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Preliminary Guide to the Richard A. Preston Papers, circa 1745 - 1987 (bulk 1956-1987)

Abstract

Richard Arthur Preston (b. 1910), a leading British Commonwealth scholar, was appointed the William K. Boyd Professor of History at Duke University in 1965. Major subjects of the collection include Canadian history, especially military history; the Department of History; and the Canadian Studies program at Duke. Materials include correspondence, reports, course syllabi, printed matter, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, and other papers.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Richard A. Preston papers circa 1745-1987 (bulk 1956-1987)
Creator
Preston, Richard Arthur.
Extent
36.0 Linear Feet , 36000 Items
Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult University Archives, Duke University.
Language
English.

Collection Overview

Collection includes correspondence, reports, course syllabi, printed matter, drafts, research notes, manuscripts, lectures, photographs, clippings, maps, and other papers.

The arrangement of the collection is by accession dates. These additions follow the order given in the collection file and are not presented in chronological order.

The 1981 Additions (A81-60) include extensive correspondence, numerous drafts and published articles and reviews, photocopies of primary sources, some research notes, and administrative papers dealing with the Duke University History Dept. The chief subjects include Canadian military affairs, general military history, military education, and Canadian Studies as a historical subdiscipline. There is a folder list for this addition that is part of the collection file.

The 1980 Additions includes printed material, correspondence, studies, reports, articles, drafts, proofs, outlines, lectures, syllabi, clippings, photos, maps, and other papers. Major subjects include Canadian history, especially military history and current military and defense concerns. The first major portion of this Addition is made up of correspondence about Preston's own research and writings of other scholars. Other materials include Preston's research notes; photocopies and typed copies of historical documents; and guides to historical collections. There are also administrative files about the History Dept. at Duke, and the Canadian Studies Program. There is a small amount of material about the alumni of the Royal Military College in Canada, where Preston taught for a number of years. The second major portion of this Addition focuses on various aspects of modern Canadian defense and external security, Canada and NATO, relations with the British Commonwealth, and Canadian domestic affairs.

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.

For a period of twenty-five years from the origin of the material, permission in writing from the office of origin and the University Archivist is required for use. After twenty-five years, records that have been processed may be consulted with the permission of the University Archivist.

In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

Records, such as search committee files or others pertaining to employment where individuals are identified, are closed for 70 years.

Portions of these materials are restricted by donor request.

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

Includes extensive correspondence, numerous drafts and published articles and reviews, photocopies of primary sources, some research notes, and administrative papers dealing with the Duke University History Dept. The chief subjects include Canadian military affairs, general military history, military education, and Canadian Studies as a historical subdiscipline.

There is a folder list for the 1981 addition that is part of the collection file. Please consult University Archives staff.

Duke University: General Administrative,

Contains materials on appointments, commonwealth studies, university policies, graduate students, the History Department, letters of recommendation, the military history program at Duke, oral examinations, retirement, Shell fellowships, testimonials, the University Centers for Rational Alternatives, visitors, and grant proposals.

There are a small number of letters in the folder entitled "Testimonials" that are dated before 1965 and would pre-date Preston's arrival at Duke University.

Box 1
Organizations, 1951-1973

Includes correspondence, newsletters, brochures, and printed material from historical societies and other organizations to which Preston belonged.

Box 2
Canadian Studies, 1965-1980

Includes materials on conferences, seminars, lectures, proposals, reports, syllabi, and other printed material about the Duke Canadian Studies program and other non-Duke programs.

Box 3
Lectures, Panels, Symposia, Seminars, and Conferences, 1960-1979

Includes printed material, speeches, correspondence, and brochures.

Box 3
Non-Student Correspondence, A -- Z, 1951-1980

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name.

Box 4

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name.

Some material in these boxes is RESTRICTED: Student Records. Please consult University Archives staff.

A -- Dendy
Box 4
Dennis -- Wright
Box 5

Includes correspondence concerning Preston's ideas, drafts, and printed material used to write speeches and articles for publication. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by title of publication or by topic. Some folders include manuscripts.

1936-1980
Box 6
1948-1979
Box 7-8
Reviews, Enquiries, Lectures, Research Notes, and Printed Material, 1948-1980

Includes reviews by Preston or written about Preston's work (1961-1980), historical enquiries (1956-1976), lectures (1952-1979), research notes and printed material (1948-1976).

Box 9
Primary Sources, ca. 1745-ca. 1930

Includes research notes, reports, photocopies, indices, lists, bibliographies, articles, maps, manuscripts, and correspondence (ca. 1964-1976).

Box 10
War of 1812, 1963-1975

Preston researched the War of 1812, with the thought of writing a book on this topic for the Macmillan Wars of the United States series. Includes two boxes of notecards detailing Preston's bibliographical references, drafts, photocopies, correspondence, and contract.

Box 11
Writings, 1937-1971

Includes drafts of papers, articles, and reviews written by Preston. Some are unpublished.

Box 12
Military Education, 1949-1977

Includes brochures, training manuals, correspondence, research notes, reports and meeting agendas.

Box 13
Military History, 1945-1973

Includes notes, maps, course outlines, lectures, and printed material about Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, the U.S. Civil War, the Battle of El Alamein, and other battles and aspects of military history.

Box 14
Research Material

Includes printed material, maps, photograph of the Royal Military College, correspondence, and other materials.

Box 15

Includes printed material, correspondence, studies, reports, articles, drafts, proofs, outlines, lectures, syllabi, clippings, photos, maps, and other papers. Major subjects include Canadian history, especially military history and current military and defense concerns. The first major portion of this Addition is made up of correspondence about Preston's own research and writings of other scholars. Other materials include Preston's research notes; photocopies and typed copies of historical documents; and guides to historical collections. There are also administrative files about the History Dept. at Duke, and the Canadian Studies Program. There is a small amount of material about the alumni of the Royal Military College in Canada, where Preston taught for a number of years. The second major portion of this Addition focuses on various aspects of modern Canadian defense and external security, Canada and NATO, relations with the British Commonwealth, and Canadian domestic affairs.

Of special interest is a file containing clippings and correspondence about an anti-American article which appeared in a Canadian newspaper.

Defense of the Commonwealth

Includes scholarly papers, reports, correspondence, news articles, notes, and government publications.

Box 16
Speech and Lecture Files

Includes notes, manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, clippings, and reports on a wide variety of topics that concern Canadian military history, politics, nationalism, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and others. Of special interest is a file containing clippings and correspondence about an anti-American article which appeared in a Canadian newspaper.

Box 17
History Department

Includes notes and course syllabi for courses taught by Preston.

Box 18
Visiting Speakers

Includes information about individual speakers invited by Preston to speak on campus.

Box 18
Workshops and Seminars
Box 18
Summer Correspondence, 1976-1978
Box 18
Conferences, Meeting, and Symposium Files
Box 19
Printed Material and Correspondence

Includes correspondence, newsletters, notes, scholarly papers, articles from the Army Quarterly and the Canadian Defense Quarterly, and copies of maps.

This group of material was placed in six folders.

Box 19
Sabbatical Projects and Travels, ca. 1975-ca. 1985

Includes mostly papers on Preston's sabbatical projects and travels for a study of the teachings of Canadian history in U.S. schools. Also includes grant applications, reviews, and evaluations.

Box 20
Canada and Canadian Studies, ca. 1975-1985

Includes mostly Canada-related correspondence, Canadian Studies at Duke, and Canadian Studies in the U.S. Contains one folder on the speaker, Frances Halpenny, who spoke at the 1985 Friends of the Library dinner.

Box 20
Canadian Military, ca. 1956-ca. 1980s

Includes mostly correspondence and drafts of articles concerning Canadian military history and modern defense matters.

Box 20
Canada and Canadian Studies

Includes correspondence, reprints, notes, forms, and other printed material concerning the Canadian Studies program at Duke and at other schools.

Duke University

Includes correspondence about faculty appointments and copies of the "Duke University Letters," 1981-1982, a publication issued from the Office of the President.

Administrative Papers, 1936-1980

Includes correspondence and printed material about appointments at Duke, grant and job applications, job offers, sabbaticals, salary, and retirement.

Box 22
Canadian Studies, 1976-1983

Includes correspondence and printed matter about workshops and conferences; Duke Canadian and Quebec Studies; materials for Canadian Studies in the U.S.; the N.C. Social Studies Council; and President Carter's Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies.

Box 22
The Squat Pyramid, 1970-1982

Contains survey materials on Canadian studies in the U.S. published as "The Squat Pyramid," in 1980, by the Center for International Studies at Duke. Includes correspondence, itineraries, schedules, questionnaires, notes, and evaluations concerning visits to college campuses to survey Canadian Studies programs in the U.S., and copies of Canadian Embassy files on a Canadian Studies survey conducted in the U.S. in 1976.

Box 23

Historical Note

Born in 1910, in Middlesbrough, England, Preston was educated at the University of Leeds (B.A., 1931; M.A., 1932; diploma in education, 1933) and Yale University (Ph.D, 1936). Preston was appointed lecturer at the University of Toronto (1936); Assistant Lecturer at the University College, Cardiff (1938-1940); a member of the Royal Air Force (1940-1945), Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto (1945), Professor of History in the Royal Military College of Canada (1948-1965), and the William K. Boyd Professor of History at Duke University (1965-1980). Preston was the director of the Canadian Studies Program at Duke University (1973-1979).

Preston was a prolific writer of scholarly articles and books. His works include:

  • Gorges of Plymouth Fort: A Life of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Captain of Plymouth Fort, Governor of New England, and Lord of the Province of Maine, University of Toronto Press, 1953;
  • Kingston before the War of 1812, Champlain Society, 1958;
  • Canada in World Affairs, 1959-61, Oxford University Press, 1965;
  • Canada and the Imperial Defense: A Study of the Origins of the British Commonwealth's Defense Organization, 1867-1919, Duke University Press, 1967.
  • Canada's RMC: A History of the Royal Military College, University of Toronto Press, 1969, new edition, 1984;
  • The Defence of the Undefended Border: Planning for War in North America, 1867-1939, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1977;
  • The Squat Pyramid: Canadian Studies in the United States, Center for International Studies, Duke University, 1980;
  • Perspectives in the History of Military Education and Professionalism, U.S. Air Force Academy, 1980
  • To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College Since the Second World War, University of Ottawa Press (Ottawa, Canada), 1991.

Preston received a number of awards during his career. He received the Commonwealth Fund fellowship (1933-36); Nuffield summer travel award (1954); Duke University summer research scholarship (1957); City of Kingston Achievement Award (1957) for his television series and publications on the history of Kingston; Canada Council senior fellowship (1963-64); Social Science Research Council grant (1963); Canada Confederation Medal (1967); Guggenheim fellowship (1971-72); Donner Memorial Medal (1975) for promotion of Canadian studies in the United States; LL.D., Royal Military College of Canada (1977); and the Northern Telecom Gold Medal (1983) for the promotion of Canadian studies. Preston was named honorary professor of history, Royal Military College of Canada (1973).

Preston married Marjorie Ethel Fishwick in 1939, and had three children.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Canadian Studies Center Records. (University Archives, Duke University. )
  • Commonwealth Studies Center Records. (University Archives, Duke University. )
  • History Department Records. (University Archives, Duke University. )
  • Stevenson Canadiana. (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. )

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Richard A. Preston Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Richard A. Preston Papers was received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1980 (A80-225), 1981 (A81-60), 1983 (A83-96), 1985 (A85-65), and 1988 (A88-0048).

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Daniel

Completed March, 2004

This collection is partially processed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Brittle newspaper clippings will need to be processed before use. Please consult University Archives staff.

De-accessioned: Photocopies of two maps from Box 14; 30 transparencies detailing troop movements at Gettysburg and 16 transparencies of troop movements at Chancellorsville from Box 15.

Encoded by Linda Daniel, March 2004

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.