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After his retirement in 1947 the Carnegie Corporation of New York persuadedhim to write a history of American state universities, which came to interest him in-tensely. At the end of a year he had written half of the book and sorted his lastnotes. He notified the university administration that he was unable to complete thejob before leaving his study for the hospital where he died, October 24, 1948. Thevolume is being completed by one of his students, Professor Walton E. Bean of theUniversity of California.
Even following his retirement in 1947, Paxson continued to take notes specifically on education for a project which he never got to finish before he died in hospital on October 24, 1948.