The Construction of Mind, Self, and Society
The Construction of Mind, Self, and Society
Abstract and Keywords
Chapter 5 examines the influential but contentious posthumous volumes attributed to George Herbert Mead, especially Mind, Self, and Society, and by detailing the interpretive process through which these books were constructed it approaches these volumes from a radically different direction than has been previously attempted. From the early enthusiasm to preserve a legacy to Mead after his death, a variety of proposals and sets of documents emerged. The problems of these documents led Mead’s family and former students to solicit additional student notes, which were summarily evaluated and often rewritten. The subsequent discovery of stenographic notes fundamentally shifted the content of the volumes, but not their overall topical structure. Finally, concerns about book sales during the Great Depression led to consequential decisions on the length, content, and order of the volumes. The analysis demonstrates how an adequate understanding of Mind, Self, and Society, and the other volumes, requires tracing the social process of their construction over a course of time, including the changing desires and interpretations of social actors, the discovery and manipulation of available documents, and perceptions of practical constraints in time and money. No individual, document, or event explains the final appearance of the volume apart from this consequential social process.
Mind, Self, and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist, a volume published by the University of Chicago Press in December 1934, poses an acute problem for anyone who attempts to use the text as a transparent source of knowledge about the social theory of its attributed author, George Herbert Mead, because it was constructed posthumously from a collage of stenographers’ and students’ notes and unpublished manuscripts.1 In terms of its impact on subsequent scholarship, Mind, Self, and Society has been unquestionably the most influential text documenting his distinctive social theory, far more so than any of the work published in his own lifetime.2 Put simply, what is known about Mead’s influential teachings derives predominantly from Mind, Self, and Society. I leave the question of how this dominant interpretation of Mead, which relies on Mind, Self, and Society, was built up and how it changed over the course of the twentieth century until chapters 6 and 7, and will focus for the moment on the volume itself.
Behind the published text of Mind, Self, and Society, with its apparent claim to transparently present its attributed author’s views, there lies a process through which the writings were not merely made available through publication, but were constructed. That is, Mead did not write the vast majority of words of the volume, most being based on notes taken by students and stenographers in his courses, nor did he intend materials like those for publication. Further, the classroom notes of these students and stenographers were themselves substantially transformed and reinterpreted as they were incorporated in the text of the volume. It was a well-acknowledged fact by the people involved in the process of constructing this legacy that their “combined efforts have not been able to produce the volume which we wish George H. Mead might have written,” and yet “it (p.115) was the consensus of opinion among [Mead’s] students and his colleagues that [this material] should be published. In this opinion his family and friends concurred” (Morris 1934b, vii; Moore 1936, vi, ix). That is, without guile or caprice, the project appeared entirely reasonable from the perspective of those involved, despite the admitted construction of the very material presented, and despite the contentious reactions to the subsequent published volumes.3
Current critical scholarship has sought to reassess Mead primarily by eschewing a focus on Mind, Self, and Society, because of the volume’s problematic nature, and instead to reconstruct Mead’s social thought by other means. As a whole, this scholarship has greatly improved our understanding of George Herbert Mead by examining his life and thought beyond the bounds of Mind, Self, and Society. However, very little has been done to consider what may be gained by analyzing the actual construction and publication of the posthumous volume by which Mead is primarily known, despite the implicit claim motivating much of this scholarship that Mind, Self, and Society cannot adequately represent Mead. Only very recently has this latter set of questions been tackled in a substantial way (cf. Silva and Vieira 2011; Cook 2013).
This chapter seeks to address Mind, Self, and Society from a radically different direction than has been previously attempted in order to demonstrate that taking seriously the book’s “construction”—and hence understanding more clearly how such a problematic book came about— means explicating a novel interpretive process of relations between social actors and physical documents within situations constrained by practical circumstances over a course of time. The chapter examines the project of creating a posthumous legacy for Mead more generally, but with a particular focus on Mind, Self, and Society, for two reasons: there is significantly more surviving data about the construction of that volume than either of the other two published by the University of Chicago Press, and it is the most important of the volumes in terms of later influence.
The following analysis illustrates how adequately understanding Mind, Self, and Society as a text requires a thorough acknowledgment of the consequential, interpretive process by which it was created. First, no individual freely designed this book after his or her own wishes without considering other social actors, available documents, and practical constraints. Second, no social consensus to draft the definitive and approved “Mead” existed among interested parties, and while there was certainly deliberation about what should serve as Mead’s thought, debate depended upon the particular documentary materials available to the actors. Third, (p.116) what counted as an appropriate document of Mead’s thought and how it compared in terms of authority with other possible texts were decisions made under practical situational constraints. And fourth, the final text was not the result of a single agglomeration of textual fragments. Rather, it was the result of particular events—meetings and deliberations, writing or discovery of documents—that must be understood in their temporal sequence and interconnection to account for the peculiar structure of the published book’s content.
In order to accomplish this analysis, I draw upon archival research in the George Herbert Mead Papers and the University of Chicago Press Records in Chicago, the Charles Morris Collection in Indianapolis, and supplementary materials from several other collections. Through this research I have brought together a substantial and unique dataset of correspondence and notes from which to reconstruct the process of creating this text. As will be demonstrated, these materials preserve an extensive record of the unfolding social process from within, and therefore serve as particularly illustrative data for an analysis of the construction of the volume. This chapter is not, however, intended as a definitive and complete critique of the content of Mind, Self, and Society from the standpoint of a more “objective” understanding of Mead. Instead, I try to demonstrate through the explication of important episodes and examples how the published text is the result of a particular social process of construction.
Posthumous Projects to Secure a Legacy
When George Herbert Mead died on April 26, 1931, the publication of a volume like Mind, Self, and Society out of a patchwork of reconstructed classroom notes from his Social Psychology courses and various unpublished manuscripts was not a foregone conclusion. At that time there were already several incipient projects to bring Mead’s work to greater attention. One Festschrift for Mead—along with James H. Tufts, Addison W. Moore, and Edward S. Ames—had already come into print (Smith and Wright 1929), and a second one dedicated to Mead and Tufts was being seriously considered.4 Mead had just given a well-received series of Carus Lectures in December 1930 that was to have been reworked for publication.5 Several stenographic transcripts and extensive student notes from a variety of Mead’s lecture courses were already known to exist. As is discussed below, these notes were in private circulation among some of Mead’s students and colleagues, and there had been periodic attempts to convince Mead to publish these materials in his lifetime. None of these (p.117) documents, with the partial exception of the Carus Lectures, came to be published in a form closely resembling the initial intentions of their promoters. Their efforts, however, indicate a strong desire among a core group of Mead’s colleagues and students to see him given greater recognition in print. And there was clear acknowledgment of the existence of various materials through which to achieve this goal.
Because the Carus Lectures were already under contract with Open Court Publishing Company, they became the organizing center of early proposals for Mead’s legacy. Mead died before he could significantly reedit the notes, so his son and daughter-in-law, Henry C. A. and Irene Tufts Mead, chose Arthur E. Murphy to work on the materials.6 John Dewey hoped that Murphy would include “enough of mss [unpublished manuscripts] of Mead’s own” as a companion volume, and Edward S. Ames, who was also a long-time colleague and had taken over as chairman of the Chicago philosophy department after Mead’s resignation, wanted the Carus Lectures to include some of Mead’s “more important [published] papers.”7 Both colleagues began to feel that such publications were more fitting than a Festschrift dedicated to Mead, and they continued to lend their considerable influence to proposals for publishing more of Mead’s works. Although initially receptive to including additional materials along with the Carus Lectures, Open Court soon decided against publishing any companion volumes.8 As it was, Murphy ultimately did manage to include three unpublished manuscripts and two previously published articles by Mead in the single volume (Murphy 1932, 8). However, any attempt to bring together a substantial corpus of additional materials as a legacy to Mead would have to go beyond the bounds of the Carus Lectures.
Indeed, the publication of the Carus Lectures as The Philosophy of the Present (Mead 1932) seems only to have whetted the interest of those who wanted to see Mead’s teachings preserved. The recognition that the publication of these lectures was already likely to stand as a posthumous legacy to Mead, that they were edited not by Mead but by a former colleague, and that they included a variety of materials of different origins including lectures, manuscripts, and published articles, seems to have added legitimacy to the enterprise of further publication projects. Ames had suggested to Henry and Irene Mead that they consider Charles W. Morris, a former student of Mead, to work with Murphy on the supplementary materials for The Philosophy of the Present.9 As it became clear that the volume of Carus Lectures would not allow enough of Mead’s work to gain a wider audience, Ames continued to push the possibility of a volume of Mead’s published works. He got the Meads’ and Arthur Murphy’s approval to have (p.118) Morris head up this project, which he envisioned as being fairly straightforward, saying: “It is not our thought that these articles will need editing or interpreting for this publicati[o]n but it is more just the work of getting them together and seeing that they are arranged etc.”10 It was unclear to Morris at this point, however, whether this was to be considered a separate project from the Carus Lectures, whether a selection of Mead’s writings or all of them should be included, and whether the volume should include only reprinted journal articles or a selection from Mead’s whole oeuvre.11
Within days, the scope of the nascent project expanded rapidly. Ames reported that Irene Mead was in possession of materials from a couple of Mead’s courses, Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century and Social Psychology, and that she had consulted W. W. Norton and Company, who would consider publishing either one or both of them.12 Arthur Murphy, before leaving Chicago to take up a position at Brown University, apparently suggested to the Meads that they invite Merritt H. Moore to edit the transcript of Mead’s introductory Movements of Thought lectures (Moore 1936).13 And Morris was seen by Murphy, Ames, and the Meads as the appropriate person to look over the notes from Mead’s Social Psychology course.
By the end of May 1931, only a month after Mead’s death, there were already four active publishing projects in his name, consisting of his 1930 Carus Lectures, his compiled published works, a stenographic transcript of his Movements of Thought lectures, and student notes from his Social Psychology course. In subsequent weeks, several other projects were proposed as additional materials began to pile up. Mead’s son and daughterin-law provided Morris with several substantial unpublished manuscripts written by George Mead that were not included in the Carus Lectures volume, and these were increasingly considered another potential project for publication. And as Morris began to gather materials for his projects, he noted the large amount of student and stenographic lecture notes extant from Mead’s courses on the history of thought. He proposed to the Meads and to the University of Chicago Press at various times a volume to bring together those “historical lectures.”14
From a few nascent ideas of making Mead’s thought better known there developed a constellation of overlapping and indefinite potential projects, each with its advocates and its materials from which to draw. Early decisions proceeded primarily on tentative mutual agreement; Mead’s family consulted with his former colleagues, students, and publishing houses on the appropriate moves to take. In the correspondence, there is strong evidence of a dense network of mutually felt personal obligations among (p.119) those involved, not only toward Mead and his family members, but also to his former colleagues in light of their authority and to the young prospective editors of the materials in light of their devotion. Still, for all the desire of these individuals, the various projects were only plausible on the basis of the discovery of various sets of materials. And as will be developed below, the projects came increasingly to incorporate additional masses of material including hundreds of pages of unpublished manuscripts by Mead, dozens of students’ and stenographers’ notes from Mead’s lectures, and reprints of dozens of Mead’s published articles. These texts were not for the most part pregiven at the start, but were discovered or reconstructed in the process itself.
Thus, the claim that the three volumes ultimately published by the University of Chicago Press, Mind, Self, and Society (1934), Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century (1936), and The Philosophy of the Act (1938), “represent the three main fields of Mead’s work” (Morris 1934b, v) only legitimates the result of the process rather than illuminates its organizing principle. At the beginning it was not clear what materials would end up in publication, and, indeed, several of the projects did not come to fruition and many thousands of pages of manuscript materials still remain unavailable in published form. There was no consensus or even any clearly defined guidelines by which publishing decisions were to be made. But where deliberation alone could not determine the proper course, the available materials presented problems that proved consequential.
The “Social Psychology Material”
When Charles Morris came to Chicago in late summer 1931 to take up his new post in the philosophy department, he had waiting for his examination several copies of typescript notes apparently taken down from one of Mead’s relatively early lecture courses in Social Psychology by a student, possibly Stuart A. Queen in autumn 1912.15 In looking over his apparent charge from Henry and Irene Mead, Morris “came to feel that there was no clear understanding of what [he] was supposed to do.”16 Was he to bring together a volume of all Mead’s previously published writings on social psychology, or edit this copy of social psychology lecture notes for publication? Should references be made to other sets of notes? Should previously unpublished manuscripts be included? What sort of “authority” should the notes be considered as having?
In responding to his concerns Irene Mead also admitted that she “was disappointed when [she] came to read over the Social Psychology mate (p.120) rial,” expecting it to be a “verbatim transcript” like the manuscript from “Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century.”17 She agreed with Morris’s suggestion that if it was to be published the material would have to be expanded by reference to other sets of notes and published alongside some of the more “important published papers dealing with the self and social thought” as Murphy had done with the Carus Lectures. Irene Mead gave Morris access to some manuscripts that “seemed to [her] to deal with the Social Psychology material” and continued to search for others. Morris, after “rather carefully” reading over the social psychology notes, indicated his ambivalence even more strongly: “There is much that is fine there, but also much that Mr. Mead would not like to have seen in print. The editing will have to be very extensive.”18 He suggested that they “write to the best students of the last few years in Mr. Mead’s course” to get other sets of notes, which they could either use in place of the “fairly old ones” they currently had or at least “supplement the material” and confirm the validity of the content of those notes. It is important to indicate that, at this point, the project was still an exploratory one about which there was considerable question and hesitation, and no definite plans to print this material had been made. As late as April 1932, Morris’s (and formerly Mead’s) colleague T. V. Smith (1932, 208) could publicly assert that Morris was editing a volume that would contain Mead’s published “articles upon social-psychological problems” in addition to records from his “justly famous course at the University of Chicago on ‘Social Psychology,’” despite the fact that no volume consisting primarily of his published articles appeared for another three decades.
Morris prepared a circular letter to some of Mead’s former students that was sent out October 31, 1931, asking whether the recipients had any suitable lecture notes on Mead’s Social Psychology courses or knew of anyone else’s notes that could be considered for possible publication. In particular, he indicated that he was looking for especially full notes from the last few years of Mead’s life. T. V. Smith (1931, 368) published a memorial article in the American Journal of Sociology at the beginning of November 1931, lamenting the lack of “visible work” that would give “more than a mere semblance of the impression of substantiality received by [Mead’s] friends from the impact of his expansive and seminal mind” and mentioning the possibility of “forthcoming posthumous volumes.” These two appeals, which arrived in the mail of many of Mead’s former students within days of one another, had a definite effect.19 Over the following two months Morris received dozens of responses from Mead’s former students, of which at least some are preserved in the George Herbert Mead Papers. These letters (p.121) report a wide variety of responses from students. Over two dozen sets of notes from Mead’s Social Psychology courses are specifically mentioned by the preserved letters, several other sets from courses that bear on Mead’s social psychological thought are reported, and there is also a great deal of speculation about the existence of note-sets from other students. The accounts in these letters had a substantial impact on the subsequent course of the publishing project, not least because the sheer volume of materials they represented proffered a considerable credibility and the apparent possibility of systematicity to the project.
Student Lecture Notes, Found and Made
As a former student of Mead, Morris was already aware of the veritable marketplace of lecture notes that existed from Mead’s courses, a topic discussed in chapter 4. Some students had valued their notes so highly that they had them bound or used them as the basis for their own classes. Students had exchanged or handled one another’s notes and class papers. Many students were aware of full sets of notes from other students enrolled in the courses or from persons paid to record the lectures. A note-set for one of Mead’s social psychology courses had at one time been in circulation at the University of Chicago library and was cited in several Chicago dissertations.20 Indeed, several enterprising students had even attempted to record as completely as possible Mead’s lectures for some later publication.21 And some of Mead’s friends and colleagues, including psychiatrist Adolf Meyer, had pleaded with him to publish notes made by his students.22 There was, thus, a large body of material of variable quality, but always highly valued, in private hands at the time of Mead’s death.
Based on the students’ descriptions of their notes, Morris graded their potential quality directly on the letters he received. He marked them “good,” “fair,” “poor,” or “none.” He then began following up on a select few of the responses. In several cases, Morris’s notes to himself indicate that he asked students to transcribe their notes or otherwise rewrite them into a more complete form.23 That is, not only were the contents of the potential volumes constructed in the sense of selected from among the possible notes, but there was also a literal construction of the materials themselves for the volumes. As Morris received sets of notes, he read through them and annotated them on separate sheets of paper that he saved among his preparatory materials for Mind, Self, and Society. That he annotated them separately indicates he was conscious of the need to preserve the original materials either for deposit in the Department of Philosophy (p.122) (Morris 1934b, vi) or for return to the original owners.24 These annotations demonstrate that by early 1932 Morris had read through at least fourteen sets of notes in preparation for the volume, including notes from his own courses with Mead and notes from courses far removed from social psychology, strictly defined—courses such as “Aristotle’s Metaphysics” and “Relativity from the Standpoint of Pragmatism.”
Several interpretive processes involving these texts began to overlap in this phase of the project. First, Morris and Irene Mead, in deciding to write only to select former students from later courses, overlooked several very full sets of notes that have since come to light.25 In looking specifically for later courses, they in effect asserted that Mead’s latest lectures were to represent the whole of his intellectual development and thought, and disabled any possibility of using the volumes to be published to explicate the intellectual development of Mead’s social psychology or the breadth of topics discussed primarily in earlier iterations of the course. Second, the former students’ responses were already interpretations of the relative quality of their own notes without the benefit of any large body of materials to which to compare them. Morris’s grading scheme further builds on this interpretation by using the students’ responses, and not the materials themselves, as the basis for his decisions. Moreover, in asking students to rewrite their notes he in effect asked them to build a whole new layer of interpretation into the materials he would then receive, a layer that would be indistinguishable to Morris from the notes as written in the classroom. It of course goes without saying that the classroom notes were themselves works of interpretation by the students.26 Finally, in annotating the sets he received, Morris further interpreted the content of the notes; throughout, he summarized and paraphrased material and determined what was an important point worthy of attributing to Mead.
In each layer of interpretation, the decisions are entirely reasonable given the considerable practical constraints on time, money, and effort that structured the possibilities open to all those involved. This was, after all, at a time when copying manuscripts, for example, most often meant literally retyping them with the use of carbon paper or preparing mimeograph stencils page by page, not to mention the physical transportation time and cost of the materials. Morris could not reasonably ask dozens of students to ship him their various notes for his assessment, nor could he be expected to have every possible set of notes reproduced. Instead, he asked students to assess their own notes’ relative worth and, if promising, write them up in a form that would be more useful to the project. From Morris’s (p.123) and Irene Mead’s perspective, the most recent students of Mead would be the ones easiest to track down, most likely to still have relevant materials, and to have materials that recorded Mead’s most developed thought. The further implications of these decisions will be considered below in the discussion of the making of the final volume. But an account of the final compilation of Mind, Self, and Society cannot adequately build the volume out of these materials alone and must instead acknowledge the fundamental shifts that occurred in response to the discovery and interpretation of the text that would contribute the bulk of the published book.
The “Verbatim” Transcript of 1928
Little did anyone involved know at the time that all of these student notes would ultimately only contribute supplementary content to Mind, Self, and Society. Morris became aware at some point of the existence of the collection of stenographic notes solicited by George Anagnos, a former student who apparently wanted to publicize Mead’s teachings, and financially sponsored by Alwin C. Carus.27 Carus had collected a dozen particularly full sets of notes, some of which were simply purchased from students who had already written them up, and others of which were made by professional stenographers hired by Carus. Morris arranged for the Meads to buy the complete collection for $300 in June 1932, but this arrangement was made only after some contention over the legal ownership of the notes was resolved.28 Hence, it was not until summer of 1932 that Morris had free access to the stenographic transcript that would ultimately form the bulk of Mind, Self, and Society, long after he had begun to compile, annotate, and arrange students notes, and long after he had invented the title—and with it the basic structure—of the volume.29
Through this purchase Morris came into possession of a 320-page typed transcript of almost 150,000 words made from Mead’s winter 1928 Advanced Social Psychology course, which then displaced all the other materials Morris had previously collected and became “basic” to Mind, Self, and Society (Morris 1934b, vi).30 This is the only transcript for Mead’s social psychology courses in Morris’s possession that could claim to be a nearly verbatim record, and it was from one of the last years of the course, so it is understandable why Morris, the Meads, and the University of Chicago Press would prefer this text. With this transcript, Morris finally had gathered all the material that would be considered for inclusion in the final product, including also the several sets of students’ reconstructed (p.124) notes, stenographic transcripts from other courses, and an unspecified number of Mead’s unpublished manuscripts dealing with social psychological themes.
Given Morris’s practical selection criteria it is clear that the 1928 stenographic transcript was the best material from which to construct the final volume, but this fact did not also make it merely a transparent medium, or the definitive source, of Mead’s thought as such. First, the text is not entirely verbatim. There are several places in the transcript where missing words or phrases are indicated, and places where clear errors of transcription appear in the text. In both cases, Morris most often simply edited out the sentences in which these omissions or errors occur.31 Morris also deleted passages in which the stenographer failed to accurately capture the reference Mead was making. For example, when in the discussion of the dissociation of personalities Mead referred to some “psychological novel dealing with the disassociation of the pathological processes,” the stenographer did not catch the title or the pseudonym of the study’s patient, later tentatively identified in writing on the transcript, I think correctly, as Morton Prince’s study of “Miss Beauchamp,” The Dissociation of a Personality (1905). Prince’s work is not otherwise referred to in any of Mead’s published writings, but other sets of notes indicate Mead was quite familiar with this work. It is difficult to know exactly what impact this and other omissions may have had on understandings of Mead’s thought, and when taken as individual examples most are probably of more interest to a select few historians of social psychology than to the average reader of Mind, Self, and Society.
In other cases, however, there are words or phrases that are questionable given what is otherwise known about Mead’s published work. For example, this transcript includes the phrase “universal discourse” five times where it can be argued that “universe of discourse” is more likely what Mead spoke. The former phrase does not appear in any of Mead’s published writings, unlike the latter.32 “Universe of discourse” was a concept used extensively in philosophical logic in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including in the works of Charles S. Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, and Mead. Yet, this substitution of phrase may have been plausible to a person not well versed in philosophical terminology who was reconstructing the transcript from pen strokes representing abbreviated phonetic elements. Despite the phonetic similarity, the semantic difference between the two phrases is nontrivial, and has likely contributed to idealistic interpretations of Mead’s theory of language universals.33 Similar stenographer errors likely arising from ignorance of philosophic (p.125) terminology and history were pointed out in the transcript that made up Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century (e.g., Tsanoff 1937; Randall 1937).34 Such examples begin to bring out the strongly interpretive aspects of stenography behind the appearance of transparency (Wellman 1937).
In typing a transcript, the stenographer had to interpret what series of phrases spoken by Mead constituted complete thoughts, a challenging endeavor itself given the nongrammatical structure of much spoken language. Each constructed sentence was entered on a separate line on the original stenographic transcript, making each one appear as a self-contained aphorism. The transcript has no other breaks by paragraph or topic, excepting the breaks between each new lecture. Thus, what appears as virgin material is already the result of interpretation, and treating the transcript as a neutral medium disguises the way this form of presentation made plausible a naturalization of certain phrases as individual aphorisms without necessary relation to the topical progression. Indeed, analysis of Morris’s annotations on the transcript indicates that he often extracted individual sentences or groups of sentences, deleted others, and sometimes reorganized the sequence of sentences with regard to one another. That is, the interpretive maneuvers of the stenographer, presented in the homogeny of the typed transcript, became the basis upon which Morris made further determinations in the text.
To give but one example of this line-by-line editing, I quote a paragraph from the famous section of Mind, Self, and Society on the “‘I’ and the ‘me’” and compare it to the transcript from which it is drawn. The published paragraph reads:
There is neither “I” nor “me” in the conversation of gestures; the whole act is not yet carried out, but the preparation takes place in this field of gesture. Now, in so far as the individual arouses in himself the attitudes of the others, there arises an organized group of responses. And it is due to the individual’s ability to take the attitudes of these others in so far as they can be organized that he gets self-consciousness. The taking of all of those organized sets of attitudes gives him his “me”; that is the self he is aware of. He can throw the ball to some other member because of the demand made upon him from other members of the team. That is the self that immediately exists for him in his consciousness. He has their attitudes, knows what they want and what the consequence of any act of his will be, and he has assumed responsibility for the situation. Now, it is the presence of those organized sets of (p.126) attitudes that constitutes that “me” to which he as an “I” is responding. But what that response will be he does not know and nobody else knows. Perhaps he will make a brilliant play or an error. The response to that situation as it appears in his immediate experience is uncertain, and it is that which constitutes the “I.”
(Mead 1934, 175)
The corresponding passage in the 1928 lecture transcript, retaining the line breaks and wording as originally transcribed while indicating the lines cut out in italics, reads as follows:
There is neither “I” nor “me” in that at all.
The whole act is not yet carried out.
The preparation takes place in this field of gesture.
Now, in so far as the individual arouses in himself the attitude of the other this is organized, it is an organized group of responses.
You have one response from one and another response from another.
If all of these responses have an organized value for him, as in the illustration I gave of the baseball nine, now his own attitude, so far as he is self-conscious is dependent upon his ability to take the attitude of the second baseman and the other members of the team so far as they are involved in the play.
There is an organized sort of an attitude on the part of all which be longs to him as a member of the team in any such play.
And it is due to his ability to take the attitude of these in so far as they can be so organized that he gets what we term self-consciousness.
Now, taking all of those organized sets of attitudes gives him his “me.”
That is the self he is aware of.
He can throw the ball to some other member because of the demand made upon him from other members of the team.
And it exists not simply as that of a being that is attacked or approved but exists in his consciousness.
He has their attitude and knows what they want and what the consequences of any act of his will be, and has responsibility for the situation.
Now, it is the presence of those organized sets of attitudes coming back upon himself that constitutes that “me” and to which he is responding.
Ques. by Std [question by student]. Can an individual be conscious of an object without responding to it?
[Answer:] That brings up the question of just what we mean by consciousness.
He assumes the attitude of the beginning of the response whenever he is conscious of it.
We don’t carry the response out.
A tree might excite the attitude of climbing in the individual but we don’t actually climb the tree.
There are responses of that sort which are present in what we term attitudes, those beginnings of reactions, responses to an object that is involved in all of our experience.
So in that sense we certainly would be conscious of them.
As I have said the term “conscious” is ambiguous, we use it sometimes when we simply mean the presence of the object in our experience and also where we have a definite conscious relation.
Going back to our discussion.
Such a group of attitudes in the individual which represents those of all the members of the team.
They are what constitutes a responsible individual under the circumstances.
Because he has the attitude of every member of the team involved in the play calling out for response.
But what that response will be he doesn’t know and nobody else knows.
It may be that it is very definitely indicated but perhaps he wouldn’t make it.
Perhaps he will make a brilliant play or an error.
The response to that situation as it appears in his experience immediately is uncertain and it is that phase of it that constitutes the “I.”35
In addition to the minute editing of phrases throughout, whole sets of lines are simply excised—not least the student’s question and Mead’s answer regarding the relation between consciousness and response. However, in reading the transcription one can also appreciate the eminently problematic nature of the task set for Morris: making a concise, systematic, and nonrepetitive monograph out of this particular transcript of impromptu speech. Discovering the basic guidelines or organizing principles with which Morris worked to prepare this material requires an understanding of the social expectations of what the final volume would look like, negotiated by Morris and the University of Chicago Press, and his own understanding of what the texts contained.
Making Mind, Self, and Society
The project to bring into press something of a synthesis of G. H. Mead’s social psychological thoughts was, from very early on, organized around the working title “Mind, Self, and Society,” first proposed by Charles Morris on August 21, 1931, before he had any of the solicited student lecture notes, which he received in November and December 1931, and before he (p.129) had the 1928 stenographic transcript, which he apparently first saw in February 1932 and began editing in July of that year. For the employees of the University of Chicago Press, the title was useful to differentiate that project from the other volumes being considered in a Mead series. It became so naturalized that some employees advocated for its use as the final main title on the basis of their understanding that it was the “name of the essays used by [G. H.] Mead,” instead of recognizing it as Morris’s invention.36
It was in one of his letters to Irene Mead, mentioned above, a letter primarily discussing his impressions of the early (1912?) Social Psychology notes he had been given upon arriving in Chicago, that Morris first suggested the eventual title of the text. These notes were the only substantial materials, besides Morris’s notes from the courses he had personally taken with Mead and perhaps a few unpublished manuscripts, to which he had access at the time that he suggested it. Indeed, “Mind, Self, and Society” is quite a succinct description of the progression of topics presented in that set of notes. According to the surviving transcripts of those notes in the George Herbert Mead Papers, the social psychology course began that year with a discussion of the nature of perception, consciousness, and other traditional psychological concepts that were largely absent from later sets of notes. These topics could be plausibly considered an examination of “mind.” Then, after explicating the genesis and development of the “self,” which formed the nearly exclusive focus of the later social psychology courses, the early set of notes indicate that Mead explicitly addressed the structure of “society,” including the nature of institutions, abstract social relations, classes and castes, and the impact of democratization on social organization (Mead 1982).37
The frequent complaint in later scholarship that Mead’s view of society lacks a recognition of social structure is largely correct for the “Society” section of Mind, Self, and Society. This is because Morris took material from the 1928 lecture transcript, which Mead intended as an attempt to utilize the “view of the self as a means of interpreting society,” and labeled them in a way that implied that this was Mead’s view of society as such.38 This quoted phrase does not appear anywhere in the published text of Mind, Self, and Society. Throughout the 1928 transcript there are indications that Mead was concerned with examining the way in which the emergence of selves transformed the organization of society. He was thus focused on society as perceived and acted upon from the standpoint of the emergent self, and not with any structural or topographical analysis of “society” in a strict sense in that course.
Despite ultimately basing the text primarily upon other materials (p.130) and utilizing text from the early (1912?) notes only in footnotes, Morris retained the working title as the organizing principle for the contents. In order to make the materials fit this organization Morris was compelled to reorganize the presentation of topics and to fill out the exposition in the 1928 transcript with materials from other lecture notes and manuscripts. Contrary to Morris’s published claim that “the volume is based upon (i.e., organized around) a stenographic set of notes taken in 1927 [sic], and the order of the material in the volume is the order in which Mead presented the material of the course” (Morris 1937c, 560), a perusal of Morris’s notes on that transcript indicates that the reorganization was very extensive—as the above quotations from the published volume and manuscript illustrate. In order to keep with the organization implied by the entrenched working title, Morris fabricated the material to conform to the topic instead of the topics to fit the material.39 He added or emended transitional phrases throughout the work in order to fit together materials that were not contiguous in Mead’s exposition, but which Morris felt were topically related.
In addition, only after Morris received and read over the 1928 stenographic materials did he begin to emphasize Mead’s “behaviorist” perspective with regard to the potential social psychology volume in meetings with the University of Chicago Press. In July 1933 Morris began to describe the Social Psychology lectures as containing “the kernel of [G. H.] Mead’s Social Behaviorism,” which even prompted some discussion at the press of using the title “The Philosophy of Social Behaviorism” for the volume.40 Morris’s emphasis on Mead’s “behaviorism” was at least in part a response to the strong engagement Mead is recorded as having with psychological theories of conduct, especially that of John B. Watson, in the first six lectures of the 1928 course. Of course, as chapter 4 already pointed out, Morris had heard Mead talk about Watson and behaviorism in his own courses, so the 1928 transcript likely activated his own recollections about the emphasis Mead placed on a critical examination of Watson. The suggestion of the subtitle, “From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist,” was first made in a meeting between Charles Morris and Chicago Press general editor Gordon J. Laing on July 26, 1933. Morris reportedly proposed in that meeting that the form of the title should directly parallel the title of Watson’s Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist (1919) because Mead’s book would prove to be “the second great document in the literature of behaviorism.”41 In terms of the content of the text, this reading resulted in the incorporation of a substantial amount of those six early lectures into an introductory section on “The Point of View of Social Behaviorism.” Mead never used the phrases “social behaviorist” or “social (p.131) behaviorism” in any extant lecture manuscripts or published writings although he did describe his position as “behavioristic” (Cook 1993, 70–71; Joas 1997 , viii–ix), but Morris apparently found the phrase illustrative in indicating precisely how Mead’s behaviorism would be more adequate than Watson’s. The passages in which those phrases appear in the published text of Mind, Self, and Society were added by Charles Morris, by his own admission (Morris 1934b, xvi).
The way in which the other previously gathered materials were incorporated back into the text of the volume also resulted in several of the published text’s peculiarities. First, approximately a third of the volume comes from a set of reconstructed notes from the 1930 Advanced Social Psychology course, consisting of 184 typewritten pages authored by Robert R. Page. This former honors undergraduate philosophy student rewrote his notes apparently over the course of a year and a half, while he pursued graduate study at Cambridge University.42 It is unclear why Morris chose to rely so heavily on these materials, given the numerous other sources to which he had access, apart from his own assertion that they were “faithful and full notes of another devoted student” which “greatly enriched” the stenographic transcript (Morris 1934b, vi) and his apparently friendly relationship with the Page family.43 At any rate, the places where these notes go to make up the text are not indicated, despite having completely different authorial provenance and despite having come from a different year of the course than that of the stenographic transcript. These notes also contribute to forty-one of the eighty-five footnotes in the volume. The Page notes contribute some distinctive analyses found in none of the other sets of notes, including the “triadic” or “three-fold” relation of meaning, and unique phrases including “social process of experience” and “conversation of significant gestures.” The word “social” appears far more frequently in those notes than in others, as do plurals like “attitudes,” “gestures,” and “mechanisms.”44
Ten other sets of notes from Morris’s previously gathered corpus contribute to footnotes, and are indicated by year, although not by author or course.45 The fact that Morris used his annotations on these materials as the source for contributions to the final text, instead of the sets of notes themselves, resulted in several cases in paraphrases or summations serving as direct quotations from the notes. As with the 1928 transcript, Morris in effect changed even the content that he included in the volume, in addition to the selection and rearrangement of the material. Morris also added in passages from at least eight manuscripts written by Mead, many of which were also reused in the composition of The Philosophy of the Act (p.132) (Mead 1938). In all of this, however, there is no evidence of any capriciousness or deliberate misinterpretation. The indications, rather, are that Morris tried to bring coherence and topical progression to a widely disparate corpus using the practical techniques and materials he had available. As he put it, the volume “aims to do this task of systematization” that Mead did not do, “partly by the arrangement of the material” (Morris 1934b, v–vi). Still it was a heavily interpretive process, one in which other scholars have noted that Morris “engaged in creative editing” (Cook 1993, 71) and “took such liberties in supplementation and emendation that one can never be sure whether a sentence is Mead’s or Morris’s” (Joas 1997 , xii).46 In his reassessment of the universe of materials available for the study of Mead, Stevens (1967, 557) concluded succinctly that the posthumous volumes are “ideologically comprehensive and reliable, historically and genetically deficient, and have had too predominant an influence to date in the understanding of Mead.”
Publishing in the Great Depression
The fact that Mind, Self, and Society was coming up for publication in the 1933–34 publishing year, in the depths of the Great Depression, did not go unnoticed by the employees of the University of Chicago Press, who in 1932 had suffered their first significant loss of sales volume in over a decade and were already anticipating further declines.47 On June 12, 1933, Donald Bean, manager of the University of Chicago Press, and Charles Morris met and drew up a plan to publish the various projects as a single series of memorial volumes, four months after the social psychology material had been individually approved for publication under the title of “Mind, Self, and Society” by the Board of University Publications.48 The program of publication as subsequently proposed to the board was for a “Philosophic Works of George H. Mead” including projected volumes in “Mind, Self, and Society,” “Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century,” and “The Philosophy of the Act.” This combined plan was particularly appealing to Charles Morris, who had assumed something of a de facto leadership role in the projects as a whole, because he sought to model the Mead projects into a “complete works” along the lines of the six volume (later eight volume) Collected Papers of Charles S. Peirce coedited by his colleague Charles Hartshorne.49 A series format had the benefit, they thought, of allowing the volumes to be marketed together at a reduced price for the set, which more people could afford “even in these times.”50 Given the economic conditions and the fact that they could not (p.133) presuppose a market for books by G. H. Mead—who had never published a book in his life—they proposed a scheme of advanced subscription to gauge interest and ensure sales.
This system of financing was intended as a way to minimize the amount of money Henry and Irene Mead would have to pay out of pocket while maximizing the amount published. In the proposed arrangement, Henry Mead would pay the entire cost of the first volume not made up through subscriptions in the hope that the volume’s subsequent sales would finance the publication of later volumes.51 Because the series was approved by the press “provided satisfactory financial arrangements can be made”—their phrase for the requirement of outside funding to underwrite publication—Henry Mead would have been expected to pay the total amount of all the volumes (estimated at over $9,000 at the time) absent some self-financing scheme.52 The rolling financial scheme that was devised by which the sales from each published volume would finance later publications had definite effects on the whole enterprise. For one, it served to determine the order in which the volumes would appear. “Mind, Self, and Society” was seen as having the largest sales potential and the possibility of some textbook sales, so it was published first; “Movements of Thought” was the second most likely to have healthy sales and so was published next, leaving “The Philosophy of the Act” as the third volume.53 Various proposals that had been voiced for a “published works” volume or one on the “history of thought” did not get published because of the exhaustion of financial resources.54
The financial dependence of the volumes upon one another also significantly delayed the publication of the second and third in the series. The correspondence indicates that all three of the projects subsequently published were at least roughed out by the end of 1933. Yet Mind, Self, and Society was not published until December 1934, Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century until April 1936, and The Philosophy of the Act until May 1938. That is, between the invitation to begin the projects and their culmination in publication lies an interval of seven years, the trough of the Great Depression. The preparation of the first volume for publication did not begin until after the solicitation of advanced subscription had yielded its apparent saturation point of 200 subscribers.55 The sales from the first volume were modest and, in order to make possible the publication of the second volume, the press agreed to pay about half of the production costs as long as Henry Mead agreed that the sales therefrom would go to recouping that investment before production of the third was considered.56 And the third volume, which was thereby put in jeopardy, (p.134) was only possible because a second change in the contract with Henry Mead was made such that he agreed to forego all royalties in perpetuity in exchange for the university agreeing to cover any deficit incurred by its publication.57 In each case, decisions were delayed to enable sales receipts from previous volumes to minimize further outlays from Mead’s family or the press. These delays came as an irritation to individual and library subscribers of the volumes, who inquired in correspondence about their status. It is difficult to measure the extent of the negative effect this had on sales of the volumes, however, something of the precariousness of the whole enterprise is exposed through the ad hoc solutions found to the recurrent problems of financing the volumes.
The economic limitations did not only shape factors external to the actual content of the volumes. The early discussions regarding Mind, Self, and Society, for example, proposed including a large manuscript to have been entitled “Mind and Body from the Standpoint of a Pragmatist,” which was not ultimately included in the volume, although it did later reappear as the 100-page-long chapter xxi in The Philosophy of the Act (Morris 1938).58 Instead, a shorter (forty-two page) untitled manuscript was substituted, and it consequently comprised the first three “Supplementary Essays” in the published work (Morris 1934b, vi). Later correspondence on Mind, Self, and Society indicates that there was additional consideration of including some material amounting to 212 pages, but cost estimates showed it to be infeasible.59 This material was unidentified in the correspondence in terms of its content, but Morris was in possession of thousands of pages of stenographic transcripts and unpublished manuscripts from which this material could have been drawn. Indeed, the fourth of the “Supplementary Essays,” a ten-page essay entitled “Fragment on Ethics” that appeared at the end of the published Mind, Self, and Society, came from this collection. It was severely edited down from its original form: a 243-page stenographic transcript from Mead’s 1927 course in “Elementary Ethics” (Morris 1934b, vii). Taken together, these decisions show both the acute restriction and nonfixity of the content of these volumes. That is, not only did financial considerations result in the determination of content negatively, by preventing much of it from publication, but it also influenced content positively, by promoting the inclusion of shorter thoroughly abridged materials.
Much the same is true of the other two volumes. In response to being told that his edited manuscript for Movements of Thought was likely too long for publication, Merritt Moore admitted to doing “something by (p.135) way of cutting down the appendix on French thought.”60 This appendix was originally a 148-page set of notes from Mead’s 1928 course in “French Philosophy of the Nineteenth Century,” which was cut to 92 pages in the published version.61 And when the press was working to secure funding from the university for the publication of The Philosophy of the Act, Morris was informed that the administration probably would not agree to the deal “unless the number of pages is cut down or [Henry] Mead underwrites the project in some way.”62 Morris did cut down a section entitled “Categorical Fragments” from 103 to fewer than 50 pages and placed them as an appendix at the end of the volume.63 In addition, he decided against including some of Mead’s previously published material in the volume in the hope that it would appear in a subsequent “published works” volume. The “categorical fragments” had already been heavily edited down. According to Morris, they were “taken in the main, from student notes on courses on Aristotle, Bergson, Dewey, Hegel, Hume, Leibniz, ‘Philosophies of Eminent Scientists,’ and ‘The Problem of Consciousness’” (Mead 1938, 626) and were primarily the responsibility of the associate editor Albert M. Dunham. If the materials referred to in this note are indeed the transcripts preserved in the Mead Papers, then as mentioned above they amount to thousands of pages of unpublished material. This last case illustrates particularly well how the uncertainty about subsequent publications led in a number of cases to the inclusion of materials in severely fragmented form, and the inclusion of materials that were not otherwise appropriate for the themes covered in the volume. As the publication enterprise continued to shift and its financial stability progressively faltered, any clear delineation of material was forfeited to the desire to see any of it in print.
None of the three volumes published in the series was significantly reedited, again because the costs resulting from new typesetting and manufacture would have made such a measure financially “impossible.”64 Only the most significant typographical errors were fixed in subsequent impressions, and in no case did these changes amount to the alteration of more than a few single phrases. This means that all of the determinations made in the physical appearance and content of the volumes made under the pressures of the Depression are retained to the present.65
Mind, Self, and Society as published is already the product of an intensive social process that has interpreted and given peculiar form to Mead’s (p.136) thought. This chapter has sought to reveal the hitherto-understudied “construction” of the book by which Mead is most well known as an empirically identifiable process, and to illustrate how a few of the particular turns the process of creating the book had taken have likely conditioned what is generally known about Mead. For example, the analysis has attempted to demonstrate that the contextually specific interpretations made by various individuals on particular texts have made possible notions of “universal discourse,” “social behaviorism,” and the supposedly astructural presentation of social structure that have presented problems for Mead scholarship. And in this process of systematizing a single Meadian theory across a disparate array of texts the creation of Mind, Self, and Society disguised the contextual nature of Mead’s lectures and manuscripts and has prevented easy access to an understanding of Mead’s intellectual development. This is particularly important to point out in light of the fact, as illustrated in the first section, that Mead cannot be adequately understood as having one set of definite fixed ideas across his intellectual development and coursework, and the various notes from his courses are not merely records of his thought as such, but evidence of a variety of complex social projects.
The immediate task of the chapter has been to indicate how a more adequate understanding of the peculiarities of the structure and content of Mind, Self, and Society is possible by focusing analysis on the social process through which the volume was created. Despite the attribution of the book to George Herbert Mead, it should be evident from the explication above that the text did not merely begin as some singular conceptual insight in the head of an individual. In Mind, Self, and Society, the work of different individuals who created physical materials for disparate purposes within their own social situations is literally subsumed into a single- authored volume. In his capacity as editor, Charles Morris was clearly consequential in the result, but his position was neither entirely stationary nor authoritative throughout the process, which also directly involved other former students and family members of Mead, professional stenographers, and the employees of the University of Chicago Press and other scholarly presses. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that no single person intended this volume.
In addition, the endeavor of engaging with texts was an ongoing practical accomplishment for the social actors involved. The course of constructing the volume was not guided by a set of insights present from the beginning or a consensus of opinion about the way Mead’s teachings should be (p.137) presented, or even what Mead’s teachings were. Those involved tended to focus on how to best accomplish particular tasks on the given textual materials within perceived practical constraints rather than question the entire process or its end product. Indeed, while one can say that Morris and others have a strong authorial presence in the text, one may also notice that many of his seemingly eccentric decisions were actually attempts to make readable the texts he had available to him. Where and when a particular text was discovered or interpreted in relation to the trajectory and current possibilities of the overall process entailed consequences for the final outcome. The published text of Mind, Self, and Society, then, cannot be fully explained as simply the agglomeration of several disparate materials that were spliced together, but must be understood rather as the result of a particular temporal sequence of actions that were given direction (or changed direction) at identifiable moments because someone found or read particular texts. For example, because work was begun to edit the 1928 stenographic transcript after over a year of work on numerous other documents meant that, although it could contribute the bulk of the words in the published text, it would have to be rearranged and supplemented in ways that fitted it to the topical structure already in place for the book. Likewise, the problems of the older, nonverbatim notes to which Morris originally had access led him to suggest soliciting students for other materials in the first place.
By tracing in detail the process through which this systematic representation of Mead’s thought was constructed I have attempted to identify the particular situations, actors, and texts that help explain the result. From the above analyses, and from the previous analyses in part 1, the single, systematic edifice of Mead’s social thought as represented in these posthumous volumes (and especially in a few key passages) begins to be more understandable as an accomplishment at the same time that is givenness comes into question. We are able to identify at least some of the ways in which individual textual documents are related to particular contexts and individuals, in which Mead and his students influenced one another in particular ways, and in which Mead’s actual social practices are related to his philosophical notions. From this perspective the dominant understanding of Mead has become, itself, a problem for analysis, rather than a presumed starting point. How is it that a few texts, passages, concepts, or propositions come to stand for a person’s thought and in what sense can they be said to do so? One aspect of this already appears in the examination above of how certain books were constructed and attributed (p.138) to Mead. But these are the questions that the next two chapters aim to address in earnest by reference to the actual interpretations made of Mead’s significance by two of his most influential former students and the larger patterns of reference to Mead in published literature over time. In these endeavors, we are able to see how the particular form of this published legacy to George Herbert Mead was appropriated and selected in scholarship.
(1.) A revised edition of Mind, Self, and Society is currently being prepared by the University of Chicago Press, which includes a new preface by Hans Joas and an appendix by the present author. The appendix compares the published text of the book with the source materials paragraph by paragraph, identifying many of the most substantial differences between the texts (Huebner 2015).
(2.) ISI Web of Science citation searches I conducted in the winter of 2009 and 2010 indicated that four-fifths of all article citations to G. H. Mead in social scientific journals since 1956 are citations to Mind, Self, and Society. In social psychology journals nine out of every ten citations recorded have been to that work. Although the exact figures are not definitive because this database is not exhaustive, such a measure does indicate the strong reliance upon Mind, Self, and Society among a large number of published articles since 1956 in major academic journals. These analyses are more fully discussed in chapter 7.
(3.) To acknowledge a few of the most negative early reviews, Wilson Wallis remarked, “One is tempted to regret this flaunting of the lecturer’s implied wish that these words of his go no farther than the ears of his classroom hearers…. There are times when it is wise as well as appropriate to respect the wishes of the deceased” (1935, 459). Eduard C. Lindeman (1935, 280) wrote that while the “editor has made a valiant attempt to perform this service [of systematizing Mead’s thought] in the present volume through the use of lecture notes,” he “regret[ted] the obligation to say that it seems to me that the effort has not been successful. Dr. Morris has performed an excellent logical feat in arranging Mead’s material under meaningful categories but the material itself lacks flow and form.” F. C. S. Schiller wrote, “The edited …‘Mead’ therefore read[s] like mediumistic messages from the departed rather than the living [man], and raise[s] the old ethical issue how far discipular piety should turn into books lectures not intended for publication…. In this case I should judge that the basic text was too conscientious: it omitted all the jokes and illustrations which must have enlivened the original lectures, but retained too many of the repetitions of the central ideas which are demanded by the lecture form” (1936a, 83). Mead’s long-time colleague Ellsworth Faris (1936, 809) was perhaps the first and most direct in charging that “the editor has, un (p.283) fortunately, seen fit to give [the social psychology lectures] another title and has taken the liberty to rearrange the material in a fashion that will be deprecated by many who knew Mead and thought they understood him.”
(4.) This second Festschrift was intended at least in part as a response to the so-called Hutchins Controversy during which Robert Maynard Hutchins, the newly appointed president of the University of Chicago, attempted to reshape the character of the philosophy department through appointments by executive fiat and spoke disparagingly about the accomplishments of the current philosophy faculty members. As a result, Tufts resigned from the department in protest, followed by Mead a year later, along with their junior colleagues Arthur E. Murphy, E. A. Burtt, and Everett Hall (Cook 1993, 183ff.). Correspondence in the Charles Morris Collection (B 1, F 1931a–c) indicates that considerable initial impetus for the second Festschrift had come from Mead’s long-time colleagues, John Dewey and Edward S. Ames.
(5.) The Paul A. Carus Lectures are a series of three lectures given in conjunction with the American Philosophical Association meetings awarded to eminent philosophers in exchange for granting publication rights to the Open Court Publishing Company, for which Paul Carus had been founding editor. John Dewey and A. O. Lovejoy had given Carus Lecture series prior to Mead’s lectures in Berkeley, California, in late December 1930.
(6.) Murphy was chosen in part no doubt because the topic of the lectures was close to his own interest in the metaphysics of process philosophy. And despite not being a former student of Mead, himself, he demonstrated a strong loyalty to Mead and the tradition of the Chicago philosophy department when he resigned alongside Mead in the Hutchins Controversy. Murphy was among the audience to Mead’s Carus lecture series.
(8.) E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 6, 1931; E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 28, 1931 (CMC, B 1, F 1931c).
(9.) E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 6, 1931; C. Morris to E. S. Ames, May 11, 1931 (CMC, B 1, F 1931c). After the resignations of Mead, Murphy, Burtt, and Hall, Charles Morris was invited to return to Chicago to take up an associate professorship in philosophy, an invitation about which he was strongly conflicted. Arthur Murphy notified Morris of the resignations saying, “I think the president [Hutchins] will find it difficult to get self-respecting men to join the department under existing conditions” (A. E. Murphy to C. Morris, February 18, 1931, CMC, B 1, F 1931a). Because of Murphy’s letter Morris worried that “some people here [at Chicago] and elsewhere might resent my coming” or see it as “immoral double-crossing of those who felt it necessary to resign” (telegram from C. Morris to G. E. Morris, March 27, 1931; circular letter from Morris [unaddressed], March 31, 1931, CMC, B 1, F 1931a). He discussed the decision with a number of close friends at Chicago, and he was reportedly encouraged to take the position by Mead himself in the weeks before he died, which was an influential factor in Morris’s decision (C. Morris to G. H. Mead, April 10, 1931, CMC, B 1, F 1931b).
Morris’s acceptance of this offer, far from being interpreted as “double-crossing,” was widely seen as an important step in preserving the pragmatist character of the philosophy department. For example, former Chicago graduate student C. F. Arrowood (p.284) wrote that his appointment showed that “the work of Mr. Dewey, Mr. Moore, Mr. Tufts, and Mr. Mead will be carried forward from the point at which they laid it down there” (C. F. Arrowood to C. Morris, April 12, 1931, CMC, B 1, F 1931b). Morris quite literally took over Mead’s place in that he moved into Mead’s former office, a gesture which must also have made it easier to coordinate Mead’s manuscripts and effects (E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 15, 1931, CMC, B 1, F 1931c).
(10.) E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 15, 1931 (CMC, B 1, F 1931c).
(11.) C. Morris to E. S. Ames, May 10, 1931; E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 28, 1931 (CMC, B 1, F 1931c).
(12.) E. S. Ames to C. Morris, May 28, 1931 (CMC, B 1, F 1931c). Irene Tufts Mead’s father, James H. Tufts, had apparently been pursuing the question of whether Mead’s earlier contract with Henry Holt for a book of essays (in 1910–11, which remained unpublished until 2001 [cf. Mead 2001; Orbach 1998]) could be made the basis for an agreement.
(13.) Unlike Arthur Murphy and Charles Morris, who were both rising stars in tenure-track positions when they were asked to work on their respective projects, Merritt H. Moore was still an instructor at Chicago, who had taken courses with Mead but who did not consider himself “as great an admirer of Mr. Mead as were some others of his students and colleagues” (Moore 1936, ix). In addition to being recommended by Murphy, he had a strong interest in the history of philosophy (especially French philosophy) and was apparently working out of Ames’s office at the time, helping to explain his selection. Moore went on to a long-term tenured position in philosophy at Knox College, a position he first accepted while still editing the transcript of notes that was subsequently published as Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century (Mead 1936).
(14.) Laing memo, August 8, 1933; C. Morris to H. C. A. Mead, April 5, 1934 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(15.) Neither the claim that these are the notes prepared by Stuart A. Queen, a former sociology graduate student at Chicago nor that they are from the autumn 1912 course is indisputable. Both claims are supported by Cook (1993, 195–96) and Lewis and Smith (1980, 276) from their respective readings of Charles Morris’s notes to himself (GHMP, B 4, F 6). At the top of a sheet in Morris’s handwriting that quotes passages from this manuscript for possible inclusion in Mind, Self, and Society, Morris appears to have written “Queen 1912,” but the note may have been merely Morris’s hunch about its possible author and date (and it may also be read “Quinn”). For purposes of referring to these notes in the following analysis I have provisionally accepted the interpretation of Cook, Lewis, and Smith in order to distinguish them from other sets of notes. According to correspondence, G. H. Mead had seen these notes and thought highly of them, although Morris was ambivalent about their quality (C. Morris to I. T. Mead, August 21, 1931, GHMP, B 2, F 3). The manuscript was subsequently published in an edited version by David L. Miller as part of The Individual and the Social Self (Mead 1982), although it was labeled there as coming from 1914 and without attribution to a note-taker. No indication is given in that volume concerning how Miller came to this conclusion. For his part, Stuart Queen later recalled, “I took very full notes which I read and re-read, (p.285) annotated, and summarized. (Unhappily they have long since disappeared.) To me it was a new universe of discourse and I had to ‘learn the language’” (SAQP, B 1, pp. 16–17).
(16.) C. Morris to I. T. Mead, July 29, 1931 (GHMP, B 2, F 3).
(17.) I. T. Mead to C. Morris, August 13, 1931 (GHMP, B 2, F 3). Irene Mead also remarked in this letter that the “printing of things that were not intended for print is sometimes a doubtful business.”
(18.) C. Morris to I. T. Mead, August 21, 1931 (GHMP, B 2, F 3). For a rising young professional the task of editing these materials must have been exceedingly tedious. Indeed, Morris begged to point out to the University of Chicago Committee on Humanistic Research that “the work he is doing is not merely editorial, and that the production of the volumes has necessitated a great deal of real research work” (memo from G. J. Laing to Olmstead, August 28, 1933, University of Chicago Division of the Humanities Research Grants Records [hereafter HRGR], B 3, F 17). And when the volume was close to publication he wrote to John Dewey that “the key volume based on the social psychology material has taken much spare time for two years, but is now coming out very nicely” (C. Morris to J. Dewey, June 19, 1933, CMC, B 1, F 1931c).
(19.) Indeed, in his response to Morris, Martin H. Bickham explicitly noted that Smith’s article “seems to precipicate the plans” for the publication of posthumous volumes, coming as it did on the heels of Morris’s own circular letter (M. H. Bickham to C. Morris, November 12, 1931, GHMP, B 2, F 3). Note that Smith’s memorial article mentions “forthcoming” posthumous volumes three years before even the first of the volumes was actually forthcoming. By October 1931 Smith (1931, 371) had also examined the manuscript notes for “Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century,” which he was “drawing loosely here upon” to help substantiate his analysis of Mead’s “social psychology.”
(20.) There is considerable evidence from matched quotations from a few of these theses to suggest that the notes from Mead’s social psychology course once on file at the University of Chicago library are the same as those attributed to Stuart A. Queen from 1912 that Morris had in his possession, although as I indicate in chapter 4 there was also speculation that this set could have been authored by Margaret Daniels.
(21.) The most well known of these attempts was that of George Anagnos and Alwin Carus, discussed further in the text, but correspondence indicates that there were several other students who explicitly considered publishing their own notes. Particularly determined in this respect was George N. Pappas, who wrote to Morris, “Last July I conceived the idea to publish the lectures of Mr. Mead myself…. Last month I made an agreement with the Athens Publishing Co., to publish in a pamphlet form, the notes on Social Psychology…. I took them down for the sake of publishing them, and I made a point not to use my own words” (G. N. Pappas to C. Morris, November 4, 1931, GHMP, B 2, F 3). Pappas’ notes were not subsequently published, but were used in part by Morris in the preparation for his Mead volumes.
(22.) A. Meyer to G. H. Mead, January 26, 1926 (Adolf Meyer Collection [hereafter AMC], Unit I/2636, F 1). Meyer wrote, “I wish I could do my share to induce you, by the way, to think favorably of the suggestion that Miss [Ethel] Kawin’s notes of your [social psychology] lectures might become more widely accessible and that more of (p.286) your courses might be treated that way. So many of us would derive a great advantage through this, and your more favored neighbors and hearers [in Chicago] would get such a fine basis for discussions!” Irene Mead and Charles Morris speculated about what had become of this set of notes in their own discussions.
(23.) Morris’s notes to himself (GHMP, B 4, F 6) indicate that he paid Louis Bloom and Eugene W. Sutherland to transcribe their shorthand notes. Bloom, who had worked for Alwin Carus transcribing Mead’s lectures earlier, was apparently part of an informal pool of former Chicago students willing to take up temporary clerical positions with Chicago-based projects or organizations through the University of Chicago Office of Employment at this time. Morris’s correspondence with Robert R. Page indicates that Page was asked to write up his notes in order to fill them out. Page described the process of rewriting his notes as follows: “They’re quite rough, and in typing them I have made only such revisions or alterations as were necessary to put them into grammatical English. To what extent they are ‘straight Mead,’ and to what extent they are my own expression and interpretation of Mead’s thought, I’m quite unable to tell” (R. R. Page to C. Morris, October 14, [1932?], GHMP, B 3, F 2). George E. M. Shelburg’s notes, as Morris received them, had been submitted as term papers and graded by Mead in their respective courses. As Shelburg indicates in the preface to one of the sets: “The present aim [in writing up the notes] is to offer, so far as possible, a faithful interpretation of the matter as presented, so that only to minor degree has there been alteration and thus, generally, by way of further illustrative material, or re-arrangement” (GHMP, B 8, F 5; emphasis in original). All four of these reconstructed note sets—from Bloom, Sutherland, Page, and Shelburg—ultimately contributed content to the published Mind, Self, and Society.
(24.) The fact that, in most cases, Morris preserved both the original notes and his notes on them provides a wealth of data about the material construction of the published volume. He appears to have returned some to their original owners, as in the case of Clifford P. Osborne’s 1930 Social Psychology notes, which are not located in the George Herbert Mead Papers. He also kept his own notes from his courses with Mead among his own papers, deposited near the end of his life at the Institute for American Thought in Indianapolis. The records of the construction of the later two volumes, Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century and The Philosophy of the Act, are not nearly as complete, because the original manuscript materials upon which they are based have not been as faithfully preserved.
(25.) For example, Juliet Hammond, a master’s degree student in 1910–11, prepared uniquely full notes for four of Mead’s courses. These notes have since been deposited in the George Herbert Mead Papers (GHMP, B 8, F 8–9; B 15, F 14), and an edited version of one of the sets has been published as The Philosophy of Education (Mead 2008a). Notes from an unidentified early course of Mead’s taken down by H. Heath Bawden have also recently come to light and been published (Mead 2008b). A listing of the existing sets of notes forms an appendix to this study.
(26.) This topic was discussed in some detail in chapter 3. In the classrooms where these notes originated, they were essential to students’ practical attempts to understand the implications of the perspective developed by Mead, and were thus deeply contextual documents. In his courses, Mead lectured without written notes. Thus, their (p.287) notes evidence students’ attempts to engage with a dynamic perspective that emerged through the lectures, some of whom reworked their notes to make them more orderly or understandable. However, in bringing notes from various courses authored by different students all under one rubric of comparison, they were treated as a medium for the more or less correct recording and relaying of a delimited body of what could count as Mead’s theory.
(27.) Alwin C. Carus was an executive at the Carus Chemical Corporation run by his family and at various times worked in his family’s Open Court Publishing Company. He had been a University of Chicago student, but had never registered for a course with Mead. The Carus family was also known for its interest in philosophy; indeed, his father was Paul A. Carus, after whom the eponymous lectures are named. George Anagnos was a former student of Mead who went on to become a local historian and librarian in the Works Progress Administration after a period working temporary jobs with railroad construction gangs.
(28.) C. Morris to H. C. A. and I. T. Mead, June 3, 1932 (GHMP, B 2, F 3). Henry Mead asked the University of Chicago Press for its legal opinion on the claims of ownership of the Carus collection. Mead’s attorney had thought the University likely owned the rights to them, but the editor of the press informed Mead that the University would not pursue any claim to ownership, and he proposed that Henry, as representative of G. H. Mead’s estate, was the legitimate owner of the rights to the materials. Alwin Carus was entitled to compensation for his work preparing the manuscripts, according to this interpretation, but he did not own publication rights (D. P. Bean to G. J. Laing, September 29, 1931; G. J. Laing to H. C. A. Mead, September 29, 1931; G. J. Laing to D. P. Bean, November 11, 1931; UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(29.) Morris had apparently examined the transcript Carus had prepared for the 1928 Advanced Social Psychology course as early as February 1932 and had compared in carefully against other manuscripts by April 1932, but he did not have free use of it until the notes were purchased from Carus (see C. Morris to A. Carus, February 15, 1932; C. Morris to A. Carus, April 18, 1932, Alwin C. Carus Papers [hereafter ACCP], Box 3, Folder 4).
(30.) In Morris’s preface to the volume he mistakenly identifies this set as coming from 1927. Substantial correspondence and supporting notes taken by Morris himself indicates that it is from 1928. Additionally, each lecture recorded in the transcript begins with a notation of the complete date, including 1928 as the year. He apparently made a simple typographical error in dating them that has remained through all the reprints of the volume and much of the secondary literature.
Although the stenographer who took the notes is not identified anywhere in Mind, Self, and Society, or in anything written by Charles Morris, a note at the end of the original transcript provides the name W. T. Lillie and a Chicago address (GHMP, B 2, F 17). Further genealogical research in the 1930 US Census enumerator’s schedules, local Sanborn maps, and other sources indicates that this is almost certainly a reference to Walter Theodore Lillie, a former University of Chicago business undergraduate student who became an accountant for Walgreen’s Drug Company. This research also suggests that it may actually have been his wife, Mary Ann Lillie (née Hatch), who took down and transcribed the notes, since she was explicitly identified in the 1930 Census (p.288) as a “stenographer” by profession. It would not be surprising to find that, given the structure of gender relations at the time, she asked for correspondence to be addressed with her husband’s name. As far as I know, this is the first research that has been able to suggest an identity for the stenographer of this important document beyond what is available from the transcript itself.
(31.) Omission was Morris’s solution, for example, to the 1928 stenographer’s attempt to transliterate the German term “Vorstellung” as “(porstellmundt)” and the Latin “hostis” as “(hastis?)” (GHMP, B 2, F 10–17, pp. 49, 163). In the first case Mead discussed the term, it appears, as part of his attempt to explain the problems of Wundt’s “parallelistic” psychology that his own theory would overcome: Wundt had to assume psychical ideas—Vorstellungen—as somehow connected to physiological conditions or acts without being able to explain how those ideas emerge in gestural communication. In the second, Mead was making a point about the ambiguity of the encounter with a stranger by recourse to amateur etymology—hostis is related both to “hostile,” as in an enemy relation, and to “host,” as in an amicable relation to a guest.
(32.) Indeed, a JSTOR search conducted in winter 2011 indicates that the first mention of the phrase “universal discourse” in any journal indexed by that resource was in a 1936 article quoting from Mind, Self, and Society (i.e., Brewster 1936, 545).
A set of notes for the 1928 course taken by student Wayne A. R. Leys does not include the phrase “universal discourse” but does include the phrase “universe of discourse” twice, including at least once in a context parallel to one in which the stenographer’s transcript reports the phrase “universal of discourse” (Wayne A. R. Leys Papers [hereafter WARL], B 9, F 3, p. 19, 39). Leys’ notes also seem to suggest that the hired stenographer may have missed references Mead made to works by Wolfgang Köhler, Alexander Bain, C. S. Sherrington, and C. H. Cooley (all of whom are discussed in Kimball Young’s Source Book for Social Psychology  that Mead assigned in 1928), although it is of course possible that Leys editorialized these references from his own concerns and previous coursework.
(33.) In preparing an appendix to the new revised edition of Mind, Self, and Society (Huebner 2015), I came across a variety of other words that Morris apparently substituted for what he took to be errors in transcription by the stenographer: including substituting “innervation” for “enervation” in the transcript, “actor” for “act,” “James’s” for “Daine’s,” “common whole” for “common fold,” “chasm” for “cavern,” “inorganic” or “own organic,” and “differentiated selves” for “differentiated cells.”
(34.) J. G. Randall’s (1937, 535) review explicitly notes this problem of transcription errors from impromptu speech to abbreviated notation and then to a typed transcript: “the reviewer [i.e., Randall] offers a guess with regard to a passage in the first chapter [of Movements of Thought]. The intellectual or scientific world of the Middle Ages, so the passage reads, was ‘all shot through with magic and historiology’ (p. 4). In his skepticism concerning any meaning for ‘historiology’ in this connection the undersigned begs to suggest that the word spoken was ‘astrology,’ and it may be added that, if ‘historiology’ is an error, it is precisely the type of error that would arise in transmuting stenographic symbols into words.” There were many reviews of Movements of Thought (more than the other volumes, see chapter 7), and they varied widely in tone. Certainly one of the most negative was Charles F. Mullett (1937, 115–16), who wrote in the Psychological (p.289) Bulletin: “Those persons who share in the responsibility for the publication of Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century can rest assured that they have done the late George Mead a great and, what under the circumstances is worse, an unnecessary disservice…. By reducing the jejune obviousness and verbosity, the short-cut generalizations, the dubious assumptions, the loaded words—in short, the paraphernalia of the classroom—an editor could have produced a volume that would stimulate the specialist and inform the general reader. If perchance this could not be done, why disinter the corpse?” (emphasis in original).
(35.) GHMP (B 2, F 10–17, 1928 transcript, pp. 167–69).
(36.) R. D. Hemens to D. P. Bean, June 16, 1933 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(37.) That the exposition of this early set of notes follows the pattern “mind”–“self”– “society” was acknowledged unintentionally by David L. Miller when he published an edited version of the notes in 1982 along with a set from winter 1927 rewritten and submitted by George Shelburg as a class paper later that year (Mead 1982). From his memory and incomplete records of fifty years previous, Miller claimed that the notes were from 1914 and implicitly that they had not been used in the composition of Mind, Self, and Society. But, on the basis of the notes he was publishing, he argued, “I believe that Mind, Self, and Society, as published, presents Mead’s thinking in the order he presented it to his classes” (Miller 1982, 1, 2–3).
(38.) The quotations in the text come from 1928 stenographic transcript, p. 300 (GHMP, B 2, F 17).
(39.) Several reviewers noted that the published topical organization of material actually reversed the logical development of concepts in Mead’s theory; instead of mind and self developing from society, society appears—at least in the exposition—after mind and self (Faris 1936; Schiller 1936). The reorganization and composition of Mind, Self, and Society is traced in detail in my appendix to the revised edition of that text (Huebner 2015).
(40.) D. P. Bean to R. D. Hemens, July 9, 1933 (UCPR, B 323, F 8). Morris had first used the phrase “social behaviorist” in a review of works by John F. Markey and Grace de Laguna, linking their works with those of Dewey and Mead (Morris 1929). Markey, who had studied with Mead’s students Ellsworth Faris and L. L. Bernard, was the first to use the term to describe his own perspective (Markey 1928); see chapter 6.
(41.) Memo of meeting between C. Morris and G. J. Laing, July 26, 1933 (UCPR, B 323, F 8). Indeed, one could even speculate that Morris patterned the main title of the work on C. Lloyd Morgan’s 1926 Life, Mind, and Spirit, which he explicitly contrasted with Mead’s view of symbolization in an early article (Morris 1927, 289). As chapter 6 indicates, Morris more than once used allusions to other works in titles and typically analyzed intellectual structures into trichotomies, perhaps on the basis of his reading of fundamental threes in the works of Mead and Peirce.
(42.) R. R. Page to C. Morris, November 22, [1931?] to July 30, [1933?] (GHMP, B 2, F 3; B 3, F 1; B 3, F 2). As mentioned in a footnote above, Page rewrote the material in a way that caused him to be unable to distinguish how much they were “straight Mead” and how much his own “interpretation.” After his graduate work at Cambridge, Page went on to become a long-time professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois–Chicago.
(43.) It is clear from correspondence that Morris was well acquainted with the Pages, (p.290) who were prominent Chicago citizens. According to a letter from Morris to Benjamin E. Page, Robert’s father (and secretary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s corporation), May 11, 1931, he even borrowed money from the Pages (CMC, B 1, F 1931c). Eight other letters from Bob Page to Morris are scattered in the George Herbert Mead Papers (B 2, F 3; B 3, F 1–2) and the Charles Morris Collection (B 8, F 1933–1937). These letters together evince a strongly familiar tone as, for example, Page repeatedly discussed family news with Morris.
(44.) It appears that Page, in rewriting his notes, relied on stock phrases or formulations like “social process of experience” or “social process of behavior” (these two phrases appear a combined sixty-five times in Page’s rewritten notes) where other sets use simply “social process.” The same holds for “conversation of significant gestures,” which was clearly meant to emphasize the difference between “significant” communication and the “conversation of gestures”; the latter phrase is found in many sets of notes. The specific outline of a three-part process of meaning (which appears seven times in the published Mind, Self, and Society) comes exclusively from the Page notes. Other works from 1929–30 indicate Mead was explicitly interested in “triadic” relations (Mead 1929d, 429; 1929e, 84), so it seems likely that this was not merely invented by Page. The word “social” is perhaps the most significant single outlier, appearing over eight times as frequently per word in the Page notes as in the 1928 stenographic transcript; it is the sixth most common word in the Page notes—more common even than “is.” It seems likely that in rewriting his notes Page sought to add his own emphasis or clarification to the materials by the use of such words and phrases.
(45.) I have been able to match Morris’s annotated notes with the corresponding quotations as they appear in the footnotes of the published volume and can indicate definitively that the following sets of notes contributed supplemental content to Mind, Self, and Society: 1912 [?] “Social Psychology” notes of Stuart A. Queen [?]; 1924 “Advanced Social Psychology” notes of Charles W. Morris; 1924 “Problem of Consciousness” notes of Charles W. Morris; 1925 “Philosophies of Eminent Scientists” notes of Charles W. Morris; 1926 “Problem of Consciousness” notes of George E. M. Shelburg; 1927 “Advanced Social Psychology” notes of George E. M. Shelburg; 1928 “Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century” stenographic transcript; 1930 “Advanced Social Psychology” notes of Clifford P. Osborne; 1930 “Advanced Social Psychology” notes of Louis Bloom; and 1931 “Advanced Social Psychology” notes of Eugene W. Sutherland. These are in addition to the 1928 “Advanced Social Psychology” stenographic transcript and Robert R. Page’s 1930 “Advanced Social Psychology” notes that make up the bulk of the volume’s text.
(46.) It seems quite unlikely that Morris did not discuss the editing of Mind, Self, and Society with other relevant authorities on scholarly editing at the time. He was a colleague and friend of Charles Hartshorne, who was coeditor of the Collected Papers of Charles S. Peirce that were currently appearing in press. Morris owned and annotated a copy of these Collected Papers. He was also a correspondent of Hartshorne’s coeditor Paul Weiss and a correspondent and friend of Horace Kallen, who had recently published The Philosophy of William James: Drawn from His Own Works. In published statements Morris explicitly drew attention to the parallels between his editions of Mead texts and those of Peirce and James (e.g., Morris 1934a, 9). There is no evidence, however, (p.291) that these editors discussed criteria of proper scholarly editing with one another. Indeed, in each of the cases, the editor was also engaged full-time in his own research and teaching and was not trained in professional editorial techniques and principles (which existed, for example, in the philological scholarship occurring in several University of Chicago departments at the time). Other models of conscientiously produced posthumous editions had been completed for zoologist Charles Otis Whitman and political economist Robert Franklin Hoxie (both colleagues of Mead at the University of Chicago), but again Morris appears not to have consulted the relevant editors, several of whom were still living in Chicago in the early 1930s.
(47.) In a report of the University of Chicago business manager to the faculty’s Committee on Press and Extension on April 7, 1932, William B. Harrell reported that the revenue for the University of Chicago Press in the 1931–32 fiscal year fell by 13 percent over the previous year and could be expected to fall, conservatively, at least another 8 percent, due primarily to the drastically reduced purchasing power of educational institutions. As it turned out, Harrell’s figure of an 8 percent decline drastically underestimated the collapse in sales, which amounted to a 27.6 percent decrease in 1932–33 over the previous year, and to further declines through the next two fiscal years. At its lowest point, in the 1934–35 fiscal year, the book sales of the University of Chicago Press were only 53 percent of the volume of 1930–31 sales (Shugg 1966).
(48.) D. P. Bean to C. Morris, June 12, 1933 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(49.) See, for example, C. Morris to D. L. Miller, August 6, 1936 (GHMP, B 4, F 5).
(50.) D. P. Bean to C. Morris, June 12, 1933 (UCPR, B 323, F 8). There is direct evidence that the price still proved too high for at least some individuals whose incomes had been disturbed. In a letter to the press, April 4, 1934, a former student admitted, “Professor Mead was one of the faculty in the Department of Philosophy with whom I took several courses, and I am indebted to him for an insight into methods and movements which have been of greatest value. I am, however, humiliated by the consciousness that I am unable at this time to subscribe to the volumes. So many demands have recently been made on a very slender income that I must deny myself the privilege of ordering these books” (UCPR, B 323, F 9).
(51.) R. D. Hemens to C. Morris, March 16, 1934 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(52.) Adjusted for inflation, this total project would have been worth approximately $124,000 in 2011 dollars as measured on a GDP deflation scale measure. As it turned out, the actual total expense for Henry and Irene Mead, as far as I have been able to confirm it, was $1808.23, or approximately $29,000 adjusted. It was justifiably remarked in the correspondence that “it appeared difficult for [Henry] Mead to raise the necessary funds” (memo from R. D. Hemens to M. D. Alexander, August 21, 1934; UCPR, B 323, F 8). It seems quite plausible, although there is no direct evidence of this preserved in the correspondence I have found, that Henry Mead appealed to his mother’s wealthy and philanthropic family, the Castles of Honolulu, for money.
(53.) D. P. Bean to H. C. A. Mead, May 29, 1934; D. P. Bean to R. D. Hemens, June 18, 1935 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(54.) In the preface to The Philosophy of the Act Morris, Brewster, Dunham, and Miller (1938, v–vi) noted that “except for a large body of student notes, which contain much of interest on Mr. Mead’s interpretation of the history of ideas, the present material (p.292) exhausts all the known literary remains deemed worthy of publication…. It is hoped later to publish in one volume all of Mr. Mead’s writings which were published during his lifetime.” The “published works” volume was seriously considered for several years, according to correspondence I have discovered. It was to have been edited by Harvey J. Locke with an introduction by Ellsworth Faris (both sociologists, unlike all the other former students involved) and would have included some two dozen of Mead’s articles and other published pieces (“Request for Estimate,” July 30, 1937, UCPR, B 323, F 8). This volume was approved by the Board of University Publications if 500 advanced subscriptions could be secured before its manufacture (D. P. Bean to H. J. Locke, January 11, 1938, UCPR, B 323, F 8)—a benchmark that apparently was never reached. In 1932, the Vanguard Press considered publishing a selection of Mead’s works with an introduction by Morris R. Cohen, but this project never materialized (J. Henle to M. R. Cohen, April 1, 1932, Morris Raphael Cohen Papers [hereafter MRCP], B 6, F 14).
At least two other serious proposals to republish articles by G. H. Mead were made between the 1930s and the 1950s before the 1964 Selected Writings edited by Andrew Reck finally appeared in print. One was to have been edited by Milton B. Singer under the title “George Herbert Mead: Selected Readings from His Works, with an Introduction to His Sociological and Philosophical Writings” and published in Karl Mannheim’s International Library of Sociology and Social Reconstruction series, according to the backmatter of volumes in that series published in the late 1940s. The other was to have been titled “Science, Society, and Education” edited by Harold L. Sheppard and David W. McKinney and published by the University of Chicago Press (Board of University Publication minutes, April 24, 1955, UCPR, B23, vol. 1). It is unclear what halted the first of these publications, but the second was likely halted by the imminent publication of Chicago’s The Social Psychology of George Herbert Mead edited by Anselm Strauss. The “history of thought” volume was championed for many years as an independent project by Charles Morris (G. J. Laing memo, August 9, 1933, UCPR, B 323, F 8) because of the large collection of notes Morris had been able to gather on Mead’s courses on Aristotle, the Development of Thought in the Modern Period, Hegel, Bergson, Hume, Dewey, Leibniz, Philosophies of Eminent Scientists, Kant, and Rationalism and Empiricism. This volume has never subsequently appeared because the series would have been “harder to sell,” according to Laing.
(55.) M. Tyler to D. P. Bean, January 13, 1934 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(56.) D. P. Bean to H. C. A. Mead, July 8, 1935 (UCPR, B 323, F 8). As a result of the changes in the contract after each publication, the three volumes were classified into three different “financing group” categories in the records of the University of Chicago Press (Office Managers Reports, 1935/36–1938/39, UCPR, B 9, F 5).
(57.) D. P. Bean to H. C. A. Mead, November 13, 1935 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(58.) Memo from D. P. Bean to M. D. Alexander, June 9, 1933 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(59.) “Estimate to Publication Department,” August 14, 1934 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(60.) M. H. Moore to D. P. Bean, May 28, 1935 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(61.) This cut was one of the more irreparable. While the original manuscripts for most of the other materials edited out from the volumes still exist in the Mead Papers, Moore appears to have edited to pieces and then thrown out the only existing manuscript from this course, making the published, edited version apparently the only (p.293) existing record of the course. Moore described his procedure as follows: “The original manuscript with which I had to work, was of course, completely beyond recall before I got through with it. As I found repetitious material I would cut sections and paste them together, getting the basis for the chapter and subject matter rather than for the lecture division. When the mechanics of rearrangement were completed, that copy was so mutilated that it would have been of no use to anyone. Besides, I believe there were duplicate copies, at least one carbon I am sure, of that original stuff…. I was not concerned over the loss of the other portions of my manuscript when I discovered their destruction, for I thought once the book was published they would be of no value”
(M. H. Moore to C. Morris, June 15, 1936, GHMP, B 2, F 3).
(62.) D. P. Bean to C. Morris, undated [June 1937?] (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(63.) C. Morris to D. L. Miller, August 6, 1936 (GHMP, B 4, F 5).
(64.) F. Wieck to M. H. Moore, June 8, 1950 (UCPR, B 323, F 8).
(65.) Especially before the development of a significant body of critical work on Mead’s intellectual biography, authors like Maurice Natanson (1956) and Grace Lee (1945) relied heavily on the posthumous volumes in making claims about Mead’s intellectual development, the connections among his domains of study, and an apparent detachment from practical problems of biology and civic life. Natanson even treated the order of the volumes as a key to understanding the genesis of the categories of Mead’s thought. Stevens (1967) criticized these authors on this point explicitly, and he was an early advocate of returning to the manuscript lecture notes and to Mead’s published works in reassessing his philosophical significance.