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Hapgood, Charles H.



Charles Hutchins Hapgood was the son of the journalists and authors Hutchins Hapgood (1869-1944) and Neith Boyce (1872-1951). He was born in New York City on May 17, 1904, and, along with his siblings Harry Boyce (1901-1918), Miriam (1906-1990), and Beatrix (1910-1994), was raised in the family's homes in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts. Hapgood attended the Scarborough School in Westchester County, New York, and then, like his father, earned two degrees at Harvard University: an A.B. (1929) and M.A. (1932). Staying on in Cambridge, he completed the course requirements for a history Ph.D. but not his dissertation. After holding an administrative job at the Provincetown Community Center, and wartime positions with the Office of Strategic Services and the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., Hapgood began a twenty-year teaching career in the humanities through faculty appointments at Keystone College (1945-1947), Springfield College (1947-1952), Keene State College (1956-1966), and New England College (1966-1967), where he lectured in world and American history, anthropology, economics, and the history of science.

Throughout his academic career, as well as in his retirement years, Hapgood pursued personal research projects that centered on controversial, and largely disputed, topics. His first published work was The Earth's Shifting Crust: a Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Sciences (1958), which was revised and reissued in 1970 as The Path of the Pole. In these books he explored his theories about the movements of the outer layer of the earth and the resulting polar shifts, which he believed to have influenced the formation of various mountain ranges and the changing size and level of the oceans and seas. Hapgood's follow-up work, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age (1966, revised edition 1979), suggested that Antarctica had been a habitable continent prior to the shift of the earth's outer layer. His research was based in large part on a portolan chart drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis, a Turkish admiral and cartographer, which had been discovered in 1929 in an Istanbul library. Hapgood had earlier given a presentation on the map at the Tenth International Congress of the History of Science (Ithaca, New York, 1962). His continuing interest in ancient civilizations led to his publication Mystery in Acámbaro: an account of the ceramic collection of the late Waldemar Julsrud in Acámbaro, Gto., Mexico (1973), which discussed the more than 30,000 clay figures that had been excavated there in the summer of 1944; Hapgood supported Julsrud's belief that the figures (representing humans from a variety of civilizations, as well as dinosaurs), which were found in near-perfect condition, had been created and buried several thousand years before. However, most academics believed them to be a hoax, and made for Julsrud by twentieth-century Mexican peasants. In addition to these works, Hapgood reached the general public through articles he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and Coronet magazines, and with his book for children, Great Mysteries of the Earth, which was published in 1960; it was also issued in Arabic.

Concurrent with his investigations in the fields of earth science, ancient history, and archeology, Hapgood was actively interested in parapsychology and spirit communication. He spent a decade working with the New England medium Elwood Babbitt (1921-2001) to encounter nearly sixty notables in divinity and history, both recent and ancient. The conversations were taped and transcribed, and provided Hapgood with material for his final three books: Voices of Spirit, Through the Psychic Experience of Elwood Babbitt (1975), Talks with Christ and His Teachers Through the Psychic Gift of Elwood Babbitt (1981), and The God Within: a Testament of Vishnu, a Handbook for the Spiritual Renaissance (1982).

Charles Hapgood's 1941 marriage to Tamsin Hughes (1906-1998) ended in divorce in 1955. In his later years he resided in Arizona and in Richmond, New Hampshire, but was living in Greenfield, Massachusetts, when he was struck by a car and died on December 21, 1982. Charles and Tamsin Hapgood were survived by two sons, Frederick (born 1942) and William (born 1944), and two grandsons.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

John Collier papers

Call Number: MS 146
Abstract: The papers consist of correspondence, subject files, writings, memoranda and reports, research materials, and miscellanea, documenting the personal life and professional career of John Collier. His service with the American Indian Defense Association (A.I.D.A.), as United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and as a teacher and author is detailed. Correspondence files include materials with leading political, literary, and social figures. Drafts of books, articles, essays, reviews, and...
Dates: 1910-1987

Charles H. Hapgood papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 283

The Charles H. Hapgood Papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and research materials related to Hapgood's research projects and publications on earth science, archeology, ancient history, parapsychology, and spirit communication.

Dates: 1898-1979, bulk 1950-1979

Hapgood family papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 41

The Hapgood Family Papers contain correspondence; manuscripts of books, plays, poems, articles, book reviews, essays, and short stories; plus business papers, diaries, maps, photographs, subject files, writings of others, and miscellaneous papers which document the lives and careers of various members of the Hapgood family and to a lesser extent the Boyce family, most notably Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce Hapgood.

Dates: 1829-2000, bulk 1900-1940

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