Skip to main content

Edwin Fenton Papers

Identifier: 1994-0005

Scope and Content Note

The Edwin Fenton Papers are housed in seventeen archival boxes and arranged into three series. Series have been designated for activities, publications, and miscellaneous materials. Generally, these papers include correspondence, articles, manuscripts, books, textbooks, and audiovisual kits. The majority of the collection consists of publications by Fenton- articles, book chapters, audiovisual kits, books, and textbooks. These publications are related to various methods of teaching social studies and curriculum development. The associated records for these publications can be found in the activities series, which includes correspondence, drafts, and correspondence about Fenton's involvement with projects such as the Social Studies Curriculum Center, Project Social Studies, the Experienced Teacher Fellowship Program, and conferences in general. The collection contains little information about his personal life or teaching activities at Carnegie Mellon University.

2022-11-14: This finding aid was reviewed during a reparative language review in the Fall of 2022. A copy of the legacy finding aid can be accessed by emailing See revision statement for more information.


  • 1955-2000




Biographical Sketch

Edwin "Ted" Fenton was born on September 16, 1921 and attended East Liverpool High School in Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the College of Wooster in 1948. He finished a Masters in History at Harvard University in 1949. From 1950 to 1954, Fenton taught high school history. In 1954, he joined the History Department at Carnegie Institute of Technology. He earned his Doctorate in History from Harvard University in 1958. In 1964, he became a full professor at Carnegie Institute of Technology.

Fenton was active in many activities focused on curriculum development and the teaching of Social Sciences. At Carnegie Mellon University, he was the Director of five National Defense Education Act Institutes in History, four Experienced Teacher Fellowship Programs, and co-director for three Summer Institutes. He was also the Director of the Social Studies Curriculum Center, the Civic Education Project, and various educational centers based at the University from 1966-1992. He was the founder of the University Teaching Center in 1982.

Edwin Fenton organized over 200 workshops about curriculum development in thirty-one states and nine foreign countries. He was also a consultant for more than 100 American schools, as well as schools in Israel, the Philippines, Iceland, Sweden, and Department of Defense Dependant Schools in Germany, Italy, and Belgium. He wrote more than 200 books, articles, and educational films.

In 1964, Fenton won the William S. and Frances A. Ryan Teaching Award at Carnegie Institute of Technology. In 1967, Ted won the Middle States Council Gold Medal for a major published contribution to social studies education. And in 1989 he was awarded the Robert Doherty Prize for Excellence in Education from the University.


18.5 Linear feet (19 boxes, including Box 5A)




This collection consists of 17 linear feet of papers from History faculty member Fenton dating from 1955-1994. Most of the collection consists of published articles, textbooks, and audio-visual kits from Fenton and the Carnegie Mellon Social Studies Curriculum Center staff. Fenton's work on Project Social Studies is well represented.

Physical Location



Gift of Edwin Fenton (1994)



Physical Description

Seventeen boxes (1-17); 17 linear feet


Cassandra Nespor

Edwin Fenton Papers 1955-1994 1994.05
Carnegie Mellon University Archives, Faculty and Staff Collections
July 6, 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2019: During the 2019 collections survey, it was discovered that there are two boxes labeled Box 2. Additionally, the description of box number 2 in the finding aid does not seem to match the whole contents of either box. One of the box 2s was renumbered box 18 but the finding aid needs to be reviewed and updated.
  • 2022-11-14: This finding aid was reviewed during a reparative language review in the Fall of 2022. This finding aid contains outdated terms such as “slow learner” and “Negro”. The original language containing these terms were retained as they were quoted from the original sources and provide important context about materials, their creators, and/or the and the society in which the materials were created.

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021