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Philip Mills Arnold Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-MS-ms006

The Philip Mills Arnold Semeiology Collection, perhaps the most diverse and comprehensive of all the Washington University Libraries Special Collections, brings together a broad range of materials dealing with or exemplifying the nature and characteristics of communication. Placing particular emphasis on early printed materials that appeared at early stages of the development of interest in topics relevant to semeiology, the Arnold Collection had especially strong holdings in the fields of cryptography, artificial memory, decipherment of unknown languages, early development sin stenography, Braille, deaf and mute languages, and various forms of nonverbal communication.

Complementing the more than 2,000 volume in the Arnold book collection that forms the largest component of the Semiology Collection is a small, yet select, group of manuscripts and printed ephemera, including materials relating to cryptography, sign languages, telegraphy, accounting, paleography, mnemonics, philosophy, stenography, and other topics. The sign languages section contains numerous single printed sheets from the nineteenth century depicting different systems for deaf-mute communication in many languages, probably published as teaching aids. The three items on telegraphy emphasize its use for the military, focusing on secretly communicating sensitive offers for maneuvers. Items included in the Accounting and Paleography sections demonstrate the variety of early forms of alternative numerological systems and alternative scripts, both of which indicate that communication is based on an ever-changing use of various signs.

An important work on mnemonics, Raymond Lull’s Ars demonstrativa et ars brevis, highlights this curious and frequently mystical system of logic, metaphysics, and the intricate workings of the communicating mind. Manuscripts depicting many of the thousands of separate languages of the world are also included in the collection, mostly relying on biblical texts to illustrate the complex nature of human communication. One other example of alternative means of communicating is a shorthand version of the Psalms.

Finally, included as an illustration of the early evaluation of printing, are 52 specimens of early typography, dating from 1477 to 1674. Taken as a whole, the manuscript collection reveals the interdisciplinary nature of semeiology and reflects the eclectic range of Arnold’s important collection.

Dates

  • 1477-1981

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Extent

29 boxes

17 linear feet

Biographical Information

Philip Mills Arnold, executive, researcher, and scholar, retired in 1976 as vice president for research and developement of Phillips Petroleum Company after nearly forty years with the company. Most of his career was spent in scientific research. He played a major role in the company's entry into the chemical industry, in which it rapidly became a major producer of synthetic rubber, plastics, fibers, and fertilizers.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1970, Arnold also has been active in the National Research Council. He served in the Executive Committee of its Division of Chemistry and Chemical Technology and on its committee on Scholarly Communication with the Peoples' Republic of China.

While his professional life has been devoted to science and technology, his avocaton has been study in the humanities. The holder of 22 patents, Arnold reads widely in several languages. A student of semeiology - the study of the use of signs and symbols - Arnold has explored the history of communication, from efforts to relate through universal languages and alphabets, to systems to conceal, specifically, codes and ciphers. He founded in 1966 and has supported over the years the Philip Mills Arnold Semeiology Collection. In addition, Arnold built other distinguished collections, including early books on comets and early editions of the medieval philosopher Boethius. Upon Arnold's death in 1995, the libraries received the bequest, as well as his entire estate.

Arnold earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1932 and a master of science degree in chemical engineering in 1941 from Washington University. In 1968, he was recognixed at Founders Day with an Alumni Citation from the Washington University Board of Governors.

Method of Acquisition

Accession number 1488. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, June 5, 1979

Accession number 1492. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, June 6, 1979

Accession number 1730. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, July 1, 1987

Accession number 22953. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, February 12, 1990

Title
Philip Mills Arnold Papers
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
eng

Revision Statements

  • 2020-12-03: Collection published in ArchivesSpace by Andrea Degener.
  • 2021-02-23: Additional data cleanup by Sarah Schnuriger

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Contact:
Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495