Explanation and Index
Title: Frederick Jackson Turner Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1862-1963 (bulk: 1889-1932)
Turner, Frederick Jackson, 1861-1932
Extent: Number of pieces: About 7,500 catalogued letters
and documents; photographs; maps; lantern slides; 1 file drawer of papers
written by his students; 34 file drawers of his working notes and other data.
San Marino, California 91108
- 1. Family letters
- 2. Correspondence with many leading historians, a number of whom were his students.
- 3. Material on his graduate study at Johns Hopkins, his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard, and his
final days at the Huntington Library.
- 4. Material on the American Historical Association, in particular the "Bancroft insurrections" of 1915.
- 5. Correspondence with Alice Forbes Perkins Hooper, instrumental in the establishment of the Harvard Commission on Western
History. (Typewritten copies of these letters will be found in TU-H Boxes 9 & 10. Additions to TU-H collections are in boxes
Incomplete list of books Turner contributed to the Huntington Library is in TU Box 57;
some of his volumes are also in the Cal Tech Library.
Photographs are in the Rare Book Department, Photo File 25400-25410 (as well as Box 58 of
this collection in the Manuscripts Department).
Acquired by legacy from Frederick Jackson Turner and by gift from various members of his
family, 1928-1965. Letters and copies of letters have also been contributed to the
collection by individuals with whom Turner corresponded (see letters in the collection
having to do with its establishment, in the years following Turner's death).
Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader
Services Department. For more information please go to following
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials,
researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In
most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property
rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary
rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the
physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further
[Identification of item], Frederick Jackson Turner Collection, The Huntington Library,
San Marino, California.
Frederick Jackson Turner, the American historian, is best known for his frontier
hypothesis, which has a lasting impact on historical thought in the United States, and
for the outstanding quality of his teaching. He was born November 14, 1861, in Portage,
Wisconsin, the son of Andrew Jackson Turner, a journalist and politician who was a local
historian as well. After study at the University of Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins, Turner
embarked on a teaching career in American history, first (1889-1910) at the University of
Wisconsin and later (1910-1924) at Harvard. With the publication in 1893 of his essay
"The Significance of the Frontier in American History" he became a figure of national
importance historically. Though he wrote little, he was active in American Historical
Association, and he was a highly stimulating guide and mentor to the future historians
who passed through his classroom. His final years were spent in research at the
Huntington Library, where his activities became increasingly curtailed as his health
deteriorated. He died in Pasadena March 14, 1932.
Turner was married November 25, 1889 to Caroline Mae Sherwood of Chicago. Of their three
children, two died in childhood. The third, Dorothy Kinsley (Turner) Main, and his wife
Explanation and Index
Note: The following notes on the Turner papers were compiled after only a three-month
examination of those papers. Hence they make no pretense of completeness or accuracy.
They are compiled only to serve as a general guide to later users of the papers.
The following outline, or index, of the sections of this report that follow may make its
I. Correspondence and Documents
Frederick Jackson Turner's correspondence, together with certain important documents, has
been expertly arranged in a series of flat boxes, each bearing a number, date, and
appropriate descriptive designation. Within each box the letters to and from Turner, or
the documents, have been placed in folders, each of which bears a descriptive title and
date. Arrangement within each box in chronological.
The correspondence an document boxes may be conveniently divided into several categories:
General correspondence during Turner's life.This is contained in Boxes 1 through 47. Included are letters written by and to Turner between the time of his boyhood and
his death on March 14, 1932.
General correspondence, 1932-1956. This is contained in Boxes 48 through 52. Many of the letters in these boxes relate to the efforts of the Huntington Library
to assemble the Turner correspondence, to the publication of his posthumous books, etc. A large number are extremely valuable
for an understanding of Turner, for they were written by friends and former students who frequently reminisced at length on
his virtues. Form of citation: TU Box 48, Correspondence, Apr.-June 10, 1932.
Biographical and Autobiographical Material.This is contained in Box 53, a large flat box. Contained in this box are diplomas received by Turner, certificates of membership
in learned societies, honorary degrees, and the like. Box 62 also has biographical and genealogical data.
Manuscripts and Documents. These are in Boxes 54 through 57, covering the years 1877 to 1932. Materials have been placed in blue folders, each labeled
and dated, and arranged in chronological order. The boxes contain some of Turner's earliest historical writings, notes for
lectures and seminars, drafts of essays, etc., clippings, and other personal data. For of citation: TU Box 54, Manuscripts
& Documents, 1877-1900.
The Turner-Hooper Correspondence. This is contained in eight boxes, the first seven of which are devoted to letters between Turner and Mrs. William Hooper (Mrs.
Alice Forbes Perkins Hooper). Mrs. Hooper, a daughter of Charles Elliott Perkins, president of the Burlington Railroad, and
wife of William Hooper of a prominent New England family, became acquainted with Turner when he first moved to Harvard University
in 1910. She played a leading financial role in establishing the Harvard Commission on Western History under his guidance.
These initial contacts led to a lasting friendship, which endured to the time of Turner's death. Hence this is a unique correspondence,
in which he discusses his political beliefs, his writing, his teaching, his reading, and the ordinary events of the day with
a frankness that he displayed to few others. The correspondence is essential for biographical purposes, and reveals Turner
at his witty best. The eighth box in the series contains letters between Mrs. Hooper and Max Farrand concerning the disposition
of the letters after Turner's death. Her comments on Turner's character in these letters are revealing. Form of citation:
TU-H Box 1, Turner-Hooper Correspondence, 1910-1912. Also in Turner-Hooper Correspondencs, Boxes A-D: correspondence from
Turner Family Letters. These are now in Boxes A-K.
II. Manuscript Volumes
Included in the Turner papers are a number of items of importance which have been
separately preserved and catalogued. Notes on the contents of each of these volumes
follow. Citation is to: TU Volume 1, etc.
TU Vol. 1, Red Book. This contains letters from students and friends written to Turner a the time he left the University of Wisconsin to go to
Harvard. They were solicited by one of his former students, Professor James Alton James. Mounted in a red-colored book, they
are normally in the form of holograph letters. Folders in the correspondence boxes refer to each of these letters.
TU Vol. II, Blue Book. When Turner retired from Harvard, his friends and former students held a dinner in his honor. This was arranged by his students
in his seminar for 1923-1924. Letters and telegrams written by friends and former students who could not attend have been
arranged in a blue-covered book inscribed: "Frederick Jackson Turner May 24, 1924." In the book also is an envelope holding
newspaper clippings dealing with his retirement.
TU Vol. III (1 & 2), Commonplace Book.These consist of two paper-bound notebooks in which Turner jotted down his thoughts, quotations that appealed to him, rough
drafts of orations, and miscellaneous items during the period 1883-1887 when he was a student and graduate student at the
University of Wisconsin. This is a valuable collection of materials which indicate his interests and the evolution of his
TU Vol. IV, A. J. Turner, History of Portage.A volume prepared by Andrew Jackson Turner, Frederick J. Turner's father, entitled: "A History of Portage, Wisconsin: A Talk
to the local Women's Club." Typescript, 12 pp., fol. c.1900, bound in hard covers.
TU Vol. V, Letters of Condolence. Fifty-two letters of condolence and appreciation addressed to Mrs. Frederick Jackson Turner between March 15, 1932 and November
22, 1932. Chronologically arranged in a portfolio, entitled: "Letters of Condolence and Appreciation Addressed to Caroline
Mae (Sherwood) Turner, on the death of Her Husband, March 14, 1932."
TU Vol. VI, Collection of Syllabuses. These include both printed and manuscript syllabuses for period c. 1893 to 1909 on: English history (probably prepared by
Professor Allen), The Colonization of North America, and The History of the West. Collected in hard-cover folder labeled:
"Collection of Syllabuses: [c.1893-1909].
TU Vol. VII, Bibliography of United States History. Manuscript bibliography of United States history, 1865-1910, prepared by Turner for his section of the Channing, Hart and
Turner, Guide. Additions and corrections have been made in Turner's hand, and by others.
TU Vol. VIII, Dictionary of American Biography . Turner was a leading instigator in the publication of the Dictionary of American Biography under the sponsorship of the American
Council of Learned Societies. This bound volume, collected by Turner, contains most of his correspondence in connection with
TU Vol. IX, Town and Gown Club. A facsimile of a book entitled "Golden Anniversary Town and Gown, 1878-1928." The Town and Gown Club was an active organization
in Madison, Wisconsin, to which Turner belonged. This book contains its records and history during his years of membership.
His name is listed, but there are no comments or speeches by him recorded.
TU Vol. X, Diary and Correspondence Relating to Children. This volume contains several telegrams and letters received by the Turners at the time of the birth of their first daughter,
Dorothy Kinsey Turner, on September 1, 1890. It also contains two diaries that Turner kept to record the day-by-day or week-by-week
development of his children. The first, describing Dorothy Kinsley Turner, covers the period September 1, 1890 to September
1893. The second, a briefer document, is a diary of Allen Jackson Turner, June 26, 1892 to October, 1892. Handwritten on cheap
paper mostly by Mrs. Turner.
TU Vol. XI, Journal of Camping Trip. A diary kept by Mrs. Frederick Jackson Turner during the summer of 1908 when the Turners camped with Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Van
Hise, apparently in the Lake Superior country. Mr. Van Hise was president of the University of Wisconsin. Handwritten in pencil
on small sheets of paper.
TU Vol. XII, Household Account Book. Notebook containing the household accounts, with notes of expenditures, of Mrs. Frederick Jackson Turner, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
for rent, food, etc. Covers parts of 1921 and 1922. Written in pen in Mrs. Turner's hand.
TU Vols. XIII-XVIII, Student Notebooks. Common notebooks kept by Turner when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin. One bears notation: "Prof. Allen Hist.
of U.S. Fred. J. Turner, Feb. 17, 1883." The remainder are undated, but presumably of the same period, and probably represent
reading and lecture notes compiled in Professor Allen's course or later during Turner's graduate school career at Madison.
Two notebooks marked "Am. History I 1492-1763," and "American History II 1763-1789," cover the colonial period. Three more
on the "Period of the Republic" deal with aspects of that story: 1) Foreign Relations to 1820, 2) Political history to the
Civil War, and 3) The Slavery Controversy to 1876. A final notebook covers the Civil War period, with heavy emphasis on battles.
TU Vol. XIX, Retiring Allowance Correspondence.Eighteen letters bound in a folder by Turner concerning his allowance on retirement. Included is the letter appointing him
to his first teaching post in American history.
TU Vol. XX, References on the History of the West. Three copies of the Turner and Merk, List of References on the History of the West (1920 and 1922), heavily annotated by Turner.
III. File Drawers 1 - 22
These consist of one bank of eighteen wooden, typewriter-size file drawers and four steel
file drawers, numbered consecutively from one to twenty-two; now housed in 91 upright
holinger boxes, numbered 1-22 and subdivided in consecutive letters. They contain the
wide variety of materials accumulated by Professor Turner during his lifetime of reading
American history: reading notes, occasional lecture notes, student papers, clippings from
newspapers and magazines, maps that he prepared or found useful, offprints, magazine
articles, and sections of books torn apart to e inserted at appropriate spots. Reference
should be made to: TU File Drawer No. 1A, 1B, etc.
A rough and tentative list of the contents of the various drawers follows:
File Drawers 1 through 9. These contain materials noted above dealing with the period from early Colonial times to 1850. Contents of the separate drawers
are as follows:
File Drawer No. 1. New England, 1492-1659; Middle Colonies, 1492-1659, South, 1492-1659, the West, 1492-1659; New England, 1660-1689; Middle
File Drawer No. 2. South, 1660-1689; General, 1690-1763; Middle Atlantic, 1690-1763; South, 1690-1763; New England, 1690-1763.
File Drawer No. 3. South, 1690-1763; West, 1690-1763; Far West, 1690-1763; General, 1761-1782; New England, 1764-1782; Middle Atlantic, 1764-1782.
File Drawer No. 4. West, 1764-1782; General, 1783-1788; New England, 1783-1788; Middle Atlantic, 1783-1788; West, 1783-1788.
File Drawer No. 5. General, 1789-1818.
File Drawer No. 6. General, 1789-1818 continued.
File Drawer No. 7. New England, 1789-1818; Middle Atlantic, 1789-1818; South, 1789-1818; West, 1789-1818; General, 1819-1829; New England, 1819-1829.
File Drawer No. 8. Middle Atlantic, 1819-1829; South, 1818-1829; Middle West, 1819-1829; Far West, 1818-1829; General, 1830-1850.
File Drawer No. 9. General, 1830-1850, continued,
File drawer No. 10. This drawer, which is seemingly out of sequence, was found to contain far more useful material than the earlier drawers. Principally
important are the lecture notes and completed lectures, especially those for the History of Liberty series given at Harvard
University shortly after World War I. In these Turner reviewed many of his ideas concerning the nature of American society
and its political institutions, often dwelling on his frontier and sectionalism themes in doing so. The drawer also contains
notes for his lectures on political map studies, as well as a large number of maps that he apparently used for illustrative
purposes while lecturing. The reading notes interspersed among these materials are largely for the 1830-1850 period.
File Drawers 11 and 12. In these Professor Turner returned to his chronological sequence, as follows:
File Drawer No. 11. New England, 1830-1850; Middle Atlantic, 1830-1850; South, 1830-1820; Middle West, 1830-1850; Far West, 1830-1850; General,
File Drawer No. 12. New England, 1851-1865; Middle Atlantic, 1851-1865; South, 1851-1865; Middle West, 1851-1865; Far West, 1851-1865.
File Drawer No. 13. This, too, is seemingly out of place, a position probably explained by the fact that its contents were little used, and hence
were relegated to the lowest level. It contains nothing but the research notes accumulated by Turner for his never-completed
biography of George Rogers Clark.
File Drawer No. 14. This drawer, and File Drawer No. 15, are the two most important for any student of Turner's historical concepts. Drawer No.
14 was apparently that occasionally referred to by Turner in his correspondence as the "Sectionalism" drawer; Drawer No. 15
he also sometimes designated as the "Frontier" drawer. The division, however, is by no means exact, and both drawers contain
extremely valuable material on both subjects. In this drawer are the drafts, in various stages of completion, of several of
his articles on sectionalism, notes and manuscripts of speeches, fragments of writing on the section, and the like. The materials
have been placed in folders and many of them labeled.
File Drawer No. 15. The contents of this drawer are even more important than those of Drawer No. 14 for a study of Turner as historian. It contains
drafts of several of his articles, a number of speeches, essays in various stages of composition, and a wide range of biographical
materials. Most of the items have been placed in folders, and labeled, many in the handwriting of Fulmer Mood. Any student
with limited time available would do well to begin with this drawer, proceed to File Drawer No. 14 and to File Drawer 10,
and then spend such time as remained on the other drawers in this bank.
File Drawers 16 through 21. In these drawers Professor Turner filed the results of his reading and research on the period since 1866. They contain the
usual items: reading notes, offprints, segments of books, articles, magazine clippings, maps, student notes, student papers,
and an unusually large number of newspaper clippings, kept by Turner in his avid reading of contemporary events. Virtually
the only material prepared by Turner in these drawers is his reading notes, and the drafts, usually first or second, of the
sections that he prepared for the Channing, Hart and Turner Guide. There is little of interest on his frontier or sectional
concepts, but the drawers do illustrate his catholic tastes, and his wide reading. Occasional research notes are buried midst
the clippings, together with maps and charts that he probably used in teaching. The material emphasized in individual drawers
is as follows:
File Drawer No. 16. General, 1866 to present.
File Drawer No. 17. General, 1866 to present.
File Drawer No. 18. General, 1866 to present.
File Drawer No. 19. General, 1866 to present.
File Drawer No. 20. New England, 1866 to present; Middle Atlantic, 1866 to present; South, 1866 to present; Middle West, 1866 to present. The
bulk to the contents are in the latter category. At rear a few miscellaneous items, including skyscraper book.
File Drawer No. 21. The West, 1866 to present. In this drawer materials are arranged topically, under railroads, mining, cattlemen, agrarian movements,
and the like. Many of the books and articles have been annotated or underlined by Turner, with his usual red pencil. At the
rear of the drawer are several folders marked "Miscellany" which contain a variety of reading notes, bibliography, etc., dealing
with an earlier period.
File Drawer No. 22. In this drawer are the lecture notes apparently used by Professor Turner during his last teaching days at Harvard. The first
portion contains notes for a course that begins about 1860 and continues through Reconstruction; the latter portion contains
his notes for the second half of History 39, spring semester, 1924. These cover the period 1880 to 1920. The notes for each
lecture are usually in rough form, with tables, maps and charts drawn by Turner to use as illustrative material, and the like.
In only a few instances are the lectures written out in complete form.
IV. File Drawers A-L
These consist of one bank of twelve steel file drawers, typewriter paper size, numbered
consecutively A through L; now housed in 45 upright holinger boxes, numbered A-L and
subdivided in consecutive numbers. They contain (with one exception noted below) the
materials used by Professor Turner in writing his last book, The United States,
1830-1850. Included are, in most instances, his reading notes, outlines and fragments in
Turner's hand, student theses, seminar reports, rough drafts of maps, charts, and
elaborate tables and statistical data on which the maps were based. Rough drafts of the
various parts of chapters are also to be found in some of the drawers.
A rough and tentative listing of the contents of the various drawers follows: (Cited as
TU File Drawer A1, A2... etc.)
File Drawer A. [In folders at the front of the drawer are the correspondence between the Huntington Library and Henry Holt & Co. concerning
the publishing of the book, and the accounts of Merrill H. Crissey, Professor Turner's secretary.] *All Holt correspondence
has been placed in TU Box 63.* Then follow drafts of the chapters, usually typed carbons heavily corrected in Turner's hand.
Drafts of the introduction and some other parts of chapters are in Turner's hand. Each chapter is accompanied by a series
of notes and memoranda by the editors, which admirably illustrate the problems of posthumous publication.
File Drawer B. This contains the rough data and Turner's notes for political developments during the period covered by the book. The large
quantities of statistical data gathered by Professor Turner as the basis for his analysis of elections and for the maps of
elections and congressional votes provide admirable evidence of the factual basis for each of his generalizations. This evidence
was too voluminous to be shown in footnotes.
File Drawer C. The material contained in this drawer deals largely with the public issues of the Jackson-Tyler administrations: nullification,
the tariff, the bank war, the independent treasury, foreign relations, etc. Included are many copies of documents from archives
in the United States and Europe, in addition to the usual reading notes, seminar reports, offprints, etc.
File Drawer D. Included in this drawer are materials for the later political history of the period 1830-1850. Reading notes, maps, seminar
reports, offprints, documents, etc. are supplemented by a few of Turner's rough-draft chapters extending through the Polk
Administration. The rear of the drawer contains materials not yet reduced to written form when death intervened, extending
the story to 1850.
File Drawer E. In this drawer are various drafts of the manuscripts for the Lowell Institute Lectures that Turner delivered in Boston in
1918 on "The United States and its Sections, 1830-1850." Because many pages of the lectures were later removed to be incorporated
in "the" book, most of the lectures are not complete. Enough of them remain to indicate the scope and interpretation of the
File Drawer F. This is devoted to materials for the chapter of the North Central States, 1830-1850. In contains a draft of the chapter, as
well as the usual notes, maps, reading materials, etc. Specific items such as the effect of glaciation, population movements,
the cost of moving west, and the like, illustrate again the staggering amount of evidence that underlay each generalization
in the final draft.
File Drawer G. This is also devoted exclusively to materials on the North Central States, with notes, memos, and manuscript drafts on such
topics a agriculture, transportation, business, banking,and the land system. These are a number of preliminary drafts in Turner's
hand of sections on canals, and other small parts of the whole.
File Drawer H. In this drawer are comparable materials dealing with the political and cultural history of the North Central States, 1830-1850.
File Drawer I.(Eye) This drawer contains reading notes and similar materials for the first five chapters of the book: the introduction, the United
States in 1830, and the discussions of New England, the Middle Atlantic states, and the South Atlantic states. In each case
various drafts of the chapters or fragments of chapters are filed with the other notes.
File Drawer J. In this are comparable materials for the chapters on the South Central states and for Texas and the Far West. There are no
drafts of chapters included, but fragments of drafts are tucked in with the other materials.
File Drawer K. This is devoted to materials on the Far West that formed a basis for the latter part of the Texas and Far West chapter. The
usual reading notes, theses, pamphlets, offprints, etc. deal with such subjects as Indians, trade, settlement of Oregon, etc.
File Drawer L. Largely compiled after Turner's death, and having little relation to the other materials in this bank of drawers, this drawer
deals largely with the preparation posthumously of Turner's book of essays on Sections in American History. Included is the
correspondence between the editors and Henry Holt & Co., the publishers, a folder of permissions from prior publishers of
the materials, copies of each of the original essays sent to the publishers to be reproduced, and a variety of materials on
sectionalism that have no connection with the book: many maps by Turner, one manuscript on sectionalism, jottings by Turner
on the subject, offprints, articles, and similar materials on the subject.
V. Contents of 3 x 5 Files
(Note: Files are numbered from left to right and from top to bottom)
The following brief notes on the contents of the drawers are based only on a hurried
examination, and are tentative. They are designed only to provide some introduction to a
778rather complex note-taking system. Citation: 3x5 File Drawer No. 1.
Drawer No. 1. Internal evidence (handwriting, a few scattered dates, etc.) suggests that this drawer was compiled and used in the 1890's
and to about 1904. It contains bibliographical notes and brief reading notes on the social and economic history of the United
States, and was perhaps compiled in connection with Professor Turner's course on that subject, given at the University of
Wisconsin. A number of notes suggest the type of reading that he was doing at the time of the preparation of the "Frontier"
essay. At the rear of the drawer is a section on "Immigration" apparently of the same period. This was possible collected
when he was preparing the articles on immigration for the Chicago Record-Herald, August-October, 1901.
Drawer No. 2. This drawer was also probably compiled during Turner's early teaching career. Material has been added later, however, distinguished
by a later handwriting and differing paper types. Most of the cards contain bibliographical or reading notes, with the emphasis
on sovereignty and nationalism. The Revolutionary Period receives most attention, but early social compacts are included as
well as some later periods. Probably these notes were connected with Turner's course on American Constitutional History, given
Drawer No. 3. A calendar prepared by Turner of three collections of manuscripts in the Library of Congress: the James Monroe, John Quincy
Adams, and Albert Gallatin papers. Individual cards, arranged chronologically, describe each manuscript item.
Drawer No. 4. A similar compilation and abstracting of the papers of James Barbour, Rufus King, and George Clinton, with a chronological
arrangement employed under the heading of each individual. The latter portion of this drawer also contains a series of bibliography
cards on American newspapers, and others on American public figures in the period 1820-1850.
Drawer No. 5. This drawer contains a bibliography for the period 1820-1830. Arrangement is topical, with headings under "Gazetteers," "Newspapers,"
Drawer No. 6. A chronological file of the period 1820-1830. Cards are arranged by year, and sometimes even by month within the yearly division.
Most of the cards contain brief notes on research, dealing with all of the public issues of the day. (NOTE: for the probable
use of this material by Turner in his writing, see note on his methodology, below, immediately after the description of Drawer
Drawer No. 7. This drawer contains research and bibliographical notes for the period 1820-1830, as does Drawer No. 6. Those in this drawer
are, for the most part, arranged by subject, and deal largely with social, economic, and political events during the decade.
Drawer No. 8. In this drawer Turner has arranged his biographical notes on which he based his essay on "The Children of the Pioneers." The
first card in the box has a brief note in Turner's hand suggesting the method that he was to follow. The drawer is especially
interesting in revealing the staggering amount of detailed work that underlay his statements.
Drawer No. 9. Internal evidence suggests that this drawer, and those that follow, were for the most part arranged by Turner in his Harvard
period. This drawer contains bibliographical material and brief research notes on the period from the Civil War to the 1880's,
largely during the Grant and Hayes Administrations. Within each presidential administration, material is arranged under topical
headings: "labor," "tariff," etc.
Drawer No. 10. The contents of this drawer are comparable to those for Drawer No. 9, but for the period of the Harrison and Cleveland Administrations.
Bibliographical information and brief reading notes are arranged topically.
Drawer No. 11. Bibliographical and reading notes, arranged topically, for the period since 1900.
Drawer No. 12. This contains a variety of material, largely bibliographic. Included, moving from the front to the rear of the drawer, are:
a topical bibliography for the period 1865-1910, a bibliography on economic history, largely in this period, a bibliography
on immigration and racial groups, apparently compiled later than that in Drawer No. 1; a small packet of cards held by a clip
containing notes that appear to be related to Turner's early research and thought on sectionalism; and a miscellaneous bibliography
dealing largely with the period 1865-1900.
NOTE: The remaining drawers in the file were those used by Turner in writing his United
States, 1830-1850. Their purpose will be made clear only after reading the following note
on Turner's methodology and writing techniques. This was sent by Merrill H. Crissey, his
secretary, to Avery Craven, on July 5, 1932, and is in TU Box 49, Correspondence, June
"Throughout the dictated portion of the book (including all the chapters on Presidential
Administrations), the procedure, in the case of each chapter, was, first, to make a
chronological card file of the raw material. Earlier researches had yielded a mass of
notes, partly on cards (3" x 5", white), partly on paper. The former were at once put
into a pasteboard-box file, by date; the latter were transferred to cards, which likewise
went into the file. Additional cards were then prepared; material for these came from
both secondary works (general histories and biographies --for a skeleton of events --and
special studies deemed valuable for a particular phase of the narrative) and sources
(principally the writings of political leaders, the debates in Congress, and contemporary
journals). Guide cards, in color, were used for the years and months. Subject tabs
(improved from gummed manila paper) were affixed to note cards bearing on topics or
events of chief importance. This arrangement of notes made it easy to bring together
material on any outstanding subject an d facilitated correlations. The file of notes was
supplemented by sectional tabulations of Presidential-election votes and important votes
Mr. Crissey goes on to explain that Turner dictated from these notes, with the first
draft recorded in triple-space; the resulting manuscript was then corrected and revised
in several more versions.
The following listing of the contents of drawers used in the compilation of this book
uses the words employed by Turner in labeling each of the cardboard boxes from which the
notes were transferred to the metal file cases:
Drawer No. 13. "Correlation 1827-35."
Drawer No. 14. "Campaign 1836 and Topics."
Drawer No. 15. "1836 by States."
Drawer No. 16. "1837."
"1838, 1839, 1840."
Drawer No. 18."1841-1843."
Drawer No. 19."Administration of James K. Polk, 1845-1849." In addition to the research notes
referred to in Mr. Crissey's note above, the drawers of this series contain occasional
small maps drawn by Turner, usually of congressional votes.
VI. Black Boxes Nos. 1-14
The materials in these fourteen black boxes were apparently arranged by Mr. Merrill h.
Crissey, Professor Turner's secretary, either before or after Turner's death. They
consist of offprints, clippings from magazines and newspapers, pamphlets, small booklets,
and an occasional student paper. Many of the items have been heavily underlined or
annotated by Turner, and are valuable in indicating the nature of his historical reading
and thinking. The items are numbered throughout, in Mr. Crissey's hand, from 1 to 298;
the numbers that follow the drawer numbers below refer to this classification. Suggested
form of citation: TU Black Box No. 1 (1-25), Item 1.
Box No. 1 (1-25). Material dealing with the origin and outbreak of the Civil War. In some instances heavily annotated and with side comments
Box No. 2 (26-40). Continuation of materials on the Civil War. In addition to the usual offprints, clippings, pamphlets, etc., this box contains
three student papers prepared in Turner's courses.
Box No. 3 (41-64). A continuation of Civil War materials, with emphasis on military events. one student paper, from Turner's Harvard period,
Box No. 4 (65-83). Largely magazine clippings, but with a few additional items, dealing with the military history of the Civil War. Greatest
emphasis is on the Battle of Gettysburg.
Box No. 5 (84-100). A continuation of materials on the military history of the Civil War, with later battles emphasized.
Box No. 6 (101-110). Materials dealing with diplomatic aspects of the Civil War.
Box No. 7 (111-138). Reprints, pamphlets, clippings and the like concerning the early phases of Reconstruction, and particularly the administration
of Andrew Johnson.
Box No. 8 (139-159). A continuation of materials of reconstruction, with some also on the purchase of Alaska.
Box No. 9 (160-168). Miscellaneous materials, having little relationship to contents of earlier boxes. Two items deserve special mention. One is
a series of pages clipped from the 1890 census report containing the well-known passage on the closing of the frontier, underlined
by Turner. The other is an 1891 advance sheet on the 1890 census, dealing with the spread of population between 1790-1890.
(Items 163 and 164).
Box No. 10 (169-206). Pamphlets, magazine articles, and newspaper clippings on technological developments and especially on the depletion of natural
resources in relation to growing population needs. Source materials for Clark University address.
Box No. 11 (207-228). Materials dealing with political history after Reconstruction, and emphasizing the Progressive Period. The last items are
on labor and immigration history and policies for the period.
Box No. 12 (229-249). Materials on labor are continued from the last box; this box also contains items on the South in the twentieth century. Newspaper
clippings are more numerous than in many earlier boxes.
Box No. 13 (250-274). Beginning with a few items on the South, this box also contains some materials on the Pacific Northwest and the northern Great
Plains. A few items deal with foreign policy in the twentieth century.
Box No. 14 (275-298). Clippings predominate in this box, on politics in the 1880's and 1920's.
The following items are included in the collection of Turner papers:
Maps. Maps drawn or used by Turner are in two filing-case size drawers. These include many political maps or others of a like nature
used to illustrate his sectionalism concept. Note: In addition to the maps in these two drawers, hundreds of others are scattered
through the large file drawers containing his research and reading notes.
Student Theses. One large file drawer contains a number of theses prepared in Turner's classes and seminars. These have been arranged alphabetically
and labeled by Merrill H. Crissey, Mr. Turner's secretary. They have also been dated where this is possible. Note: Many other
theses, term papers, and seminar reports prepared in Professor Turner's classes are scattered through File Drawers 1-22 and
Photographs. Photographs have been collected in one large flat box. These include boyhood pictures of Turner, his family, and friends,
as well as pictures taken during his teaching career.
Lantern Slides. The lantern slides used by Turner in his teaching and lectures are collected in nine special boxes. These are apparently exactly
as they were left by Turner, with one box containing slides for the lecture given at Pasadena, probably untouched since the
lecture was given. Many of the slides are of political maps, elections, congressional votes, etc., prepared by Turner.
Ephemera. Miscellaneous materials having only a remote connection to Turner's career as teacher or scholar have been assembled in a
flat cardboard box labeled "Ephemera." Most of these are of little value to the student. Included are many of the advertisements
and similar material received through the mails after his death.