Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Roy Franklin Nichols was born March 3, 1896 in Newark, New Jersey to Franklin Coriell and Annie Cairns Nichols. He obtained his education from Rutgers University (B.A., 1918 and M.A. in 1919) and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1923) and began his career in history at Columbia, first as a fellow from 1920 to 1921 and as an instructor from 1921 to 1925. In 1925, he was appointed assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1930 to 1966, he was professor of history at Penn, but over the years, he also served as Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1952–1966) and Vice Provost (1953–1966). He also served as a visiting professor at Columbia University from 1944 to 1945, at Cambridge University from 1948 to 1949, and at Stanford University in 1952. In 1962, he taught as a Fulbright lecturer in India and Japan.
His work extended beyond the classroom and he served as president of Middle States Association of History Teachers from 1932 to 1933; president of Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies from 1940 to 1942; member of Pennsylvania Historical Commission from 1940 to 1943; Member of Council, American Historical Association from 1943 to 1947; chairman of Social Science Research Council from 1949 to 1953; president of Association of Graduate Schools of the American Association of Universities from 1963 to 1964; vice president of American Historical Association from 1964 to 1965; president of American Historical Association from 1965 to 1966; and Chairman of Council of Graduate Schools in the United States. He was married to Jeannette Paddock Nichols (1890-1982), who was also a historian and an author.
Nichols published a number of books on American history and politics. He won the Pulitzer Prize for History for The Disruption of American Democracy in 1949. A few of his other publications include The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854 (1923), Advance Agents of American Destiny (1956), a biography of Franklin Pierce (1958), Religion and American Democracy (1959), Stakes of Power, 1845-1877 (1961), Blueprints for Leviathan: American Style (1963), and The Invention of American Political Parties (1967). He received the Haney Medal for Literary Excellence in 1961 and the Athenaeum Literary Award in 1961. He also received a number of honorary degrees from universities such as Rutgers University and Cambridge University. Nichols died in 1973.
This collection consists primarily of manuscripts and typescripts for several of Nichols' works, as well as a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of articles from the Philadelphia Press written by Francis Newton Thorpe. Researchers will find handwritten and annotated typescript drafts of manuscripts for Nichols' biography of Franklin Pierce and his book The Disruption of the American Democracy, as well as typescripts for The Stakes of Power and Blueprints of Leviathan: American Style. Nichols' books address democracy, the Democratic Party, and politics in the United States, generally, during the 19th century.
The last item in the collection consists of a scrapbook of articles, correspondence and reviews written by Francis Newton Thorpe from 1893 to 1895 for the Philadelphia Press. Thorpe (1857-1926) was born in the town of Swampscott, MA. After pursuing graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, he became a University Fellow at the age of twenty-eight, holding the title of Professor of American Constitutional History from 1885 to 1898. He was an active member of the Pennsylvania Historical Society and a leading member of the American Historical Association, and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1885. Thorpe's scholarship on state constitutions remains some of the most influential and foundational work in the field of state constitutional development.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Devorah Sperling-Billings
- Finding Aid Date
- 29 July 2014
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.