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Identifier: R-MC 145-JK

Irving Stoddard Kull Papers, 1918-1960


  • 1918-1960

Scope and Content Note

Dr. Irving Kull was a professor at Rutgers University in the History Department from 1918 until his retirement in 1954. Boxes 7,8 and 9 of his papers include correspondence regarding the Department of History, departmental budgets, grade books and student lists, an unpublished manuscript on "New Jersey and the Constitution," and various photos of buildings and other architectural items.

Within the first Series of his archival material, Dr. Kull's correspondence as Chairman of the Department of History are found. Included in these papers are records of departmental salaries. The records list the professor's name, position, asking amount, and allowed amount. Also, information on grants received by particular professors is documented. Within this series, there is also correspondence regarding the benefits of making history a required course for all students and the establishment of history laboratories in connection with the course. Records of actual enrollment numbers are included. These records were used to determine the number of teachers required for particular seminars based on the enrollment count. Dr. Kull's grade books and lists of students are included and reflect grades on all course work as well as absences from classes. There is a folder of Dr. Kull's correspondence with Dean Walter T. Marvin, Dean of Rutgers College. Various issues in these memos include: budgetary concerns, graduate assistant appointees, guest lecture recommendations, mortality studies (why did students drop out of classes?), problems with seniors being drafted for war, and blackout procedures. The speeches presented at John Hubbard Logan's Memorial Dedication are also included in this series.

Dr. Kull was an amateur painter and the second Series in this collection contains various architectural clippings, mostly from newspapers, but also from post cards, booklets, guides etc. The architectural styles of the clippings include Georgian, Gothic and American. These clippings probably had artistic value to Dr. Kull.

As an advocate of World Peace, the third Series concentrates on "The Post War Drift of Pan Americanism" (1929), the "United States and the Next War," the World Court, and the League of Nations. Included in these papers are various newspaper clippings regarding the prevention of war programs, neutrality plans (pro and con), current events, and editorials on war and peace. Most of these clippings are from the 1930s. The World Court consisted of 11 judges and 4 deputy judges sitting in regular annual and extraordinary sessions at The Hague. The purpose of this court was to settle legal disputes brought to it by the nations of the world.

"New Jersey and the Constitution," an unpublished manuscript is included in Dr. Kull's papers. This manuscript was prepared for the United States Constitutional Sequicentennial Commission. After the manuscript was completed, Director General Sol Bloom advised Kull that the manuscript could not be published due to funding problems (letter dated November 10, 1937). A rather perturbed Kull responded to Bloom on November 29, 1937, stating that Bloom should have advised Kull of the funding problem before he spent all the time and energy in completing the work. Also included is various correspondence with other members of the committee from other states. Dr. Kull's original research materials are foldered as well as several papers completed by his students on the topic.

The final series in this collection of documents is a miscellaneous section that contains a journal article published in December 1938 by Dr. Kull regarding letters written by Ulysses S. Grant to his father before he was a famous General. The letters indicate that Grant had major financial problems and was struggling to make ends meet prior to the war. Additionally, there is correspondence regarding Dr. D.S. Muzzey's American History. There is a "Report of the Committee of Historical Textbooks" regarding the use of the this book in Newark Public Schools (dated January 23, 1924). The controversy surrounding the book stems from the fact that the text expresses history in controversial terms, not necessarily from a favorable U.S. perspective. There is also a report dated October 17, 1923 from the Board of Education in Washington, D.C. ("Report of the Special Committee on Muzzey's American History") which relates its conclusions that the text is appropiate for high school curriculums.


3 manuscript boxes

Language of Materials



Dr. Irving Kull was a professor at Rutgers University in the History Department from 1918 until his retirement in 1954. Boxes 7, 8 and 9 of his papers include correspondence regarding the Department of History, departmental budgets, grade books and student lists, an unpublished manuscript on "New Jersey and the Constitution," and various photos of buildings and other architectural items.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Irving Stoddard Kull was born in Genoa City, Wisconsin on April 12, 1884. He died of a respitory ailment in West Dover, Vermont (at his summer home) on July 25, 1961. He was 77 years old at the time of his death.

Dr. Kull married Nellie May Myers on August 6, 1912. They had three children, Mr. Blaisdell Kull, Mrs. Norman Walple, and Mr. Robert I. Kull. Robert Kull died before his father at the age of 39. He was stricken with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dr. Kull received his early education at schools in Genoa City and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He was the first person from his hometown to pursue a higher education. He received a four year fellowship and worked his way through college. His undergraduate degree is from Beloit College. He received his master's degree at the University of Indiana and his doctorate at the University of Chicago.

In 1902, Dr. Kull secured his first teaching position at a country school in Wisconsin. He then taught at Beloit Prepartory School (1909 10) and became a fellow in history at the University of Indiana, and eventually an instructor of history at Denison University in Ohio. He served as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago for four years before becoming a faculty member at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 1918.

Dr. Kull's teaching career at Rutgers University began in 1918. In 1926, he became a full professor and the head of the History Department. In 1932, he was appointed to the Voorhees Professorship of History. In his first fifteen years at the university, Dr. Kull also headed the department of history at Douglass College, which was called New Jersey College for Women at the time.

Dr. Kull's publications include "New Jersey, A History," which was published in 1930 by the American Historical Society of NY. The publication covers important phases in New Jersey history.

In 1937, Dr. Kull was approached by the United States Constitution Sequicentennial Commission to participate in completing a history of the Constitution of New Jersey. However, Dr. Kull's research resulted in an unpublished manuscript because the Commission ran out of funding and could not afford to publish the manuscript. This research is supposedly one of the only research projects on New Jersey's constitution.

Another publication that was completed with his wife, Nellie Kull, is "A Short Chronology of American History," published onApril 25, 1952. This publication covers 10,000 American events and spans over four and a half centuries of American history. This took Dr. Kull and his wife seven years to complete. The work opens with the date August 3, 1492 the date Christopher Columbus set sail and ends with December 30, 1950 the date Secretary of State Dean Acheson issued a year end statement declaring the intention of the United States to continue its policy of creating "unity and security for the free world." Presumably, this date was selected because of Dr. Kull's relentless interest in world peace. The purpose for completing this work was to develop patterns in history by placing events in chronological relationship to each other.

As a historian, Dr. Kull's interest included 19th century American history. Over the course of his life, he gave many talks on the world wars, peace and revolution. He was a promoter of world peace and often made statements that the United States' isolationist attitude caused peace treaty problems in 1919, after World War I. He believed that peace should be planned while the war is still on going.

As an antagonist of war measures, Dr. Kull served as members on various committees and organizations working towards world peace. He was an active trustee member in the League of Nations of New Jersey. He was also a member of the New Jersey Branch, American Assocation of United Nations and the New Jersey Joint Counsel on Foreign Relations. His other memberships included the American Historical Association, the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, the New Jersey Historical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Kappa Epsilon, an honorary historical fraternity, the Southern Historical Association, the Church History Society, Foreign Policy Association, Southern Vermont Artists and Plainfield Art Association.

Dr. Kull was an amateur painter for 35 years. His work was displayed at various shows over the course of his life. Specifically, after his retirement, 49 of his paintings were displayed at the Guest House of the New Brunswick Art Center. Included in his works were landscapes of Vermont, the midwest, and European scenes.

Dr. Kull retired from Rutgers University on July 1, 1954 after 36 years of teaching at Rutgers. He was 70 years old at the time of his retirement.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged into five series: Series I--Department of History Records (1918-1950), Series II--Architecture (1921-1960), Series III--World Peace (1928-1960), Series IV--"New Jersey and the Constitution" (1937-1941), Series V--Miscellaneous (1928-1940). Within each series, files are arranged topically. In Series I, III, and IV, items within files are arranged chronologically.

Guide to the Irving Stoddard Kull Papers
Edited Full Draft
Lauren G. Zifchak
April 25, 1994
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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