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Thursday, April 2, 2009


This post is intended as a standing reference about Peirce's middle name "Santiago", linked from the sidebar, and subject to revision and addition. It is an expansion of the footnote which I wrote on "Santiago" in the Wikipedia article "Charles Sanders Peirce" (see the Creative Commons license, which covers the footnote. Update: I expanded that footnote into a Wikipedia article Wikipedia article "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce". End of update.

The one who did the most to help Peirce in his desperate later times was his old friend William James, who

  • dedicated his book Will to Believe to Peirce in 1897;
  • arranged for Peirce to be paid to give two series of lectures at or near Harvard
  • and, most importantly, each year from 1907 until his death in 1910, wrote to his friends in the Boston intelligentsia, asking that they make a financial contribution to help support Peirce. Peirce reciprocated by designating James's eldest son as his heir should Juliette predecease him. Brent (1998) wrote that the fund continued after James's death.
It has been said that this was also Peirce's motive for adding "Santiago", "Saint James" in Spanish, to his full name. Sources for this claim include William James's wife Alice as quoted by F.C.S Schiller (1927). Others followed with the same idea, including the Collected Papers editors (Charles Hartshorne & Paul Weiss) in CP 6 (1934), Ralph Barton Perry (1935), Peter Skagestad (1981), and Joseph Brent (1998). Skagestad said that it began in 1910, Brent said 1909, but Peirce is mentioned in print as Charles Santiago Peirce in 1890, 1891, and 1892 — some years even before James's Will to Believe dedication, the lecture series, and James's gathering of funds for Peirce. Peirce typically used "Charles Sanders Peirce" in his articles but started using the name "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce" in Monist articles in 1906.

"Santiago" 1890
In a November 2007 thread at peirce-l, Joseph Ransdell wrote:
Ben asks;

"Where did Peirce use "Santiago" in 1890, and in that decade? I just looked at the following Monists (the ones that are easy for me to check) and the earliest use in those was 1906."

The source probably isn't on-line, but it is in the third volume of Ernst Schroeder's Vorlesungen Ueber die Algebra der Logik (if I've got my "dies" and "ders" right, which I probably don't), where that is given as Peirce's middle name in the bibliography. I think I was the first to notice this, way back when I was still a grad student at Columbia and ran across it while browsing through stuff in the library stacks there. (It was in the original edition of the book.) I passed the info on to Max Fisch at that time but I don't know that Max ever did anything with it. Then I told Ken Ketner about it some years later, when he was writing the first volume of his biography of Peirce.

Note: Joe got the year 1890 right but meant Volume 1, the only volume published in 1890 of Schröder's Vorlesungen über die Algebra der Logik (exakte Logik). In it, below "Peirce, Benjamin (gesprochen: Pörss)", appears "Peirce, Charles S(antiago)", followed by a list of 15 published C. S. Peirce papers in 11 publications, beginning on page 710 in the bibliography; see it at the link. (Meanwhile Volume 3 (they're both online now in 2009) was published in 1905, and refers only to Charles S. Peirce, not Charles Santiago Peirce.) In a comment on the present post (in an earlier version), Joe adds that it was back in 1965 that he passed the information to Fisch. In his 1998 Peirce biography His Glassy Essence, Ketner on page 280 describes the 1890 Schröder reference to "S(antiago)" and mentions Ransdell's bringing it to his attention (thanks on November 8, 2009 to Harold L. Orbach for the Ketner information).

Jaime Nubiola added in email to the same 2007 thread, that "I can confirm also that the first mention in print of the "Santiago" is in the p. 710 of Ernst Schroeder, Vorlessungen ueber die Algebra der Logik (Leipzig: Teubner, 1890)"; also that Andre DeTienne, in a message to peirce-l of 16 May 1995 (from the years lost from the archives) said, that the first apparent "Santiago" signature is on the manuscript of the last of the 1903 Harvard Pragmatism Lectures, MS 316a, dated 15 May 1903. Nubiola added that the reason for Peirce's adoption of "Santiago" remains a mystery. He said: "My latest finding on this issue has been -thanks to Andre de Tienne- the letter of CSP's cousin Mary E. Huntington of January 31, 1909, in which she asks to Peirce: "What is the meaning of the Santiago in your name?". Perhaps Peirce gave some explanation to Mary in his answer, but the letter is not kept."

"Santiago" 1891 & 1892
Nubiola found published papers by the mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper which use "Charles Santiago Peirce": the paper "Christine Ladd Franklin" in El Progreso Matemático 12, pp. 297-300 (20 December 1891) and the paper "CHARLES SANTIAGO [*] PEIRCE y OSCAR HOWARD MITCHELL" in El Progreso Matemático 18, pp. 170-173 (15 June 1892). Prósper's footnote to the astrisk, as translated by Nubiola, says: "[*] Although it may seem strange, his first name is in English and his second is in Spanish; I do not know why." For the letters and papers, see Jaime Nubiola and Jesús Cobo, "The Spanish Mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper and his connections with Charles S. Peirce and Christine Ladd-Franklin" (version 11-6-2000).

Before the days of Google Book Search
Joseph Brent, history professor at the U District of Columbia, on pages 315–16 of his Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life, revised & enlarged edition, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1998, wrote:
"William James died in August 1910, leaving Peirce without the company of his one great friend although James's goodwill lived on in the Peirce fund, which went on without him. Peirce had taken the name Santiago (St. James) in May 1909, and thereafter often styled himself Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce.[122]

122. MS 318.
Brent in emails to the peirce-l forum claimed to have found Peirce explaining his motive in MS 318, but other scholars don't find it there. The issue was raised at peirce-l back in 2000. Brent at peirce-l wrote on September 6, 2000 and again on September 7, 2000 that he clearly remembers some manuscript wherein Peirce does say that he adopted "Santiago" in honor of William James. Brent suspected a manuscript numbering problem. Now, Peirce's use of the name "Santiago" before he had any reason for gratitude to James does not preclude that Brent read, somewhere, something similar to that which he remembers. The Peirce manuscript collection is vast. Maybe somewhere Peirce wrote that he retained (as opposed to adopted) the middle name "Santiago" in honor of James. I haven't heard that Brent has found the relevant manuscript.

Peter Skagestad's Endnote 1 (page 234) for Chapter 4 of The Road to Inquiry (1981) consists in the sentence:

After James' death in 1910, Peirce began signing his own name Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce, thereby canonizing his old friend 'Santiago,' i.e. St. James.
Brent said that it was May 1909, Skagestad said that it was 1910. Not so far apart. Might Skagestad have seen the manuscript that Brent seemed to remember? Responding to a question asked about it on peirce-l 28 years later (2009), Skagestad says, that the claim was quite uncontroversial at the time and he no longer remembers his source clearly but he talked with a great many people about Peirce in the late 1970s and it may have been oral tradition; he vaguely remembers hearing it from Henry David Aiken, who was a student of Ralph Barton Perry.

The claim of a gratitude connection between "Santiago" and William James goes back at least to William James's wife Alice, quoted in 1927 by F.C.S. Schiller on pp. 90-91 in "William James and the Making of Pragmatism" in The Personalist 8, April 1927: "In one of the last quinquennial catalogues, Peirce changed his middle name from Saunders to Santiago. It was long before I understood that it was a way of calling himself St. James, but there it stands Charles Santiago Peirce." (I gleaned that much from the Internet. I'm too lazy to shlep to the big libraries in Manhattan.) Anyway, the earliest Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard University which mentions Peirce with the middle name Santiago is 1910:

"Charles Sanders Peirce"

"Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce," "Charles S. Sanders Peirce," "Charles Sanders Peirce"

Here via Google Books you can see Peirce mentioned as "Charles Santiago Peirce" on Page 65 in the Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik, Yearbook on the Progress of Mathematics It says, in German, "Volume XXIV. Vintage(?) 1892 Berlin. Printing and Publishing by Georg Reimer. 1895." Here is the entry on Page 65:

Capitel 2. Philosophie und Pädagogik. 65
V. REYES y PRÓSPER. Charles Santiago Peirce y Oscar
Honward Mitchell. Progreso mat. II. 170-173.
Notiz über die auf die mathematische Logik bezüglichen Ar-
beiten dieser beiden Schriftsteller.
Tx. (Lp.)

In MS 1611 (1903), for manuscript directory and biographical dictionary of the Men of Science in the United States (see page at the Robin Catalogue), Peirce wrote: "(I am variously listed in print as Charles Santiago Peirce, Charles Saunders Peirce, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Under the circumstances a noncommittal S. suits me best)" (as quoted and sourced by Susan Howe, Pierce-Arrow, 1999, page 7, here via Google Book Search, and here (scroll down, click on "Features", scroll down) via Barnes & Noble).

Why "Santiago"?
Did it start as somebody's misprint which Peirce let stand? Ken Ketner has another theory on it in his biography (His Glassy Essence, p. 279ff, h/t Joe Ransdell), having to do with his hypothesis about Peirce's second wife being of Gypsy origins. Harold L. Orbach, in his November 2009 peirce-l post also linked a few paragraphs above, writes:
I will not attempt to summarize or paraphrase Ketner's discussion of why the apocryphal story that the adoption of _Santiago_ was a tribute to William James is erroneous, nor his presentation of the basis for viewing it as "informally ... paying tribute to his wife ... and to her cultural origins as a Spanish woman who was a Gitano, or Spanish Gypsy of Andalusia." It involves the historical relationship of the movement of the Gypsys into Spain along the famous pilgimage to Santiago de Compostella, Santiago as the patron Saint of Spain, Julliette Peirce's being in Spain at the time Schroeder's _Logik_ was published, and other reasons which everyone interested in the matter should read in Ketner's own words in the full context of his discussion of Mrs. Peirce's background and the origins and character of their relationship and marriage.

I will note that some thirteen years ago I was travelling with two French friends in the backroads of Dordogne and we passed along a number of historical sites that formed part of the route used by those making pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, all having plaques or other forms of identifying these parts of the route through southern France.
For my part, I turned up something that leads to the conjecture that the name "Santiago" has something to do with a visit by Louis Agassiz to Chile. Agassiz arrived in Santiago, Chile, to find news of winning a high honor which the Emperor of Brazil had sought for him. Agassiz was a close friend of Benjamin Peirce, and Charles studied under Agassiz. Charles likely heard a lot about that trip.


In 1906 and later, Peirce used "Santiago Sanders" -- both middle names together.

1906: "Mr. Peterson's Proposed Discussion", The Monist, vol. XVI, no. 1, pp. 147 to 151: "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce".
1906: "Prolegomena To an Apology For Pragmaticism", The Monist, vol. XVI (misprinted "VI"), no. 4 , pp. 492 to 546 "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce".
1908: "Some Amazing Mazes", The Monist, vol. XVIII, No. 2, pp. 227 to 241 "Charles S. S. Peirce"
1908: "Some Amazing Mazes (Conclusion), Explanation of curiosity the First", The Monist, vol. XVIII, No. 3, pp. 416 to 464: on p. 461: "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce".
1910: Passage from letter to Francis C. Russell quoted in Carus, Paul, "On the Nature of Logical and Mathematical Thought", The Monist, vol. XX, no. 1, pp. 33-75, quote on on p. 45, Carus mentions "Charles S. S. Peirce".
1910: Added explanatory note quoted in Carus, Paul, "Non-Aristotelian Logic", The Monist, vol. XX, no. 1 on pp. 158 - 159, Carus mentions "Charles S. S. Peirce".


Ben Udell said...

I can't believe how much editing this post still needed when I published it. Sorry, folks!

Joe Ransdell said...

Great piece of scholarship, Ben! I'll just add that it was Max Fisch that I passed the information to back in 1965. I noticed Peirce's use of it in the volume three of Schroeder's Vorlesungen.

eepodcast said...

Hello Ben, I am thrilled to find your blog, I have recently started blogging myself as I have discovered American Philosophy and Peirce as part of that stream. ( I am swimming right now in the confusion of getting started with Peirce's work, but I can already recognize the significance of it and am excited to find out more. It looks like your blog is going to help a lot.

Ben Udell said...

Thank you, Joe!

Hello, eepodcast. Come to think of it, just a few weeks ago I was reading some things by Howard G. Callaway on Emerson, American philosophy, Santayana, etc. Howard used to post at peirce-l.