Douglass Cecil North papers, 1942-2012 and undated
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research.
- North, Douglass Cecil
- Economist and faculty member of Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo., and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1993. The papers of Douglass C. North date from 1942-2012 and consist chiefly of professional correspondence written and received by North, writings by North and other colleagues (the largest group), and files on conferences attended by North; there are also some teaching materials. The collection documents North's career as an economist and professor at Berkeley, University of Washington, Rice University, and Washington University (Missouri), and reflects his interests in economics, the economic history of the western world, transaction costs, economic development, institutional change, and industrialization and technology. Among the correspondents are many noted economists, including Yoram Barzel, Robert Bates, Reuven Brenner, Robert Clower, R. H. Coase, Robert Fogel, Robert Haveman, Robert Keohane, Simon Kuznets, Deirdre N. McCloskey, Elinor Ostrom, Vernon Smith, T. N. Srinivasan, John J. Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast.
- 50 Linear Feet
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
The papers of university professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist Douglass C. North span the dates 1942-2012, with most of the papers being dated between 1970 and 2012. They consist chiefly of professional correspondence written and received by North, writings by North and other colleagues, and files on conferences attended by North. There are also materials relating to courses he taught. The collection documents North's career as an economist and professor at Berkeley, University of Washington, Rice University, and Washington University (Missouri), and reflects his interests in economics, the economic history of the western world, transaction costs, economic development, institutional change, and industrialization and technology. More specifically, the papers document his long-standing interest in explaining institutional change and political economies without relying exclusively on neo-classical economic theories. His political economy draw him closer to approaches of classical political economy.
Among the correspondents are many noted economists, including Yoram Barzel, Robert Bates, Reuven Brenner, Robert Clower, R.H. Coase, Robert Fogel, Robert Haveman, Robert Keohane, Simon Kuznets, Deirdre N. McCloskey, Emily Chamlee-Wright, Elinor Ostrom, Vernon Smith, T.N. Srinivasan, John J. Wallis and Barry R. Weingast. Some of these correspondents are also represented in the Writings Series of this collection, a large group which contains drafts, notes, and reprints of writings by North as well as writings by his colleagues.
North's secretary Fannie Batt is an important factor for a proper understanding of the nature of this collection. After receiving the Nobel Prize in 1993, North's correspondence expanded substantially. Fannie Batt, his secretary at the Washington University in St. Louis, was tasked to take care of the correspondence for North. Her role impacted the subsequent arrangement of the collection. Materials are often Fannie Batt's printouts of correspondence for North. Most of the correspondence since the 1990s is carried through Fannie Batt's email address. Also, North's own responses to emails are not as frequent in the collection as one would expect. Existing responses were often dictated by North and typed by Fannie Batt.
- Biographical / Historical:
Missing Title Date Event 1920 Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts 1941 Worked for one summer with Dorothea Lange, photographer; her husband, in Economics Department at the University of California, convinced North to study economics 1942 Received B.A. from University of California, Berkeley 1942-1946 Served in the U.S. Merchant Marines 1950-1979 Professor at University of Washington 1952 Received Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley 1956-1957 Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research; his major quantitative study of the balance of payments of the United States from 1790 to 1860 led to publication of first book in 1961 1960-1966 Co-editor of the Journal of Economic History 1961 Publication of book, The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790 to 1860 1961-present Director, Institute of Economic Research at Washington University 1966 Publication of book, Growth and Welfare in the American Past: A New Economic History 1966-1967 Became interested in European economic history and spent the year in Geneva as a Ford Faculty Fellow 1971 Publication of book, Institutional Change and American Economic Growth (with L. E. Davis) 1972 Elected President of the Economic History Association 1973 Publication of The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History (with R. P. Thomas) Visiting Director of the Centre de Recherche Historique at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris 1979 Professor, Rice University 1981 Publication of book, Structure and Change in Economic History 1981-1982 Professor, University of Cambridge, England 1983 Moved to Washington University in St. Louis, where he created the Center in Political Economy 1990 Publication of book, Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance 1993 Awarded Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (jointly with Robert W. Fogel) 1996 Elected as Fellow of the British Academy 1997 Advisor, "World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World," the World Bank 2003 Awarded Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humanities, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 2005 Publication of the book, Understanding the Process of Economic Change 2009 Publication of the book, Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History (with John J. Wallis and Barry R. Weingast) 2012 Publication of the book, In the Shadow of Violence: Politics, Economics, and the Problems of Development (with John J. Wallis, Steven B. Webb and Barry R. Weingast) 2015 Died, Benzonia, Michigan.
- Acquisition Information:
- The Douglass Cecil North Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 1993, 2000, 2008, and 2013.
- Processing information:
Reprocessed by Catherine Herfeld, Paula Jeannet, Danilo Ramalho da Silva, and Emily Skarbek.
Completed August 15, 2012.
Encoded by Catherine Herfeld, Paula Jeannet, and Danilo Ramalho da Silva.
2013 accession processed and collection description revised by Tomas Kristofory, 2018.
Accessions 1993-0275, 2000-0086, 2008-0109, 2013-0195 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
Economics -- Methodology
Economic history -- Congresses
International economic relations
Economists -- Correspondence
Economics -- Study and teaching
Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.) -- Faculty
Srinivasan, T. N., 1933-
Smith, Vernon L.
North, Douglass Cecil
Haveman, Robert H.
Fogel, Robert William
Coase, R. H. (Ronald Harry)
Clower, Robert W.
McCloskey, Deirdre N.
Kuznets, Simon Smith, 1901-
Keohane, Robert O. (Robert Owen), 1941-
Bates, Robert H.
Using These Materials
Collection is open for research.
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- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], Douglass Cecil North Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.