Collection inventory

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Benjamin E. Neal 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.

Finding aid created by: DMB
Date: 14 Dec 1978

Biographical History

Benjamin E. Neal (1879-1966) was a native of Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1901 and joined the Thomasites, a group of five hundred American teachers sent to the Philippines by the U.S. government in August 1901 to establish a new public school system there. The group was known as "Thomasites" after the ship that brought them to Manila, the USS Thomas. Neal taught English in the Philippines from 1901-1904. He was a Syracuse University alumni trustee from 1923 to 1934.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Benjamin E. Neal Papers consists of correspondence, diaries, memorabilia, photographs, printed material, and writings, most of which pertain to Neal's work with the so-called Thomasites, teaching English in the Philippines.

Correspondence is both personal and professional, including letters and postcards to friends and family, official documents relating to Neal's teaching work, and so on. Numerous letters of recommendation testify to Neal's scholarship, integrity, and abilities.

Diaries cover the entirety of Neal's time in the Philippines, and include observations on his students and colleagues as well as on Filipino culture and community.

Memorabilia contains items relating to Neal's travels to and from the Philippines, including scrapbooks, posters, and souvenir booklets, as well as one item relating to Syracuse University, Neal's alma mater.

A large number of Photographs, including many hand-tinted albumen prints, document Neal's interest in the people he met and the places where he taught and visited. These include China, Japan, the Philippines, and major cities of Europe (London, Rome, Paris, etc.). There are also a few family photos, including Neal's grandparents, two men in front of a shopfront "Neal, Clarke & Neal," and one identified on the back as "The Neal Homestead built in 1850."

Printed material contains books and clippings. Three of the books are directly related to the so-called Thomasites (among these are a souvenir booklet, "The Log of the Thomas", with text and photos of the voyage). The fourth concerns American efforts in the Philippines and mentions Neal.

Writings contains a single document, an essay on "Memory" written by Neal for a college course.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically, the remainder of the material alphabetically by type or title.


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.

Subject Headings


Neal, Benjamin E.


English language -- Study and teaching -- Philippines.


Europe -- Description and travel.
Philippines -- Civilization -- American influences.
Philippines -- Description and travel.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Benjamin E. Neal Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Jean Burmaster Palmer, Elton and Mary Elizabeth (Neal) Burmaster, and Mrs. Benjamin Neal, 1967, 1969, 2016.

Table of Contents





Printed material