William E. (William Ezra) Lingelbach papers, 1902-1963


Date: 1902-1963 | Size: 8 Linear Feet, Ca. 8000 items


This collection contains correspondence, research notes, papers and addresses, memoranda, drafts of letters and papers. These items center on Lingelbach's career at the University of Pennsylvania and at the American Philosophical Society. There is much correspondence with noted historians relating to various topics. His interest in political history and foreign policy, and his participation in national organizations can be seen in such files as the Foreign Policy Association, National Resources Planning Board, and the U.S. War Dept. Committee on Education and Special Training (World War I).

Background note

William Ezra Lingelbach (1871-1962, APS 1916) was a historian and librarian. He was Librarian of the American Philosophical Society from 1942-1958. He was also founder of the APS Library Bulletin and largely responsible for the completion of the new Library Hall in 1959.

Lingelbach was born in Shakespeare, Ontario on March 17, 1871, the son of John L. Lingelbach and Mary Young. His paternal grandfather William had emigrated to Ontario early in the nineteenth-century from the village of Lingelbach in the Rhineland, and became a pastor in one of the German Protestant in churches in the province. His father John, also a pastor, died when Lingelbach was still a child, and the boy grew up on the farm of an uncle. He matriculated at the University of Toronto and received an A.B. in 1894. At the University Lingelbach combined academic distinction with athletic achievement. He was captain of the varsity soccer team and an undergraduate champion in fencing Following his graduation, Lingelbach worked as a teaching fellow at Toronto in 1894-95, but the following year he migrated to Germany for graduate study in modern European history at the University of Leipzig. After a year of graduate study in Germany, Lingelbach returned to Ontario, but determined to complete his graduate training. He decided to pursue graduate study in the United States, and took classes at the University of Chicago during the 1897-98 academic year. The following year he taught at the Michigan Military Academy, before becoming a history instructor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1900. He received his Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1901 with a dissertation entitled The Internal Organization of the Merchant Adventurers of England.

In 1902, Lingelbach married Anna Lane, whom he met while studying in Chicago. They had three children, two sons and a daughter. Ms. Lingelbach, also a historian, later became Professor of History at Temple University and a member of the Philadelphia Board of Education.

During the first two decades of his scholarly career, Lingelbach's research interests shifted to Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He published articles in the American Historical Review on Saxon-American relations from 1778-1828 (1912) and on the commercial history of the Napoleonic era (1914). Later in 1933, Lingelbach published another article in the Review entitled "Belgian Neutrality: Its Origin and Interpretation," which showed his interest in the question of responsibility for the Great War. The latter article also reflected Lingelbach's new focus on political and diplomatic history in the interwar years.

As a teacher of history, Lingelbach was quite influential, making his chief undergraduate course "Europe since 1815" a standard offering at the University of Pennsylvania and in other colleges, as well. He was a dignified instructor, who developed his subject with clarity and appeal. He also took a genuine interest in individual students, undergraduate and graduate students. After 1915, he devoted more time to graduate instruction, but continued to display a "sympathetic" interest in individual students. This concern, together with his enthusiasm for the sources of diplomatic history made his seminars at Penn both popular and effective. As a result of the direction he provided and the inspiration he imparted, a number of his students received American Historical Association prizes for their dissertations and many went on to become senior faculty at American universities. In 1959 eighteen of his former students dedicated to Lingelbach the Guide to the Diplomatic Archives of Western Europe, edited by Daniel H. Thomas and Lynn M. Case. Toward the end of his academic career, in 1939 Lingelbach was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, a position he held until his retirement in 1941.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Lingelbach was active as an educator and civic leader in his adopted city of Philadelphia. His talent for collaborating harmoniously with others became evident early in his career. He was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society in 1916. Within the A.P.S. he was a member of the Council in 1924-27, a Secretary in 1934-40, and a Vice-President from 1940-43. He also served as President of the local Geographical Society (1914-1916, 1918-20) and President of the Contemporary Club (1943-44). He held memberships with the Lenape, the Franklin Inn, and the Union clubs of Philadelphia; and was active as a member in the music and Sunday School programs of First Presbyterian Church.

On a state and national level, Lingelbach was active in the American Historical Association, first as a member of its Council (1914-18), then Chairman of its Commission on History in the Schools (1923) and finally from 1935-37 Chairman of the Executive Committee. He was a member of the National Board of Historical Research from 1917-18, and served as President of the History Teachers Association of the Middle States and Maryland from 1926-27. For twenty years, from 1926-46 he served as A.P.S. representative to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). He was ACLS Secretary-Treasurer from 1930-34 and Chairman from 1938-41. During World War II, he was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on the Conservation of Cultural Resources (1942-44).

In 1942, at the age of seventy-one after a successful career as a teacher, scholar and academic administrator, Lingelbach undertook a new challenge as Librarian of the American Philosophical Society. A long-serving member of the APS Committee on Library, he had strongly supported the recommendation of its Special Committee in 1941 to expand the Library's holdings and to construct a facility adequate to house them. In the context of a 1953 historical survey of the A.P.S. Library, Lingelbach described the changes accomplished during the first ten years of his tenure as A.P.S. Librarian, as well as plans for the library's future. In order to build the collections, he became a self-taught expert on Benjamin Franklin and dedicated himself to acquiring Frankliniana, Colonial and Revolutionary War materials, Native American collections, as well as collections in the history of science. Within the Society he worked indirectly to develop support for the proposal for a permanent library building to replace the one that temporarily housed the collections. In addition to expanding its collections, Lingelbach brought a number of important changes to the A.P.S. Library. One was the establishment of the Library Bulletin to promote the Library and its holdings, a publication that later became an independent unit within the A.P.S. annual Proceedings. He conceived several major uses for the Bulletin. The first was a means of featuring A.P.S. collections by intermittently publishing some of the key documents or groups of historical documents in the Library's holdings. To the same end the Bulletin frequently published interesting articles, developed from the Library collections on various scholarly topics. Lingelbach also used the publication as a vehicle to campaign for a library building at the Society. Another innovation was to appoint distinguished scholars to funded Library Research Associateships, whose publications would help to promote the collections and whose advice on library acquisitions and policies would strengthen them. No doubt, Lingelbach's greatest achievement was the planning and construction of the new Library Hall on the site of the original Library Company as part of the Independence National Historical Park. According to A.P.S. President William J. Robbins (1890-1978, APS 1941), Lingelbach was responsible, "more than any other individual" for the conception and development of the plan.

Although Lingelbach retired as A.P.S. Librarian in 1958, he retained a small office at the Society and remained a contributing member of the Committee on Library. While not interfering with the activities of his successor, Lingelbach maintained an undiminished interest in the A.P.S. Library program and offered imaginative suggestions even during his final illness. Lingelbach's life came to an end at University Hospital on November 24, 1962, as his wife Anna read to him in his room.

Perhaps the most fitting recognition of Lingelbach's character and service was expressed by A.P.S. President Robbins, who noted that "[Lingelbach's] quiet manner and willingness to contribute advice and good judgment whenever and wherever asked, made him an invaluable counselor to many projects in the City of Philadelphia, the State, and the Nation as well as to the administration of the Society."

Collection Information


Presented by the Lingelbach family and accessioned, 03/--/1963 (1963 737ms).

Processing information

Only images are noted below.

General note

There is a separate collection (Archives, VII, 2) covering his post as Librarian of the American Philosophical Society, which yields data concerning many of the same topics, particularly those relating to Philadelphia, listed above.

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Council of Learned Societies
  • American Philosophical Society
  • American Society for the Extension of University Teaching
  • Foreign Policy Association.
  • Independence Hall Association.
  • United States. -- National Resources Planning Board. -- Committee on C
  • United States. -- War Dept. -- Committee on Education and Special Trai
  • University of Pennsylvania.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.) -- History.

Personal Name(s)

  • Cheyney, Edward Potts
  • Fry, Frank Dewey
  • Huizinga, Johan
  • Jameson, J. Franklin (John Franklin)
  • Leland, Waldo Gifford
  • Lewis, Edwin O.,b. 1879.
  • Lingelbach , William E. (William Ezra)
  • Melvin, Frank Edgar
  • Mumford, Lewis
  • Munro, Dana Carleton
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
  • Schlesinger, Arthur Meier
  • Scott, Hugh
  • Shryock, Richard Harrison (1893-1972)
  • Smith, Edgar Fahs
  • Smith, Rhea Marsh
  • Thomas, Daniel H.
  • Wittfogel, Karl August


  • History, Modern.
  • International relations.
  • World politics.

Detailed Inventory

Academy of Political Science
Adam, Herbert
Adams, F B
Adams, Harriet Chalmers
Adams, J T
Adams, John, and Hèolise
Adams, Randolph G
Addison, Agnes
Advisory Committee on Naval History.
Albrecht, Mrs. Florence Craig
Alden, Carroll S
Aldrich, Winthrop W
Alekhem, A
Allen, Agnes
Allen, Mary Bernard
Allen, William H
Allin, Cephus D
Althouse, James H W
Alvord, C W
American Academy of Arts & Sciences
American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Book Company.
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China, Inc.
American Council of Learned Societies
American Council of Learned Societies. Finances.
American Council of Learned Societies. Linguistic Institute.
American Education Press, Inc.
American Enterprise Association.
American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial.
American Friends of Lafayette.
American Geographical Society.
American Heritage Foundation.
American Historical Association
American Historical Review.
American Jewish Historical Society
American Journal of International Law
American Line.
American Philosophical Society.

Entry includes: Interest; Committee on Library; Library Hall; Library Hall Dedication; New Library; News; Seal; Secretary

American Philosophical Society. Interest.
American Philosophical Society. Committee on Library.
American Philosophical Society. Library Hall.
American Philosophical Society. Library Hall Dedication.
American Philosophical Society. New Library.
American Philosophical Society. News.
American Philosophical Society. Seal.
American Philosophical Society. Secretary.
American Scandinavian Foundation
American Society for Extension of University Teaching.
Americana Corporation.
Ames, Herman V
Anderson, Add B
Anderson, Frank Maloy
Anderson, M O
Andrews, Mrs. Evangeline W
Andrews, Fanny Fern
Andrews, Roy Chapman
Anna Lane Lingelbach Public School
Archives Publishing Company.
Ashwood, William S
Associated University of Pennsylvania Clubs.
Association of History Teachers.
Associazione per Scambi Internazionali fra Cultori di Scienze Sociali
Athenaeum (London)
Atlantic Refining Company.
Autobiographical notes.
Aydelotte, James
Aydelotte, William E
Ayer, Joseph Cullen, Sr.
Aymer, Emma
Babb, James
Babb, Mary Gibbons
Babcock, Earle B
Bach, August
Bacher, John R
Bacon, Edmund N
Bagge, Gösta
Bahnsen, Alvin
Baldwin, Clifford A
Band, Albert T.
Banta, George, Publishing Company.
Barbeau, Marius
Bard, Harry
Barker, E C
Barnard, J Lynn
Barnes, George Emerson
Barnes, Gilbert H
Barnes, Harry Elmer
Barnes, Mrs. Myrtle M
Barr, Stringfellow
Barrett, Frank A
Barrett, Richard Warren
Barrie, George, Sons.
Barrows, David
Barstow, Charles L
Bartlett, F C
Bartlett Tours Compnay
Barton, Bruce
Bassett, L E
Bauer, Robert H
Baugh, Albert C
Bayard, Samuel P
Becker, Carl
Beck, Jean
Beebe, William
Beegle, John D

Other Descriptive Information: See: Interviews, in:

Bell, Eleanor Yorke
Bell, Emily
Bell, Herbert C F
Bell, Thomas C
Bell, Whitfield Jenks, Jr.,
Bennett, George A
Biddle, Clement
Biddle, Edward M
Biddle, Gertrude
Biggar, Harry P
Bishop, William R , Jr.
Bittner, Ludwig
Björlamany, B
Blake, Robert P
Blakeslee, Charles B
Blankenburg, Rudolph
Blatten, Elsie J
Bloom, George I
Boewe, Charles
Bok, Edward W
Bolton, Herbert E
Bond, Beverley W
Book notes and library
Bortle, Rollin C
Botkin, B A
Bourne, Henry E
Bow, William K
Bowman, Francis J
Bowman, Isaiah
Boyd, Elizabeth Mifflin
Boyd, Julian P
Boyd, William K
Boyer, David S
Bradford, Frances M
Brakel, S van
Brand, Edna
Branson, E C
Brewer, Mary
Briggs, Marsenus H
Brinton, Jasper Yeates
Bristol, George P
Bristol, William B
British Society for International Understanding.
British War Mission
Brodney, Spencer
Brogan, Clara
Brogan, D W
Brooks, Robert C
Brooks, Van Wyck
Broome, Edwin C , Jr.
Brown, Ernest W
Brown, Everett H
Brown, Francis J
Brown, William Norman
Brumbaugh, M W
Brunhouse, Robert L
Bryant, Henry G
Buckley, Eleanor C
Bucknell University. Speech:
Bulley, Hebe D
Burpee, W Atlee, Jr.
Burr, George L
Burr, William H., & Son.
Busch, Henry Paul
Burt, Struthers
Butler, Geoffrey
Butler, J R M
Butsche, Mary S R
Butterfield, Lyman H
Byrd, H C
Byrne, Eugene H
Cadwalader, Sophia
Cady, John F
Calliet, Emile
Caldwell, Otis William
Cameron, Elizabeth R
Calvert, P P
Cameron, Elizabeth R.
Campion, Anna Louise
Canadian Society of Philadelphia.
Canedo,Lino G
Caplan, Jerome G
Carl Shurz Memorial Foundation.
Carmichael, Leonard
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Carpenter, Edmund A
Carpenter, Rhys
Carpenter, William S
Carroll College
Carson, Hampton L
Carson, Joseph
Carson, Mrs. Marian S
Case, Lynn M
Cattell, James McKeen
Catterall, Helen Honor
Catterall, Ralph C H
Centennial National Bank.
Century Company
Century Historical Series.
Century Magazine
Chamberlain, John R
Chambers, Frank P
Chapman, Bertha Jayne
Chase, Mrs. P A
Chase, Philip P
Chatelain, Verne E
Cherry, Clinton M
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company.
Chestnut Hill Academy.
Cheyney, Alice S
Cheyney, Edward Potts
Chicago Council on Foreign Relations
Child, G C
Child, William S
Chinard, Gilbert
Chreswell, Jennie B
Church, Herbert
City Club of Philadelphia.
Clapp, Clifford Blake
Clark, C U
Clark, Edith M
Clark, Elizabeth W
Clark, Frederick L
Clark, Mrs. Susannah L
Clark, Walter Eugene
Clauder, Anna C
Cleveland, Frederick A
Clothier, John B , Jr.
Cochran, Thomas C
Cock, Marion
Cole, Thomas S
Collier, Theodore
Collins, Alfred M
Collins, Mary Rose
Colonial Philadelphia Historical Society.
Coulton, G H
Columbia University
Combs, William H
Comminger, Henry
Committee on Conservation of Cultural Resources.
Committee of Seventy
Committee on Public Information
Commonwealth Forum
Conant, James Bryant,
Confer, Vincent
Conklin, Edwin Grant
Conrad, Harold E
Contemporary Club
Cook, Arthur N
Cooper, B Hubert
Cooper, Clive Forster
Cooper, Walter I
Cope, Thomas Darlington
Corner, Mrs. Betsy C
Corner, George Washington,
Correspondence Calendar
Coulborn, Rushton
Council for Unified Research and Education.
Council on Foreign Relations.
Courses - Graduate School
Covert, Mrs. Alice H
Cowherd, Raymond G
Cox, I J
Crane, Verner W
Crawford, W Rex
Crofts, F S
Cruickshank, Earl F
Curran, Henry H
Current History Magazine.
Currie, A W
Curtis, Cyrus H K
Curtiss, John S
D. Appleton-Century Company.
Daland, Judson
Dalgleish, W Harold
Dallam, D E
Danson, Edward B
Darlington, Oscar G
David, Charles W
Davies, Richard L
Davies, Wallace
Davis, Sam
Davis, Stanton Ling
Dawson, Edgar
Day, George
Dechert, Robert
Dercum, Francis Xavier,
de Terra, Helmut
DeWolf, Phyllis
Dictionary of American Biography.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
Dietz, F C
Dillon, Edward S
Dimler, Fred J
Dixon, Joseph Kossuth
Dixon-Hanson Company.
Dodson, Leonidas
Doggett, R L S
Donnelly, Mary
Dooner, R T
Dorizas, M
Dorosh, Harry
Dover Publications
Dowley, Ruth S
Drake, Edward
Drake, Thomas E
Drinker, Sophie H
Duane, Morris
Du Barry, William H
Du Bois, H W
Duffey, Mrs. Parks P
Dunning, William A
DuPont, Pierre S
Dutcher, George M
Earle, Ferdinand
Edgerton, Franklin
Education - Early
Edwards, Everett E
Egbert, James E
Ehle, Emily Lewis
Eighth American Scientific Congress
Einardi, Luigi
Einstein, Albert

Other Descriptive Information: See also: Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, in:

Eiseley, Loren C
Eldridge, Thomas Edwin
Eller, E M
Elliott, Richard M
Elviken, Andreas
Emeny, Brooks
Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists.
 (A. Einstein)
Encyclopedia Americana
Ends of the Earth.
English-Speaking Union.
Eppstein, John
Epstein, Fritz Th
Evans, Austin P
Fackenthal, Frank Diehl
Fairman, Charles
Faissler, Margareta A
Farr, Jessie M
Farrand, Max
Fay, Sidney B
Field, Anthony
Federal Works Agency. Works Projects Administratio
Fenton, William Nelson,
Ferguson, John H
Fetter, Frank Albert
Fiedler, Henry George
Field, Anthony
Fincke, Paula
Finnish Relief Fund, Inc.
Fisher, H H
Fisk, Carl Russell
Fitzpatrick, Margaret M
Fleming, John F
Fletcher, Sir Angus
Flood, Gerald F
Florshem, Robert G
Foreign Policy Association.
Foreign Service Educational Foundation.
Foster & Stewart.
Fox, Daniel M
Fox, Dixon Ryan
Fry, Mary Holmes
Fuletter, T D
Franke, W B
Franklin Inn Club.
Franklin Institute.
Frazer, John
Free Library of Philadelphia.
Friends of Benjamin Franklin House, London.
Fry, Charles L
Fry, Frank D
Fry, Frantz W
Fry, Mary Holmes
Fuletter, T. D.
Fulton, Deoch
Gärtner, Margarete
Gallagher, J M
Galpin, W Freeman
Gates, Thomas S
Gaus, John M
Gay, E F
Gilland, Erna Grassmuck
Gillette, Willson G
Gearhart, Robert Harris, Jr.
Geiser, Karl F
Gentien, Mrs. Norman
Geographical Society of Philadelphia.
Gest, Sydney
Gibbons, Helen Davenport
Gibbons, Herbert Adams
Gilbert, Amy M
Gilland, Erna Grassmuck
Gillette, William G.
Gimbel Brothers
Gipson, Lawrence H
Girard Estate.
Gisriel, Stewart W
Glass, E M
Glass, Leopold C
Goddard, Maurice K
Godfrey, Hollis
Goebel, Dorothy B
Goggan, Nellie Andrews
Goldin, Rosaline
Goodchild, Donald
Goode, J Paul
Goodman, Nathan G
Goodrich, Herbert F
Goodwin, Cardinal
Gordon, G B
Gosnell, Harold F
Graff, W H
Grandidur, G
Grant, Alec
Graves, Samuel
Gray, Cecelia Elizabeth
Gray, Howard
Grayson, Theodore J
Greene, Evarts B
Gribbel, John
Griddle Club of the Union League of Philadelphia.
Grolier Society
Grosser, E Morton
Gruber, Frederick C
Guggenheim (John Simon) Memorial Foundation.
Guggenheim, William
Gullander, Magnhilde
Hagerty, J E
Haines, Ella Wister
Hale, Oron J
Hale, Pat
Hall, Hubert
Hall, Vernon, Jr.
Hall, Walter P
Hamill, Grace
Haney, John L
Hanke, Lewis U
Hanna, Alfred J
Hans, Nicholas
Hanson-Bellows Company.
Harcourt, Brace and Company
Harding, George Matthews
Harnwell, Gaylord P
Harper, Francis
Harper, Samuel N
Harris, Zellig S
Harrison, Charles C
Harrison, C W
Harrop, Leonard B
Hart, Albert Bushnell
Hart, Mrs. E Reeves
Hart, Thomas
Hart, Walter Morris
Hartenstein, R F
Harvard University
Heller, Clemens
Haskell, Edward F
Haskins, Charles L
Hatfield, Charles A
Havens, Raymond D
Haverford College.
Hayes, Carlton J H
Haynes, John Randolph, and Dora, Foundation.
Hazen, Charles D
Hebrecht, Florence Craig
Heil, William T , Jr.
Heilman, Grace E
Heiser, Victor George,
Heller, Clemens
Henderson, Victor
Hess, Mrs. Gertrude Douglas
Hettinger, Herman S
Hewitt, Anna B
Hindman Settlement School.
Historical Hike Committee.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
History and the University of Pennsylvania.
History Book Club, Inc.
History Teachers Magazine.
Heindel, Richard H
Hoekstra, P
Hoffman, Benjamin R
Hoffman, Ross J
Hofstra College.
Hoggan, David L
Holbrook, L
Holland, Leicester B
Holland, Louise Adams
Holland, Rupert Sargent
Holmes, Robert O
Holt, Henry, & Company.
Hopkins, Arthur H
Hopkinson, Edward, Jr.
Horkan, W S
Horticultural Hall, Philadelphia.
Hoskins, Halford L
Hottel, Althea Kratz
Houghton Mifflin Company
Houtchens, Lawrence H
Howard, Alsa C
Howland, Ch C
Hroswitha Club
Huber, Roger A
Huitsinga, J