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Thomas Phelan papers

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Graded Title Pages

Student Research Papers

Research Notes

Transcriptions of documents pertaining to Stephen Van Rensselaer

Miscellany

Course Syllabi



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Thomas Phelan papers, 1973-1996 and undated

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Collection Overview

Title: Thomas Phelan papers, 1973-1996 and undatedAdd to your cart.

Primary Creator: Phelan, Thomas (1925-)

Extent: 3.6 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

This collection is arranged in four series:

I. Graded title pages (access restricted)

II. Student research papers

III. Research materials

IV. Transcriptions regarding Stephen Van Rensselaer

V. Miscellany

Series I and II are arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by authors' last names within each semester. Series III is arranged alphabetically. Series IV has been removed from binders and reflects its original order.

Languages: English

Collection processed by: T.A. Gobert and Julie C. Deitz

Abstract

Student research papers written for Phelan's undergraduate courses from the mid 1970s until 1994. Typed transcripts of documents pertaining to Stephen van Rensselaer.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The bulk of the Thomas Phelan papers (MC 76) collection consists of student research papers written for Phelan’s undergraduate courses from the mid 1970s until 1994. Paper topics reflect the nature of the courses taught, such as Medieval art and American architecture and artifacts. However, a large percentage of the papers pertain to local history, reflecting the popularity of Phelan’s course “Troy: A 19th Century Industrial City.” These papers illustrate the wide ranging interests of both the professor and his students, with subjects such as transportation (canals, bridges, railroads, steamboats, street cars), industry and industrial archeology (iron and steel manufacturing, paper and textile industries, collar making), local figures (Henry Burden, Sanford Cluett, Erastus Corning, Uri Gilbert, John Griswold, Kate Mullany, Russell Sage, Canvass White, etc.), workers’ living conditions, 19th century entertainment, religious and ethnic groups, and a variety of other topics.

There is also a small amount of miscellaneous research material compiled by or for Phelan, including research notes, photocopied articles, photographs, negatives, and slides. Topics are similar to those listed above. In addition, the collection contains typed transcripts of documents pertaining to Stephen van Rensselaer which were originally transcribed for William Bertrand Fink's 1950 dissertation "Stephen van Rensselaer: The Last Patroon."

Biographical Note

The Reverend Thomas Phelan dedicated more than four decades of his life to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where he served as chaplain, professor, dean, historian, and special adviser to the president. A native of Troy, New York, Phelan began his long association with RPI in 1959 when he was named the resident Catholic chaplain. Rev. Phelan’s legacy to Rensselaer includes building the Chapel + Cultural Center, which opened in 1968. Phelan, who was named dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS) in 1972 and served in that capacity until 1994, is credited with overseeing the renovation of the Russell Sage Laboratory to bring H&SS onto the main campus, and developing a strong faculty focused on bridging the humanities and technology.

Phelan’s contributions to the community outside of Rensselaer were also numerous. He is known as the founding president of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and fostering pride in the local communities that played a major role in the industrial revolution. He also served as chairman of WMHT Educational Telecommunications, and was a leader or member of a host of ecumenical, mental health, historic, and educational groups. He also wrote extensively, on historical theology, American material culture (especially as it reflects our industrial heritage), and higher education. He is perhaps best known for his writings on the American Industrial Revolution, using the Troy area as a model for understanding the implications of industrialization in U.S. history. Phelan’s work through the years earned him numerous honors. He was elected a fellow of the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture in 1972. He was awarded the Albany League of Arts Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Arts, the Albert Fox Demers Medal for distinguished service to Rensselaer in 1986, the first Community Service Award from the Hudson-Mohawk Consortium of Colleges and Universities in 1987, and the Academic Citizens Laureate Award from the State University of New York Foundation at Albany in 1988. In 2005 the Institute created the Thomas Phelan Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Social Sciences to recognize an outstanding scholar who has contributed significantly to an understanding of the relationship of material culture to the history and development of society.

Administrative Information

Repository: Institute Archives and Special Collections

Access Restrictions: Access to Box 1 is restricted.

Use Restrictions: This collection is protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Preferred Citation: Thomas Phelan papers, MC 76. Insitute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Graded Title Pages],
[Series II: Student Research Papers],
[Series III: Research Notes],
[Series IV: Transcriptions of documents pertaining to Stephen Van Rensselaer],
[Series V: Miscellany],
[Series VI: Course Syllabi],
[All]

Series III: Research NotesAdd to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Industrial Archaeology Notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: "Manning Paper Co. - Mt. Ida Mill.", Fall 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 12: "Meneely Bells.", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: "Patterson, N.J. - Dublin Neighborhood.", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Uhl, R.; "Patterson, N.J. and Troy, N.Y." -- Notes and Photos, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Pattison, J.; "Rice Building.", Fall 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 16: "Urban Development: Troy, 1789 - 1997.", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Siebein, Gary; "Troy: A 19th Century Industrial City.", Fall 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Towne, Richard; "Troy Built Stage Coaches.", Fall 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 19: "Troy Fire Companies" -- Notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: Miscellaneous Research Material, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: "Troy's Religious Congregations" -- Notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: "Waterpower on the Poestenkill.", Fall 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Unidentified slide list and Troy timeline, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: Unidentified negatives, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 25: History of the Public Shipyard at the Foot of Fulton Street, undatedAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Graded Title Pages],
[Series II: Student Research Papers],
[Series III: Research Notes],
[Series IV: Transcriptions of documents pertaining to Stephen Van Rensselaer],
[Series V: Miscellany],
[Series VI: Course Syllabi],
[All]

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