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Justus Richard Pearson, Jr. papers

Call Number: MS 1365

Scope and Contents

The Justus Richard Pearson papers consist of six boxes of diaries spanning the dates 1931-1954. The collection was donated to Yale University by Justus Pearson in 1984.

Pearson's diaries provide considerable personal detail on the life, activities and feelings of an articulate adolescent, college student, conscientious objector, and graduate student. There is also a great deal of information on family life, particularly for the 1930s. Young Pearson seriously considered a career in the theater and after graduation from high school worked part-time in local theaters in the Detroit area. He attended many concerts, plays, and movies and listened to many radio programs. The diaries contain an especially complete record of Pearson's student life at Hopkins, Yale, and Columbia and of his personal attachments. While at Yale, for example, he was romantically involved with several Vassar students.

The collection will be of use to anyone studying student life from the Depression to the 1950s, alternative service for conscientious objectors during World War II, and interpersonal relations.


  • 1931-1954


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Justus Richard Pearson, Jr. has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Justus Richard Pearson, Jr., 1984.


2.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of personal diaries written by Pearson from 1931-1954. They cover his last year at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, his attendance at Hopkins Grammar School, his years at Yale University, his World War II alternative service, and his graduate school career at Columbia University.

Biographical / Historical

Justus Richard Pearson, Jr. (1915-) was born in Detroit on January 2, 1915, the son of Justus Richard and Bessie Louise Day Pearson. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit 1931, worked for four years in Detroit, and in September 1935 entered Hopkins Grammar School in order to prepare for admission to Yale. Pearson graduated from Hopkins in June 1936 and entered Yale in September. A member of the class of 1940, he belonged to Calhoun College and was active in the University Glee Club. He majored in H.A.L., received an M.A. in general studies from Yale in 1942, and spent the war years in Civilian Public Service working as a dairy tester in Dutchess County, New York. Pearson served as an instructor in English at Vassar College 1946-1947 and then entered the Ph.D. program at Columbia University. He received a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature in 1955 and has taught at Emory University, Michigan State University at Oakland, and Illinois Wesleyan University. On June 9, 1954, he married Jane Mayes Dorset Townley.

Guide to the Justus Richard Pearson Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Bruce P. Stark
March 1985
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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