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John D. Root papers, 1960-2003

Identifier: 009.01.06

Academic and professional papers of John D. Root in his capacity as a history professor and chair of the Humanities department at Illinois Institute of Technology. Root received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 and his M.A. from Indiana University in 1964. From 1966 to 1968 he served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, attaining the rank of Captain and receiving two Bronze Stars. Root’s strong interest in modern history was given sharper focus by his wartime experiences.

In 1969 Root became an instructor of history at IIT and steadily gained promotion. In 1974 he became an Assistant Professor of History; in 1980 an Associate Professor; and in 1987 a full Professor. In 1983 he became chairman of the Lewis Department of Humanities, which position he retained until 1998. He specialized in Western civilization and European history, demonstrating a keen grasp not only of events and social developments but also of intellectual movements. His publications included dozens of articles, book reviews, and conference papers. Root was deeply involved in university affairs beyond the Humanities Department. He was an officer of the Faculty Council, a pre-law advisor, and served on numerous university committees. He headed the committee that guided the creation of the Paul V. Galvin Library in 1985.

Root’s papers provide a comprehensive overview of his entire career and demonstrate his care in documenting his various activities and communications, both within the IIT community and without (with fellow scholars, particularly in the field of Catholic Modernism studies, his specialty). The collection also contains his research files on English Catholic Modernism topics, including many photocopies of documents and publications that can be found in original form only in European archives. The collection will serve as an important primary source for research into IIT’s academic and administrative culture in the 1980s and 1990 as well as for English Catholic Modernism.


  • Creation: 1960-2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-2000


Conditions Governing Access

Some or all of the materials in this collection may be restricted according to FERPA regulations or for privacy reasons. UASC staff may be able to search these materials for you for relevant information that can be released to you.

Collection Size

52 Boxes


This collection is organized into ten series: 1) Personal 2) IIT Humanities Department Records 3) University-wide Activities 4) Academic Associations 5) Scholarly Reviews and Essays by Root 6) Archival Repositories for the Research of Catholic Modernism 7) Photocopies of Catholic Modernist Correspondence in Archival Repositories 8) Photocopies of Original Catholic Modernist Publications (before 1930) 9) Modern Essays (after 1930) on Catholic Moderism 10) Topical Files

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were removed from John Root's office in Siegel Hall (Lewis Department of the Humanities) more than a year after his death at the request of the then dean of the College of Letters and Science, Kathy Riley. University Archivist Catherine Bruck directed the transfer of the collection to the IIT Archives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Formerly 2005.004 and 2010.008

Related Materials

1999.036 Henry Knepler Papers. Includes a history of the humanities program at IIT.


Some materials in this collection related to humanities personnel and students are restricted and unavailable to researchers.

Part of the Paul V. Galvin Library. University Archives and Special Collections Repository

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Paul V. Galvin Library

35 West 33rd Street | Chicago, IL | 60616