Ellen Churchill Semple photographs

Abstract

The Ellen Churchill Semple photographs (1886-1914; 0.25 cubic feet; 16 items) consists of silver gelatin prints and cabinet cards.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Ellen Churchill Semple photographs
Date
1886-1914
Extent
0.25 Cubic feet
Subjects
Human geography--United States--History.
Human geography.
Women in higher education
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Processed by Jacob Broderick in 2006 under the supervision of Jason Flahardy; machine-readable finding aid created by Jason Flahardy
Preferred Citation
PA46M139: [identification of item], Ellen Churchill Semple photographs, 1886-1914, University of Kentucky Archives.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Ellen Churchill Semple was born in Louisville, Kentucky 1863 January 8 to an affluent family that owned a hardware store. She graduated from Vassar College in 1882 at the age of nineteen with a degree in history. She was the youngest graduate that year and also held the honor of being the class valedictorian and giving the commencement address. She returned to Louisville and taught with her sister at a private school, but ultimately found direction on a trip to Europe with her mother in 1887 where she came across the work of Friedrich Ratzel, a renowned professor of geography. She returned to the United States and hurried to complete her masters in geography by writing her thesis, Slavery: A Study in Sociology. In 1891, she arrived in Germany to study at the University of Leipzig under Ratzel, and remained there for a year despite the many restrictions against women seeking higher education. She returned again in 1895, but never received an advanced degree in geography because women were not allowed to matriculate in German universities, though they were permitted to attend lectures with special permission.
Upon returning to the United States she published an article in 1901 in the Geographical Journal that gained her much popularity, entitled, The Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky Mountains, a study in Anthropogeography. She completed a year of field research, which was unheard of at the time, in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and delved further into the intellectual marriage between anthropology and geography. 1903, she published her book American History and Its Geographic Conditions, which became required reading in geography classrooms across the country. In 1911, Semple took a trip to Asia and visited various countries, including Indonesia. She took many photographs and made copious notes of the experience and often used them in her later lectures and presentations.
In 1904, she became one of the charter members of the Association of American Geographers and eventually rose to the presidency of that institution in 1921, only one year after women secured the right to vote. She was awarded the Cullum Geographical Medal by the American Geographical Society of New York in 1914, in recognition of her distinguished contributions to the science of anthropogeography. In 1931, the Geographic Society of Chicago awarded her the Helen Culver Medal for distinguished leadership and eminent achievement in geography. Over the course of her career she taught at many academic institutions, including the University of Chicago and Oxford University, but did not receive a permanent academic appointment until 1921, when she was offered a position at Clark University in Massachusetts. In 1923, the University of Kentucky created a special room to house her private library and named it the Ellen Churchill Semple Room and also conferred upon her an honorary doctorate degree in law. To this day, the University of Kentucky Geography Department still hosts an Ellen Churchill Semple Day, complete with lectures and discussions. Semple died on 1932 May 8 and is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
Scope and Content
The Ellen Churchill Semple photographs (1886-1914; 0.25 cubic feet; 16 items) consists of silver gelatin prints and cabinet cards. Many of the photos are portraits, including two of Semple herself, one of Friedrich Ratzel, and one of famed economist Wilhelm Roscher. Also included is a collection of travel prints from Semple's trip to Java, Indonesia in 1911 and photographs relating to the Cullum Geographical Medal and the Helen Culver Medal.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
Images in the collection reside in the public domain. Photographs may be reproduced with permission from Audio-Visual Archives, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Contents of the Collection

Portraits, 1886-1914

Ellen Churchill Semple, 1863-1932, 1895

  • Box 1, Item 1
Semple, Ellen Churchill, 1863-1932.
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Ellen Churchill Semple, 1863-1932, 1914

  • Box 1, Item 2
Semple, Ellen Churchill, 1863-1932.
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Ellen Churchill Semple, 1863-1932 and nine unidentified men and women., undated

  • Box 1, Item 3
Semple, Ellen Churchill, 1863-1932.
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Unidentified man, handwritten on verso Miss Ellen Churchill Semple [illegible] Leipzig, 1891-1892, 1892

  • Box 1, Item 4
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Wilhelm Georg Friedrich Roscher, 1817-1894, handwritten on verso Prof. Roscher, 1891

  • Box 1, Item 5
Roscher, Wilhelm, 1817-1894.
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Friedrich Ratzel. 1844-1904, 1886

  • Box 1, Item 6
Ratzel, Friedrich, 1844-1904.
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Java (Indonesia), 1911

Barley drying, beans growing in same field // among mulberry trees. Altitude 2000 feet. handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 7
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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Mulberry plantation near [illegible], 402m. handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 8
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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#87. [illegible] Temple // near [illegible] Java. handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 9
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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no. 88 A wayside stop in Java handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 10
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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no. 89. Temple of [illegible] // near [illegible]. // Java handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 11
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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no. 91. Rice Field Java handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 12
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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no. 90 Lake in [illegible] Gardens // with govs. residence in distance // [illegible] Java handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 13
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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no. 92. [illegible] Lake near // [illegible]. // Java handwritten on verso, 1911

  • Box 1, Item 14
Java (Indonesia) -- Photographs.
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Artifacts, undated

Wall plaque listing the winners of the Cullum Geographical Medal from 1896 to 1914, undated

  • Box 1, Item 15
American Geographical Society of New York.
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Medal awarded to // Ellen Semple Churchill [sic] handwritten on verso. Helen Culver Medal, awarded by the Geographic Society of Chicago, to Ellen Churchill Semple in 1931, undated

  • Box 1, Item 16
Geographic Society of Chicago.
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Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.