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Fels Institute Collection (UA-13)

Identifier: UA-13

Scope and Contents

The collection spans the years from 1928 to 2000. It is divided into seven series: Correspondence, Financial, Director’s Files, Grants, Reports, Photography and Publicity, and Publications.

The first series, Correspondence, contains information on the organization of the Institute and its early years. There are letters from Samuel Fels to the Fels Institute, to Antioch College and to Dr. Sontag.

The second series, Financial, contains various financial records (budget, overhead study, and Bursar's Office records.)

The third series, Director’s Files, consists of information from the files of Dr. Frank Falkner, Beatrice Lacey, Dr. Lester Sontag. Of particular interest are material on the Fels building, including the dedication event for the new building in October of 1947, at which Margaret Mead gave the dedication address. A transcript of the proceedings is included in this series. The papers of Dr. Falkner are the most extensive which contain daily business files, information about the Cincinnati Division, material on the merger with Wright State University, and policy handbooks and manuals. Among the few papers of Beatrice Lacey is an interview with Arthur Morgan on the origins of the Fels Research Institute. Also, information on the plant's grounds, equipment and personnel is available. This series does not contain as much material from Dr. Sontag as expected, considering his forty years of service. Of the little information that is available, available, there is a Sontag publication as well as two recorded interviews.

The fourth series, Grants, primarily contain summaries, applications for grants, and copies of contracts. There are very few scientific reports in these files. There is little or no research data from the Fels Longitudinal Study itself.

The fifth series, Reports, contains annual reports of the Institute from 1930-1959. last three series contain information on the annual reports, publications and public relations.

The sixth series, Public Relations and Photography, contains photographs, scrapbooks, news clippings, newsletters, and promotional materials.

The seventh series, Publications, contains a series of publications regarding the Fels method from Dr. Wm. Cameron Chumlea, research scientist and Fels Professor, Boonshoft School of Medicine.


  • Creation: 1928 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The Fels Longitudinal Study was founded in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1929 as part of the Fels Research Institute. At that time, the Fels Longitudinal Study was one of five similar studies that began in the United States between 1927 and 1932. The Fels Study was originally designed to study child growth and development. Physical growth, maturation and the psychological development of children were early key research areas of interest in the Fels Longitudinal Study. Later, the Fels Longitudinal Study focused on physical growth, skeletal maturation, body composition, risk factors for cardiovascular disease and obesity, skeletal and dental biology, longitudinal biostatistical analyses and aging. In 1977, the Fels Research Institute and the Fels Longitudinal Study became part of the Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine, residing first in the Department of Pediatrics and later within the later the Department of Community Health (now the Department of Population & Public Health Sciences) in its Lifespan Health Research Center. The Fels Longitudinal Study was the longest operational longitudinal study of its kind in the world.


36 linear feet

Language of Materials



Administrative files of the Fels Research Institute and FELS Longitudinal Research Study, which became part of Wright State University’s School of Medicine in 1977.


The collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Financial
  3. Series 3: Director’s Files
  4. Series 4: Grants
  5. Series 5: Annual Reports
  6. Series 6: Public Relations and Photographs
  7. Series 7: Publications - Dr. Cameron Chumlea Addition

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bulk of collection transferred by BSOM to University Archives in 1984. Small addition donated in 2022 by former BSOM faculty member Dr. Cameron Chumlea.

Related Materials

UA-4: Boonshoft School of Medicine Records

Lester W. Songtag Papers (MS C 280f) at National Library of Medicine

Separated Materials

All research data is at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Guide to the Fels Institute Collection (UA-13)
Chris Wydman
2023 Nov 30
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA