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HUGFP 91.xx

Huggins, Nathan Irvin, 1927-1989. Papers of Nathan I. Huggins : an inventory

Harvard University Archives

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Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUGFP 91.xx
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Huggins, Nathan Irvin, 1927-1989
Title: Papers of Nathan I. Huggins, 1927-1990
Date(s): 1927-1990
Quantity: 12.4 cubic feet (31 boxes)
Abstract: Nathan Irvin Huggins (1927-1989), American historian, was W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of History and of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University as well as director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research. These papers document Huggins' professional interests and activities, including his leadership in his field.

Acquisition Information:

  • 11984 ; 1990 June 21 ; received from Mrs. Nathan Huggins
  • 12062 ; 1990 September 21 ; received from Mrs. Nathan Huggins
  • 12179 ; 1991 May 17 ; received from Mrs. Nathan Huggins
  • 12391 ; 1992 April 3 ; received from the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute
  • 19790 ; 2015 February 2 ; received from Lilian Handlin
  • Custodial Information:

    Papers in accession 11984 came from offices at Harvard in Widener Library, the Du Bois Institute, and the Dept. of Afro-American Studies.

    Conditions on Use and Access:

    Researchers must obtain permission for viewing, photocopying, or publishing the papers. Contact the Reference Staff in the Harvard University Archives for details.

    Biography of Nathan Irvin Huggins

    Nathan Irvin Huggins (1927-1989), American historian, was W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of History and of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University as well as director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.
    Huggins was born in Chicago in 1927 and died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving his A.B. degree in 1954 and M.A. in 1955, and advanced his studies at Harvard University where he received his A.M. in 1957 and Ph.D. in history in 1962.
    Huggins' professional career in academia spanned nearly 30 years, beginning with assistant professorships at California State College (Long Beach), Lake Forest College (Illinois), and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He served as visiting associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley before joining the faculty at Columbia University as a professor of history in 1970. Ten years later, Huggins accepted positions as W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of History and Afro-American Studies and Director of the Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University. He also taught outside the U.S. at institutions including the University of Heidelberg, the Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin, the University of Grenoble and the Sorbonne.
    Huggins was strongly committed to analyzing the history of African-Americans as an integral part of the history of the United States. The center of his argument was always that without an understanding of African-American history, one could not understand what is usually called American history, but rather what colleagues said could be a code for "white American history."
    At the time of his death, Huggins was working on a major biography of the late Nobel Prize-winning diplomat Ralph Bunche and on a shorter book about the civil rights movement. His book Harlem Renaissance, published in 1971, was nominated for a National Book Award. His other writings include Black Odyssey: The Afro-American Ordeal in Slavery (1977) and Slave and Citizen: The Life of Frederick Douglass (1980).
    Among Huggins' proudest achievements at Harvard was the establishment in 1981 of the W. E. B. Du Bois Lectureship in Afro-American Life, History and Culture. Harvard students praised Huggins for "exceptional clarity and entertaining lectures" in a course he and a colleague taught on changing concepts of race in the United States.

    Series and Subseries in the Collection

    Scope of the Papers of Nathan Irvin Huggins

    These papers document Huggins' professional interests and activities, including his leadership role among American historians and in the field of African-American studies. Approximately ten percent of the papers in the collection pertain to Huggins' personal life.

    Inventory update

    This document last updated 2016 November 9.

    Container List


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