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Guide to the Tibor Scitovsky Papers, 1910-2002 and undated, bulk 1973-2002


Tibor Scitovsky, Hungarian-born economist, served on the faculty at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley. Author of THE JOYLESS ECONOMY: AN INQUIRY INTO HUMAN SATISFACTION AND CONSUMER DISSATISFACTION (1976). The papers of Tibor Scitovsky span the years 1910 to 2002, with the majority dating from the 1970s to 2002, and are composed of three major series: Correspondence, Financial and Personal Materials; Writings and Speeches; and Printed Materials.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Tibor Scitovsky papers
1910-2002 and undated, bulk 1973-2002
Scitovsky, Tibor
1.2 Linear Feet, 800 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

The papers of Tibor Scitovsky, Hungarian-born economist, date from 1910-2002, with the majority of the materials dating from the 1970s through 2002, and are composed of three major series: Correspondence, Financial and Personal Materials Series; Writings and Speeches; and Printed Materials.

The Correspondence, Financial and Personal Materials Series consists primarily of routine professional correspondence to Scitovsky from academic institutions, publishers, colleagues, and friends. Many concern publications or invitations to events. There are a number of brief but interesting exchanges with other economists, including Moses Abramovitz of Stanford, Benjamin M. Friedman of Harvard, Paul Samuelson of MIT, Stanley K. Sheinbaum of Stanford, and Robert Solow, also at MIT.

The Writings and Speeches Series highlights materials on selected writings and themes that Scitovsky worked on in later years, from the 1980s to 2002, and includes clippings, drafts, articles, and numerous notes. Major academic works represented in this series include The Joyless Economy and articles on market economies, inflation, growth and stagnation, consumer satisfaction (and dissatisfaction), marketing, affluence, and violence and boredom as social ills. Many of his other major works and earlier research are not represented by these research materials. A series of photographs of Scitovky's family and home serve as companions to his unpublished memoirs, which detail life in northern Hungary for a family of nobility, as well as historical events in Hungary, France, and England, particularly before and during World War II. The memoirs also offer a detailed narrative of Scivovsky's emigration from Hungary to the United States in the 1940s, as well as an account of the student protests in Paris in the 1960s.

The Printed Materials Series contains many of Scitovsky's reprinted articles and may prove to be the most useful series for researchers interested in his works.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Tibor Scitovsky Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1939-1948, 1956, 1980, 1997-2002 and undated

10 folders

Consists primarily of routine professional correspondence to Scitovsky from academic institutions, publishers, colleagues, and friends. Many concern publications or invitations to events. There are several brief but interesting exchanges with other economists, including Benjamin M. Friedman of Harvard, Moses Abramovitzof Stanford, Stanley Sheinbaum of Stanford, Robert Solow and Paul Samuelson of MIT, Louise Keely of Oxford, and H. W. Arndt, a specialist in economic development in the Pacific region; topics range from publications, economics issues, to wartime history and political events in the United States and Europe. There are also several short memoirs on life in New York City in the 1930s, and essays on financial capitalism, written and collected by Sheinbaum. Only in a handful of cases are the letters from Scitovsky himself. Included in this series is a set of undated correspondence on boredom, one of his later research topics, but other than that, his writings and research topics are rarely referenced in the correspondence; this information is best documented in the printed materials. Arranged in chronological order by year.

Box 1

Financial materials, 1998-2001

1 folder

Financial materials include only four items consisting of royalty statements, subscription notices, and accounting services. Arranged in chronological order.

Box 1

Personal materials, 1910-2002 and undated

1 folder

Personal materials include Scitovsky's birth certificates and documentation, curriculum vitae and honorary degrees, photocopied obituaries and articles on various topics, programs, and bibliographies. Arranged in original order.

Box 1

2. Writings and Speeches Series, 1925-2000 and undated, bulk 1973-2000

13 folders

The first group of files represents Scitovsky's last work on violence and its connection to social boredom. Other folders contain drafts, lectures, clippings, articles, and notes for earlier research topics: consumer and human satisfaction; the United States economy and social conditions; market economies; the problems of affluence; growth and stagnation; and inflation. Another grouping contains notes, drafts, and photographs that contributed to his memoirs, published in part under the title A Proud Hungarian. The bulk of the materials represent Scitovsky's research dating from the 1980s until 2000: earlier works are best represented in their final published form in the Printed Materials Series. Materials within subgroupings are arranged in original order as received.

Boredom and Violence
Box 2
Clippings, 1995-2000
Box 2
Correspondence and articles, 2000 and undated
Box 2
Drafts, circa 1990s
Box 2
Income and Happiness, 1975-1976
Box 2
Inflation - draft and articles, 1981 and undated
Box 2
Joyless Economy, critical review, 1996
Box 2
Lectures and articles, 1940, 1984 and undated
Box 2
Lectures and articles, undated
Box 2
Memoirs - clippings, notes, 1973-1995 and undated
Draft, circa 1995
Box 2
Final draft, circa 1995
Box 2
Photographic materials, 1925-1994 and undated
Box 2
What Ails the United States of America - notes, drafts, 1989-1995 and undated
Box 2

3. Printed Materials Series, 1941-2000

5 folders

Houses a selection of reprints of Scitovsky's articles. In the early years, his research focused on economic theory, international finance and monopoly and competition. He progressed to prices under monopoly and competition, the theory of balance of payments adjustment, and economic welfare. Later writings analyzed growth in an affluent society, the U.S. savings rate, the welfare of nations, and the benefits of asymmetric markets. In the years before his death, Scitovsky's focus shifted to violence, and in particular, boredom as the cause of violence. He referred to boredom as an "overlooked disease." Arranged in chronological order by year.

Printed materials
Box 1

Historical Note


Date Event(s)
1910 Born in Budapest, Hungary
1932 Earned J.D. at University of Budapest
1938 Earned M.Sc. from the London School of Economics
1939 Arrived in the United States as Leon Traveling Fellow
1943-1946 Served in the United States Army
1945 Earned Bronze Medal from the U.S. Army
1946 Recruited to Stanford University's Economics Department by Bernard Haley
1951 Publication of Welfare and Competition: The Economics of a Fully Employed Economy
1958 Left Stanford for UC Berkeley
1965 Became a visiting professor at Harvard
Fellow for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris
1966 Appointment at Harvard ended
1968 Appointed Heinz Professor of Economics at Yale
1969 Publication of Money and the Balance of Payments
1970 Became Stanford's first Eberle Professor of Economics
Publication of Industry and Trade in Some Developing Countries: A Comparative Study
Returned to Stanford to teach Economics
1972 Began the first holder of the Eberle Professorship in Economics
1976 Accepted appointment at UC Santa Cruz
Publication of The Joyless Economy: an Inquiry into Human Satisfaction and Consumer Dissatisfaction
Accepted appointment at London School of Economics
Retired from Stanford University
1992 Joyless Economy named one of the 100 most influential books by London Times Literary Supplement
Release of revised edition of Joyless Economy
1999 Publication of first part of his memoir, in Hungarian Quarterly, Vol. 40
2002 June 1 Died, Palo Alto, Calif.

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The Tibor Scitovsky Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Monecia Samuels, June 2005

Encoded by Monecia Samuels and Paula Jeannet

Completed March 2006

Accessions 2003-0027 and 2004-0001 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.