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Cyril O. Houle Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Houle, Cyril Orvin, 1913-
Title: Cyril O. Houle Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1929-1986
Quantity: 13.25 linear ft. (14 boxes, 1 tube, 4 film cans)
Abstract: Papers of the American educator, consultant, lecturer, and author in the field of adult education. Collection consists of manuscripts, drafts, reports, interview tapes and transcripts, speeches, correspondence, reviews, films, memorabilia and publications that Houle collected.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Cyril Houle has been a major figure in the history of continuing education as a teacher, writer and researcher. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida at Gainesville (1934) and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1940). He was the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and the first recipient of the William Pearson Tolley Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Adult Education (1966).

From 1939 to 1979, Houle served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, from 1944-1952 as the Dean of University College. In 1953 he devoted himself full time to graduate training and research, particularly to the master's and doctoral programs in adult and higher education. He has served as visiting instructor, professor and lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley (1940), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1960), and the University of Washington (1961). He held a Fulbright Scholarship in the United Kingdom (1950-1951), was director of a Unesco workshop in Sweden (1950), served as consultant to the universities of Liberia and Nigeria (1966), andas senior consultant to the Educational Testing Service (1972).He was twice appointed to the National Advisory Council of Extension and Continuing Education by Lyndon B.Johnson.

Houle's research took him abroad to England (1954), to study university extra-mural work in Africa and the Caribbean (1958-1959), to folk schools in Denmark and to Oxford University where he was Visiting Senior Research Specialist in Extra-Mural Studies.(1967-1968).

Houle is a member of many organizations. He served as centennial president of the Chicago Literary Club, for which he also gave several addresses. Houle has been awarded the 1966 Citation from the Association of University Evening Colleges (AUEC), the 1967 Award of Merit of the National Association of Public School Adult Education (NAPSAE) and the 1981 Imogene Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education from the Adult Education Association (AEA, now the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, AAACE).

Houle has authored and co-authored numerous articles and chapters, as well as the following books:

  • Adult Education (with Floyd W. Reeves and Thomas Fansler)
  • The Armed Services and Adult Education (with Elbert W. Burr, Thomas H. Hamilton, and John R. Tale)
  • Continuing Learning in the Professions
  • Continuing Your Education
  • The Design of Education
  • The Effective Board
  • The External Degree
  • The Inquiring Mind
  • Libraries in Adult and Fundamental Education
  • Patterns of Learning
  • Residential Continuing Education
  • The University, the Citizen and World Affairs (with Charles A. Nelson)

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Cyril O. Houle Papers consists of reports, manuscripts, drafts, interview tapes and transcripts, speeches, correspondence, reviews, research materials, films, memorabilia and publications that Houle considered valuable. The bulk of the collection is dated 1959-1980. The collection is divided into twelve series, five of which (The Inquiring Mind background materials, Manuscripts, Patterns of Learning, Projects, and Publications) are of a substantial size.

Advisory Committee on Education consists of daily reports of Houle's observations, and activities for the committee, arranged by state. Awards contains programs, clippings, and correspondence related to the honorary doctorates Houle received.

The Inquiring Mind background material, self-educating project consists of the research materials which formed the basis for Houle's book. (See below for taped interviews for this book.)

Manuscripts contains manuscript versions of many of Houle's writings; however, for related correspondence, drafts, and background materials see the "Inquiring Mind," "Patterns of Learning" and "Projects" series.

Patterns of Learning comprises material relating to Houle's book which brought together several separately constructed essays, dating over a period of years.

Houle was involved in numerous Projects and with several books others wrote. This large series reflects many of these projects, and includes correspondence and other materials related to his publishers.

Miscellaneous includes correspondence from Paul Sheats, Thurman White and Malcolm Knowles.

Publications are divided into three distinct sections: Cyril O. Houle (COH), International and U.S. publications. The first section includes articles, pamphlets and books in which Houle made a significant contribution. The second and third sections contain adult education-related material published outside the United States (international) as well as domestically.

Dissertations included in the collection either have dedications within them or other notations which indicate their value to Houle. Memorabilia includes plaques, photographs, certificates, honorary doctorates, certificates of recognition, and other similar material. Tapes (small) include interviews of and by Houle, some for The Inquiring Mind and others unidentified. Finally, Films contains four films. Three are Encyclopedia Britannica films on the topic of discussion groups, and the fourth is a profile of a Dr. Corbett.

Bracketed abbreviations in the inventory indicate those used on folders. Bracketed numbers indicated the number of folders similarly labeled. The word "[copy]" indicates that the folder title reads the same as the heading. Explanatory notes about the contents of a series or folders are also bracketed.

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Arrangement of the Collection

In most cases, Houle's arrangement of materials and folder headings has been preserved. Notebooks and large folders have been disassembled into more manageable units, but kept ordered as found. Miscellaneous materials are found before the publications; large bound materials and those of unique size and shape have been placed at the end of the shelf list. Specific comments concerning the series follow.

Advisory Committee on Education is arranged by state. Awards is arranged chronologically. The Inquiring Mind background material is arranged by type of material. Manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by title. Patterns of Learning essays are arranged in the same order as in the published book. Projects are arranged alphabetically; where projects included a considerable amount of materials, these have been separated into several folders by type (e.g. Correspondence). Publications are divided into three subsets; Houle's own writings are arranged alphabetically by type and within that by title while international publications are arranged alphabetically by country and US publications alphabetically by topic. Tapes and Films are arranged alphabetically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The library holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Houle, Cyril Orvin, 1913-

Associated Titles

Patterns of learning.
The Inquiring mind.


Adult education.
Educators, United States.

Genres and Forms

Drafts (documents)
Manuscripts (document genre)
Reviews (documents)
Sound recordings.
Speeches (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Cyril O. Houle Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: EEA
Date: 29 Jul 1991
Revision history: 2 Jul 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 12 May 2015 - updated genreform terms (MRC)

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Advisory Committee on Education
Daily Field Trip Reports, Summer 1937
Box 1 Alabama - Colorado
Box 1 Idaho - Kansas
Box 1 Kentucky - Minnesota
Box 1 Mississippi - North Carolina
Box 1 Ohio - South Dakota
Box 1 Tennessee - Wyoming
Box 1 DePaul University 1975 - program, clippings
Box 1 New York University April 9, 1975 - NYU Report
Box 1 Roosevelt University 1977 - clippings, invitation, telegram
Box 1 American Association for Adult and Continuing Education 1982
Box 1 Suffolk University 1984 - program, clipping, correspondence
See also Memorabilia (Box 10)
Box 1 Empire State College Oct. 20, 1985 - program
Box 1 Northern Illinois University May 10, 1986 - program
The Inquiring Mind background material [INQ MIND]
Box 1 Interview procedures
Transcripts [interviewees are anonymous]
See also Tapes, Boxes 12-13
Box 1 A-B undated
Box 1 C-G May 1959
Box 1 H-L June 1959
Box 1 M-T July 1959
Box 1 U August 1959
Box 1 V undated
Box 1 W March 1960
Basic sheets
Box 1 [Subjects data]
Box 1 Highlights and Implications
Box 1 Rejection
Box 1 Selections from Interviews
Box 1 Tally - How Viewed by Society
Box 1 Tally - Self Concept
Box 1 Tally - Why Self Educating?
Box 1 Notes from Tape Box entitled "Selections"
Manuscripts [MS.]
Continuing Learning in the Professions c. 1980
Box 1 Print Specifications; Front Matter
Box 1 Chapters 1- 3
Box 1 Chapters 4 - 5
Box 2 Chapters 6 - 8
Box 2 Chapters 9 - 10
Box 2 Bibliography
Box 2 Index
Continuing Your Education (Final) c. 1964
Box 2 Front Matter
Box 2 Chapters 1 - 5
Box 2 Chapters 6 - 10
Box 2 References, Index
The Design of Education c. 1972
Box 2 Chapters 1 - 3
Box 2 Chapters 4 - 5
Box 2 Chapters 6 - Glossary
Box 2 Bibliographic Essay [1st page missing]
The External Degree c. 1973
Box 2 Front Matter, Chapters 1 - 3
Box 2 Chapters 4 -6
Box 2 Epilogue
Box 2 The Inquiring Mind c. 1961
Patterns of Learning c. 1984
Box 2 Print Specifications, Front Matter
Box 2 Chapters 1 - 3
Box 2 Chapters 4 - 6
Box 2 Chapters 7 - 10
Box 2 References
Patterns of Learning [P.L.]
"What Do I Know?" - The Founder
Box 2 [copy]
Box 2 Draft
Box 2 Reading Copy
Box 2 Background materials
"He" [about Alexander Pope]
Box 2 [copy with introductory notes]
Box 2 Address, May 25, 1970
Box 2 Correspondence
Box 2 Draft (2 folders)
Box 2 Background materials, notes
"The Uncommon School
Box 2 Address - Chicago Literary Club Jan. 18, 1965
Box 2 Correspondence
Box 2 Notes
Box 2 Reading Copy
Box 2 Typist's Copy
William Pearson Tolley Award
Box 2 Citation
Box 2 Program, Oct. 12, 1966
Box 2 Reading Copy
Box 2 Background materials (2 folders)
Billy Graham
Box 3 Address, Feb. 28, 1972
Box 3 Correspondence
Box 3 Newspaper clippings
Box 3 Notes
Box 3 "Renewal" - draft
Box 3 Background materials
Foreign Travel
Box 3 "Foreign Travel As Education"
Box 3 Background materials
"A Dimmed Radiance"
Box 3 [copy]
Box 3 Draft
Box 3 Background materials
"A Firstling of His Heart and Hand"
Box 3 [copy]
Box 3 Draft
Box 3 Background materials, notes
Carnegie Corporation
Box 3 Correspondence 1966-1973
Box 3 Final Report 1960-1965
Box 3 Final Report 1965-1973
Box 3 Proposal 1964
Box 3 Case Study Book - Laurence Hall 1973 - drafts, correspondence,
Cook County School of Nursing
Box 3 Report 1968
Box 3 Reports, Board of Directors 1968-1972
Box 3 Grant 1973
The Design of Education
Box 3 Correspondence 1971-1972
Box 3 Reviews 1972-1973
The External Degree
Box 3 Correspondence 1973
Box 3 Notes
Box 3 Reviews 1973?
Box 3 Fiction About Higher Education
Box 3 Correspondence 1961-1973
Box 3 General Information, Notes [1963-1965]
Box 3 Harrington book 1976 - correspondence, notes
Box 3 How to Write a Thesis
Box 3 Jossey-Bass 1971-1979 - correspondence, reviews
Box 3 W.K. Kellogg 1957 - conference proposal
Box 3 Knox book 1976-1977 - drafts, correspondence
Box 3 Levi Report on Extension 1973
McGraw Hill
Box 3 Contract 1963
Box 3 Correspondence 1963-1976
Box 3 Questionnaire
Box 3 Reviews 1964-1965
Box 3 Royalty Statements 1964-1975
Box 3 Stylebooks 1955-1956
Box 3 NEH Project 1973 - correspondence
Box 3 NEH Report - "A Proposed Program of Sequential Education in the Humanities in Public Libraries" 1973
NSF Project
Box 3 "The Education of Older Adults"
Box 3 Correspondence 1973-1974
Patterns for Lifelong Learning [Hesburgh, Miller and Wharton]
Box 3 Continuing Education Study 1973
Box 3 Correspondence 1971-1973
Box 3 Correspondence 1973-1974
Box 3 Michigan State University Task Force 1973
Box 3 Miller's Final Corrections 1972?
Box 3 Review 1974
Peterson and Carp Study I 1973
Box 4 [copy]
Box 4 Appendix I and II
Box 4 Data and Analysis (2 folders)
Box 4 Description, background material
Box 4 Draft 1972
The Public Library's Role in Non-Traditional Study
Box 4 [copy]
Box 4 Correspondence 1974
Box 4 Tulane Report 1966
University of Missouri Study
Box 4 Correspondence 1967-1968
Box 4 Correspondence, Report, Misc. 1971-1973
Box 4 Audio Tape Notes [Tape Box "From Apathy to Action"]
Box 4 James Robinson 1955-1957 - [Includes letters from Paul Sheats and Thurman White. Robinson was a student at the University of Chicago.]
Box 4 Malcolm Knowles 1967
Box 4 1979 - [Related to retirement]
Box 4 Personal Correspondence 1981
Cyril O. Houle [PUB./COH]
Box 4 Works authored by Houle
Adult Discussion: An Essay and A Guide for the Use of Three Films: Room for Discussion, Organizing Discussion Groups, How to Conduct a Discussion, Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, n. 4. See also Films: Encyclopedia Britannica.
A Firstling of His Heart and Hand
He [2 copies]
Residential Continuing Education
The Uncommon School
Box 4 Articles or chapters authored by Houle 1963-1987, various (3 folders)
"Adult Education and Family Life - Part II in Journal of Cooperative Extension, Vol. 1, No. 4, Winter 1963.
"The Comparative Study of Continuing Professional Education," in Comparative Studies in Adult Education: An Anthology, ed. by Clif Bennett, J. Roby Kidd, and Jindra Kulich, 1975.
"Continuing Professional Education: Overview" in Education for the Professions: Quis custodiet...?, ed. by Sinclair Goodlad, 1984.
"The Continuity of Life" in Lifelong Education: Report of the Meeting of Experts held at New Delhi, 1970. [authored with Bettie Houle]
"Education for the Professions" in Theory Into Practice, Vol. 26, No. 2, Spring 1987.
"From Craft Toward Profession," in The Continuing Task: Reflections on Purpose in Higher Continuing Education, 1967.
"Motivation and Participation with Special Reference to Non-Traditional Forms of Study," in Learning Opportunities for Adults, Vol. III: The Non-Participation Issue, 1979.
"The Third Era of American Higher Education" in The NUEA Spectator, Vol. 37, No. 13, Dec 1974.
Box 4 Conference participation - transcript 1970
Proceedings of a National Conference on SpecialAdult Deqree Proqrams, Tampa, Fla., Jan. 28-30,1970
Box 4 Works with citations to Houle (3 folders)
[This serial, named after the Mobius strip, is dedicated to continuing education in the health sciences. Houle, at the time a seniorconsultant with the Kellogg Foundation, was a member of its editorial board.]
Box 4 Vol. 1 - Vol. 5 (5 folders)
Box 5 Vol. 6 - Vol. 7 (2 folders)
International [PUB./INT]
Box 5 Africa
Box 5 Argentina
Box 5 Australia
Box 5 Basutoland
Box 5 British Guiana
Box 5 Canada (5 folders)
Box 5 Ghana
Box 5 Hong Kong
Box 5 Hungary
Box 5 India (2 folders)
Box 5 International Congress of Unversity Adult Education
Box 5 Israel
Box 5 Japan
Box 5 Mexico
Box 5 Netherlands
Box 5 Nigeria
Box 5 Norway
Box 5 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Box 5 Sweden
Box 5 UNESCO (3 folders)
Box 5 United Kingdom (3 folders)
Box 6 United Kingdom (5 folders)
Box 6 West Indies
Box 6 The World Association
United States [PUB./U.S.]
Box 6 Administration and Finance
Box 6 Adult Education Associations
Box 6 Adult Education Research
See also Surveys ; Research
Box 6 Agricultural Extension (2 folders)
Black Americans
See Dissertations
Box 6 Community Education (4 folders)
Box 6 Cooperative Extension
Box 6 ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Education
Box 6 Evaluation
Box 6 General Adult Education (3 folders)
See also Needs and Interests, Studies of and Students, Characteristics of
Box 7 General Adult Education (2 folders)
Box 7 General Adult Education (prior to 1930)
Box 7 Groups
Box 7 Higher Adult Education
See also Postsecondary Alternatives ; University Adult Education ; University Extension
Box 7 Human Resources
Box 7 Industry
See also Worker's Education
Box 7 Information Needs
Box 7 Libraries (5 folders)
Box 7 Mass Media
Box 7 Museums
Box 7 Needs and Interests, Studies of
See also General Adult Education
Box 7 Non-Traditional Study
See also Postsecondary Alternatives
Box 7 Participation
Box 7 Part-time Students
Box 7 Philanthropy and Education
Box 7 Policy
Box 8 Pope, Alexander
Box 8 Postsecondary Alternatives (5 folders)
See also Higher Adult Education ; Non-Traditional Study
Box 8 Psychology (2 folders)
Box 8 Public Schools
Box 8 Reading
Box 8 Regional Materials (3 folders)
See also Surveys
Box 8 Research (3 folders)
See also Adult Education Research ; Statistics ; Surveys
Box 8 Residential Adult Education
Box 8 Society
See also Universities and Society
Box 8 Sociological Perspectives
Box 8 Special Schools
Box 8 Statistics
See also Research
Box 8 Students, Characteristics of
See also General Adult Education
Box 8 Surveys
See also Adult Education Research ; Regional Materials ; Research
Box 9 Surveys (7 folders)
Box 9 Training
Box 9 Universities and Society
See also Society
Box 9 University Adult Education
See also Higher Adult Education
Box 9 University Extension (3 folders)
See also Higher Adult Education
Box 9 U.S. Law (2 folders)
Box 9 Volunteers
Box 9 Women
Box 9 Worker's Education
See also Industry
Box 9, 10 Miscellaneous
Box 10, 11 Miscellaneous - Includes plaques, photographs, certificates and honorary doctorates. There are also certificates of recognition, among them two signed by Lyndon B. Johnson. Oversize item is in Tube 1.
See also Awards
Inquiring Mind, Self Education Project
Box 12 Interviews: Subjects A-S
Box 13 Interviews: Subjects T-W
Box 13 Selections: Subjects A-P
Box 13 Advanced Board Course #1-3
Box 13 Advanced Study Group Boards, Mr. Houle
Box 13 Age and Learning
Box 13 The Autonomous Learner
Box 13 Dusan Savecevic - 1st hour; Lecture
Box 13 Dusan Savecevic - 2d hour, Discussion
Box 14 From Apathy to Action
Box 14 The LAS and ALAS
Box 14 LAS and ALAS #2
Box 14 Lecture Tape
Box 14 Micro-environment and Macro-environment
Box 14 March 10Seminar - Motivations and orientations
Box 14 Robbins Seminar - 1st session Aug. 2, 1960
Box 14 Robbins Seminar, Meeting, University of Chicago, Adult Education July 25, 1967
Box 14 The Stages of Life
Box 14 #3
Box 14 #6 - Speech to Workshop on Federal Policy
Box 14 [untitled]
Encyclopedia Britannica films
Reel 1 Room for Discussion
Reel 2 Organizing Discussion Groups
Reel 3 How to Conduct a Discussion
Reel 4 Profile C1-6 May 27 Dr. Corbett

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