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Frank Henry Selden collection,

 Collection — other: Selden 1-3
Identifier: 200-205

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Frank Henry Selden papers range in date from 1930 to 1950. Although held for some time by a third party, the papers were mostly in their original folders when they arrived at the University Archives. For preservation reasons the papers were put into new folders and the original headings were copied from the old folders. Selden probably kept these in simple alphabetic order and so the archive has done the same. The bulk of the material is made up of correspondence. There is also a fair amount of ephemera, which reflects his interests and activities. Texts of speeches he gave are included, as are the unpublished manuscripts he submitted to journals. There are numerous correspondences to journals and magazines. Selden would often respond to an editorial or an article. He typically would label his folder by the name of the magazine he was corresponding with. Thus his opinions on a topic may not appear under the expected topic heading, but rather would come under the name of a magazine. For example, the folder Christian Century may have opinions on religion not found in the folder labeled religion. Selden was involved in the labor movement and many of his papers are related to this topic. Of particular interest to this part of Pennsylvania, is his folder labeled Girard Manufacturing Co. Herein is a record of the strike activities at that plant in the 1940's. Another topic that comprises much of Selden's writing, is the economic causes of war. This is to be expected since many of his papers were written during World War II. Likewise, there are numerous writings on world peace.


  • 1930-1950
  • 1930-1950
  • Other: Date acquired: 2008-10-08


Conditions Governing Access

Available to researchers for use in the archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying by permission only.

Biographical or Historical Information

Frank Henry Selden was born September 25,1866. He spent his childhood and much of his adult life on Lundy's Lane in Cranesville, Pennsylvania. His mother's name is not known. There was a George Selden that owned a lumber company in the Cranesville area. This was probably Frank's father. He had at least one sister named Jennie Lind Selden Hart. She moved to Tacoma Washington when Frank was 25 years old. Frank Henry Selden's grandfather first purchased the 65-acre homestead in 1857. He describes it as a plank house that was old when it was purchased. The barn that also stood on the property was also there when the Seldens arrived in 1857. Selden attended Edinboro State Normal School from January 1884 to June 1885. From there, Selden received a Bachelor of Education, a B.Ed. This is a Normal School degree that gave the graduate a license to teach in Pennsylvania. Prior to this, Selden says he spent most of his time tinkering in the barn. The only reason he went to school, Selden claims, is that his mother's father was a well-known Methodist minister and he went to school "to avoid the disgrace of not having an education." Apparently there was some discussion as to whether Frank could be spared from helping in the family business. After one semester at the Normal School, Frank was hired as an assistant to the science teacher. The money he earned from this he sent home. This placated his father enough to permit him to stay in school. Joseph Cooper, who was then the principal of the school, conducted chapels each morning before classes began. These chapels included a discussion of a quote put before the students. Selden was enthralled by these sessions and went on to write a brief book about Cooper's one-line wisdoms. After graduating from Edinboro, Selden was hired into a manufacturing job. He went on to teach mechanical science at Valley City Normal School in North Dakota. He was a carpenter, a proprietor in an architect's office and taught in various capacities. Selden was a highly opinionated man and he frequently submitted his thoughts to various magazines for publication. Though several of his writings were accepted, this collection of papers has a few long works that were never published. The bulk of his writing was on the topic of labor and the economic causes of warfare. Sometime during his stay in North Dakota, Selden founded the Maudslay Press. Apparently Maudslay was a leading thinker in teaching the manual arts. In 1934, Frank Henry Selden campaigned for the office of United States Congressman. It was an unsuccessful attempt but the effort reflects the strength of Selden's convictions. This apparently brought him to the attention of Henry L. Stoddard, with whom he had some correspondence. By the early 1940's, Selden had founded Hillcrest School. This was a composite of the Maudslay Press, Hillcrest print shop, and the Selden Lumber Co. The focus of the school was training in the manual arts. Selden has published several books. The titles are listed below: The Yankee Blade, 1877; Elementary Cabinetwork for Manual Training, 1909; Elementary Drawing, 1917; Elementary Turning for Use in Manual Training, 1907; Helpful Lessons: Selections from the lessons used by Professor J.A. Cooper in the Chapel Exercises at Edinboro, Pennsylvania, from 1863 to 1892, 1928; How to Teach Wood Finishing, 1914; Mechanical Science in Education, 1920; The Problem of Peace, 1942; Problems in the Successful Teaching of Manual Arts, 1914; Rural Schools, 1931; Suggestive Courses in Mechanical Science; Woodwork for the Grades for use in manual training classes, 1912; Manual Training, 1910.


4.50 Linear Feet

4.50 Linear Feet


This collection is a reflection of the Normal School education, professional life and political activities of Frank Henry Selden. The bulk of the collection covers the depression years and World War II period.


The collection did not arrive in any subject arrangement but rather something closer to alphabetic order. It has been kept in that manner.

Physical Access Requirements

No physical restrictions.

Custodial History

Donald Swift, Ph.D, donated these papers to the Edinboro University Archives. All copyright, intellectual rights and physical custody of the papers belongs to the University.

Source of Acquisition

Donald Swift

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Jennie Lind Selden Diaries, 1884-85.  Housed in box 4 of the Selden Collection.

Other Descriptive Information

Related URL:
Dave Obringer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Edinboro University Archives Repository