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Thomas Russell Garth Papers

Identifier: M233


Thomas Russell Garth (1872-1939) was a world authority on racial traits and psychology. He was on the faculty of the University of Denver from 1922 until his death in 1939. He wrote a biography of Henry Augustus Buchtel, who was an early Chancellor of the University of Denver and Governor of Colorado. Garth was a prolific writer on the physical and psychological aspects of race. His papers at the University of Denver include some of his writings and a collection of photographs of Indians.


  • 1918-1931


Language of Materials

The collection is entirely in English.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Russell Garth was born December 24, 1872 in Paducah, Kentucky. He came to Colorado in 1903 to recover from tuberculosis. He received a BA from the University of Denver in 1909 and a Masters the following year, before going to Columbia University for his PhD, which he earned in 1917. He taught in various public schools in New York, Virginia and Texas. He returned to Colorado from Austin, Texas where he was an assistant professor at the State University. In 1922, he was appointed head of the University of Denver’s Department of Experimental Psychology.

Garth was a nationally known authority on race psychology. Some of his many articles were translated into French and German. His twenty years of study of ethnicity and intelligence led him to the conclusion that racial superiority was a myth. Whether it was musical ability, I.Q., or handwriting, he found that all humans started out basically the same, and differences were largely the result of environment and experience.

Dr. Garth was head of the Universal Race Commission in 1920. He headed a commission to study color blindness in Indians as well as Indian children in white foster homes. In 1936-37 he was a specialist in the United States government Indian Service schools. He was a member of the American Psychological Association, Association of Consulting Psychologists, American Anthropological Association, Association of University Professors, and Colorado –Wyoming Academy of Science.

Dr. Garth wrote numerous articles and several books, including the Life of Henry Augustus Buchtel, the Chancellor of the University of Denver during his undergraduate days.

Dr. Garth married Ethel Nadine Tucker of Denver in 1909. They had two sons, Thomas and Francis and an adopted daughter, Nadine. Dr. Garth collapsed in his classroom April 11, 1939 and died April 20, 1939, survived by his wife and three children.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 letter half document box)

Scope and Contents

The Thomas Russell Garth Papers include a bibliography of his writings, copies of several of his articles and reports, and approximately 40 photographs of Indians that Dr. Garth collected during his work on racial characteristics.


The papers are organized into two series:; 1. Writings.; 2. Photographs.;

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers, source unknown. Photographs, gift of Joan Wiesner, 1981.


No further accruals are expected.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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