Guide to the Robert H. Wiebe (1930-2000) Papers

Collection Title: Robert H. Wiebe (1930-2000) Papers
Dates: 1949-2000
Bulk Dates: 1980-2000
Identification: 11/3/16/19
Creator: Wiebe, Robert H.
Extent: 6 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Robert Wiebe Papers consist of biographical, correspondence, financial, University, department, teaching, advising, presentation, publication, and typescript files. Materials dating from approximately 1980 to 2000 form the bulk of the series.
Dating from 1949 to 2000, the biographical materials consist of research reports, curriculum vitae, press releases, and obituaries documenting Wiebe's education and career in academia. Spanning from 1974 to 1993, family history includes Wiebe's reminiscences of his parents as well as letters from Wiebe to his granddaughter, Ellery.
Correspondence files date from 1967 to 2000 and comprise subject folders of both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Alphabetically arranged, the files document Wiebe's employment at Northwestern; his involvement in the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and Gray Panthers, an organization for political activism; his travels; and his research fellowships. Prominent correspondents include historians Sam Bass Warner, Thomas Bender, and Kenneth Stampp.
Spanning the years 1957 to 2000, the restricted financial documents relate to Wiebe's inheritance from his parents and his publishing royalties.
Northwestern University files date between 1965 and 2000 and consist of Wiebe's notes, reports, and correspondence relating to university policies, programs, and committees. History Department files span from 1970 to 1999 and comprise notes, reports, and correspondence pertaining mainly to the history graduate program and the department's visiting faculty. Restricted files refer to departmental hiring decisions.
Acquisition Information: The Robert Wiebe Papers were donated to Northwestern University as Accession 01-99 by Penny Whiteside on July 11, 2001. Materials from the University Archives Faculty Biographical Files were incorporated into the Papers.
Processing Information: Rae Sikula Bielakowski, October 2001
Separated Materials: Approximately one-half of a linear foot of duplicate and extraneous material was separated and discarded. Photographs relating to Wiebe's travels in Japan were separated and added to the University Archives' photograph collection.
Conditions Governing Access: Restricted folders of financial, student, and faculty information are accessible only by permission of the University Archivist.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Robert Huddleston Wiebe, renowned historian and professor at Northwestern University, was born in Amarillo, Texas on April 22, 1930 to chemist Richard Wiebe—a Mennonite German immigrant—and his wife, Jean Huddleston, a librarian and former doctoral candidate in Physics. After graduating Magna cum Laude from Carleton College in 1951, Robert Wiebe pursued graduate studies in American history at the University of Rochester until 1954, when the U.S. Army drafted him for service in Munich, Germany. After two years of active duty, Wiebe—now on inactive reserve—completed his final year of doctoral work at Rochester and received his Ph.D. in 1957.

He taught history courses at Michigan State University (1957-1958) and Columbia University (1958-1960) before Northwestern engaged him as an assistant professor of history in 1960. Married first to Allene Davis and later to Penny Whiteside, Wiebe had three sons, Douglas (1957), Eric (1960), and Patrick (1964).

Although Wiebe's first book, Businessmen and Reform, appeared in 1962, it was The Search for Order 1877-1920 (1967) that made his reputation as a leading scholar of the American Progressive Era. Challenging Richard Hofstadter's seminal Age of Reform, The Search for Order synthesized Progressive-Era history as a transition, spearheaded by the new middle class, from community to bureaucratic organizations and values. Wiebe's later works include The Segmented Society: An Introduction to the Meaning of America (1975); The Opening of American Society: From the Adoption of the Constitution to the Eve of Disunion (1984); and Self-Rule: A Cultural History of American Democracy (1995). Princeton University Press has scheduled one additional book, Who We Are: A History of Popular Nationalism, for posthumous publication in 2002. In addition, Wiebe prepared numerous articles and conference presentations on subjects of Progressivism, nationalism, and American democracy—his major areas of research.

Apart from “visiting” appointments at Harvard University (1972-1973), Kyoto University (1980), and University of Cambridge (1984-1985), Wiebe actively served Northwestern's students and history department as assistant professor (1960-1963); associate professor (1963-1965); professor (1965-1997); and professor emeritus (1997-2000). In the course of his professional career he served on faculty search committees, the University's General Faculty Committee, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the History Department's Ver Steeg Committee; sponsored many visiting scholars from Japan; founded the University's American Culture Program; and taught graduate and undergraduate courses. Personally committed to social justice causes, Wiebe opposed the Vietnam War, supported the civil rights movement, and was a leader in the activist group Gray Panthers during the 1990s. He constantly mentored his department's Ph.D. candidates, continuing to supervise doctoral dissertations until his death on December 10, 2000. Memorial services were held at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Evanston.

Scope and Content

The Robert Wiebe Papers consist of biographical, correspondence, financial, University, department, teaching, advising, presentation, publication, and typescript files. Materials dating from approximately 1980 to 2000 form the bulk of the series.

Dating from 1949 to 2000, the biographical materials consist of research reports, curriculum vitae, press releases, and obituaries documenting Wiebe's education and career in academia. Spanning from 1974 to 1993, family history includes Wiebe's reminiscences of his parents as well as letters from Wiebe to his granddaughter, Ellery.

Correspondence files date from 1967 to 2000 and comprise subject folders of both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Alphabetically arranged, the files document Wiebe's employment at Northwestern; his involvement in the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and Gray Panthers, an organization for political activism; his travels; and his research fellowships. Prominent correspondents include historians Sam Bass Warner, Thomas Bender, and Kenneth Stampp.

Spanning the years 1957 to 2000, the restricted financial documents relate to Wiebe's inheritance from his parents and his publishing royalties. Royalty files are arranged alphabetically by publication.

Northwestern University files date between 1965 and 2000 and consist of Wiebe's notes, reports, and correspondence relating to university policies, programs, and committees. History Department files span from 1970 to 1999 and comprise notes, reports, and correspondence pertaining mainly to the history graduate program and the department's visiting faculty. Restricted files refer to departmental hiring decisions.

Arranged according to departmental alphanumeric course codes, the teaching files contain syllabi, lecture notes, and examination questions from Wiebe's graduate and undergraduate courses. One restricted folder includes student grades from 1979 to 1998.

Restricted advising files span the years 1987 to 2000 and are arranged alphabetically by student name. They include research proposals, papers, reading lists, and correspondence to and from both graduate and undergraduate students.

Arranged alphabetically by topic, the research files span the years 1996 to 2000 and comprise Wiebe's notes, bibliographies, drafts, and incoming correspondence relating to various research topics.

Dating from 1962 to 2000, presentation files document Wiebe's speeches and lectures at academic conferences and for television programs. Consisting of notes, typescripts, and correspondence, the files are arranged alphabetically by presentation title—excepting eight files of untitled or variously titled presentations, which are arranged alphabetically by venue.

Article files date from 1958 to 1998 and comprise notes, drafts, reader reviews, and correspondence to and from publishers documenting the revision and publication of Wiebe's scholarly articles. The files are arranged alphabetically by article title. One folder of article reprints illustrates the final form of many publications.

Spanning from 1972 to 2000, book files include reader reviews, notes, contracts, and incoming and outgoing correspondence pertaining to the publication of Wiebe's monographs. The files are arranged alphabetically by book title.

One folder of book reviews by Wiebe dates from 1962 to 1987 and comprises clippings of Wiebe's published reviews of other author's work. A folder of book reviews of Search for Order dating from 1967 to 1969 contains clippings that document other authors' assessments of Wiebe's seminal work.

Finally, the undated typescripts of apparently unpublished history papers are arranged alphabetically by title.

Arrangement of Materials

While files are arranged alphabetically within each category, the materials within each folder are in chronological order.

Subjects

Geographical Name

United States--History--Study and teaching

Personal Name

Wiebe, Robert H.

Subjects

College teachers--Illinois--Evanston

History teachers--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical
    • Biographical materials, 1949-2000Box 1, Folder 1
    • Family history, 1974-1993Box 1, Folder 2
  • Correspondence
    • Academic Freedom, 1977-1978Box 1, Folder 3
    • American Antiquarian Society, 1993Box 1, Folder 4
    • American Historical Association (AHA), 1972-1986Box 1, Folder 5
    • Centre College, 1996Box 1, Folder 6
    • Chicago Conference in American City History, 1990Box 1, Folder 7
    • Correspondence: Employment opportunities, 1969-1996Box 1, Folder 8
    • Fellowships, 1963-1992Box 1, Folder 9
    • Gray Panthers, 1988-1990Box 1, Folder 10
    • Gray Panthers, 1991-1992Box 1, Folder 11
    • Gray Panthers, 1993Box 1, Folder 12
    • Gray Panthers, n.d.Box 1, Folder 13
    • Institute of Governmental Studies, 1996-1997Box 1, Folder 14
    • Jack Thomas Tribute, 1992-1995Box 1, Folder 15
    • National Commission on Civic Renewal, 1996-1997Box 1, Folder 16
    • NEH Masterworks Study, 1992Box 1, Folder 17
    • New York University, 1996Box 1, Folder 18
    • Newberry Fellowship, 1988-1989Box 1, Folder 19
    • Organization of American Historians (OAH), 1967-1977Box 1, Folder 20
    • Spencer Grant, 1996-1997Box 1, Folder 21
    • Travels, 1993-1997Box 2, Folder 1
  • Financial Documents
    • Inheritance, 1964-1990Box 2, Folder 2
    • Royalties, "Businessmen and Reform", 1957-2000Box 2, Folder 3
    • Royalties, "Great Republic", 1973-2000Box 2, Folder 4
    • Royalties, "Search for Order", 1962-2000Box 2, Folder 5
    • Royalties, "Segmented Society", 1975-2000Box 2, Folder 6
  • Northwestern University
    • GeneralBox 2, Folder 7
    • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Membership, 1995-1996Box 2, Folder 8
    • Anthropology Department Faculty Search, 1993-1994Box 2, Folder 9
    • General Faculty Committee, 1963-1964Box 2, Folder 10
    • Program for American Culture, n.d.Box 2, Folder 11
    • Promotion and Tenure Committee, 1986-1987Box 3, Folder 1
    • Sexual Harrassment Policies, 1988-1990Box 3, Folder 2
  • History Department
    • Faculty Search, 1970Box 3, Folder 3
    • Teaching Assistants, 1986-1993Box 3, Folder 4
    • U.S. History General Field Examination, 1994-1999Box 3, Folder 5
    • Ver Steeg Visitor Committee, 1991-1994Box 3, Folder 6
    • Visiting Scholar Eisaku Kihira, 1981-1986Box 3, Folder 7
    • Visiting Scholar Kotaro Nakano, 1998-1999Box 3, Folder 8
    • Visiting Scholar Masugi Shimada, 1990-1993Box 3, Folder 9
    • Visiting Scholar Ryo Yokoyama, 1984-1991Box 3, Folder 10
    • Visiting Scholar Yumi Terada, 1998-1999Box 3, Folder 11
  • Teaching Files
    • History A02 [variable titles], 1978-1996Box 3, Folder 12
    • History B10-1 “The United States to 1865”, 1983-1995Box 3, Folder 13
    • History B10-2 [U.S. survey since 1865], 1984Box 3, Folder 14
    • History C01-1 “Defining American Democracy”, 1991Box 3, Folder 15
    • History C91 “History of American Democracy”, 1989-1995Box 3, Folder 16
    • History C92 “Public Issues in U.S. History”, 1991-1994Box 3, Folder 17
    • History D11 “Literature of U.S. History”, 1972-1982Box 3, Folder 18
    • History D14 “United States, 1850-1914”, 1987Box 3, Folder 19
    • History D15 [20th century U.S. history], 1990Box 3, Folder 20
    • History D18 [U.S. history], 1976-1980Box 3, Folder 21
    • History D90 “The City”, 1997Box 3, Folder 22
    • History D92 [variable titles], 1995-1996Box 3, Folder 23
    • “A New Look at 20th Century America” [non-credit course], 1962Box 3, Folder 24
    • History 168a “American Social History, 1820-1930” [at unknown institution], 1972-1973Box 3, Folder 25
    • “History of American Democracy” [at Free University of Berlin], 1997-2000Box 3, Folder 26
    • Grades, 1979-1998Box 4, Folder 1
  • Advising
    • General, 1962-1999Box 4, Folder 2
    • Beneke, Chris, 1998-2000Box 4, Folder 3
    • Bowler, Susan M., 1987Box 4, Folder 4
    • Fenton, Sarah, 1997-1999Box 4, Folder 5
    • Hurley, Andrew, 1987Box 4, Folder 6
    • Rosenberg, Ross, n.d.Box 4, Folder 7
    • Selinfreund, Rachel, 1993Box 4, Folder 8
    • Sherow, Bonnie Lynn (Hamer), 1993-1998Box 4, Folder 9
    • Standora, L. Christopher, 1993Box 4, Folder 10
  • Research
    • General, n.d.Box 4, Folder 11
    • Popular Nationalism, 1996-1999Box 4, Folder 12
    • South Africa, 2000Box 4, Folder 13
  • Presentations
    • General, 1972-1995Box 4, Folder 14
    • America's Self-Images Leave Home”, 1987-1988Box 4, Folder 15
    • “Big Changes in American Democracy”, 1990Box 4, Folder 16
    • Comments, ASA Panel on “center/margin discourse”, 1988Box 4, Folder 17
    • “Comments on 'Search for Order'”, 1970-1989Box 4, Folder 18
    • Comments on "Early Republic", 1996Box 4, Folder 19
    • “Common Origins of Democracy, Nationalism, and Socialism”, 2000Box 4, Folder 20
    • Convocation Speech, Northwestern University College of Arts and Sciences, 1996Box 4, Folder 21
    • “Cornerstones” WBKB TV series, 1962Box 4, Folder 22
    • “Dissent and the Twenties”, 1961Box 4, Folder 23
    • “Fires, Pigs, and Knives”, 1990-1991Box 4, Folder 24
    • “Framing United States History”, 1999Box 4, Folder 25
    • “Information Technologies in Historical Context”, 1987Box 4, Folder 26
    • Introduction, “The Context of Public Discourse”, 1998Box 5, Folder 1
    • “Nationalism in America”, 1995Box 5, Folder 2
    • “Nationalism in America”, 1996Box 5, Folder 3
    • “Nationalism: The Making of the Modern World”, 1996Box 5, Folder 4
    • “The Problem of Democracy in America”, 1988-1989Box 5, Folder 5
    • “The Problem of Nationalism”, 1997Box 5, Folder 6
    • “Reconsidering Nationalism”, 1996Box 5, Folder 7
    • “Re-thinking the Origins of Nationalism”, 1999Box 5, Folder 8
    • “Robert H. Wiebe's "The Search for Order": A Thirty-Year Retrospective”, 1995-1997Box 5, Folder 9
    • “A Scaffolding for the Study of American Democracy”, 1991Box 5, Folder 10
    • “The Urban Historian as Citizen: In Honor of Sam Bass Warner, Jr.”, 1995Box 5, Folder 11
    • “A Usable Past,” WBBM TV series, 1971Box 5, Folder 12
    • “What Is Happening in the World Today”, 1992Box 5, Folder 13
    • [various] Cambridge University, 1984Box 5, Folder 14
    • [untitled] Illinois Humanities Council, 1995Box 5, Folder 15
    • [various] Japan tour, 1996Box 5, Folder 16
    • [untitled] Kyoto American Studies lectures, 1980Box 5, Folder 17
    • [untitled] Ohio University, 1996Box 5, Folder 18
    • [untitled] Northern Illinois University, 1996-1997Box 5, Folder 19
    • [untitled] Williamsburg Conference on American Culture, 1989Box 5, Folder 20
    • [untitled] Woodrow Wilson Center Conference, 1988Box 5, Folder 21
  • Publications
    • Book Reviews by Wiebe, 1962-1987Box 6, Folder 5
    • Book Reviews of Wiebe's "Search for Order", 1967-1969Box 6, Folder 6
    • Article Reprints, 1958-1997Box 6, Folder 7
    • Unpublished Article: “What's Wrong with Nationalism?”, 1997-1998Box 6, Folder 8
    • Articles
      • “Democracy”, 1997-1998Box 5, Folder 22
      • “Humanizing Nationalism”, 1996Box 5, Folder 23
      • “Imagined Communities, Nationalist Experiences”, 1999Box 5, Folder 24
      • “Lincoln's Fraternal Democracy”, n.d.Box 5, Folder 25
      • “Richard Hofstadter”, 1984-1985Box 5, Folder 26
      • “The Social Function of Public Education”, 1970-1979Box 5, Folder 27
    • Books
      • "The Great Republic", 1972-1983Box 6, Folder 1
      • "The Segmented Society", 1973-1987Box 6, Folder 2
      • "Self-Rule", 1991-2000Box 6, Folder 3
      • "Who We Are", 2000Box 6, Folder 4
  • Typescript
    • “Building a New Society in Early Nineteenth-Century America”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 9
    • “Chicago, The Hope of Business Compromise” [graduate paper], n.d.Box 6, Folder 10
    • “Commercial Revolution in Early Nineteenth-Century America”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 11
    • “Democracy and Class in American History”, 1987Box 6, Folder 12
    • “Neutral Ground”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 13
    • “Old Deal, New Deal”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 14
    • “Progressivism: Problems and Hypotheses”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 15
    • “Quantitative and Qualitative American History”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 16
    • “Studying Nationalism”, n.d.Box 6, Folder 17