Description of the Series, Boxes 1-8 (1956-1996)
The Lawrence Evans Papers fill seven and one-half boxes and span the years 1956 to 1996. The papers consist of Evans' notes from Harvard classes, correspondence relating to Northwestern, teaching files, correspondence with and about students, and graduate student files. The bulk of the papers document Evans' teaching career at Northwestern University.
The Biographical information is limited to a vita, annual vita supplements, and an undated draft of a press release.
Course notes from English classes Evans took at Harvard fill three folders. They include a copy of an essay he wrote on the poet John Donne.
Incoming and outgoing General Correspondence dates between 1962 and 1980, and consists mainly of Evans' correspondence with members of Northwestern University committees, colleagues in English departments at other institutions, booksellers, and the Modern Language Association, as well as routine University-related communications. Although most material relating to the Northwestern English Department is filed separately, there are a few letters to or from English Department colleagues among the general correspondence. The Correspondence is arranged chronologically.
The correspondence between Jean Hagstrum and Evans that led to Evans' joining the Northwestern faculty in 1962 is contained in the folder labeled Northwestern University Hiring, which also includes welcoming letters from the dean and the president of the university.
The Promotions file includes the letter promoting Evans to Assistant Professor in 1963, and documents the more involved process of his petition for promotion to Associate Professor beginning in 1969.
Job offers from other universities, as well as Evans' applications for research grants (one unsuccessful, one successful), are documented in the folders labeled accordingly. Three requests for Evans to review unpublished manuscripts (two from the Northwestern University Press, one from Ohio University Press), along with Evans' responses and comments, are found in the Manuscript Review Requests file.
Interdepartmental Correspondence illuminates the activities of the English Department between 1964 and 1995, and includes memos about class schedules, curricular issues, room assignments, summer session and evening courses, recommendations of students for prizes and honors, and comments on potential department appointees. The correspondence also illuminates more contentious issues of administration and governance of the department. As an Assistant and later Associate Professor, Evans was outspoken on the need for lower-ranked faculty to be treated equally with full professors in terms of communication and departmental decision-making.
Similarly, the correspondence relating to the Chairmanship of the English Department (1964-1986) reflects contention within the Department and between the Department and the University, with the dean pressing for the department to provide recommendations rather than proposing a specific candidate. Much of the correspondence consists of Evans' responses to the dean's requests for his opinion on the proposed chair.
Evans' handwritten English Department Meeting Notes fill one folder and date between 1973 and 1993.
Evans was involved in summer sessions and evening division courses both as a teacher and as coordinator of the Evening Divisions' English courses. Correspondence, dating between 1967 and 1970, includes routine memos about classes, room assignments, and book orders, as well as the hiring and scheduling of part-time instructors for the various classes. Correspondents include Harold Hungerford, Evans' predecessor as coordinator of the English course for the Evening Division, and Evening Division Deans Martha Luck and Daniel Lang.
The Graduate Committee files date from 1966 to 1983 and document Evans' long service on the committee. Records include meeting minutes, exam questions, proposed revisions to the examination criteria, and descriptions of the duties of faculty charged with examining graduate students.
Materials relating to Evans' participation on the Undergraduate Committee consist mainly of memos from the committee chair outlining discussion topics (mostly dealing with proposed changes to the curriculum).
Evans served as a Freshman Adviser in 1995-1996. Correspondence generated in this role includes instructions, agendas, announcements of activities, and communications between Evans and his advisees.
Evans' teaching files document courses taught at Northwestern University, Harvard (as a Teaching Fellow), and as Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania (1968). The teaching files typically contain Evans' meticulous lecture notes/outlines, as well as syllabi, handouts, and exam questions for each course. At Northwestern, Evans taught courses ranging from freshman literature to upper-level seminars on his own area of interest, Victorian prose and poetry. Files are arranged by course number, and within the files records are arranged chronologically by course date.
The student work files are organized by course number, and contain papers or essays written by Evans' students between 1965 and 1973. It is not clear why these particular examples of student work were saved. While most files contain a number of student papers or essays, some files contain just one paper. Evans made most of his comments on the cover pages of the papers. Many of the papers are photocopies.
Files documenting Evans' service on M.A. and Ph.D. committees between 1967 and 1972 are organized alphabetically by the surname of the candidate. Records consist mainly of correspondence among the faculty committee members as they discussed the candidates; materials also include exam questions and grades, and dissertation proposals.
Student correspondence and letters of recommendation document Evans' relationship with his students and their respect for him. Most of the letters are from current or former students asking for recommendations supporting their applications to graduate school, internships, or jobs; some seek his help in contacting another faculty member; others, from current students, request assistance with their work, explanations of their grades, or extensions on deadlines. A few letters are more personal, telling Evans of the student's current activities. The student correspondence, dating between 1963 and 1979, consists almost exclusively of incoming correspondence; Evans' responses are found in the corresponding letters of recommendation (1963-1979). After 1980, the letters of recommendation (1980 to 1995) files include both the incoming request and Evans' response (with requests filed after the recommendation letter). Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the student's surname. If no last name was evident, the letter is filed alphabetically by the first name. Of particular interest in the recommendations file (R-S, 1963-1979) are two petitions for conscientious objector status.
Files on individual graduate students who worked under Evans in pursuance of their master's degree or doctorate are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the student. Files contain correspondence with the student, with other members of the English Department faculty, and with the Graduate School, including evaluations and comments, reading lists, dissertation prospecti, master's essays, teaching credentials, and grade reports.
Description of the Addition, Boxes 9-22 (1952-1999)
This addition to the Lawrence G. Evans papers fills thirteen and one-half boxes and spans the years 1952 to 1999. It is divided into five categories: biographical information, committee and professional association records, correspondence, course files, and publication files.
Files of biographical information fill boxes 9, 10, and half of 11. They include paperwork relating to Evans' education and to his Selective Service status, but the majority of these files contain notebooks of detailed bookkeeping information and personal journals. The journals, spanning the period 1957-1968, are, in large part, daily to-do lists, notes and reminders.
Committee and professional association records relate largely to Evans' active involvement in the work of Northwestern University. Folders representing his participation in Budget and Resources Advisory Committee, the Graduate Dissertation Committee, Subcommittee on Student Community, and the Study Abroad Committee, among others, fill approximately two and one-half boxes. This category also includes files on the Faculty Club, in which Evans played a large role.
The correspondence is arranged topically and includes folders of correspondence between Evans and his friends, family, and professional associates. There is a significant volume of correspondence relating to Evans' work on the English literary critic and author, Walter Pater. Within folders correspondence is arranged chronologically.
The course files reflect Evans' teaching from 1956 to 1999. These fills fill more than four boxes and include materials on a few courses taught at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Files on Northwestern University courses claim the vast majority of this section. Course files often include lecture notes, syllabi, and examinations. The files are arranged first by institution at which Evans taught, then by course number, title, or topic. Following the files relating to specific courses is a collection of student papers. These papers encompass a range of levels from freshman to graduate courses and date from the 1960s through the 1990s.