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Guide to the Robert T. Osborn Papers, 1963-1967

Abstract

Robert Osborn was a Professor of Religion at Duke University.

His collection includes clippings, correspondence and trial-related documents relating to a civil rights protest in Chapel Hill in January 1964.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Creator
Osborn, Robert T., 1926-.
Title
Robert T. Osborn papers, 1963-1967
Language of Material
English
Extent
0.25 Linear Feet, 100 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Contains clippings, correspondence, subpoenas, summons and statements relating to a January 1964 civil rights demonstration in Chapel Hill, and subsequent trials in Hillsboro. Correspondence and court documents are photocopies.

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

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

In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.

warning Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1964-1965
Box 1
Clippings, 1964 and undated
Box 1
Clippings, 1964-1967
Box 1
Writings, Subpoenas, Notes Exchanged in Court during Civil Rights Trial, 1964-1966
Box 1
Writings by Watts Grill Sit-In Participants, 1964
Box 1
Correspondence, Notes, Statement, Summons, 1963-64 and undated
Box 1
Duke/UNC Civil Rights Protests in Chapel Hill, 1964-1965
Box 1

Historical Note

An ordained Methodist minister, Robert Tappan Osborn was born in 1926 in Seattle, Washington. He received his A.B. from U.C.L.A. in 1946 and his B.D. from Garrett Biblical Institute in 1950, and spent a year at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In 1954 he was awarded the Ph.D. from Drew University and joined the faculty of the Duke University Department of Religion that same year, where he taught until his retirement in 1997. He served a term as chair of that department. His research focused on the field of contemporary theology and Christian thought and his publications include the books "Freedom in Modern Theology" (1967) and "The Barmen Declaration as a Paradigm for a Theology of the American Church" (1991).

Osborn became active in the civil rights movement during the 1960s, advocating for Christian involvement in issues of racial justice. In January 1964, he and four other Duke faculty members (Professor William Wynn of the Psychology Department, Professor Fred Herzog and Professor Harmon Smith, both of Duke Divinity School, and Professor Peter Klopfer of the Zoology Department) joined a group including students and faculty from UNC and NCCU (white and African American) for a restaurant sit-in at Watts Grill in Chapel Hill. The professors were arrested on counts of trespassing; and the ensuing, drawn-out trials in Hillsborough ultimately led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Klopfer vs. the State of North Carolina. In the final days of his term as governor, Terry Sanford (later to become president of Duke University) pardoned the professors.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Department of Religion Records, 1954-1978. (University Archives. Duke University.)
  • News Service Biographical Files, 1960-2004. (University Archives. Duke University. )

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert T. Osborn Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Robert T. Osborn Papers were received by the University Archives as a gift in 2005, 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Wood, October 2006

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, November 2006

Updated by Kimberly Sims, May 2013

Accessions A2005-50 and UA2013-0017 are described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and our local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.