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Roland A. Young (1910-1977) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/22/9

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Scope and Contents

The Roland A. Young papers fill thirty-five boxes and are arranged in nine subseries: biographical materials, education files, correspondence, teaching files, research files, professional organizations files, law practice files, speeches, and publications.

The biographical materials include curricula vitae; some scattered diary materials and written statements of plans and goals (Box 1, Folder 4); guest lists for meals, several of which related to Young's work as acting director for the Program of African Studies in 1963-1964 (Box 1, Folder 6); some personal materials pertaining to his second wife, Kathleen; and many financial records.

The education files consist mostly of lecture and reading notes compiled by Young for the law courses he took in England and at Harvard and Georgetown universities.

The correspondence occupies more than eleven boxes. With his broad interests in political science, Africa, and the law, Young corresponded with a wide variety of people, scholars and political figures included. The correspondence documents Young's trips, both foreign and domestic; his publications and speeches; recommendations for individuals and institutions; African studies; many political and governmental topics in the U.S., Africa, and England; and his work as faculty associate for the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Young often used both sides of the page and the backs of letters for his typed and handwritten notes and drafts. The general correspondence is arranged chronologically in folders. A small amount of subject correspondence, mainly relating to Young's family members, follows and is foldered according to topical headings. Correspondence between Young and his wife, Kathleen (Box 15, Folders 8-10; Box 16, Folders 1-4) is lengthy and much of it relates directly or indirectly to Young's professional work.

Of special interest in the correspondence are: a two-and-a-half-page letter (May 17, 1956) from Leon Henderson commenting frankly on several political events and individuals related to Henderson's service in the government; letters and notes related to the Agency for International Development's objections to the publication of Growth Without Development, An Economic Survey of Liberia (Northwestern, 1966) by Robert W. Clover, George Dalton, Mitchell Harwitz, and A.A. Walters (Box 14, Folder 8); and correspondence with Gwendolen Carter (Box 14, Folder 9) and Melville Herskovits (Box 14, Folder 11), much of which relates to the Program for African Studies at Northwestern.

The teaching files include syllabi, related notes and correspondence, and some grade sheets and student papers from Young's courses and student advisory work at Columbia, Harvard, and other institutions as well as at Northwestern. These files are arranged first according to academic institution and then, where applicable, into files pertaining to specific courses. These are arranged sequentially by course number. Young's teaching materials from Northwestern are supplemented by files on curricular programs and on individual graduate students.

The research files include material on Young's 1951 African travels sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation. Young wrote some detailed day-by-day accounts of the conditions, people, and geography he encountered. Also found here is some material related to Young's trip to Ethiopia in 1968.

The professional organizations files contain small amounts of notes, correspondence, and reports, mostly relating to African studies and various political science organizations. These files are arranged alphabetically by name of organization.

The law practice files fill about two boxes. Young came to the law late in life and approached the subject primarily through readings and observation. Included are notes and accounts of English law as well as records relating to his law practice in Orange County, Virginia. The latter present a broad view of the problems and cases met by a practitioner in a rural area. Files pertaining to Young's Virginia practice are arranged alphabetically by name of client or by topical heading.

The speech files include texts and notes for a wide variety of presentations ranging from technical addresses for colleagues to informal comments at a portrait dedication for a friend. Speeches are foldered by title or topical heading.

The publications files include drafts, correspondence, and other materials related to several of Young's books and many of his articles. The books best represented are British Parliament, the result of his first-hand observations, interviews, and reading; “Emin Pasha,” a never-published historical novel of an African leader; and Profile of African Law, a survey of the background and development of modern legal practices.

Young's articles dealt primarily with political science and legal subjects in the United States and England. Some, such as “The Reversal of Judicial Decisions by an Act of Parliament” and “Some Patterns of Order and Authority in an African Community (Morogora)” are major studies.

Of minor interest are a collection of newspaper columns Young wrote for the Johnstown Breeze when he was in his early twenties. Files on Look royalties and contracts, book reviews, and article reprints complete the series.


  • 1922-1977


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.


35.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Roland A. Young papers fill thirty-five boxes and are arranged in nine subseries: biographical materials, education files, correspondence, teaching files, research files, professional organizations files, law practice files, speeches, and publications.

Arrangement Note

The Roland A. Young papers are arranged in nine subseries: biographical materials, education files, correspondence, teaching files, research files, professional organizations files, law practice files, speeches, and publications.

Method of Acquisition

The Roland Young Papers were donated to the Northwestern University Archives by Martin Westlake, a relative of Young's second wife, in 1987 (Accession #87-275).

Separated Materials

Photographs and certificates have been transferred to the appropriate University Archives' collections. Approximately two linear feet of material pertaining to Africa but not relating to Young or Northwestern University were transferred to the Africana Collection of the University Library. A small amount of Harvard related material has been donated to the Harvard University Archives. Approximately two-and-one-half linear feet of Northwestern University material not relating to Young have been placed in the University Archives' general files. Approximately eleven linear feet of extraneous material and six linear feet of duplicates were discarded.

Processing Information

William B. Beatty; December, 1987-June, 1988.

Guide to the Roland A. Young (1910-1977) Papers
William B. 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