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D37, 1953 - 1974

 File — Box: 20, Folder: 8
Identifier: Folder 8

Scope and Contents

From the Collection: Dating from 1940-2000 and filling 45 boxes, the Francis L. K. Hsu Papers document Hsu's prominence as an anthropology professor and scholar specializing in kinship patterns and cultural comparisons between large, literate societies, namely, the United States, China, India, and Japan. The papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, teaching files, student files, research files and notebooks, interview transcripts, lecture/conference notes and records, and publication files. The bulk of the papers dates from 1970-1992, with correspondence forming the largest category. Very few documents date post-1992, when Hsu's health began to deteriorate and his workload decreased. Many documents and notes are in Chinese.

Biographical materials span the years 1941-2000 and begin with short biographical sketches, Curriculum Vitae including a short C.V. of Hsu's wife Vera, and additions to Hsu's C.V. required by Northwestern University each academic year. Newspaper clippings and press releases pertain to Hsu's career and also include obituaries. Materials relating to Hsu's memoir, My Life as a Marginal Man) include correspondence with co-author George L.T. Hsu (no relation), research notes, interview notes, and preliminary chapters. In addition, one folder contains a section of a journal as well as an address book.

Hsu's general (A-Z) and subject correspondence fills fourteen boxes and dates from 1945-1994, with the vast majority dating between the years 1973 and 1978, Hsu's last year at Northwestern University. Included are both incoming and copies of outgoing correspondence. Correspondence is divided into General (A-Z) Correspondence and Subject Correspondence. The files are organized alphabetically and within each folder the correspondence is arranged chronologically. The majority of the correspondence is in English, but a sizeable portion is in Chinese. General (A-Z) correspondence files include personal correspondence with colleagues and students/former students relating to Hsu's scholarship and teaching. Letters to airlines, hotels, and hosting universities reveal Hsu's personality and frugal nature. The General (A-Z) and Subject distinction reflect Hsu's original order and in many cases it is not clear why a person, group, topic was given a subject file as opposed to a person, group, or topic equal in significance and size. The researcher is encouraged to search both general and subject files as well as various headings because correspondence relating to a certain person may be filed by name, name of organization or university, or conference name.

A few subject files relate to individuals, but most relate to universities, lectures, publications, organizations, and other institutions. Most of the correspondence regarding China, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan travel and study is in Chinese. Hsu's correspondence with organizations and institutions illustrates Hsu's close relationship with the American Anthropological Association, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the East-West Communication Institute. Many of the subject files consist of correspondence relating to lecture arrangements and travel plans (See also Lectures and Conferences files). Correspondence with publishers relating to Hsu's past and future publications is filed by publisher name; see also files on the books and articles in the publication category. Recommendations regarding colleagues, students, and scholarly works are also included in subject files. A folder of correspondence with political figures such as Illinois senators Adlai Stevenson and Charles Percy document Hsu's civic activism and desire for improved U.S. / China relations.

Teaching files date between the years 1946 and 1987. Most of the records relate to Hsu's teaching career at Northwestern. Extensive lecture notes written in both English and Chinese, in outline form and longhand comprise the bulk of the teaching files. Also, selected student papers of quality are interspersed in various classes. Records are organized by course number and date. For each course, folders contain first general materials (syllabi, exams, assignments, and readings lists), then lecture notes, and finally any student papers. Teaching files from other institutions (Cornell University, New York University, University of Hawaii, and the University of San Francisco) are placed after the Northwestern University files.

Student filesfill three boxes and document Hsu's undergraduate and graduate students at Northwestern, University of Hawaii, and University of San Francisco between 1949 and 1978. Files are arranged individually by name and chronologically within each folder. Student files contain correspondence regarding student work as well as student papers and proposals.

Research Filesfill twelve boxes and ten card files boxes and consist of research notes, notebooks, and interview files. Research notes cover the years 1959-1987, but the research notebooks and index cards are undated. Hsu also included newspapers clippings in his research files on subjects such as violence, religion, and marriage. Notes are hand written or typed, in Chinese or English. Notes are divided by subject and focus on Hsu's central research topics such as Kinship, the Chinese in Hawaii, and Japan. One box contains notes that have an unidentified origin and association. Research notebooks are similar in form and scope, but all lack identification.

Most of the interview files include a transcript and green plastic audio record of interviews Hsu conducted in 1949 as part of his field research in Hawaii. Some files include materials from Hsu's 1970 follow-up interviews. Interview files are arranged alphabetically by the name of the interviewee, but in some cases, a folder includes all individuals with the same last name. Two folders of unidentified interview notes range from 1949 to 1975.

Ten card-file boxes contain index cards, notes, and small notebooks relating to Hsu's research and field excursions. The cards and notes retain Hsu's original order and in many cases have separator cards that identify the subject.

Lecture and Conference files span the years 1947 to 1991 and fill four boxes. Lectures are organized chronologically with the exception of the Tallahassee Lecture and two lecture series entitled “Understanding China” and “Kinship and Violence.” These lectures each filled an entire folder and retained the original filing method. Lecture files include outlines, hand written and typed lectures, brochures, and programs. Conference files are also arranged chronologically and include materials from conferences Hsu attended or participated. Materials include programs, brochures, and speech transcripts.

The publications files fill over five boxes and span the years 1940-1995. Publications files include materials regarding general and translation correspondence, articles, books, filmstrips, reviews, and unpublished writings. This category also includes figures and diagrams, print references to Hsu's theories, journal refereeing, permissions granted, and requests for reprints. The correspondence included in this section covers general publication matters as well as information regarding the Chinese translations of Hsu's books. Articles are arranged chronologically and include reprints of Hsu's published articles from 1940-1990. Books include prefaces, drafts and also the Chinese translation of Rugged Individualism Reconsidered and American and Chinese. The text for the two series of filmstrips Hsu created about China and Japan.

Reviews include those by Hsu and those written by others of Hsu's works as well as small amounts of correspondence relating to the review. The reviews that Hsu authored are arranged chronologically. One general folder of reviews of Hsu's works is arranged chronologically and the other folders are organized by book title. Unpublished materials include articles, book chapters, and several titled works which appear to be book manuscripts. One folder contains an unpublished forward to Americans and Chinese by Pearl S. Buck. Another folder contains unidentified writing fragments that lack context and are often missing pages.


  • 1953 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

Student Files and Journal Refereeing files can only be accessed with the permission of the University Archivist.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


From the Collection: 62.00 Boxes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US