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Holt, Hamilton Personal Papers

Identifier: PP-Holt

Scope and Contents

This collection of papers, consisting of ninety-three manuscript boxes and thirty-five scrapbooks, covers a span of years beginning in 1872 and ending in 1951. It is composed of correspondence, diaries, biographical and genealogical data, legal documents, galley proofs, copies of The Independent magazine, autographed pictures, newspaper clippings, manuscripts of books and proposed books, pamphlets, leaflets, speeches, writings, and book reviews. It contains data pertaining to journalism, education, politics, labor, social reform, peace movements, and international organizotion.


  • Created: 1872-1951


Conditions Governing Access

Open access

Conditions Governing Use

The status of copyright on the materials from the Hamilton Holt Papers is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.). Permission to publish or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

Hamilton Holt, journalist, internationalist, educator, was born on August 19, 1872 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents George Chandler Holt, a federal judge, and Mary Louisa Bowen Holt were of colonial American and English ancestry. Holt attended Yale University where his chief academic interests were economics and sociology; he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from there in 1894, and then continued to study these subjects from 1894 to 1897 in postgraduate courses at Columbia University. In the fall of 1894, Holt began to work part-time on The Independent magazine staff. In 1897 he gave up his graduate studies and became managing editor, a position he held until 1913 when he became owner and editor of the publication. Under Holt, Independent was transformed from a religious to a secular magazine of broad political, social, and economic interests. The publication also had its impact on journalistic reform, for its owner experimented with simplified spelling and modern formats, as well as advocating the establishment of an endowed magazine free from the influence of advertisers. In 1921 Holt resigned his position as editor and remained as consulting editor until the magazine merged with The Weekly Review. As early as 1907, Holt was known as a vigorous exponent of international organization, a cause which he championed until his death. He attended the second Hague Peace Conference as a representative of Independent in 1907. In 1911 he served as President of the National Peace Congress. He later helped found the League to Enforce Peace and represented that society at the Paris conference which led to the establishment of the League of Nations. During the fight over United States membership in the League, Holt toured the country as a leading advocate of that organization. In the summer of 1922, he went to Geneva to study the Third Assembly of the League of Nations and its accomplishments. The next summer found him again in Europe where he again saw the League in action and where he studied the Permanent Court of lnternational Justice. In 1927 he attended the Eighth Assembly of theLeagueof Nations. During the 1930s he was in consultation with the State Department over the strategy to bring the United States into the World Court. When the San Francisco Conference on the United Nations assembled in 1945, Holt was on hand as an observer and proponent. In his efforts to promote world peace through international organization, Halt was the founder and leader of many international societies. He helped organize the Italy-America Society, the Netherlands American Foundation, the Friends of Poland, and the League of Nations Non-Partisan Association. Furthermore, he was President of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the Greek-American Club. At one time, he was executive director of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and lecturer for the American branch of the lnternational Conciliation and World Peace Foundation, as well as one of the honorary directors of the World Federalists USA. Holt's indefatigable campaign in quest of world peace won him the respect of numerous foreign countries. To show their gmtitude, they showered him with the following decorotions and honors: Commander of the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure (1903); Officer of the Greek Order of George 1 (1919); Officer of the French Order of Public Instruction (1920); Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy (1920); Knight of the French Legion of Honor (1921); Knight of the Swedish \ North Star (1923); Commander in the Serbian Order of Saint Sava (1931); the Danish decoration of Pro Danie (1946). He was also awarded nine honorary degrees from American colleges and universities. A third facet of Holt's career, that of educator, began when he became President of Rollins College in 1925. At Rollins he inaugurated the Conference Plan of Study which, with other experimental programs, attracted widespread attention throughout the 1930s. Under Holt's presidency, Rollins also saw notable changes in its physical plant and in the size of its student body. In 1949, Holt retired as President and died two years later, on April 26, 1951. Besides his three major interests - journalism, internationalism, and education - Holt was active in other areas throughout his life. He served in 1908 as President of the New York State Initiative and Referendum League, was an arbiter on the board of arbitration of the cloak, suit, and skirt trade, in addition to being a member of the National Institute of Social Sciences and the Simplified Spelling Boord. In the political realm, he waged in 1924 an unsuccessful campaign in Connecticut for a position in the United States Senate, and in 1950 he ran for a seat in the legislature of that state. He also played an active role in many presidential elections. Despite the multiplicity of his activities, Holt found time to write two books, Undistinguished Americans (1906) and Commercialism and Journalism (1909), and hundreds of editorials and articles. He also wrote the introduction to William Howard Toft's The United States and Peace (1914).

Note written by Peter E. Robinson


55.00 Linear Feet

93 boxes & 35 scrapbooks other_unmapped

55.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Hamil ton Holt Papers were presented to Rollins College by his children. This Collection is of value and significance because its contents touch upon the broad areas of journalism, politics, social reform, labor history, higher education, and movements for peace and international organization. A brief glance at this Register should confirm this fact and reveal the extensive scope of these materials.

Arrangement Note

The material has been organized into eight categories: (1) correspondence, (2) diaries and appointment books, (3) pamphlets, (4) topical folders, (5) Independent, (6) memorabilia and newspaper clippings, (7) speeches and writings, and (8) scrapbooks. To facilitate the use of the collection, this register includes a name index for the correspondence and a subject index for the scmpbooks. The correspondence files contain approximately seven thousand letters. The folders are arranged in chronological order as are the letters within each folder. A brief indication of important subjects discussed in each folder is contained in this register in Descriptive Series One. The diaries and appointment book are also an integral part of the Holt Papers. The diaries cover Holt's boyhood years through college days at Yale, 1890-1893. The appointment books, 1900-1950, are valuable to determine dates and places of meetings of the many societies and clubs in which Holt was involved. The pamphlet collection is composed of forty-nine boxes, containing approximately eleven thousand items. It accords the researcher information on education and journalism but is probably more valuable for the numerous entries pertaining to international organization and the peace movement. Official publications of the Lake Mohonk Conference on Arbitration, the Carnegie Endowment for lnternational Peoce, and the League of Nations are part of this series. The index previously mentioned should be consulted to determine the holdings. There are thirteen boxes of topical materials arranged in alphabetical order. A listing of the contents of each folder is given within this register in Descriptive Series Four. The Holt Papers also contain two boxes of miscellaneous copies of The Independepent from 1869 to 1914. The Olin Library also has volumes of the magazine from 1872 to 1921 in which many unsigned items are identified. Three boxes of memorabilia and loose newspaper clippings form another series of the collection. The clippings cover the years 1910-1950 and are armnged chronologically and topically. Descriptive Series Six indicates some of the topics covered. Ten boxes of Holt's speeches and writings, containing over two hundred items, form another segment of the collection. This series covers the years 1897-1950 and presents Holt's views on education, journalism politics, war, and international organization. One box in this series contiins book reviews written by Holt. The speeches and writings are arranged chronologically, the book reviews alphabetically. Reference should also be made here to A Bibliography of the Writings of Hamilton Holt, compiled by Warren F. Kuehl, Rollins College Bulletin LIV (September, 1959). The final series is one of the most exhaustive of the collection -- thirty-five scmpbooks, largely of newspaper clippings fully identified and dated. Holt subscribed to a clipping service for most of his life; hence, these volumes include data upon virtually all of the varied organizations in which he participated. A subject index to the scmpbooks is included in this register.

Source of Acquisition

Family Donation

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

See library catalog for Hamilton Holt's personal library collection.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Peter E. Robinson
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Rollins College Archives & Special Collections Repository

Rollins College Box 2744
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park 32789-4499 US