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Van Meter Ames Book Collection

Identifier: UA-13-06

Scope and Content

This is a collection of philosophy books from the private library of Van Meter Ames. Many of the books in this collection have Ames' annotations, notes and article clippings. Some also hold correspondence between Ames and fellow philosophers or friends. Most of the books in this collection were written by or about American philosophers. Santayana, Hook, Dewey, Mead, and James are all included in this collection.

The collection was donated to the University of Cincinnati Libraries by Anthony Graybosch. Graybosch acquired the collection upon the passing of his colleague Kent Tiedeman. Tiedeman, a philosophy professor at California State University - Chico, studied under Ames at the University of Cincinnati in the early 1960s. Ames gave Tiedeman a substantial collection of his personal holdings in July 1968.


  • Creation: 1899-1977


Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Biography of Van Meter Ames

Van Meter Ames was born in 1898 in De Soto, Iowa to Edward Scribner Ames and Mabel Van Meter Ames. Edward Scribner Ames was a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago and pastor of the University Church of the Church of the Disciples of Christ and dean of the Disciples Divinity House. Ames attended the University of Chicago and received his Ph.D. in 1924. He began teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 1925. He was head of the University of Cincinnati philosophy department from 1959 until 1966.

From 1958 to 1959, he was Fulbright research professor of philosophy in Japan where he studied Zen Buddhism. He lectured at Komazawa, a Zen university in Tokyo. Ames also held visiting professorships at Cornell University (1931), University of Texas (1934-1935), the University of Hawaii (1947-1948), Faculte des Lettres, University of Aix-Marseille (1949), and Columbia University (1957).

In 1965, Van Meter Ames helped to introduce the Congressional bill that established the National Foundation for the Endowment of the Arts and Humanities and was a member of the national committee that established the foundation.

His published works inlcude Aesthetics of the Novel (1928), Introduction to Beauty (1931), Out of Iowa (poetry, 1936). Proust and Santayana: The Aesthetic Way of Life (1937), Andre Gide (1947), Zen and American Thought (1962), and To Find the Simple Things (1978).

Ames was married to Betty Breneman. They had three children: Sanford Scribner Ames, Damaris Ames and Christine Ames Cornish. He retired in 1966 and passed away in 1985.


9 Linear Feet


A collection of philosophy books from the private library of Van Meter Ames.

Statement of Arrangement

The books in the collection are arranged alphabetically by author. Notes, correspondence and other items were left in the books as they were found. Additional material within each book is noted in the container list.

Physical Location

Archives and Rare Books Library

Finding aid for the Van Meter Ames Book Collection
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Lauren Fink
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Rare Books Library Repository

8th Floor Blegen Library
2602 University Circle
P.O. Box 210113
Cincinnati Ohio 45221-0113