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Robert Sabatino Lopez papers

Call Number: MS 1459

Scope and Contents

The Robert Sabatino Lopez Papers consist of correspondence, topical files, and research and writing files which document his career as a professor and scholar of medieval and Renaissance history.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, consists of Lopez's correspondence with his students and colleagues, and with representatives of academic institutions, granting agencies, conferences, professional organizations, and publishing companies.

Series II, TOPICAL FILES, consists of correspondence, memoranda, notes, and printed material arranged by topic. Included in the series are academic course files and files relating to Lopez's administrative and teaching activities at Yale University. The published proceedings from a 1987 conference honoring Lopez in Genoa, Italy are in box 16, folder 305.

Series III, RESEARCH AND WRITING FILES, consists of manuscripts and typescripts of some of Lopez's published and unpublished works, as well as notes and printed material relating to his research and writing.


  • 1932-1987


Language of Materials

The papers are in English, Italian, and French.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for 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

The papers were the gift of Mrs. Robert S. (Claude) Lopez in 1987. Transferred from the Visual Resources Collection, Yale University (Accession 2009-M-006), 2008.


Arranged in three series and one addition: I. Correspondence, 1937-1986. II. Topical Files, 1936-1987. III. Research and Writing Files, 1932-1985.


14.75 Linear Feet (31 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, topical files, photographs, and research and writing files which document Robert S. Lopez's career as a professor and scholar of medieval and Renaissance history.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Sabatino Lopez was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1910. He received a Dottore in Lettere degree from the University of Milan in 1932 and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1942. He taught history and literature at the Teacher Colleges of Cagliari (1933-1934), Pavia (1934-1935), and Genoa (1935-1936), then medieval and economic history as Assistant Professor at the University of Genoa from 1936 to 1938.

After immigrating to the United States in 1939, Lopez served as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin between 1939 and 1942, as a script editor at the Office of War Information (Voice of America) in 1942-1943, and as a foreign news editor at the Columbia Broadcasting System until 1945.

Lopez taught history at Brooklyn College from 1943 to 1944, and at Columbia University from 1944 to 1945, before he was appointed Assistant Professor at Yale University in 1946. He became Associate Professor of History in 1950, Professor in 1955, Durfee Professor in 1961, and Sterling Professor in 1970. He became a Fellow of Calhoun College in 1947, and served in various administrative capacities. Lopez was instrumental in the founding of the Yale University Graduate School Medieval Studies Program, serving as secretary of the Medieval Studies advisory committee from 1956 to 1961, and as the first chairman of the Medieval Studies Program from 1961 to 1974. He retired from the Yale faculty in June of 1981.

He received honorary degrees from Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati, the Université de Montpellier and the Universita di Roma. In June 1985 he was appointed a Fellow of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. A member of many professional associations, he was President of the Fellows of the Medieval Academy of America and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science.

Lopez was the author of fourteen books and more than one hundred scholarly papers, including The Birth of Europe (1961), which was translated into seven languages from the original French, and The Commercial Revolution of Europe (1971), which was translated into five languages.

He was married to Claude-Anne Kirschen Lopez, and was the father of two sons, Michael S. Lopez, and Lawrence C. R. Lopez. Robert Sabatino Lopez died July 6, 1986.

Guide to the Robert Sabatino Lopez Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Susan Brady with Lynn Kalinauskas and staff of Manuscripts and Archives
February 1993
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

Yale University Library
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