Jack Preiss papers, 1940-2012

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Preiss, Jack J., 1919-
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.
1.75 Linear Feet
300 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:
University Archives Record Group:
29 -- Papers of Faculty, Staff, and Associates
29 -- Papers of Faculty, Staff, and Associates > 02 -- Individuals


Scope and content:

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.

Biographical / historical:

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.

Acquisition information:
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.

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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.

Race relations -- North Carolina -- Durham
Student movements -- North Carolina
Clippings (information artifacts)
Camp William James -- History
Durham (N.C.) -- Race relations


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Collection is open for research.

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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.

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Preferred citation:

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