William Appleman Williams Papers, 1945-2003  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Williams, William Appleman.
Title
William Appleman Williams Papers
Dates
1945-2003 (inclusive)
Quantity
16 linear feet, (31 boxes)
Collection Number
Consult repository.
Summary
William Appleman Williams (1921-1990), an influential American historian and writer, was a member of the History faculty at Oregon State University from 1968-1986. He is regarded to be a founder of the "revisionist school" of American diplomatic history. The author of several books, Williams' The Contours of American History (1961), was named one of the 100 best non-fiction books written in English in the twentieth century by the Modern Library. The Williams Papers consist of correspondence, news articles, books and memorabilia.
Repository
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
97331-4501
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
scarc@oregonstate.edu
Access Restrictions
Restrictions on Access

Permission to examine the Williams Papers will be granted to qualified researchers upon completion of an "Application for Use" form, and contingent upon the researcher's agreement to abide by the rules and policies governing the use of manuscripts. In addition, some materials concerning Frank Unger and also OSU Personnel records have restricted access.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Appleman Williams was a historian known for his sharp critiques of American foreign policy. A graduate of Kemper Military Academy in Booneville, Missouri, and later of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, he served as an officer in the Pacific during World War II, receiving an honorable discharge and a Purple Heart at war's end. He went on to the University of Wisconsin, where he took his Master's and Ph.D. degrees in history. Before coming to Oregon State University in 1968, he taught in Madison, in the process establishing the "Wisconsin School" of diplomatic history. During his career he also taught at the University of Melbourne as a Fulbright scholar and, in 1979, was elected President of the Organization of American Historians. He retired from OSU in 1986 to his coastal home at Waldport, Oregon. On March 8, 1990, Williams died at the age of 86. Nine years later The Modern Library named his volume, The Contours of American History, one of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books Written in English in the 20th Century.

William Appleman Williams was a prolific and influential writer. His revisionist works -- particularly The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959) -- challenged prevailing views of American history, deploring the United States as an imperialist power forcing its economic and ideological will around the globe. Hailed by Eugene Genovese as, "the best historian the Left has produced in this country," the genially combative professor termed himself a radical, isolated from the center of American intellectual life. He was particularly critical of US foriegn policy, especially America's role in the Cold War and in Vietnam. In the estimation of Gore Vidal, Williams was, "the best school teacher who ever taught history in Oregon."

With passionate arguments and complex analysis, he championed self-determination for all people, and argued that refusal by Americans to acknowledge a national desire for expansion and global hegemony has led to major errors and confusion over the nation's future. "The act of imposing one people's morality upon another people is an imperial denial of self-determination," he wrote in his 1976 book America Confronts a Revolutionary World: 1776-1976. "Once begun, there is no end of empire except war and more war."

Detractors accused him and other revisionists of employing a double-standard, by justifying or explaining Soviet actions in the context of national security, while measuring Western actions against a utopian ideal. Reviewers termed his works provocative, honestly stated and admirable, but they challenged some arguments as flawed, simiplistic and naïve in relying on good intentions and communal feeling.

Indeed, there was much that was paradoxical about the career of William Appleman Williams: the perpetual outsider whose personal influence on American historiography was probably greater than that of any of his contemporaries, a deeply American figure whose interpretation of US foriegn policy found readier and wiser acceptance among non-Americans than among his own countryment. Despite these paradoxes, proponents and critics both are compelled to acknowledge Williams' life and work as characterized by intellectual independence and moral seriousness.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, published and unpublished manuscripts, memorial service notes, and personal items spanning the years 1945 through 1999. Correspondence includes letters to friends, colleagues and associates and many are in direct relation to articles that Williams authored. In addition, the collection also includes personnel records of his time at Oregon State University, materials and documents from his service in the United States Navy, and biographical and family history information that was collected and kept by him.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions on Use

This collection requires permission for use from Wendy Williams.

Preferred Citation

Preferred Citation

William Appleman Williams Papers, Oregon State University Special Collections, Box #.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

1:  Catalog of Holdings, 1883-1992Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
1
Correspondence; News Articles; Typescripts
1968-1992
Folder
1929p.1
Dispersed Systems of the Protein-silk Fibroin. Dissertation, Yale University.
1929
1.1
Ruston, Alan; Tomlin, Mr. and Mrs. H.E. (in-laws); and Related Newspaper Articles.
1973-1992
1.2
Letter to the Editor of the Oregon Stater, George Edmonston, Re: Dr. Fred W. Decker's Screed Against the Liberal Arts.
No Date
1.3
Jean and John McCarter.
1981-1992
1.4
Letter to Frank Shaw.
Dec. 28, 1988
1.5
Correspondence with Frank Unger. (Limited Access).
1983-1985
1.6
Correspondence with Frank Unger. (Limited Access).
1986-1989
1.7
Typescripts by Frank Unger: Initial, "History as a Way of Learning"."Discourses of Unity and Some Reflections About Their Aftermath"Frank Unger (Ed.) Amerikanische Mythen: Zurinneren Verfassung der Vereinigtne Staaten with article by W.A.W.: "Amerika - die ermattete und nostalgische Kultur".
July 1990; No Date; 1988
1.8
Correspondence with J.P. Morray and Article: Oregon Times, "Interview with W.A.W., America Confronts a Revolutionary World".
1975-1991
1.9
Kliewer, David D.; Typescript: "The Annapolis Crowd" (includes letters from Peter Copek? and Craig Leman).
1984-1989
1.10
Correspondence with James Groshong.
1988-1990
1.11
Correspondence with and Articles by David A. Horowitz: North Coast Times Eagle, "The Loneliness of the Synthetic Historian: A Plea for the Nineties".The Sunday Oregonian Magazine, Northwest, "W.A.W., A Name to Remember".
Jan-Feb. 1990; Feb. 21, 1971, 1983-1985
1.12
Correspondence with Henry W. Berger and Miscellaneous Articles.
1961-1989
1.13
Correspondence with Robert and Doris See.
1977-1989
1.14
Correspondence with Jeffrey J. Safford.
1968-1991
1.15
Correspondence with Ellie and Gus Mattersdorfs.
No Date
2
Correspondence; Memorial Notices; OSU Personnel Forms; Abstracts; Typescripts from Papers; Articles
1960-1991
Folder
2.1
Correspondence and Memorial Notices Regarding the late W.A.W.Typescripts: "W.A.W. 'Intransigent Revisionist' (1921-1990)", by William G. Robbins."W.A.W. the Historian and His Community - The Oregon Years", by Donald McIlvenna.
No Date; Aug. 8, 1990; April 1, 1991
2.2
Correspondence with Donald McIlvenna; Typescript; Abstract; Miscellaneous Articles.
1960-1989
2.3
General Correspondence; Bibliography of W.A.W's Writings; Vitae; Personnel Action Forms; Articles; Travel Papers.
1963-1990
2.4
Departmental Correspondence; Curriculum Vitae; Typescript.
1970-1987
2.5
Draft copy by W.A.W.: "Vietnam and America: The Revival of an Anti-Imperial Mood?".
Oct. 14, 1987
2.6
Pre-Employment Correspondence with Oregon State University.
1966-1991
2.7
American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Annual Meeting: Program. Oregon State University.
13-16 August 1992
3
Correspondence; Drawings; Photographs;Typescript; Articles
1945-1992
Folder
3.1
Special Collections Correspondence with Donald McIlvenna.
1991
3.2
General Correspondence.
1991-1992
3.3
Drawings of W.A.W. by David King.
Late 1970's-Early 1980's
3.4
Typescript: "A Good Life and a Good Death - A Memorial of an Independent Lady".
1984?
3.5
Typescripts by W.A.W.: "The Legacy of Karl Marx: Or, the Inheritance We Dare Not Squander".Outline Proposal for Book on American Imperialism."Introduction: The Tangled Lines of Cause and Consequence"."The Intellectual in American Public Life"
No Date; No Date; Sept. 1983; April 30, 1984
3.6
Articles by W.A.W.
1970-1989
3.7
Photographs of W.A.W.
No Dates
3.8
Negative of W.A.W. from Lucky Bag, United States Naval Academy
1945
4
Published and Unpublished Manuscripts
1981
Folder
4.1
Notes on the Death of a Ship and the End of a World.
1981
4.2
Williams Essays
No Date
4.3
Williams: Unpublished manuscripts
No Date
4.4
Williams: Published essays
No Date
4.5
Williams: Manuscripts, published and unpublished
No Date
4.6
Duplicate copies
No Date
5
Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings, Biographical Comments, Memorial Service
No Date
Folder
5.1
Correspondence within American Russian Relations.
1781-1947
5.2
Correspondence with Toulmin and miscellaneous.
No Date
5.3
Correspondence within The Great Invasion.
No Date
5.4
Correspondence within History as a Way of Learning.
No Date
5.5
William Appleman Williams Session, American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch.
No Date
5.6
Williams: Newspaper Column.
No Date
5.7
"Bill," footnotes.
No Date
5.8
Williams: Letters, documents.
No Date
5.9
Clippings within The Contours of American History.
No Date
5.10
Newspaper clipping within Stori olelgi Stati Uniti.
No Date
5.11
Newspaper clipping within The Tragedy of American Diplomacy.
No Date
5.12
William Appleman Williams Memorial Service.
No Date
5.13
Williams: Comments about W.A.W.
No Date
6
Correspondence and Materials Related to WAW
1988-2003
Folder
6.2
"History as a Way of Learning: On the Death of the American Historian William Appleman Williams." Frank Unger.
No Date
6.3
"Excerpts from a Conference to Honor William Appleman Williams."
No Date
6.4
Note and article by Martin J. Sklar.
3/17/92
6.5
"The Tragedy of Cold War History," John Lewis Gaddis.
No Date
6.6
"William Appleman Williams: Historian and Student of History," Ted Lynch.
5/19/93
6.7
Reprint: "Coming to Terms with Empire" and correspondence to Wendy Williams by Ed Crapol.
No Date
6.8
"Revisionists and Liberals," James J. Buckley.
No Date
6.9
"Inside Glasnost," by Seweryn Bialer, Atlantic Monthly.
Feb. 1988
6.10
"Making Corporations Accountable in a Liberal Democracy: The U.S. in the Modern Formative Era, 1890's--1916," Martin J. Sklar.
No Date
6.11
"A U.S. Dillema: Economic Opportunity and Anti-Americanism in El Salvador, 1901-1911," Thomas Schoonover.
No Date
6.12
"Expansionists and Anti-Expansionists of 1898: The Unfinished Debate," Serge Ricard.
No Date
6.13
"The Mexican War: A Study in Causation," Norman A. Graebner.
No Date
6.14
"'Under the Banner of King Death': The Social World of Anglo-American Pirates, 1716 to 1726," Marcus Rediker.
No Date
6.15
Letter from and article re: Howard Schonberger trial.
11/3/89
6.16
Unidentified note.
No Date
6.17
"Last of the Independents: the Life and Work of William Appleman Williams", Chris Petersen.
1998
6.18
"Of Oregon and Empire: William Appleman Williams Defines Community", Kelsey M. Kent.
1999
6.19
"William Appleman Williams, Elting Morison, and 'Doing History' Amidst the New Technology", Richard Hume Werking."The Process of Bureaucratization in the U.S. State Department and the Vesting of Economic Interests: Toward Clearer Thinking and Better History", Fred V. Carstensen and Richard Hume Werking.
1989; 1983
6.20
"Professor R. Fenton Duvall, Professor Paul Lawrence Farber, Professor Williams", excerpt by Keith R. Benson, from Teachers with Class, Marsha Serling Goldberg and Sonia Feldman, eds. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing
2003
7
Condolence Cards and Letters, Will, Passport
No Date
Folder
7.1
Condolence cards and letters.
No Date
7.2
Condolence cards and letters.
No Date
7.3
Memorial service programs, articles and letters related to William Appleman Williams.
No Date
7.4
Passports.
No Date
7.5
Funeral arrangements, last will and testament, estate matters.
No Date
8
Condolence Cards, Letters, and Miscellaneous
1990
Folder
8.1
Condolence cards, letters, and articles.
No Date
8.2
Insurance information.
No Date
8.3
Memo from Fred Harrison.
1990
8.4
Manila envelope of miscellaneous material.
No Date
9
OSU Alumni Award, Misc. Correspondence and Typescripts
No Date
Folder
9.1
Oregon State University Alumni Award.
No Date
9.2
Miscellaneous correspondence and typescripts.
No Date
9.3
Miscellaneous material (letters, etc.).
No Date
10
Correspondence with Gerard F. McCauley
1965-1977
Folder
10.1
Correspondence.
1965-1968
10.2
Correspondence.
1969-1970
10.3
Correspondence.
1971-1973
10.4
Correspondence.
1974-1975
10.5
Correspondence.
1976
10.6
Correspondence.
1977
11
Correspondence, Typescripts, Articles
1965-1992
Folder
11.1
Correspondence and Typescript: "W.A.W.: The Historian and His Community - The Oregon Years", by Donald McIlvenna.
1991-1992
11.2
OAH Presentation: Four drafts by McCauley, Louisville.
April 1991
11.3
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Articles.
1965-1982
11.4
Correspondence, Articles, Memorial Notices, and Typescript: "W.A.W. and the Rise of Radical History", 10th Annual Carson Lecture, OSU, by Jonathon M. Wiener.
1990
11.5
Spiral notebook of Williams Appleman Williams, Notes, Correspondence.
1990
12
Correspondence with Walter LeFeber
1982-1990
Folder
12.1
Correspondence.
1982-1990
12.2
Correspondence and Typescript by W.A.W.: "The Annapolis Crowd"."Seven Americas on the Way to the Future: An Exploration of American History"."In Reply to Paul Fussell".
No Date; No Date; 1989
12.3
Correspondence and Typescript: Miscellaneous on Vietnam."Vietnam and the Revival of an Anti-Imperial Mood and Movement in the United States and the Beginning of a Thaw in the Cold War", by W.A.W."Workshops: There is a There, There".
No Date; No Date; 1990
13
Articles about W.A.W.
1967-1990
Folder
13.1
No Title.
1967-1974
13.2
No Title.
1975-1987
13.3
No Title.
1990
14
Correspondence with Gerard F. McCauley
1978-1990
Folder
14.1
Correspondence and Typescript: "Notes on the Death of a Ship and the End of A World: The Grounding of the British Bark Glenesslin at Mount Neahkahnie on October 1, 1913", by W.A.W.
1978-1979
14.2
Correspondence and Articles.
1980
14.3
Correspondence and Reprint: "Notes on the Death of a Ship and the End of A World: The Grounding of the British Bark Glenesslin at Mount Neahkahnie on Oct. 1, 1913", by W.A.W.
1981
14.4
Correspondence.
1982
14.5
Correspondence.
1983
14.6
Correspondence and Articles.
1984
14.7
Correspondence.
1985
14.8
Correspondence.
1986
14.9
Correspondence.
1987
14.10
Correspondence and Typescript: Outline for "A Historian Reflects Upon His Memories".
1988-1990
14.11
Typescript: "In Reply to Paul Fussell", by WAW.
1989
14.12
Notes by McCauley and Article about W.A.W.: The Sunday Oregonian Magazine, Northwest, "A Troublesome Character".
1984
15
Visit to Wendy Williams - listing of books, etc.
December 6, 1992
Folder
15.1
William Appleman Williams" Desk, VHS transcription, list of books to be Received from Wendy Williams.
No Date
16
OSU Personal Records--Confidential
1967-1990
Folder
16.1
Oregon State University - Personnel Records (these papers are CONFIDENTIAL and may only be viewed with permission of Head of Special Collections.
No Date
16.2
Correspondence by WAW - Oregon State University: Shelf listing of books: "Americans in a Changing World", William Appleman Williams, Harper & Row, 1956. (Special Collections E 741.W55 cop. 3)
1956
17
Donated Book and Picture
No Date
Folder
17.1
Book: "Millionaires of America", Caricatures by: Max Cramer.
No Date
17.2
Caricature Picture of J. P. Morgan, on back wall in Vault area. Items donated by: William Robbins, January 1993. Items given to Robbins by William Appleman Williams.
No Date
18
United States Naval Academy
1945-1986
Folder
18.1
United States Naval Academy Lucky Bag Yearbook.
1945
18.2
United States Naval Academy Forty Years After Book (40th Reunion).
No Date
18.3
Correspondence re: Willard Bonwit.
No Date
18.4
Program: "Comparative Uses of Power: China on the African Rim and the U.S. on the Pacific Rim", Seventh George Bancroft Memorial Lecture, United States Naval Academy.
September 30, 1986
19
Biographical Materials re: William Appleman Williams
1921-1946
Folder
19.1
WAW parachute material.
No Date
19.2
WAW birth certificate.
No Date
19.3
Correspondence: three letters.
1941-1946
19.4
WAW Naval identification cards.
No Date
19.5
Booklet: "Baby's Record".
1921
19.6
Typescript: "Hell's Symphony".
1941
19.7
Typescript: "Big Ben".
1941
19.8
WAW Naval records.
No Date
19.9
Newspaper Clippings.
No Date
19.10
Materials re: departure from the University of Wisconsin.
No Date
19.11
Kemper Military School Yearbook.
1940
19.12
Kemper Military School Yearbook Sheets.
1941
19.13
WAW scrapbook.
No Date
20
WAW Diplomas and Certificates
1939-1947
Folder
20.1
Atlantic High School.
1939
20.2
Kemper Military School.
1941
20.3
United States Naval Academy.
1944
20.4
Certificate of Satisfactory Service, US Navy.
1947
20.5
WAW military Discharge.
1947
21
WAW Naval Artifacts
No Date
Folder
21.1
Annapolis letterman's sweater letter.
No Date
21.2
US Naval Academy postcards.
No Date
21.3
2-Indian-arm: 2nd Division Insignia.
No Date
21.4
Dress blues sleeve.
No Date
21.5
Uniform buttons.
No Date
21.6
Sleeve insignia (4).
No Date
22
Artifacts re: William C. Williams (father to WAW)
No Date
Folder
22.1
WCW's aviation goggles.
No Date
22.2
WCW's Masonic apron, Masonic certificate of membership, and knife.
No Date
22.3
WCW's army certificates (2).
No Date
22.4
Newspaper clippings re: WCW.
No Date
22.5
WCW Military Discharge.
1928
22.6
WCW Memorial Service booklet.
No Date
23
Artifacts re: Mildred Williams (mother to WAW)
No Date
Folder
23.1
Booklet: "Studies in Modern Lace Making".
No Date
23.2
MW scrapbook.
No Date
23.3
Ration booklet.
No Date
23.4
Booklet: "Meat buying guide".
No Date
23.5
MW wedding invitations (2).
No Date
24
Financial account ledgers kept by Mildred Williams (mother to WAW)
1929-1970
Folder
24.1
Memorandum book.
No Date
24.2
Daily calendar and ledger.
1929
24.3
Ledger.
1940-1948
24.4
Daily calendar and ledger.
1956
24.5
Ledger.
1968-1970
25
Materials re: Appleman family history and Williams family history
1883-1923
Folder
25.1
Appleman family record.
No Date
25.2
Harry Appleman, autograph book.
1883
25.3
Offprint: "My pioneer reminiscences" by Mrs. Harlan Trapp.
No Date
25.4
Memorial booklet, Maude Appleman.
No Date
25.5
Assorted correspondence & ephemera.
No Date
25.6
Correspondence: P.I. Appleman to family.
1898
25.7
Correspondence: Jos Tourlin to P.I. Appleman.
1919-1923
26
Photographs of William Appleman Williams
1940-1986
Folder
26.1
35 photographs of WAW.
1940-1986
27
Photographic tintypes of WAW ancestors
No Date
Folder
27.1
24 tintype images.
No Date
28
Photographs - Small format, non-WAW slides and negatives
No Date
Folder
28.1
Box containing 130 negatives.
No Date
28.2
Box containing 43 slides.
No Date
28.3
224 unincorporated photos.
No Date
29
Photographs - Large format, non-WAW
No Date
Folder
29.1
22 photographs.
No Date
30
Photographs in photo albums, non-WAW
No Date
Folder
30.1
36 photographs in a 4.5" x 7.5" album.
No Date
30.2
298 photographs in a 7" x 11" album.
No Date
31
Photographs in photo albums, non-WAW
No Date
Folder
31.1
100 photographs in a 6" x 11" album.
No Date
31.2
450 photographs in an 8.5" x 11.5" album.
No Date
32
Additional Materials
No Date
Folder
1
11" x 14" photo of WAW at about 7 years old
No Date
2
13.5" x 15.5" mounted photo of three children wading
No Date
3
16" x 20" collage of mounted photographs of high school graduates.
1910
4
4.5" x 2.75" x 1.25" book of psalms and hymns.
ca. early 19th century
5
8.25" x 10.75" x 1.75" book: "Compendium of History and Biography of Cass County, Iowa"
No Date
6
10.5" x 12.75" x 5.25" bible: "The Holy Bible with References
No Date

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • History -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Oregon
  • United States -- Foreign Relations
  • United States -- Historiography
  • United States -- History -- Philosophy
  • United States -- Naval Academy, Annapolis
  • Personal Names :
  • Williams, William Appleman -- Archives.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Kemper Military School and College (Boonville, Mo.)
  • Oregon State University.
  • United States Naval Academy
  • University of Wisconsin.
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • LeFeber, Walter
    • McCauley, G. F., 1940-
    • Unger, Frank, 1945-