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James P. Pitts (1944- ) Papers, (1961-2013)

Identifier: 31/6/196

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Scope and Contents

The Jim P. Pitts papers are comprised of five boxes and span the years 1961-2013. The collection is arranged in six series: Clippings and Press Releases, Athletics, Career, the Paul Lynde Incident, Correspondences and Publications.

The Clippings section spans the years 1973 to 2007 and is organized chronologically. The section includes newspaper clippings and magazines from a variety of sources. They contain reports on surveys conducted by Pitts on the experiences of recent Northwestern graduates, and his participation in multiple programs and conferences, including efforts from the Sigma Phi fraternity to provide Black role models and teachers to African American youth. In particular, the section includes newspaper clippings discussing a survey by Pitts on the lives of Black students of private universities after graduation. The information gathered from the survey was incorporated into the research and report that he conducted with Kathryn Ogletree, titled "Northwestern University Recent Alumni: In Black and White."

The Athletics section contains newspaper clippings and magazine articles, mostly between the dates 1977 and 2013, centering on Pitts' Northwestern basketball career, as well as a program to an induction ceremony that lists Pitts as an inductee to the Hall of Fame of the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association. This section also contains material on Charles "Doc" Glass, who worked as a custodian of Evanston's City Hall but also was deeply connected to Northwestern African-American athletes. In particular, the section includes an essay Pitts wrote on Doc Glass in 1965, the fall of his senior year, discussing Glass's unique leadership position within Northwestern's Black community.

The Career section includes the teaching appointments that Pitts has taken on from 1972 to 2003, as well as his curricula vitae. Some of the teaching appointment documents include a Northwestern document approving Pitts for tenure, newspaper clippings reporting on his acceptance as vice president of academic affairs at Manchester and later Albright College. It also includes an article in UNCA Today that discusses Pitts' appointment as the new Vice Chancellor of the University of North Carolina in Asheville (UNCA); this article provides a biographical sketch and describes Pitts' goals for the campus. Curricula vitae include Faculty Biographical Records and Vitas from 1978 to 1985.

There is a separate section for documents dealing with the Paul Lynde Incident in 1977. The section includes newspaper clippings on the incident, which describe details of what happened as well as Lynde's responses to the publicity. It includes the letter Pitts originally sent to the Daily Northwestern, where he provides a firsthand account of what happened. The section also includes personal correspondence sent to Pitts at the wake of the incident. Many letters are in support of Pitts. There also exist several letters exhibiting varying degrees of politeness that express disagreement with Pitts' reaction to Lynde's behavior. Some of this correspondence contains strong language and slurs, and some were sent anonymously. Often, an attached article or articles of the incident was sent with the letter.

The Correspondence section include a letter from Christina Davidson and a drawing by a boy named Ernest Jacobson.

The Publications section includes a large collection of Pitts' writings and published work (1970 to 1999). Included in this section is Pitts' 1971 dissertation, a case study on Black Nationalist behavior among Northern urban African-American adolescents, as well as a report on Northwestern's recent alumni, co-written with Kathryn Ogletree, titled "Northwestern University's Recent Alumni: In Black and White." The collection also includes multiple essays published in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal of Black Studies, Social Science Quarterly and Urban Affairs Quarterly, as well as a booklet on CETA (the Comprehensive Education and Training Act) co-written by Scott Bernstein, and an essay written for the American Conference of Academic Deans discussing the role of a Dean.


  • 1961-2013


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days 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.

Some personal information has been restricted.


7 Boxes

Language of Materials



Sociologist, educator, and university dean and vice president, James P. Pitts (1944- ) received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. His papers fill 7 boxes, and span the years 1961 to 2013. Composed of newspaper clippings, press releases, curricula vitae, correspondences, and published work, the papers contain Pitts' writings, awards, and a scrapbook and jersey from his time at Northwestern.


The papers of Jim P. Pitts are arranged into: clippings and press releases; athletics; career; the Paul Lynde incident; correspondence (arranged alphabetically by correspondent); publications (in chronological order); awards; and artifacts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

James P. Pitts donated his papers to Northwestern University Archives in 2017 and 2018; accession #17-237 and #18-67.

Related Materials

Photograph Files: James Pitts; James Pitts (Sociology); Jim Pitts; Basketball 1960s

31/6/155 Records of the Bursar’s Office Takeover, May 1968

Separated Materials

A photograph of Jim Pitts taken in Chicago during his induction into the CPLBCA Hall of Fame was separated from the CPLBCA Hall of Fame Inductee plaque and moved to the photographs folder.

Guide to the James P. Pitts (1944- ) Papers, (1961-2013)
Claire Pak
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

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