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Fritz Marti Papers, 1909-2009

By Finding aid prepared by Chris Petersen and Ian McKelvey.

Collection Overview

Title: Fritz Marti Papers, 1909-2009

ID: MSS Marti

Primary Creator: Marti, Fritz, 1894-

Extent: 30.2 cubic feet. More info below.


The Marti collection is divided into three series.

The first series, titled "Individual Correspondence and Articles," consists of letters, newspaper clippings (especially obituaries) and an array of other background materials concerning specific individuals with whom Marti had occasion to interact. Marti's correspondence with his family is held at the end of this series.

The bulk of Marti's scholarly output is located in series 2, "Notebooks, Scholarly Manuscripts and Research Interests." Highlights of this series include the dozens of high school-era research notebooks that Marti saved, as well a substantial collection of scholarly manuscripts dating from the late 1920s to the late 1980s. Special attention likewise has been paid to Marti's work on Fritz Medicus and F. W. J. Schelling.

A wide assortment of materials related to Marti's non-academic life have been arranged into series 3, "Biographical Materials, Organizational Affiliations and Financial Records." Here researchers will find a handful of biographical and autobiographical manuscripts, as well as photographs of Marti, his family and colleagues. Materials related to Marti's upbringing and life-long interest in Switzerland are also located in series 3, as are a small collection of records related to Marti's finances and organizational affiliations, including The Marti School.

Languages of Materials: English [eng], German [ger]


Fritz Marti (1894-1991), was a Swiss-born philosophy professor highly regarded as an expert on post-Kantian idealism. His papers contain a significant trove of correspondence, including letters with such figures as Jacques Barzun, Walter Lippman and John F. Kennedy. The archive likewise features a wide swath of biographical items, research notebooks and unpublished manuscripts. One particular highlight of the collection is an annotated manuscript of Marti's unpublished translation of F. W. J. Schelling's The Method of University Studies.

The contents of box-folder 1.007.18 have been digitized and are available upon request.

Scope and Content Notes

Marti's papers reflect his varied interests in philosophies of education, philosophies of religion and the culture and history of his native Switzerland. The archive likewise includes an assortment of biographical materials detailing the lives of both Marti and his family. Marti's formative years as a gymnasium (high school-era) and college student are particularly well-documented in the dozens of his research notebooks that remain extant from that time period. The contents of box-folder 1.007.18 have been digitized and are available upon request.

An addition to the collection (Accession 2014:095) consists of 18 "pocket diary" daily planners kept by Fritz Marti from 1945-1986. The diaries generally contain notes on Marti's professional and personal appointments, work deadlines, and information on noteworthy events in which he found himself engaged from day to day. The items range in size from 2" x 3" to 3.5" x 6" and cover the years 1945-1954, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1977-1980, 1982-1983 and 1985-1986. Among other chapters in his life, the diaries document Marti's stints as Professor of Philosophy at Marietta College and Southern Illinois University, as well as the founding and development of the Marti School college preparatory academy.

A second addition (Accession 2014:109) is comprised of a wide range of materials documenting Marti's life and work. The contents include correspondence, including family letters - especially letters written at Christmastime - and other personal exchanges, many of them written in German. Also included are an eclectic assemblage of biographical materials including thirteen of Marti's "pocket diary" daily planners, several copies of Marti's vita, autobiographical notes and manuscripts, and family keepsakes including wedding announcements, newspaper clippings, school transcripts, and a dream journal that Marti kept ca. 1986. Marti's academic work is also represented in this transfer. Manuscripts and compiled research materials reflect Marti's scholarly interests in U.S. religious practice, religious oddities, the work of Friedrich Schelling, art appreciation and aesthetics. A composition book from 1925, eight assorted photographs, and a collection of materials related to Marti's association with Southern Illinois University round out the transfer.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Fritz Marti was born January 1, 1894 in Winterthur, Switzerland. After serving in the Swiss Army during World War I, Marti earned two degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 1917, 1918) before completing his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Bern (1922) under the tutelage of Fritz Medicus.

Marti's teaching experience began at the University of Oregon in 1923, and took him to 11 institutions of higher learning before his retirement from Southern Illinois University in 1974. In the meantime, Marti and his wife also founded the Marti School, a college preparatory academy in Ohio, now known as the Miami Valley School.

Marti published four books on philosophy, the most notable of which is On Being Human: The Life of Truth and Its Realization, a translation of work by his mentor Fritz Medicus. His scholarship focused primarily upon post-Kantian idealism, but Marti was also widely respected in Hegelian circles and indeed "well versed in all sorts of speculative philosophy, especially Catholic philosophy and Continental rationalism." Marti was also considered an expert on the work of Friedrich Schelling.

Fritz Marti died in 1991 at the age of 98.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 38 boxes

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Physical Access Note: All materials in good to very good condition.

Acquisition Note: Initial accession received from Paul and Vreneli Farber in July 2000. Second major accession received from the Farbers in December 2008.

Related Materials:

A collection of personal papers and components of the personal library of Fritz Marti, with special focus on German Idealism, are housed in the Fritz Marti Reading Room, Office of the German Idealism Yearbook, Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame. An itemized list of this donation is contained in OSU's Marti collection.

See also: Happenstance or Providence: How I Found All My Jobs

Preferred Citation: Courtesy of the Fritz Marti Papers (MSS Marti), Oregon State Univesity Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: Preliminary arrangement by Ian McKelvey and Chris Petersen. Final arrangement by Chris Petersen.

Other URL:

A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 19, 2015.

Inventories of Accession 2014:109  and Accession 2015:049 are available online.


Marti, Fritz, 1894-
Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von (1775-1854)

People, Places, and Topics

Croce, Benedetto, 1866-1952
Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule
Marti, Fritz, 1894-
Marti School
Medicus, Fritz, 1876-1956
Philosophy--Study and teaching (Higher)
Philosophy and religion.
Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von, 1775-1854
Universitat Bern

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