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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - Walter Granger Collection

Identifier: GTM-841101

Scope and Contents note

The Granger - Teilhard de Chardin Collection consists of seventeen letters from Teilhard to Dr. Walter Granger of the American Museum of Natural History, plus one letter to Roy Chapman Andrews, scientist and explorer.

The letters contain detailed accounts of Teilhard's paleological findings and scientific research, and his comments on the findings and writings of others in the field. These discussions include a number of allusions to research on Peking Man (Sinanthropos), as well as more detailed mention of Teilhard's work on fauna. There are also a number of references to the Sino-Japanese War and its influence on Teilhard's activities.

Extent of the Collection: 1 box of 19 folders .25 linear feet Date Span: 30 August 1924 to 18 February 1936 plus biographical data Provenance: Purchased November 1984

Processed: May 1986 by James Helminski


  • 1924 - 1936

Conditions Governing Access note

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction requests for materials authored by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin must be approved by the Teilhard Estate.

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biogrpahical note

...What a pity that so few people seem to understand that Truth must be searched across and above any narrow personal interest! --Teilhard to Mr. Andrews, 30 August 1924

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, paleontologist and philosopher, was born 1 May 1881 at Sarcenat, in the Department of Puy de Dôin France, and educated at the College of Mongréin Villefranche-sur-Saô He entered the Society of Jesus in 1899 at Aix-en-Provence and was ordained a priest in 1911. From 1912-1914 he studied paleontology under Marcellin Boule in Paris.

After a period of teaching in Cairo, service in World War I as a stretcher-bearer, and further teaching at the Institut Catholique in Paris, Teilhard began a series of visits to China. He spent the greater part of the period from 1923 to 1947 in China, Mongolia and Southeast Asia, participating in a number of geological and paleological expeditions. During this period he was involved with the discovery and research on Peking Man (Sinanthropos), as well as projects on the fauna and artifacts of a number of sites where early Man was found.

Throughout his life, Teilhard published a large number of articles and monographs on his expeditions and research. His best known works, however, are the relatively few, later, philosophical works he wrote to synthesize his paleological research with his Christian faith. Teilhard's most important philosophical work, The Phenomenon of Man, "effected a threefold synthesis--of the material and physical world with the world of mind and spirit; of the past with the future; and of variety with unity, the many with the one" (Sir Julian Huxley).

Because the Church had difficulty understanding his radical synthesis of scientific evolution and theology, Teilhard was forbidden from publishing or lecturing on his philosophy from the 1940's; The Phenomenon of Man was not released until after his death, in 1959. Despite the ecclesiastical disapproval of his philosophy, Teilhard continued to work and to write on scientific subjects. He made a number of trips to South Africa during the 1950's, and worked for a time with the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York. He died in New York on 10 April 1955.

Walter Granger (1872-1941) was a noted paleontologist. Born on November 7, 1872, he did not attend college. He took a job as an assistant at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and he worked his way up the ranks to be a curator at the museum. He worked there for 50 years. During his carrer, Granger made 28 expeditions. He collected fossils and performed scientific research in places all over the world, including the United States, Africa, and Asia. At one time, he was the president of the Explorers Club in New York. In 1932, he recieved an honorary doctorate from Middlebury College.

Walter Granger died in 1941 at the age of 68.

[Source: Obituary of Walter Granger in "New York Times" dated 9/8/1941.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - Walter Granger Collection
James Helminski
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 2022: Conditions Governing Use note updated by John Zarrillo

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057