Royce, Josiah, 1855-1916

Alternative names
Birth 1855-11-20
Death 1916-09-14

Biographical notes:

Josiah Royce was born in Grass Valley, California, on November 20, 1855. He received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1885 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in 1878. Royce taught English and philosophy at both Berkeley and Harvard, and was also active in the study of the American West. He spent a significant amount of time from 1883 to 1891 writing both histories and novels relating to California history. Royce Hall at UCLA and the Grass Valley Library-Royce Branch were both named in Royce's honor. He died on September 14, 1916.

From the description of Materials relating to General John C. Frémont and the conquest of California, 1885. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 569384408

Royce received an honorary degree from Harvard in 1911 and taught philosophy at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of Josiah Royce, 1882-1916 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 17267323

Josiah Royce was an American philosopher, educator, and author. From humble beginnings in California, he became the leading proponent of American idealism and one of the most influential thinkers of his generation. He published numerous works, including volumes expressing his own thoughts, and analyses of other philosophies. He had a long association with Harvard and William James; the two great minds had a notable influence on each other.

From the description of Josiah Royce letter to J. Helder, 1905 Nov. 13. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 56194018

Josiah Royce (1855-1916) was an American idealist philosopher and a professor of history of philosophy at Harvard from 1892 to 1914. Royce was a friend of the Hocking and the Mason families. Daniel Gregory Mason (1873-1953) was a professor of music at Columbia University and his brother, Edward Palmer Mason, was a president and owner of the Mason-Hamlin Music Company of Boston. Both were the sons of Henry Mason (1831-1890) a founder of Mason-Hamlin Piano Company. Mary Mason was the wife of Edward Palmer Mason, then later married Daniel Gregory Mason. William Ernest Hocking was a professor of philosophy at Harvard and his son was Richard Hocking.

From the description of Josiah Royce correspondence with the Mason family, 1900-1989. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612748076

From the guide to the Josiah Royce correspondence with the Mason family, 1900-1989., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Philosopher, educator, and author.

From the description of Letters of Josiah Royce, 1894-1895. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71015459

Josiah Royce, American philosopher and writer, was the leading American proponent of Idealism. Born in California to English immigrants, Royce studied in California, Germany, and at Johns Hopkins. William James helped bring Royce to Harvard, and the two profound thinkers significantly influenced each other during America's "Golden Age of Philosophy."

From the description of Josiah Royce letters to L.P. Jacks, 1908-1914. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 51590008

American philosopher.

From the description of Autograph letters signed (6) : Liverpool, Cambridge, Mass. etc., to W.A. Knight, 1899 Feb. 3-1900 Feb. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270619207

Educator and philosopher who received his Ph. D. at Johns Hopkins in 1878. Proponent of post-Kantian idealism which emphasized some kind of metaphysical Absolute and reality as an act or experience of the mind.

From the description of Josiah Royce collection, 1878-1916. (Johns Hopkins University). WorldCat record id: 48380088

Josiah Royce (1855-1916) was a member of the “golden age” of American philosophy and a foremost interpreter of absolute idealism early in his career. His philosophical thought later evolved into an examination and embrace of pragmatism, loyalty, and community. He investigated the mathematical and logical aspects of philosophy, providing a rigorous basis for his metaphysical inquiry.

Royce taught philosophy at Harvard from 1882 until 1916, beginning as an instructor and advancing to Professor of the History of Philosophy in 1892, Chair of the Department of Philosophy from 1894 to 1898, and Alford Professor of Natural Religion and Civil Polity in 1914. At Harvard, his colleagues in philosophy included William James , George Herbert Palmer , Charles Sanders Peirce , and Hugo Munsterberg .

Born in California, Royce graduated from the University of California in 1875. After study in Germany and at Johns Hopkins, he returned to Berkeley to teach from 1878 to 1882. From 1882 until his death, he taught at Harvard. Royce received an honorary degree from Harvard in 1911.

His major works include The Spirit of Modern Philosophy (1892) , The Conception of God (1895) , The World and the Individual (1899-1901) , The Sources of Religious Insight (1912) , The Philosophy of Loyalty (1908) , and The Problem of Christianity (1913) .

  • 1848: Josiah Royce’s parents, Sarah Bayliss Royce and Josiah Royce Sr., arrive in Northern California by covered wagon. On the journey, Sarah Bayliss Royce keeps a diary that is later published as A Frontier Lady (Yale University Press, 1932). The manuscript later aids her son Josiah in researching his work, California from the Conquest in 1846 to the Second Vigilance Committee [1856]: A Study of American Character .
  • 1855: Josiah Royce is born in Grass Valley, California, a new mining town in formation.
  • 1870: Royce enters the University of California at Berkeley as a member of its first graduating class of 1875. Joseph LeConte, professor of geology, becomes Royce’s earliest mentor. Royce wins oratorical awards and becomes an editor of the student newspaper, the Berkeleyan .
  • 1875: Royce graduates with a degree in classics and a thesis on The Intention of the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus .
  • 1875: Berkeley businessmen, impressed by Royce’s promise, fund one year of graduate work in philosophy at German universities in Heidelberg, Leipzig, and Gottingen. Before beginning his German studies, Royce visits Boston where he is introduced to the psychologist and philosopher William James. They become lifelong friends, colleagues, and at times intellectual counterpoints.
  • 1875: University of California, Berkeley President Daniel Coit Gilman resigns to become the first president of Johns Hopkins University, the first American university dedicated entirely to graduate scholarship. Gilman offers Royce a two year fellowship beginning in 1876.
  • 1878: Royce receives his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. His dissertation is titled Of the Interdependence of the Principles of Knowledge: An Investigation of the Problems of Elementary Epistemology .
  • 1878: Royce returns to the University of California, Berkeley as an assistant professor of English. At Berkeley, there is no organized teaching of philosophy, Royce’s chosen field.
  • 1880: Royce marries Katharine Head, daughter of a former Massachusetts family living in the San Francisco Bay area.
  • 1882: Christopher Royce is born.
  • 1882: Royce accepts the opportunity to return to the East Coast when William James takes a year’s sabbatical leave from Harvard and asks Royce to take his place. Royce arrives in Cambridge with his wife and infant son.
  • 1882: Royce begins teaching elementary logic and psychology, and a course on John Locke, David Hume, and George Berkeley. He also begins teaching an advanced course in psychology.
  • 1883: Royce is asked to continue teaching at Harvard for another year, as well as at Radcliffe College, then known as the “Annex.”
  • 1885: The Religious Aspect of Philosophy is published.
  • 1885: Harvard president Charles Eliot elevates Royce to a five-year assistant professorship in philosophy and forensics.
  • 1886: Royce publishes California from the Conquest in 1846 to the Second Vigilance Committee [1856]: A Study of American Character , an early examination of how California joined the United States.
  • 1886: Edward Royce is born.
  • 1887: The Conception of God , with Supplementary Essay, is published.
  • 1889: Stephen Royce is born.
  • 1892: Royce publishes The Spirit of Modern Philosophy , originally given as a series of lectures.
  • 1894: Royce appointed chair of Harvard’s philosophy department for four years.
  • 1899 - 1900 : Royce delivers the Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. The lectures are published as The World and the Individual in 1899-1901.
  • 1908: Royce publishes The Philosophy of Loyalty , first presented as a series of lectures at the Lowell Institute in Boston and elsewhere.
  • 1908 - 1909 : Royce emphasizes the study of logic in his teaching. In addition to metaphysics, he teaches courses in logic and a seminar in the logical foundations of scientific methodology.
  • 1910: Christopher Royce dies at the age of twenty-eight.
  • 1910: William James dies.
  • 1912: Royce suffers a stroke, then later undertakes several convalescent cruises to Latin America.
  • 1913: Royce publishes The Problem of Christianity . This major work was originally delivered as a series of eight lectures at the Lowell Institute in Boston, with an additional eight lectures delivered at Oxford University in 1913.
  • 1914: World War I breaks out; Royce publishes War and Insurance.
  • 1914: Royce is named Alford Lowell Professor of Natural Religion and Civil Polity by Harvard president A. Lawrence Lowell.
  • 1916: The Hope of the Great Community is published.
  • 1916: Royce dies on September 14.

From the guide to the Papers of Josiah Royce, 1750, 1812-1999., (Harvard University Archives)


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