Gilfillan was born in St. Paul, Minn.; A.B. Social Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1910. Served in U.S. Army, 1917-1919; master's and doctorate degrees in sociology, Columbia University, 1920. At the University of the South, 1921-1924. Curator of transportation and social science, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, 1929-1930; assistant professor of social science, Purdue University, 1937-1938. Lecturer at Northwestern University, 1940; research associate at the University of Chicago, 1941-1950.
Includes Gilfillan's correspondence, 1951-1978, and a number of papers written by him. Gilfillan was a charter member of the Society for the History of Technology in 1958. His SHOT correspondence, particularly with Melvin Kranzberg, constitutes a segment of the correspondence, 1957-1978. Much of the correspondence concerns the ideas incorporated in Gilfillan's major work, SOCIOLOGY OF INVENTION (1935) and the SUPPLEMENT to it, published in 1971.
S. Colum Gilfillan Papers, 1921-1978, Archives Center, National Museum of American History