Martin Bronfenbrenner papers, 1939-1995

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Bronfenbrenner, Martin, 1914-1997
Martin Bronfenbrenner (1914-1997) was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University. This collection primarily documents his professional life through his correspondence, writings, research, and teaching. It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
16.2 Linear Feet (27 boxes and one oversize folder.)
Material in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

This collection consist of correspondence, research files, memoranda, writings (published and unpublished), teaching material, reprints, clippings, and other papers, relating chiefly to Bronfenbrenner's research and associations in the field of economics.

The Personal series includes an unpublished autobiography, a family history, and records of Bronfenbrenner's own US loyalty hearings from 1954-1955.

Files in the Teaching series chiefly contain syllabi, course notes, and exams dating from Bronfenbrenner's time at Carnegie, Duke, and in Japan, while the Printed Material files mainly house reprints of many of his articles.

The Research series, divided into topical subseries, makes up the bulk of the collection, including Bronfenbrenner's research notes, articles, reprints, correspondence, lectures, and drafts of Bronfenbrenner's writings; the materials offer a rich source of unique research material on topics of interest to Bronfenbrenner such as income distribution theory, economic development, Marxian and radical economics (including New Left economics), labor economics, monetary economics, international economics, trade, Japanese economy and Japanese history. The Research series also contains a subseries of research folders linked to individual economists in whose work Bronfenbrenner had an interest, or with whom he corresponded, or both; names include Adelman, Baumol, Friedman, Leijonhufvud, Minsky, Samuelson, Spengler, Solow, and Viner, with two folders of material on Kei Shibata, who wrote on Marxian economics and economic equilibrium during the 1930s.

Biographical / historical:

Martin Bronfenbrenner (1914-1997) was a white American academic economics who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and died in Durham, North Carolina, having just been made a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economics Association. He received his PhD in 1939 from the Universtiy of Chicago and after a brief stint at the US Treasury, enlisted in the US Navy. He served in Japan during and after the war, and had a role in the rebuilding of Japan's economy and its relations with the US. Taking from his experiences in Japan, Bronfenbrenner published a volume of fictional short stories entitled Tomioka Stories from the Japanese Occupation. From 1947 on, Bronfenbrenner worked exclusively as a university professor. He served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin (1947-1957), Michigan State University (1957-1958), the University of Minnesota (1958-1962), Carnegie Mellon (1962-1971), and Duke University, where he held the Kenan Chair from 1971 until 1984. In 1984, he moved to Japan as a professor of international economics at the Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan, and in 1991 he returned to Duke University, where he taught until his death. Throughout this period Bronfenbrenner's interests were very wide-ranging and included income distribution theory, labor economics, Marxian and radical economics, development, Japanese economics and history, comparative economic systems, monetary theory and the history of economics. Bronfenbrenner served as vice president of the American Economic Association (1976-1977), president of the Southern Economic Association (1979-1980), and president of the History of Economics Society (1982-1983).

Acquisition information:
The Martin Bronfenbrenner papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts in 1984, 1993, and 1997.
Processing information:

Processed by Danilo Da Silva and Chris Payne, June 2010.

Encoded by Paula Jeannet, Chris Payne, and Danilo Da Silva, June 2010.

Accessions described in this collection guide: the original 1994 accession, 1993-0175, 1997-0071, and 1997-0134.


The Martin Bronfenbrenner papers are arranged into four series: Personal, Printed Material, Research, and Teaching.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Martin Bronfenbrenner papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.