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Wallace W. Douglas (1914-1995) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/11/18

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Scope and Contents

The initial donation of the papers of Wallace W. Douglas fills three and a half boxes and spans the period 1930-1976 with the bulk of the material falling between 1950 and 1973. The papers are divided into three main categories: education, correspondence and teaching files, with small amounts of biographical material, one research file, speech and publications.

The education files are mainly notes on Douglas' Ph.D. thesis. The general correspondence deals primarily with Douglas' academic and professional activities. One folder (Box 1, Folder 15) pertains to the Department of English's Committee on Departmental Organization which he chaired (1968-1969.)

The teaching files contain mostly examination sheets and course descriptions. Douglas' interest in composition is represented in materials relating to the Committee on Composition (Box 1, Folder 28) and two folders relating to the institute on writing sponsored under the auspices of the National Defense Education Act in 1967 (Box 2, Folders 1 - 2).

Addition, Boxes 5-22

This addition to the Wallace W. Douglas Papers fills 18 boxes and spans the period 1906-1995, with the bulk of the material falling between 1934 and 1989. The papers are divided into nine categories: biographical information, education files, correspondence (both general and subject), teaching files, research files, professional associations and conferences files, papers presented, publications, and reviews.

The biographical materials, spanning the years 1906-1995, are arranged chronologically by date within each folder, and consist of date books, address books, financial and tax records, an interview with Douglas, obituaries and memorial service programs. Also included are the financial records and correspondence of the Lee and Eleanor Douglas Estate.

The education files span the years 1934-1945. Included are papers and notes from Douglas' undergraduate years at Colgate, six chapters from an unidentified manuscript about a fictitious man named Martin Griggs, a few papers from Indiana University where Douglas was a teaching assistant, and his Harvard doctoral dissertation.

The correspondence fills four and a half boxes, and spans the years 1942 to 1989. The general correspondence includes letters from C. P. Snow (March 14, 1960) and William Cooper (March 23, 1960). Prominent correspondents include Gwendolyn Brooks, Raymond Chandler, James T. Farrell, Anais Nin, Ezra Pound and Stephen Spender. The correspondence consists of personal letters, business letters, referrals, recommendations and copies of papers sent to Douglas to critique.

The teaching files (two boxes) span the years 1945-1987. Typically included are lecture notes, syllabi, final exams and student papers. The teaching files also include grade books from 1945-1987 and subject notes.

The research files, spanning the years 1961-1981, include notes and writings relating to some of Douglas' areas of interest and research. The bulk of the research files concern the subject described by Douglas as "primary writing" (the writing that children do while learning how to write). These folders typically contain writing samples of children up to the eighth grade, with a few examples of older writers, correspondence with various school teachers, and correspondence between the young writers and Douglas.

The professional associations and conferences files span the years 1957-1985 and fill three boxes. Folders typically contain information concerning conferences that Douglas attended. Included are programs, agendas, travel arrangements, correspondence, proposals for presentations and lists of participants. Professional associations and conferences represented in the files include: ADE, Annual English Language Arts Conference, CCCC, Coe Faculty Conference, College English Association, Dartmouth Seminar, Fulbright Teacher Exchange, CONPASS, MLA, NCTE, NDEA Institute on EIMC Materials, NTE, Northwestern University Writing Program, Writing as a Process Institute, Wyoming Conference on Freshman and Sophomore English, and the York International Conference on the Teaching of English. A large amount of the material is related to two conferences: the Dartmouth Seminar (1966) and the York International Conference on the Teaching and Learning of English (1971).

The Dartmouth Seminar was a month long conference for fifty participants from England, the United States and Canada held at Dartmouth College in 1966 to analyze the teaching of the English language. Included in the files are study group and working party notes and papers, correspondence, and resulting programs.

The York International Conference on the Teaching and Learning of English, held in 1971, was an open conference for 500 teachers, lecturers and administrators, and convened to answer the questions that the Dartmouth Conference had raised. The York files include lists of participants, commission notes, minutes and papers, correspondence, general information and Programs.

The papers presented files span the years 1957-1981 and fill two boxes. Included are papers Douglas presented at conferences, seminars and dinners. The folders typically contain various drafts of the paper; correspondence may also be included.

Publications files, including book chapters and articles, span the period 1949-1984 and fill two boxes. The folders may contain various drafts, final versions, advertisements and correspondence.

The review files, comprised of book reviews written by Douglas, span the years 1953-1981 and fill one box. The folders contain various drafts of the reviews and several also contain small amounts of correspondence.

The final two boxes contain unidentified manuscripts, notes and writings.


  • 1906-1995


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.


22.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Wallace W. Douglas Papers fill 22 boxes. The papers include biographical materials as well as materials covering education, correspondence, teaching, research, professional associations, speeches and publications.


The initial donation of the papers of Wallace W. Douglas is divided into three main categories: education, correspondence and teaching files, with small amounts of biographical material, one research file, speech and publications.

The addition to the papers is divided into nine categories: biographical information; education files (arranged by name of university, and chronologically within each folder); correspondence (both general and subject; arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent or topic, and chronologically within each folder); teaching files (arranged by course or subject, and chronologically within each folder); research files (arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within folders); professional associations and conferencess (arranged alphabetically by associatino and subject; folders are arranged chronologically; papers presented (arranged alphabetically by title); publications (arranged alphabetically by title); and reviews. Unidentified writings are arranged alphabetically by the first sentence of the manuscript, or the topic.

Method of Acquisition

Prof. Wallace Douglas donated these papers to the University Archives on March 11, 1980, (Accession #80-45) and on April 23, 1980 (Accession #80-61.) A second donation (Accession #93-136), came from Professor H. Hayford on June 6, 1992.

Separated Materials

Records of the English Department; English Department publications: The Analyst and Marginalia, and the reports and bulletins of the Curriculum Center have been transferred to the Archives general and publications files. Small amounts of extraneous and duplicate material were discarded.

Processing Information

William K. Beatty, May and September 1993

Guide to the Wallace W. Douglas (1914-1995) Papers
William K. Beatty
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