Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Robert Elliott Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 127
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
5.8 Linear feet
14 archives boxes, 4 oversize folders
Date (inclusive): 1946 - 1981
Papers of Robert Carl Elliott, scholar and professor of literature. Elliott specialized in the study of satire and its relationship
to utopian societies. The collection includes manuscripts of writings by Elliott, correspondence with friends and colleagues,
and material related to the development of UCSD. Also of interest are materials related to issues of academic freedom and
free speech that affected Ohio State University in the 1950s and 1960s and USCD in the late 1960's and 1970s. The items in
the collection are dated between 1946-1981, with the bulk of the material dated in the 1960s and 1970s. The collection is
arranged in nine series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE; 2) WRITINGS; 3) OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MATERIALS; 4) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
SAN DIEGO ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS; 5) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO LITERATURE DEPARTMENT; 6) MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION;
7) LITERATURE CONFERENCES; 8) MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS and 9) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
Elliott, Robert C., 1914-
Scope and Content of Collection
The Robert Elliott Papers consist of correspondence, writings, and materials related to Elliott's administrative and academic
work at Ohio State University (1946-1963) and the University of California, San Diego (1964-1981). The collection includes
materials related to political events and issues of academic freedom and free speech at both campuses. The papers span the
years 1946-1981, with the bulk of the material dating from 1960-1970. The collection is arranged in nine series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE,
2) WRITINGS, 3) OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MATERIALS; 4) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS; 5) UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO LITERATURE DEPARTMENT; 6) MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION; 7) LITERATURE CONFERENCES; 8) MISCELLANEOUS
DOCUMENTS and 9) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
SERIES ONE: CORRESPONDENCE
The first series, CORRESPONDENCE, is the largest series in this collection. It contains correspondence written to and from
colleagues and friends between 1954 and 1980. Of particular interest is the correspondence Elliott had with UCSD colleagues
John S. Galbraith, Paul Saltman and Roy Harvey Pearce. Also included is a letter Elliott wrote to President Kennedy in 1962
protesting the Kennedy Administration's actions in Cuba. This series is arranged alphabetically by author, then chronologically
within each folder.
SERIES TWO: WRITINGS
The second series, WRITINGS, contains both rough and final drafts of journal articles and lectures Elliott wrote. Often, the
writings are accompanied by research material used for the piece, as well as critiques and feedback from colleagues. The materials
in this series span the years 1946-1976 and are arranged alphabetically by title or subject.
SERIES THREE: OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MATERIALS
The third series, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MATERIALS, contains materials that cover the years 1953-1963. Included are applications
for research grants and fellowships, and files related to committees he participated in. Also of particular interest are materials
related to the "red scare" and issues of academic freedom and free speech on the campus in the fifties and early sixties.
Included are documents on the Students for Wallace ordeal, in which students sponsored a speaker from the Young Progressives
of America, and the University's official position on the dismissal of Dr. Byron Darling for his purported connections with
the Communist Party. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.
SERIES FOUR: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS
The fourth series, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS contains material related to Elliott's participation
in the development of UCSD. He was an active member of the Academic Senate, the Budget Committee and the Planning Committee
for Second College (Muir). Also included are materials related to his participation in the hiring process for faculty and
dean positions. Elliott collected newspaper articles, inter-department and campus-wide memos related to political events that
affected the University; and this material is part of this subseries. Of particular interest are the files on Angela Davis,
the Clark Kerr dismissal, and the Mime Troupe Affair. The materials span the years 1968-1980 and are arranged alphabetically
SERIES FIVE: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO LITERATURE DEPARTMENT
The fifth series, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO LITERATURE DEPARTMENT, is divided into three subseries. The first is
Department Affairs. This sub-series contains letters and memos from members of the Literature Department concerning department
events, courses, and conferences. This series is arranged chronologically. The second sub-series, Graduate Students, contains
materials related to the graduate program. Topics include selection of curriculum and hiring of faculty. The third subseries
is General Materials and includes items from the Literature Department's Executive Committee and materials about the undergraduate
program. These materials span the years 1963-1976 and are arranged alphabetically by subject.
SERIES SIX: MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION
The sixth series, MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION, includes correspondence to and from Elliott concerning the administration of
the MLA; ie: selection of board members and discussion topics for conferences. This material is dated 1962-1980 and is arranged
alphabetically by subject.
SERIES SEVEN: LITERATURE CONFERENCES
The seventh series, LITERATURE CONFERENCES, contains material related to conferences that Elliott presented papers at or attended
from 1959-1981. This small series is arranged alphabetically by conference title.
SERIES EIGHT: MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS
The eighth series, MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS, contains a small amount of material that was unrelated to any other series in
the collection. It includes a brief biography of Elliott written in 1965, correspondence with the Department of Motor Vehicles,
miscellaneous receipts and a bibliography of English texts written by Eric Solomon. This material is arranged alphabetically
SERIES NINE: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES
Materials of high acid content have been photocopied and segregated in this series.
Robert Carl Elliott (1914-1981) received a bachelor of arts degree from Wabash College (1936), a master of arts degree from
Columbia University (1937), and a Ph.D. from Brown University (1946). He first taught English at the University of Hawaii
(1937-1939, 1941) and later joined the faculty at Ohio State University in 1946, attaining the rank of professor in 1959.
During the Second World War, Elliott served in the Navy as a combat intelligence officer in the Pacific theatre. He was discharged
in 1946 as a lieutenant and received the Bronze Star.
Elliott's career at the University of California, San Diego began in 1964 when he was recruited to help found the Department
of Literature. He later served as department chairman (1968-1971). While at UCSD, Elliott chaired the Committee on Academic
Personnel and served on the Budget Committee.
Elliott received a Ford Foundation fellowship (1952-1953) to pursue research at Yale University and a Guggenheim Memorial
Foundation grant (1962) to study utopian literature. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the International Association of University
Professors of English, PEN, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the English Institute (chairman, 1978), the Modern
Language Association, the American Association of University Professors (president of the Ohio State chapter, 1963-1964),
and the American Comparative Literature Association.
Perhaps Elliott's most important contribution to literature is his work on satire and its role in the creation of utopian
societies in literature. A major argument of Elliott's "The Shape of Utopia: Studies in a Literary Genre," is that satire
and utopian writing have a common origin, as evidenced by the development of the two genres. Rather than Plato's Republic
being the original utopia, Elliott contends that myths of the Golden Age, as passed down during Saturnalian feasts, which
both venerated and ridiculed the Golden Age, were instead the precursors of utopian genre literature.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Robert Elliott Papers, MSS 0127. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
In accordance with federal and state laws, recommendations written about students and faculty members contained in this collection
are restricted until the year 2064.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Allen, Don Cameron, 1903-1972
Bate, Walter Jackson, 1918-1999
Erdman, David V.
Hunter, J. Paul, 1934-
Marcuse, Herbert, 1898-1979
Said, Edward W.
University of California, San Diego. Dept. of Literature.
Wright, Andrew H.
Satire -- History and criticism
Utopias in literature