: From Mrs. G. Gilmer Easley
March 2
Item 23: Three pages from Harriett Prince
Undated
Item 24: From Kathryn Fulkerson
Undated
Item 25: (Folded) Christmas Card from Comfert Comfiers
Undated

Correspondence to Karen Scott, 1946-1953Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 11

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 11
Item 1: From Irving Harris
1946 February 28
Item 2: From Robert Von Neuman
1949 April 8
Item 3: From Portia Bailey
1952 February 13
Item 4: From Andrea Lloyd
1953 November 30
Item 5: From John ?
1953 August 3
Item 6: From Helen Snow
Undated
Item 7: From Murray
[?] March 2

Genealogy and Family History of James Foster Scott, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 12

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 12
Item 1: (Folded) Memorial to Mrs. Eliza Jane Foster Scott. James Foster Scott's mother
Undated
Item 2: Fairview Cemetery, Coalesville, Pennsylvania, Scott section
Undated
Item 3: Information on Dr. Scott's great uncle
Undated
Item 4: Notebook page on birth & death dates
Undated
Item 5: Postcard - Milford, Penn., from Foster Hill
Undated
Item 6: Information on Jose Denoso, relative
Undated
Item 7: Page of birth and death dates
Undated
Item 8: Page of birth and death dates
Undated
Item 9: Two pages - Scott Family Bible Records
Undated
Item 10: Fifty-one pages - Scott family history
Undated
Item 11: Page 15 from unknown manuscript of Scott history
Undated
Item 12: Fifteen pages - written to Helen F. Snow, telling the history of Julius M. Foster in Chile by his son, Manuel Foster
Undated
Item 13: Foster family crest
Undated
Item 14: Notes on cemeteries
Undated
Item 15: Note card with information on Helen F. Snow
Undated
Item 16: Three pages - notes on Foster genealogy
Undated
Item 17: Two pages - typed information from Scott family Bible
Undated
Item 18: Fifty-five pages of pedigree charts and family group sheets, compiled by the processor
Undated

Manuscripts on Yukon Experience by James Foster Scott, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 13

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 13
Item 1: Seven pages - Alaska and the Klondike
Undated
Item 2: Thirty-seven pages - Article l (Notebook)
Undated
Item 3: Sixty-seven pages - Article 2 (Notebook)
Undated

Peace Plan, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 14

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 14
Item 1: (Folded) "A Highway to World Peace" by David Herriott
Undated
Item 2: Fifteen pages - "Peace Plan" by David Herriott
Undated

Yukon Booklet, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 15

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 15
Item 1: Fifty-five pages - Railroad Guide to Yukon
Undated

Copies of Newspaper Clippings, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 16

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 16
Item 1-22: Various newspaper articles, including death announcement, Yale Yachting Club, and religious articles
Undated

Scott Family Certificates, 1852-1879Return to Top

Container(s): Box 2, Folder 1

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
2 1
Item 1: Eliza Jane Foster - Testimonial from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary
1852 August 5
Item 2: Harriet E. Scott. Directorium
1885
Item 3: Anna Scott - Life member of The Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church
1874 October 5
Item 4: Harriet Elizabeth Scott - Testimonial from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary
1879 June 26
Item 5: James Foster Scott - University of Edinburgh School of Medicine
Undated
Item 6: James Foster Scott - Northwest Territories of Canada - Medical License
Undated
Item 7: James Foster Scott - University of Edinburgh School of Medicine
Undated
Item 8: James Foster Scott - Copy of Yale Degree with photo
Undated
Item 9: James Foster Scott - Yale degree
Undated
Item 10: James Foster Scott - University of Edinburgh
Undated
Item 11: James Foster Scott - Member of Free and Accepted Masons - Washington D.C.
Undated
Item 12: James Foster Scott - Edinburgh Royal Maternity and Simpson Memorial Hospital - Certification
Undated

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