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Guide to the John Shelton Curtiss papers, 1796-1981

Abstract

John Shelton Curtiss was a professor emeritus of history at Duke University, specializing in Russian history and civilization. The collection includes professional and personal papers, as well as extensive documentation of Curtiss family history and genealogy.

Descriptive Summary

Title
John Shelton Curtiss papers
Creator
Curtiss, John Shelton, 1899-
Extent
6.5 Linear feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
Materials in English and Russian

Collection Overview

The collection is divided into three series: professional papers, personal papers, and family history and genealogy.

Curtiss' professional papers are exclusively from after his retirement as a faculty member at Duke University. They include drafts of scholarly articles written by him after his retirement, book reviews and publication information for his book Russia's Crimean War, a C.V., and recommendations for former students.

His personal papers are much more extensive, covering the breadth of his activities during his retirement. Included is his work with a number of local organizations, such as the Durham County Public Library, the Kiwanis Club, the Ruritan society, and the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department. Also included are personal correspondence, both with family and acquaintances, letters to congress, political activism, documents pertaining to land he partly owned in Texas, and an autobiography he wrote concerning his life in retirement.

The final series is materials pertaining to Curtiss family history and genealogy. These include family trees, baptismal and marriage certificates, correspondence dating back to the early 19th century between various distant relations, and a number of materials which appear to have belonged to his father, Harlow C. Curtiss. Photographs of many family members are present. Also included are photographs of a trip to Moscow John and Edna Curtiss took in 1955. The bulk of the material concerns the Curtiss' line, but some materials concerning the family history of Edna Sutter Curtiss are also included. Most material is manuscript, but at the end of the series are a number of bound volumes concerning family history in Connecticut and New England, as well as a copy of the complete works of Turgenev written in Russian.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48-hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Article: Russian Army Under Nicholas I, 1976-1979
Box 1
Book Reviews, 1979-1980
Box 1
Charles E. Walker, Microfilm Loan, 1971-1972
Box 1
Columbia University Press- Church and State in Russia, 1968-1980
Box 1
Duke University Press, Russian Army Royalties, 1974-1978
Box 1
Illustrations, Russia's Crimean War, 1976
Box 1
Liberalism in the Russian Church, Undated
Box 1
Reccomendations, 1977-1980
Box 1
Reviews, 1973-1980
Box 1
Russia's Crimean War Comments, 1976-1980
Box 1
Russia's Crimean War, Publication Matters, 1973-1980
Box 1
Russia's Crimean War, Review Bestuzhev-Lada, 1979-1981
Box 1
Russian History in the United States (Article Manuscript), 1968-1969
Box 1
Russian Social History to 1917, Undated
Box 1
Van Nostrand, 1963-1968
Box 1
Vita and Publication Record, 1957-1967
Box 1
ADA Collection, 1980
Box 1
Adaptation Study, Center for the Study of Aging, 1970-1976
Box 1
Anne C. Fong, 1974-1976
Box 1
Anne C. Fong, 1977
Box 1
Anne C. Fong, 1978
Box 1
Anne C. Fong, 1979-1980
Box 1
Anne's Financial Plans, 1980
Box 1
Becky Heron, 1980
Box 1
Bernard Oppel, 1973-1974
Box 1
Bruce W. Menning, 1970-1977
Box 1
Carl Stewart Campaign, 1980
Box 1
Common Cause NC, 1975-1979
Box 1
Carrington Community Education Center, 1979
Box 1
Christmas, 1980
Box 1
Curtiss Autobiography, circa 1979
Box 1
David R. Jones, 1975-1976
Box 1
Distribution of Furniture, 1978
Box 1
Don Gillin, 1970-1979
Box 1
Durham County Library, 1979-1980
Box 1
Durham Voters Alliance, 1980
Box 1
Elizabeth, 1977-1979
Box 1
Eno River, 1969-1970
Box 1
Ethel Mann Curtiss Reminiscences, 1939
Box 1
Frederick Krantz, 1972-1973
Box 1
Friends of the Durham County Library, 1980
Box 1
Garden File, 1965-1971
Box 1
Gordon Cook, 1972-1977
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1979
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1978
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1977
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1976
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1975
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1974
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1973
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1972
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1971
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1970
Box 1
General File (Personal), 1969
Box 1
Johnny and Lynne, Undated
Box 1
Kiwanis Club, 1979-1980
Box 1
League of Women Voters, 1980
Box 1
Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department Inc., 1972-1977
Box 1
Letters Concerning Estate Settlements, Family Life`, 1924-1946
Box 1
Letters to Congress, 1974-1980
Box 1
McNeill Smith, 1976-1978
Box 1
NC Legislators, 1975
Box 1
Pat Dunn, 1972-1980
Box 1
Curtiss Papers - Personal Archive, 1948-1980
Box 1
Personal and Family Letters, 1913-1981
Box 1
Princeton Class of 1921, 1954-1980
Box 2
Ruritan, 1974-1980
Box 2
Ruritan Certificate of Appreciation, 1981
Oversize-Box 57
Oversize-Folder 1
Ruritan, Orkin, 1969-1979
Box 2
Senator George McGovern, 1979-1980
Box 2
Taxation with Representation, 1973-1977
Box 2
Terry Sanford, 1979-1980
Box 2
Texas Land Sale, 1953-1973
Box 2
Texas Land Titles, 1970-1980
Box 2
Texas Property Mineral Rights, 1973-1975
Box 2
Triangle J Council of Governments, 1975-1977
Box 2
United Fund, 1977
Box 2
Alex Curtiss Photograph, Undated
Box 2
Baptismal Certificates, Judson House Photograph, 1862-1904 and Undated
Box 2
Baptismal Font Gift, H.C. Curtiss, 1909 March 2
Box 2
Birthplace, 1904
Box 2
Buffalo, City of; Family History, 1845-1968
Box 2
Charles Curtiss Memoriam Text, Third National Bank Meeting Minutes, 1893 October 2
Box 2
Christmas Card, 1908
Box 2
Christmas Photograph, 1916
Box 2
Curtiss Children, 1905
Box 2
Curtiss Family Letters, 1855-1910
Box 2
Curtiss House, Undated
Box 2
Correspondence, 1832-1851
Box 2
Correspondence, 1850 February 4
Box 2
Correspondence, 1900-1901
Box 2
Correspondence, Undated, circa 1870-1900
Box 2
Dayton House, Undated, circa 1890-1920
Box 2
Decree of Excommunication, Kaminski, 1898 October 15
Box 2
Family Genealogy from 839, Undated
Box 2
Family Correspondence, 1936-1981
Box 2
Family Correspondence, 1937-1956
Box 2
Family History, Ethel Curtiss, 1939 July
Box 3
First Letter from Esther, 1901 July 6
Box 3
Genealogy, Undated
Box 3
Genealogy, 1914-1980
Box 3
Genealogy and Letter, 1899 November 11
Box 3
Genealogical Information, Undated
Box 3
Genealogical Information, Undated
Box 3
Genealogical Investigation, 1901
Box 3
Genealogical Materials, Undated
Box 3
Genealogical Papers, Undated
Box 3
Harlow Curtiss Death, Resolution, Articles, 1933
Box 3
Harlow Curtiss Letter, 1899
Box 3
H.C. Curtiss, circa 1860
Box 3
Inventory of Early Curtiss Documents, Correspondence, 1900, Undated
Box 3
John C. Curtiss in his Teens, Undated
Box 3
Letter, 1901 July 8
Box 3
Letter from Amelia Curtiss to Fanny Foster, 1858 December 23
Box 3
Letter to C.G. Curtiss' Children, 1885 April 10
Box 3
Letter Fragment, 1882
Box 3
Letter from H. C. Curtiss' Grandmother, 1840 January 15
Box 3
Letter to H. C. Curtiss from James Shepard, 1901 May 27
Box 3
Letter to H.C. Curtiss from his Mother, 1880 November 22
Box 3
Letter from H.C. Curtiss' Mother to "Aunt Anne," 1851 April 19
Box 3
Letter to Harlow Curtiss, 1900
Box 3
Letter from Lyman Curtiss to his Children, 1840 February 8
Box 3
Letters from Relatives (in Poland and Germany) of Edna Curtiss, 1932-1968
Box 3
Letters from Relatives (in Poland and Germany) of Edna Curtiss, 1937-1952
Box 3
Lyman L. Curtiss Letter, 1839 November 29
Box 3
Manuscript Biography Ezekial Curtiss, undated
Box 3
Memorandum, undated
Box 3
Marriage Certificate, 1896
Box 3
Moscow Trip, 1955 September
Box 3
Nelson Letter from the Front, 1918 October 3-10
Box 3
Obituary, William Moseley, 1896
Box 3
Poems, Undated
Box 3
Post Card, 1918
Box 3
Photographic Portrait of Great-Grandfather, Undated
Box 3
Photograph, circa 1880-1910
Box 3
Photographs, circa 1901-1922 and Undated
Box 3
Photographs of John Curtiss, 1921-1922
Box 3
Photograph Reproductions, 1982
Box 3
Photograph, Stiles Judson Curtiss, circa 1923
Oversize-Box 57
Oversize-Folder 1
Photographs, Stiles Judson Curtiss, undated
Box 3
Postcards, 1948-1958 and undated
Box 3
Princeton Term Report John Curtiss, Financial Documents, 1900-1920
Box 3
Religious Commentary, undated, circa 19th century
Box 3
Religious Materials, 1841 April 5
Box 3
Rowing Team, Matthew Darbyshire Mann, circa 1920s and Undated
Box 3
State Department Papers, Genealogical Information, 1886 and Undated
Box 3
Stratford Connecticut Photographs, Letter Fragments, 1815 and Undated
Box 3
Stratford Connecticut Post Cards, 1906 and Undated
Box 3
Trinity College Trustee Election; Society of Colonial Wars, State of New York; Genealogical Materials, 1900-1907
Box 3
University of Buffalo, School of Medicine, 1938 December 12
Box 3
Vacation Photographs, circa 1880-1930
Box 3
Verdun Memorium, 1920
Box 3
Withdrawal Recipt, Undated
Box 3
Writ for Damages, 1796
Box 3
1712 Letter Ephraim Stiles, [Hand Copy Facsimile], Undated
Box 3
Ford Genealogy, Being an Account of Some of the Fords Who were Early Settlers in New England, 1916
Box 4
Sketches of Church Life in Colonial Connecticut, 1902
Box 4
The Quarto-Millenial Anniversary of the Congregational Church of Stratford Connecticut, 1899 September 5
Box 4
The Complete Works of Turgenev Vol. II, 1921
Box 5
The Complete Works of Turgenev Vol. III, 1921
Box 6
The Complete Works of Turgenev Vol. IV, 1921
Box 7
The Cor Family in America - A History and Genealogy of the Older Branches of the Family from the Appearance of its first Representatives in the Country in 1610. Including the Cock-Cocks-Cox Genealogy of Long Island by Reverend Henry Miller Cor and George William Cox, 1912
Box 8
Genealogical and Family History of Western New York - A Record of the Achievments of her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation Vol. I by William Richard Cutter, 1912
Box 9
Genealogical and Family History of Western New York - A Record of the Achievments of her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation Vol. II by William Richard Cutter, 1912
Box 10
Genealogical and Family History of Western New York - A Record of the Achievments of her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation Vol. III by William Richard Cutter, 1912
Box 11
Genealogy and History of the Curtiss Family of Stratford Connecticut and Decedents in America from 1631 to 1901 Vol. I by Edwin Curtiss, 1901
Box 12
Genealogy and History of the Curtiss Family of Stratford Connecticut and Decedents in America from 1631 to 1901 Vol. II by Edwin Curtiss, 1901
Box 13
History of Stratford and Bridgeport Connecticut Pt. 1 by Samuel Orcutt, 1886
Box 14
History of Stratford and Bridgeport Connecticut Pt. 2 by Samuel Orcutt, 1886
Box 15
A History of the Dorcester Pope Family 1634-1888 with Sketches of other Popes in England and America, and Notes Upon Several Intermarrying Families by Charles Henry Pope, 1888
Box 16
Homewood - Ridgeway Ontario - Guestbook, 1896-1920
Box 17
Pioneers of Utica: Being Sketches of its Inhabitants and Institutions, with the Civil History of the Place, from the Earliest Settlement to the Year 1825 - the era of the Opening of the Erie Canal by M.M. Bragg, 1877
Box 18
Reunion of the Decendents of Daniel Shelton in Birmingham Connecticut, June 14th 1877, 1877 June 14
Box 19
Scrapbook - Ethel Curtiss, 1897-1937
Box 20
Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York, 1858, 1858
Box 21

Historical Note

John Shelton Curtiss was a professor emeritus of history at Duke University. He was born on July 15th, 1899 to Harlow Clarke Curtiss, a prominent Buffalo New York attorney, and Ethel Mann Curtiss, his wife. John Curtiss attended Princeton University, graduating in 1921, and was a member of the undefeated Princeton Crew team.

Curtiss attended Columbia University for graduate school beginning in 1925. He taught at Brooklyn College from 1933-1936, as well as at Columbia from 1934-1936. He taught himself Russian as a graduate student, and began specializing in Russian history. Over his long career he made several trips to the Soviet Union for research and study.

Upon receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1939, he was hired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be an archivist at Roosevelt's library in Hyde Park. After the involvement of the United States in World War II in 1941, he was called to Washington to work with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to study classified slavic materials and intelligence. Upon the conclusion of the war in 1945, he joined the faculty at Duke and spent the rest of his career there.

In 1954 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Russian History, and in 1966 was designated a James B. Duke Professor of history.

In his personal life, he married Edna Sutter on September 21, 1925 in Buffalo, New York. They had two children, Anne Curtiss Fong, and John Sutter Curtiss. After his retirement from Duke University, Curtiss became involved with a number of local Durham organizations, including the Durham County Public Library, the Kiwanis Club, and the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department. He was also heavily involved in collecting and preserving his family's history and genealogical materials.

Upon the death of his wife in Durham, North Carolina on May 22nd, 1981, Curtiss moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to live with his daughter and her family until his death on December 27th, 1983.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Curtiss papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The John Curtiss papers were received by the Duke University Archives as a gift in June and September, 1981.

Processing Information

Processed by: Matthew Schaefer, November, 2013

Accessions described in this finding aid: UA81-77, UA81-97