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James H. McBurney (1905-1986) Papers

Identifier: 20/45

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The series fills seventeen folders (three boxes). Materials include correspondence, teaching files, speeches and publications.

The first five folders in box one are professional correspondence relating to McBurney's publications. The letters are from co-authors, editors, and publishers. Folder one consists of correspondence relating to the book, Speech: A High School Course. The materials date from 1943-1963, concentrating in the 1950s and early 1960s. Folder two contains correspondence relating to the books, Principles and Methods of Discussion (1945-1948) and Discussion in Human Affairs (1948-1962). Folder three relates to The Plight of the Conservative in Public (1941-1951, 1960). Folder four relates to Basic Principles of Speech (1950-1971). The last folder, five, concerns the books, The Working Principles of Arguments (1943-1945) and Argumentation and Debate: Techniques of a Free Society (1947-1963).

Box one, folder six and box two folder one contain personal correspondence. The first folder dates from 1934-1961 while the second folder spans 1962-1972.

Box two, folders two and three contain teaching materials consisting of lecture notes, syllabi, and a few student papers. Dated (1968) and undated materials are present in these folders.

Box two, folders four and five contain manuscripts of speeches. Folder four dates from 1948-1968 and folder five is undated.

Box three, folders one and two contain published materials, mainly journal articles. Folder one dates from 1936 and folder two spans 1936-1950.

Box three, folder three contains material relating to a speech education conference held by the Big Ten conference schools, approximately in 1968. This folder contains papers, syllabi, and agendas plus hand written notes by McBurney.

Box three, folders four and five contain biographical materials including: diplomas, awards, newspaper clippings, and related items. The dates range from the 1940's to the 1970's.

Box three, folder five contains course notes taken by McBurney at the University of Michigan, relating to the human anatomy. These notes are undated.


  • 1934-1972


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.


3.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



McBurney joined the Northwestern University faculty as an associate professor in 1936, and was appointed full professor of the School of Speech in 1941. He became Dean of the School of Speech in 1942 and held the position for thirty years until his retirement in 1972. The series fills seventeen folders (three boxes). Materials include correspondence, teaching files, speeches and publications.

Arrangement Note

All materials within the folders are arranged chronologically.

Method of Acquisition

Mrs. Helen McBurney donated The James H. McBurney Papers to the Northwestern University Archives on June 6, 1987 (Accession #87-105).

Separated Materials

Twenty-five volumes were transferred to the Northwestern University Library Gifts and Exchange Department. Four faculty books and one reprint were transferred to the University Archives faculty publications collection. One folder of documents on the Reviewing Stand was transferred to the University Archives general file. A few photographs of McBurney were transferred to the University Archives photograph collection. Nine unrelated journal articles were discarded, as were duplicate articles.

Processing Information

Janet Czarnik; March 22, 1989

Guide to the James H. McBurney (1905-1986) Papers
Janet Czarnik
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