Robert R. Wilson papers, 1921 - 1975

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Wilson, Robert Renbert, 1898-
Robert Renbert Wilson served as a professor of political science at Duke University from 1925 to 1975. He also acted as chair of the Dept. of Political Science (1934-1948), Director of Graduate Studies (1937-1947, 1949-1966), lecturer in the Law School (1948-1966), and chair of the Commonwealth Studies Center (1959-1966) at Duke University, and as an adviser on commercial treaties to the U.S. State Department. The Robert R. Wilson Papers primarily consist of correspondence, but the collection also contains writings, teaching materials, subject files, and photographs. Major subjects include American politics and government, treaties, international law, political theory, and the American Journal of International Law. English.
7.5 Linear Feet
5000 Items
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:

The Robert R. Wilson papers are organized into five series: Correspondence, Writings, Courses, Subject Files, and Photographs. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence dealing with Wilson's speaking engagements, professional associations, books and publications, and students and colleagues in law and political science at Duke and at institutions across the United States. Major correspondents include the U.S. Foreign Service, the U.S. Dept. of State, the American Journal of International Law, the Commonwealth Studies Center, and university presses. Writings include articles, book reviews, addresses, and other pieces written by Wilson about obligatory arbitration, treaties, African American suffrage, international law, public law, international organization, World War II, the British Commonwealth, the United Nations, and U.S. foreign relations. The Courses series includes syllabi, exams, class case studies, and other materials relating to Wilson's classes in American politics and government, and in international law. Subject Files include reports, articles written about Robert R. Wilson, students' evaluations of Wilson's courses, and other materials. Photographs include a group photo of the Intercollegiate Model Disarmament Conference (Bucknell University, Dec. 4-6, 1931); an unidentified, undated group photo; and an unidentified, undated portrait of a female subject.

Biographical / historical:

Robert Renbert Wilson: Born October 10, 1898, in Hillsboro, Tex.; died April 29, 1975, in Durham, N.C.; son of Edgar Thomas (a merchant) and Sophia (Richardson) Wilson; married Marea Cappon Van Noppen, December 22, 1928; children: Robert Renbert, Jr.

Education: Austin College, A.B., 1918; Princeton University, M.A., 1922; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1927.

Memberships: International Law Association, American Society of International Law (president, 1957-1958), Southern Political Science Association (past president), Cosmos Club.

Awards: Carnegie fellowship in international law for graduate study, 1922-1923, 1924-1927; LL.D. from Austin College, 1940.

Career: Austin College, Sherman, Tex., college registrar, 1919-1921; Duke University, Durham, N.C., assistant professor, 1925-1927, associate professor, 1927-1929, professor of political science and international law, 1929-1961, James B. Duke Professor, 1961-1966, Emeritus James B. Duke Professor, 1966-1975, chair of department of political science, 1934-1948, director of graduate studies, 1937-1947, 1949-1966, lecturer in Law School, 1948-1966, chair of Commonwealth Studies, 1959-1966. Visiting professor at University of Texas, 1926, 1928, 1935 (summers), Stanford University, 1939 (summer), University of North Carolina, 1940; Fulbright professor, University of Istanbul, 1951-1952. Adviser on commercial treaties to U.S. State Department.

Writings: International Law in Treaties, Turkish Institute of International Law, 1949. The United Nations Organization and the Organization of American States, Turkish Institute of International Law, 1952. The International Law Standard in Treaties of the United States, Harvard University Press, 1953. A Decade of New Commercial Treaties, Lancaster, 1956 (Contributor). Some Questions of Legal Relations between Commonwealth Members, Lancaster, 1957 (Contributor). David R. Deener and R. Taylor Cole, editors, Commonwealth Perspectives, Duke University Press, 1958 (With others). United States Commercial Treaties and International Law, Hauser Press, 1960 (Contributor). Deener, editor, Canada-United States Treaty Relations, Duke University Press, 1963 (Editor and contributor). The International Law Standard and Commonwealth Developments, Duke University Press, 1966 (Editor and contributor). International and Comparative Law of the Commonwealth, Duke University Press, 1968 (Contributor). A Decade of Legal Consultation: Asia-African Collaboration, Center for Commonwealth Studies, Duke University, 1968. International Law and Contemporary Commonwealth Issues, Duke University Press, 1971. Member of board of editors, American Journal of International Law, beginning 1937.

[Biography Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002.]

Acquisition information:
The Robert R. Wilson Papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1977.
Processing information:

Processed by University Archives staff and Jill Katte

Completed October 2004

Encoded by Jill Katte, October 2004

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult University Archives, Duke University.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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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.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Robert R. Wilson Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.