Guide to the Richard L. Watson, Jr. Papers, 1941 - 1989
Richard L. Watson, Jr. served as Professor of History at Duke University (1939-1984), Chair of the Department of History (1960-1967), Chair of the Academic Council (1964-1966, 1975-1977), and associate editor of the South Atlantic Quarterly (1974-1987). Papers include correspondence, notes, committee minutes and reports, course evaluations, research files, and manuscript drafts of chapters, and involve Watson's work with the Army Air Force Historical Office, the History Department, Duke University, professional organizations, research and writings in American history and historiography, and personal materials. English.
- Record Group
- Richard L. Watson, Jr. papers
- 1941 - 1989
- Watson, Richard L., 1914-2000
- 19 Linear Feet, 14,500 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
The materials in this collection consist of the papers of Richard L. Watson, Jr. accrued between 1941 and 1989. The majority of the collection pertains to his work at Duke University, both in the department of history and in service to university faculty and administration. There are also papers relating to his writings and research, his work in the Army Air Force Historical Office, professional organizations, and personal life. Types of materials include correspondence, notes, committee minutes and reports, teacher course evaluations, chapter files and draft chapters.
Access to the Collection
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.
Records, such as search committee files or others pertaining to employment where individuals are identified, are closed for 70 years.
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.
In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Richard L. Watson, Jr. Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The first series, Army Air Force Historical Office, contains material Watson collected while serving as the Chief of the Southwest Pacific Branch of the Army Air Force Historical Office. The work of the office was eventually collected in the seven volume series, The Army Air Forces in World War II, edited by Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate. Watson's contributions to the series pertain chiefly to Vols. I and IV. Types of material in this series include general correspondence about the work of the Historical Office, newspaper clippings chronicling daily events, and notes taken from primary wartime documents on Southwest Pacific Air Operations. Major events include Rabaul, Battle of the Bismarck Sea, Philippines campaign, Pearl Harbor, Wau, and Nassau Bay. Strategic topics include bombing techniques, equipment, men and morale, radio and radar, supplies, and allocations. There are also draft chapters of his work, The Fifth Air Force in the Huon Peninsula Campaign. Also included are several reference works such as maps of the Southwest Pacific, a gazetteer of New Guinea, and several works by J.V. Cragg on the Fifth Air Force.
Includes notes on Allocation, Australia, Bases (General), Bombing Technique, Bombers (Light), B-25 and B-26, B-24 and B-17, Bibliography, Appendix, SWPA-Oct. 1943, Plans, Service, Rabaul, Operations, SWPA Jan. 44, Appendix, Bibliography, Unit Histories, Problems with men and materials, Organization, Personnel, Photos, Plans, Rabaul, Radio and Radar, Shipping and Supply; Supply dropping, Status, Training, Troop Carrier, Tsili Tsili, Wau, Strategic Situation, Plans and Allocations, Service Command, Preliminary Offensive Moves, Bismarck Sea, Nassau Bay, Part II, Conclusions, Citations, Dobodura, Darwin, Fighters, Intelligence, Miscellaneous, Modifications and Maintenance, Night Fighters.
Includes notes on Bases, Allocations, Enemy order of battle, Miscellaneous Morale, Navy, Operations cables, Operations-General, Organization, Personnel, Plans after Jan. 1944, Radar, Service, Status, Supply and Maintenance, Training, Miscellaneous.
The materials in the second series, History Department, contain information relating to Watson's forty-five year tenure in the department both as a professor and administrator. Insights into his teaching style can be gleaned from numerous teacher-course evaluations as well as syllabi and book lists. The series contains thirty-five years of correspondence primarily relating to departmental and teaching matters. Also included are departmental meeting minutes, enrollment statistics, and materials relating to graduate students. This series includes numerous planning and curriculum reports, the bulk dating from the 1960s to early 1970s. There is also a run of the departmental publication Research Notes (Nos. 1-14), which describes the scholarly research of faculty members. The development of the departmental honors program is detailed as well as the early history of teaching African-American history at Duke. This series also contains historical information on the activities of the Trinity College Historical Society, a social and professional society for faculty and graduate students of the History Department.
NOTE: Budgets are RESTRICTED; contain salary, evaluation, and motions information.
During the fall of 1971, Watson was on a Fulbright in Australia.
NOTE: Search Committee files are RESTRICTED.
The third series, University, documents Watson's involvement and service on numerous faculty and university committees, councils, and task forces. Watson served as vice chair of the University Council from 1961-62; Chairman of the Academic Council from 1964-66, as well as 1975-77; and vice chair of the Academic Council from 1973-74. Materials relating to the University Council document discussion about tuition benefits for faculty children, by-laws, faculty qualification and improvements, and the role of University Council. His long service on the Undergraduate Faculty Council (UFC) and Undergraduate Faculty Council of Arts and Sciences (UFCAS) is reflected in this series. He chaired the UFC Faculty Committee on Admissions and the minutes and report are contained in these files. He also was appointed to the review committee on the structure of UFCAS. In addition, in the early 1970s Watson was on the executive committee of the Undergraduate Faculty Committee of Arts and Sciences. These files include a proposal on Afro-American studies.
Watson was appointed to numerous university committees formed in response to the period of student protest and unrest of the late 1960s. This series contains minutes, reports, correspondence, and background material from said committees. The Committee on Judicial Procedures, also called the "Watson Committee", was created to define and implement judicial procedures and address the pickets and protests regulations. The files contain committee reports, meeting minutes, background materials and correspondence. They also include information on the existing judicial structures and procedures of the Men's Student Government Association, the Women's Student Government Association, and the Nursing and Medical Schools. There is also information on honor codes as embedded in the judicial structures. The materials from the Faculty Committee on Student Concerns relate to the Allen Building takeover, Afro-American studies program, and the Afro-American society. The Student-Faculty-Administration Committee files contain information relating to university drug policy, military recruitment on campus, and pickets and protest policies.
In 1981, Duke President Terry Sanford proposed Duke as a possible site for the Richard M. Nixon presidential library. Watson played a central role in faculty debate over the appropriateness of placing the library at Duke. This series contains news clippings, correspondence, academic council material, and his own diary and notes on the controversy.
Materials in this series relating to the Committee on Social Implications of Duke's Investment Policy all appear to be originals from committee co-chair William A. Reppy and chairman James D. Cox's files. The committee consisted of twelve members appointed by the President and included four administrators, four faculty members, and four students. The committee was allowed to make specific recommendations or general guidelines to the Board of Trustees. It primarily dealt with issues relating to investments with companies doing business with South Africa. This collection of materials includes news articles, church shareholder resolutions, correspondence, and minutes.
Other committees and subjects addressed in this series include the Task Force on Yearly Operations, the Institute of Policy Studies and Public Affairs, the library council and the George Washington Flowers Collection, the Forest History Society, Phi Beta Kappa, the South Atlantic Quarterly, and the YMCA.
NOTE: Search Committee files are RESTRICTED.
NOTE: Presidential Selection Files are RESTRICTED.
NOTE: Search Committee files are RESTRICTED.
Includes information on the drug policy, military recruitment on campus, and pickets policy.
The fourth series, Professional Organizations, documents Watson's long contribution of service to national, state, and local professional historical organizations and his work for the promotion of history. His work with the American Historical Association includes serving on the Ad hoc committee on Ph.D. programs in history, as well as being a session chair and member of the committee to collect the basic data of American political history. For six years he served the Organization of American Historians, and its predecessor organization, the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, as a member of their prize committees. Documents in this series shed light on the changes in prize policy and process. In addition to serving as its president from 1976-1977, Watson served on numerous annual program committees and as session chairs for the Southern Historical Association. This series contains material on program and nominating committees, sessions, and his work on the board of editors of the Journal of Southern History.
Watson also worked to advance the promotion of history. This series documents his work with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the NDEA Institute for Advanced Study in American History, the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, and the United Negro College Fund Distinguished Scholars Program.
The series also contains materials related to Watson's work with historical organizations at the state and local level. It documents his twenty-year involvement with the Historical Society of North Carolina, as well as his work with the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, and the State Archives of North Carolina. At the local level, this series contains materials about the Durham County history project to publish a history of Durham County, N.C.
NOTE: Student information is RESTRICTED.
NOTE: Prize appraisals are RESTRICTED.
NOTE: All Turner Prize Committee files are RESTRICTED.
NOTE: All Prize Studies Committee files are RESTRICTED.
Forty years of Watson's research and writings are reflected in this fifth series, Research and Writings. The bulk of the series is related to the two major books that Watson edited along with William Cartwright, Interpreting and Teaching American History, and Reinterpretation of American History and Culture. These books were aimed at giving a historiographical overview of American history to high school teachers. Leading scholars of the time contributed essays. The files, which include chapter files and general correspondence, reflect the changes in historiographical interpretations of American history from the early 1960s to the early 1970s. Book reviews, articles, grants and grant applications make up the rest of the series.
Materials in the sixth series, Personal, relate to Watson's personal activities. They include items about his life in the military, including his military records, correspondence, and a diary from 1944. The series also details his involvement with St. Philip's church of Durham and the Episcopal Church, Diocese of North Carolina. A copy of his curriculum vitae and items related to his retirement and the establishment of the Watson Graduate Fellowship are also included.
Richard Lyness Watson, Jr. was born December 25, 1914 in Mount Hermon, Mass. He attended Mount Hermon Preparatory School and graduated 1931. He studied economics and history at Yale University, receiving his B.A. in 1935, and his Ph.D. in 1939. Immediately after attaining his doctorate he moved to Durham and began teaching at Duke University. He was drafted into the Army in 1941 and commissioned in May 1943. He first served at the Coast Artillery School until appointed to the Army Air Force Historical Office. While at this post he served as chief of the Southwest Pacific Branch and was responsible for selecting documents on and writing histories pertaining to the Pacific theatre of operations during the War. His work was ultimately included in the seven volume series, The Army Air Forces in World War II, edited by Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate.
During his forty-five year tenure at Duke, Watson served as one of the university's leading "citizens." He not only served in positions of leadership at the departmental level, but at the university level as well. Duke recognized his citizenship in 1988 when they awarded him the Duke University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service. While trained to specialize in early 19th century American history, Watson filled a needed role in the Department of History by shifting his research and teaching focus to early twentieth-century American history. His particular interests lay in the Progressive, Depression, and New Deal Eras. He chaired the department from 1960-1967 and stood in as Acting Chair in 1970-1971 and 1980. He took a lead in the burgeoning development of Black Studies, teaching several summer workshops for college professors on the materials of black history.
Watson led, at numerous points in his career, the faculty's most important representative bodies. He was vice chair of the University Council from 1961-1962; Chairman of the Academic Council from 1964-1966, as well as 1975-1977; and vice chair of the Academic Council from 1973-1974. He was the first person to hold the position of Faculty Secretary of the Academic Council, a position created in 1984. In addition, he was a member of the board of the Duke University Press from 1973-1982, and was associate editor of the South Atlantic Quarterly from 1974-1987. Watson also played a central role in the faculty movement to bar the Nixon presidential library from locating at Duke.
Watson answered the university administration's call to service. This is evidenced in the numerous committees, advisory councils, and task forces to which he was appointed. He played a significant role in helping define and implement university policies during student unrest of the late 1960s. As chair of the Committee on Judicial Procedures he helped put into place judicial procedures and policies to deal with the pickets and protests regulations. He also served on the Faculty Committee on Student Concerns which helped develop policies in response to the takeover of the Allen Building in 1969 and his work on the Student-Faculty-Administration Committee addressed drug policies, military recruitment on campus, and the pickets policy.
Watson served as President of the Southern Historical Association (1976-77) and of the Historical Society of North Carolina (1972-73); he was also chair of the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Prize Committee from 1964-68. In addition, he sat on the board of editors of both the Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1958-60) and the Journal of Southern History (1968-70). He was a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Augustine's College from 1965-1971.
His activity in the Durham community was recognized by the Duke University Campus Ministry, who in 1992 awarded him its Humanitarian Service Award. Watson aided in the establishment of the St. Philip's Community Kitchen and the Durham Urban Ministry Center. He was also a familiar face in community theater, as a long-time member of Durham Savoyards, a group that presents annual performances of Gilbert and Sullivan.
In the midst of his teaching and academic service, Watson continued to conduct and publish scholarly research. He won the R.D.W. Connor Award for the best article to appear in the North Carolina Historical Review in both 1960 and 1965. He contributed greatly to the teaching of history in the secondary schools by his editorship, along with William Cartwright, of Interpreting and Teaching American History (196?) and its revised edition, Reinterpretation of American History and Culture. Other books he authored or edited include, Bishop Cannon's Own Story, the United States in the Contemporary World, 1945-62, and The Development of National Power: The United States 1900-1919.
Upon retirement in 1984, Watson continued his relationship with Duke. He was active in the university's FOCUS program, as well as hosting Japanese students from Hosei University each year.
Richard L. Watson, Jr. died on September 22, 2000.
- Dept. of History records. (University Archives, Duke University.)
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Duke University. Department of History
- Duke University. Academic Council
- Duke University -- History
- Duke University -- Faculty
- United States. Army Air Forces. Historical Office
- Watson, Richard L., 1914-2000
- Watson, Richard L., 1914-2000
The Richard L. Watson, Jr. Papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1960-1992.
All recommendation files were shredded. University materials duplicated in office of origin records were discarded: Department of History newsletters, Educational Facilities, Duke University Press material. Student Papers (Accessions 84-63 and 90-112) transferred to History Department, Student Papers section. World War II documents: checked with National Archives; determined these items were most likely declassified and thus open for research. St. Augustine's College BOT materials (Accession 73-91) were deaccessioned June 2001. Sent to St. Augustine's College.
Encoded by Jill Katte, September 2003