In an attempt to preserve the papers of modern economists, Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library - with assistance from Duke's Economics Department - has developed the Economists' Papers Project (EPP). Currently, the EPP consists of the papers of over thirty eminent economists. These collections offer a valuable resource to researchers in the history of economic thought, particularly those interested in 20th century economic thought.
Each of the collections has its own research value. Some collections contain all professional correspondence as well as the notes, drafts, and manuscripts of major works. Other collections contain information on political involvement, records of professional involvement (e.g., editorial boards, conference participation, etc.), and personal biographical material. The sizes of the collections vary from the 1.5 linear feet (to date) of the Douglass C. North Papers to the 120 linear feet of the Don Patinkin Papers.
The degree of organization of the collections varies greatly upon their arrival at Duke. The staff at the Rubenstein Library (with occasional assistance from Ph.D. students in Duke's Economics Department) archive the material with the intention of making them accessible to interested researchers. The first step is to survey a collection and to write a brief description of the contents called an Accession Record.
Subsequently, the collection is organized into pertinent series and subseries classifications reflecting the original order and, where possible, improving accessibility. For example, the series of the Kenneth J. Arrow papers are as follows: 1) Conferences, Lectures, and Speeches; 2) Committees and Consulting; 3) Politics and Activism; 4) Correspondence and Personal Files; 5) Notes, Papers, and Research; 6) Stanford and Harvard; and 7) Miscellaneous. Each series contains sub-series classifications which, in turn, contain the names of the specific folders. A Container List contains the names and locations of each series, sub-series, and folder.
The final step in the organizational process is the Inventory. This contains the Container List as well as a biographical summary, a summary of each Series, and a description of the scope and content of the collection. The list below provides information on collections received by the EPP to date, as well as a link to an on-line version of the Inventory for the collection if one is available.
Those interested in obtaining more information about the Economists' Papers Project in general should contact Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections at the Rubenstein Library, at 919-660-5958. For information about specific collections and their use, please contact the Research Services staff of the library. Those interested in spending time at Duke as a Scholar-in-Residence should contact Professor E. Roy Weintraub. There are, from time to time, limited funds available to young scholars to pay some expenses while using the collection. Please contact Professor Weintraub for details.
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