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Dorothy Siegel Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UM 135

Content Description

Dr. Dorothy Siegel’s collection includes mostly professional and some personal content from her years at MIT and through each career opportunity she held through the University of Toledo until her retirement in 2010. The arrangement focuses on the coursework she presented to students in her linguistic classes, her personal lesson plans, syllabi, and notes for success. In addition, this collection includes a summation of original and published research documents and speeches surrounding the research topics that Siegel pursued.

Series 1, Coursework, contains lesson plans, syllabi, handouts, exams, student papers, and homework assignments in the topics of morphology, English 315, English 416, Syntax, Language and the Brain, Apraxia, and Shakespeare. Series 2, Research, contains research and presentations written by Dr. Siegel throughout her career. Some highlights of this series include sequential copies of Why there is no=boundary, Some Lexical Constraints in English, On Contractions, and The Adjacency Condition and Theory of Morphology. Series 3, Presentations, contains presentations given at New York University, University of Toledo, Indiana University, to the National Endowment for the Humanities, and presentations regarding Lexical Constraints in English, Dialects, and The Adjacency Condition and Theory of Morphology. Series 4, Correspondence, contains miscellaneous correspondence between Dr. Siegel and students, other faculty members, parents, and committees. Series 5, University, includes important documents regarding Dr. Siegel’s promotions, salary adjustment offers, graduate council minutes, and certificates of appointments. Series 6, College, contains documents pertaining to the College of Arts and Sciences including the Arts and Sciences Committee meetings and Annual Reports of Professional Activities.

Series 7, Article Files, contains documents Dr. Siegel used to compliment her coursework and articles she found relevant to her life. Highlights of this section include Project Grammarama, The Snowman (Wallace Stevens), Dreamsong (Berryman), and The Death of a Soldier lecture and handout notes.

Section 8, Fellowships, contains information pertaining to Siegel’s fellowships at MIT, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Toledo. This section contains linguistics curriculum standards information relevant to developing graduate students and opportunities Siegel sought for students and herself to advance within the academic world.

Series 9, Julian Jaynes Seminar Event, contains files and correspondence that led to the seminar that Dorothy arranged with the presentation and discussions surrounding Jaynes research. Some of the files included arrangements for publicity leading up to the event, thank you letters from the Dean, logistics agendas, Jaynes credentials, questions Siegel had for Jaynes, and correspondence between the two as earlier as a year before the event happened.


  • 1964-1999

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials may be accessed by request at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of the William S. Carlson Library on the main campus of the University of Toledo. Materials do not circulate.

Conditions Governing Use

In most cases, the Canaday Center does not own the copyright and literary rights to items in its collections; it is the responsibility of the researcher to adhere to U.S. Copyright and Fair Use laws, including seeking permission from the copyright holder and payment of any royalty fees, in the reproduction and use of archival materials. Providing copies or scans does not constitute a license to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.

Biographical / Historical

University of Toledo linguist Dorothy Siegel was born in New York City in 1947 and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Before coming to the University of Toledo in 1977, she received her undergraduate education at Brandeis University in 1970 and went on to earn a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Foreign Literature and Linguistics in 1974. During her academic training, she completed her dissertation Topics in English Morphology. This work would become a steppingstone into her career in linguistics and dedication to University excellence.

After receiving her Ph.D., Siegel served as a visiting assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder before ascending to her lifelong career at the University of Toledo. In 1977, her career began, and Siegel quickly got involved in serving on many University Committees, including the Arts and Sciences Council and Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. From the beginning, she advocated for students and staff through her expert knowledge of language, value for education, and professional development. From 1977-1981 she received exemplary reviews for her dedication to students and the impact she made in her department allowing her to quickly be promoted to an associate professor of linguistics and later achieving the honor of emeritus at the University of Toledo.

Siegel’s lifelong research was devoted to groundbreaking topic in a part of linguistics theory called lexical phonology. The premise of this theory surrounds the way grammar is organized, its argument is that all morphological processes, including those in phonology are carried out in the lexicon. She also focused on the structure of English words, phonological words and phrases, and the relationship between linguistics and aphasia in the brain. At the University of Toledo, Siegel taught classes regarding intro topics in linguistics, language and the brain, apraxia and aphasia, syntax, and morphology. Her teaching style was extremely interactive, and student centered as she frequently assigned personalized assignments and interacted with students through using a projector. Many of her classes and topics survive in the English department today, specifically English 3150, and English 4160.

Throughout her career, Siegel collaborated with researchers through her fellowships at the National Endowment for the Humanities, where she served on the Linguistic Society of America’s Undergraduate Program Advisory Committee and evaluated grant applications, advised students on their careers, and assisted many in applying to prestigious graduate programs in linguistics. She also presented and collaborated works through each program which granted her esteem within the academic community.

In the 1980s and 1990s it was common for faculty to bring in guest speakers through seminar sessions with students and staff. Dr. Siegel spearheaded one of the most attended events by extending a seminar invitation to Dr. Julian Jaynes, an American researcher and psychologist with credentials from Yale and Princeton University. Jaynes research was a clear example of the intersectionality between the psychology of consciousness and linguistics. Through their correspondence and connection through the National Science Foundation, Siegel invited Jaynes to the University of Toledo in 1986 where he gave a successful lecture on his work On the Origin of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind. The organization of the event and shared information between Siegel and Jaynes would inspire lots of her coursework and questions regarding the relationship between language and the brain. Siegel gave her students opportunities to grow in the seminar and many wrote insightful reflections about the intersectionality of psychology and linguistics following the event. Dr. Siegel would retire from the University of Toledo in 2010 after 33 years of teaching. In this time, she would spend more days practicing her avid hobby of scrabble, where she was unbeatable and enjoyed baseball and college football. Her warmth, wit, and love of stimulating conversation would be remembered past her death on September 22, 2019.


8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Penny Gentieu

Condition Description

Fair to good

Dorothy Siegel Papers, 1964-1999
Kristina Sweet
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections Repository

2801 West Bancroft Street
William S. Carlson Library, Fifth Floor
Toledo Ohio 43606 United States