Richard Slotkin papers
Scope and Contents
This collection documents the research methodologies and writing techniques of Richard Slotkin chiefly related to his historical studies and works of historical fiction, 1959-circa 2012. Material includes his research notes, his typed drafts, and proofs of works. Other material includes Slotkin’s course notes and papers from his doctoral work at Brown University.
Slotkin's historical studies documented in the collection include: Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860 (1973); The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (1985); Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992); Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality (2005); and No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864 (2009), as well as an article, "Equalizers: The Six-Gun Mystique in American Culture."
Slotkin's historical fiction documented in the collection include The Return of Henry Starr (1988) and Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln (2000).
Slotkin's unpublished works documented in the collection include a biography of George Armstrong Custer and a novel based on Oglala Indian leader Crazy Horse.
- 1959-circa 2012
- Majority of material found within 1969 - 1999
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Boxes 41, 59, and 61 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Richard Slotkin Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Richard S. Slotkin, 1983-2014. Gift of Joseph W. Reed, 1991. Gift of Joseph W. Reed and Kit Reed, 1993.
Organized by acquisition into ten groupings: November 1983 Acquisition, March 1985 Acquisition, November 1985 Acquisition, September 1986 Acquisition, June 1992 and February 1993 Acquisitions, January 1993 Acquisition, February 1993 Acquisition, July 1999 Acquisition, September 2005 Acquisition, February 2014 Acquisition.
Material within this collection has been organized by acquisition reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time.
Researchers should note that material within each acquisition overlaps with and/or relates to material found in other acquisitions. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers will need to consult each acquisition described in the Collection Contents section.
Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.
36.31 Linear Feet (61 boxes)
5.327 Megabytes (42 digital files)
Language of Materials
A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog
This collection documents the research and writing of Richard Slotkin chiefly related to his historical studies and works of historical fiction, 1959-circa 2012. Material includes his research notes, his typed drafts, and proofs of works. Other material includes Slotkin's course notes and papers from his doctoral work at Brown University.
Richard S. Slotkin (born 1942)
American historian and novelist Richard Slotkin received his Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College in 1963, and his doctorate from Brown University in 1967. He received an honorary Master of Arts in Art Education from Wesleyan University in 1976. In 1966, Slotkin began his academic career at Wesleyan University, where he remained until 2009, when he retired and became the Olin Professor of English and American Studies Emeritus at Wesleyan.
Slotkin’s historical works comprise a trilogy on the mythology of the American West: Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860 (1973); The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (1985); and Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992). His other historical studies include Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality (2005) and No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864 (2009). Slotkin also edited So Dreadfull a Judgment: Puritan Responses to King Philip's War, 1675-1677 (1978), with James K. Folsom, and provided notes and an introduction to a Penguin Books edition (1986) of The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper. His works of historical fiction consist of The Crater (1980), The Return of Henry Starr (1988), and Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln (2000).
Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, titled according to month and year of acquisition. Includes material formerly classed as Uncat WA MS 13, Uncat WA MS 44, Uncat WA MS 50, Uncat WA MS 51, Uncat WA MS 64, Uncat WA MS 159, Uncat WA MS 160, Uncat WA MS 251, Uncat MSS 814, and Uncat WA MSS File.
As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- African American soldiers -- History -- 20th Century
- American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism
- American literature -- History and criticism
- Authors -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Born digital
- Crazy Horse, approximately 1842-1877
- Custer, George A. (George Armstrong), 1839-1876
- Frontier and pioneer life -- United States
- Frontier and pioneer life -- United States -- Historiography
- Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.)
- Frontier and pioneer life in literature
- Frontier thesis
- Historians -- 20th Century
- King Philip's War, 1675-1676
- Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 -- Childhood and youth -- Fiction
- Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876 -- Historiography
- Minorities -- United States
- Mythology in literature
- National characteristics, American
- New England -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
- Petersburg Crater, Battle of, Va., 1864
- Popular culture -- United States -- History -- 20th Century
- Puritans -- New England
- Slotkin, Richard, 1942-
- Starr, Henry, 1873-1921 -- Fiction
- United States. Army -- African American troops -- History -- 20th Century
- United States. Army (Recruiting, enlistment, etc.)
- United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 369th -- History
- West (U.S.) -- History
- Western films -- Political aspects
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Participation, African American
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Regimental histories -- United States
- Guide to the Richard Slotkin Papers
- by Clayton McGahee and Matthew Daniel Mason, Brooke McManus
- July 2012. Revised: October 2022
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
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