Guide to the Jack Preiss papers, 1940-2012


Jack Joseph Preiss taught in the Dept. of Sociology at Duke University from 1959-1988. The materials in the collection pertain to Preiss' time at Camp William James in Vermont and race relations at Duke. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, clippings, and posters. It ranges in date from 1940-2012.

Collection Details

Record Group
Jack Preiss papers
Preiss, Jack J., 1919-
1.75 Linear Feet, 300 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

This collection consists of letters from Preiss to his mother, Mrs. Mary Sacks Preiss, and her two sisters, but there are some letters to Preiss from several friends whom he had met in a work-service camp in Tunbridge, Vermont [Camp William James]. The correspondence by Preiss is largely about the problems of organizing and operating the work-service camp, its being taken over by the CCC, the resignation of himself and some others from the CCC, and the re-establishment of the work-service camp. He also, however, writes quite a bit about social affairs.

The work-service idea was put into practice by Dr. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who taught social philosophy at Dartmouth and had founded the pre-Hitler work camps in Germany. He got some young, city boys of privileged backgrounds to join him in establishing the camp at Tunbridge. The camp was named for Professor William James, who had lectured on a moral equivalent of war, and the purpose of the camp was to give these men from the city experience in aiding farmers with their labor, in the hope that each group would profit from their association with each other and the farmers would have some much-needed labor. Dorothy Thompson, who had a summer home in the valley of the camp, gave this project continual assistance and encouragement. Preiss comments on her and her support in his letters.

The collection also includes clippings, largely about the work-service camp and several black and white photographs, presumably of the work-camp. In 2013, Dr. Preiss donated material on race relations at Duke. Included in this accession are two posters from Black Week at Duke, information on the 1988 Duke Vigil Reunion, Alan Kerckhoff's committee and his chronology of campus race relation events from 1969, a 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated with an article on Preiss and Duke called The Timid Generation, an unpublished Preiss manuscript about race relations at Duke and other material.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Jack Preiss Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Photographs, undated
Folder 1
Letters, 1940-1942
Folder 2
Miscellany, 1940-1941
Folder 3
The Harvard Progressive and Free America, 1941-1942
Folder 4
Letter, 1969
Folder 5
Folder 6
Sports Illustrated, 1968 March 11 (article The Timid Generation)
Folder 7
Alan Kerckhoff Committee, 1968-1969
Folder 8
African and Afro-American Studies Planning Conference, 1969
Folder 9
Manuscript on Race Relations at Duke, circa 1973 (pgs. 1-21)
Folder 10
Manuscript on Race Relations at Duke, circa 1973 (pgs. 22-48)
Folder 11
Manuscript on Race Relations at Duke, circa 1973 (pgs. 49-86)
Folder 12
Manuscript on Race Relations at Duke, circa 1973 (footnotes)
Folder 13
Vigil Reunion, 1988
Folder 14
Program: NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet (honoring Jack Preiss), 2012 Oct. 27
Folder 15
Black Week at Duke Posters, 1968-1969
Oversize-folder 1
harambee, 1969 Feb. 5 issue
Oversize-folder 1
The Chronicle supplement The Silent Vigil: 20 Years Later, 1988 Apr. 4
Oversize-folder 1

Historical Note

Biographical/Historical note

Jack Joseph Preiss was born in New York City in 1919. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1940, his M.A. from Columbia University in 1951, and his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1954. He joined the faculty at Duke University in 1959 and served in both the Dept. of Sociology and the Dept. of Psychiatry. He retired in 1988 and is a Professor Emeritus in Sociology. Active within the community, Preiss served on the Durham City Council from 1965-1969 and has worked since 1985 to help develop and obtain low-income housing for seniors.

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The Jack Preiss papers were received by the University Archives as a gift in 1967 and 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Kimberly Sims, December 2006

Encoded by Kimberly Sims, December 2006

Updated by Kimberly Sims, May 2013

Accessions A67-328 and UA2013-0004 are described in this finding aid.

Other Notes

Preiss, Jack Joseph Camp William James,