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Donald T. Campbell (1919-1996) Papers, 1928-2006

Identifier: 11/3/23/8

Scope and Contents

The Donald Campbell papers, which span the period from 1928 to 2006, document--typically in great detail--the principal activities of his life and career. The bulk of the collection dates from 1947, when Campbell first joined the faculty at The Ohio State University, to his death in 1996, at which time he was professor emeritus at Lehigh University. The Campbell papers are divided into four sub-series: biographical files, correspondence and subject files, papers and lectures, and the records of an extensive research project on ethnocentrism conducted in Africa, the Arctic, and around the Pacific.

The biographical files fill over 11 boxes and cover the span of Campbell's career as a student and professor. A lengthy, posthumously-compiled curriculum vitae compiled in 2004 (Box 1, Folder 1) provides much information about Campbell's career and publications. His early education is documented by educational records from elementary school, high school, and junior college, and by representative undergraduate work (roughly one box of notes from various psychology courses taken by Campbell during the period 1937-1939). Several more boxes are dedicated generally to Campbell's time as a graduate student, including course notes, research files, and thesis materials. One file relates to his military service. Following are a group of files relating to Campbell's teaching career on the faculties of The Ohio State University, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Syracuse University, and Lehigh University. Materials found within these folders include clippings, documents relating to awards and recognitions, and pertinent correspondence. The files dedicated to Campbell's tenure at Lehigh University also include a set of datebooks spanning the years 1983-1994. The biographical materials conclude with files relating to Donald Campbell's death, memorial service, and estate, including several folders of obituaries and memorial tributes.

The correspondence and subject files make up a considerable portion of the Campbell papers, filling roughly 120 boxes with his correspondence with students, colleagues, collaborators, editors, and with a multitude of academic societies, associations, and institutions. A majority of the files in this section refer to individuals with whom Campbell interacted. Files may also contain significant works written by Campbell's correspondents. Heavily documented within the correspondence and subject files are Campbell's involvement in the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA files include over one box of minutes, correspondence, and administrative materials relating to the organization, ranging in date from 1950 to 1996. APA materials also feature a file on Campbell's presidency of the organization during the period 1973-1976. Campbell's teaching files are also extensive, comprising more than eight boxes of material related to specific courses he taught between 1947 and 1995, as well as records of his visiting professorships and lectureships at Harvard, Oxford, and Yale. Additional subject files extensively document Campbell's involvement in the Epistemologically Relevant Internalist Sociology of Science (ERISS) Conference of 1981, the Information Test on the American Negro (1951-1952), the Public Opinion Research Project (1948-1948), the Social Science Research Council, the Society for Social Studies of Science, and the United States Military Leadership Tests (1952-1954).

The papers and lectures section of the Campbell collection incorporates roughly 50 boxes of material related to published papers and texts of lectures delivered by Campbell. Files typically include initial research, notes, outlines, drafts, and revisions of academic papers. Papers written solely by Campbell as well as co-authored materials are included. Included in this section are several boxes of material pertaining to Campbell's noted William James Lectures delivered at Harvard in 1977 on the subject of evolutionary epistemology. A complete listing of all of Campbell's work can be found in Box 133, Folder 10. More than thirty boxes relate to Campbell's research, in collaboration with University of Chicago anthropologist Robert A. LeVine, on ethnocentrism. This research, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, was rooted in the need to study interethnic relations and attitudes in a scientific manner. A majority of the material found here relates to Africa, and dates from 1959 to the mid-late 1960s, while some material does extend into the 1970s, and pertains to Asia, Australia, and the Arctic. This category is subdivided into several smaller subcategories including administrative files, correspondence, notes on the African tribes that Campbell investigated, surveys conducted by Campbell's students, and the drafts of articles and books that were produced from this project. Campbell and LeVine's work culminated in the publication of their book Ethnocentrism: Theories of Conflict, Ethnic Attitudes, and Group Behavior (Wiley, 1972).


  • 1928-2006
  • Majority of material found in 1947-1996


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Teaching files (Boxes 112-120) are restricted and may be used only with permission of the University Archivist.


208.00 Boxes


In 1953 Donald Campbell becamse associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University, advancing to full professor in 1958. He left Northwestern in 1979 to take up a position at Syracuse University. His papers document the principal activities of Campbell's life and his career as a professor of psychology whose research focused on scientific inquiry, which he explored in methodological treatises on field research and research design. The bulk of the collection dates between 1947 and 1996 and includes biographical files, correspondence and subject files, papers and lectures.


The papers of Donald Campbell are organized into: biographical files (in chronological order); correspondence and subject files (arranged alphabetically by topical headings); papers and lectures (arranged alphabetically by title); and the records of an extensive research project on ethnocentrism conducted in Africa, the Arctic, and around the Pacific.

Source of Acquisition

The Donald Campbell papers were transferred to the University Archives in five separate accessions: #79-164, 83-75, 96-119, 96-220, and 07-101. The first two were donated by Donald Campbell and the last three were donated by his widow, Barbara Frankel.
Guide to the Donald T. Campbell (1919-1996) Papers, 1928-2006 11/3/23/8
Michael Szajewski and Robert Carlton; 2007-2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

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