Skip to main content

Charles H. Hapgood papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 283

Scope and Contents

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. The bulk of the material is letters from and to a wide array of people interested in Hapgood's work and theories, or, in some cases, those in whom he hoped to create an interest. His correspondents ranged from amateur geologists and local historians to respected scholars from around the world, as Hapgood's interests were equally wide-ranging: ancient maps to New Age philosophies, terrestrial science to celestial spirits. The collection holds little in the way of Hapgood family papers, although solid insight on Charles Hapgood's personality and personal life can be gleaned from many of his outgoing letters.


  • 1898 - 1979
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1979


Language of Materials

Materials in English, French, German, Spanish, and Arabic.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 39 contains restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Charles H. Hapgood 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 Charles H. Hapgood, 1982


The collection is organized into three series: I. Personal Papers (1913-1979); II. Writings (1918-1979); and Other Papers (1898-1979).

Associated Materials

Additional Charles H. Hapgood material can be found in the Hapgood Family Papers (YCAL MSS 41) and the Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers (YCAL MSS 277) at the Beinecke Library, and the Hapgood Family Papers (manuscript group 795) in Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. Additional material related to Hapgood's work with the medium Elwood Babbitt, as well as the manuscripts of his books on psychic studies, are in the Charles Hapgood Papers (MS 445) at the W. E. B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts.


16.27 Linear Feet (39 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


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.

Charles Hutchins Hapgood (1904-1982)

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 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.

Processing Information

Hapgood had created many duplicates of the letters he wrote and received by means of mimeograph and carbon copies; he also created duplicates of chapters he transcribed from textbooks, as well as several duplicate transcripts of spirit communications. These duplicates were compared, removed, and discarded when the collection was processed.

Guide to the Charles H. Hapgood Papers
by Sandra Markham
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

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.