Chauncey Wright Papers, 1850-1875

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Wright, Chauncey, 1830-1875. Papers, 1850-1875

Chauncey Wright Papers, 1850-1875

1850-1875

A philosopher, metaphysician, and mathematician, Chauncey Wright graduated from Harvard in 1852 and taught occasionally at the College while employed as a "computer" with the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac. A positivist and empiricist in the British tradition, he exerted an influence on the development of American Pragmatism through his younger friends William James, Charles S. Peirce, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, but is perhaps best remembered as one of the earliest and most able defenders of Darwinism and Darwinian natural selection. The bulk of the 137 items in the Wright Papers is comprised of personal letters addressed to Wright during the adult years of his brief life. From the typical letters of a college student, the correspondence branches out to touch upon philosophy, mathematics, and Wright's meeting with Darwin in 1872. Among the more prominent correspondents are C. S. Peirce, Charles Eliot Norton, Francis Bowen, Susan and J. Peter Lesley, and James Bradley Thayer and William Sydney Thayer.

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