This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
|Size||3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1400 items)|
|Abstract||Broadus Mitchell, economist, historian, and liberal thinker, taught until 1939 at Johns Hopkins University, from 1947 to spring 1958 at Rutgers University, and from fall 1958 to 1967 at Hofstra University. He was the son of educator Samuel Chiles Mitchell (1864-1948) and brother of educator Morris R. Mitchell (1895-1976) and labor leader George Sinclair Mitchell (1902-1962). His second wife was economist Louise Pearson Mitchell (1906- ). The collection includes correspondence, writings, and other papers of Broadus Mitchell. Correspondence, 1900-1982, chiefly relates to Mitchell's research interests, particularly the life of Alexander Hamilton, and to his teaching career, including his involvement at Johns Hopkins in an academic freedom dispute and a controversy in 1938 over whether to admit an African-American graduate student. Included are three letters in the 1930s from H.L. Mencken about Mitchell's writing, one in 1932 from Norman Thomas relating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and one in 1935 in which Franklin Roosevelt discussed the problems of sharecroppers. There are many letters from colleagues and students, among them economist Anatol Murad; H.L. Mitchell; Daniel Singal; Robert A. Solo; Lynn Turgeon; and Harold C. Syrett, editor of the Alexander Hamilton papers. There are also family letters, including a few about family matters from brother Morris. There are also writings by Mitchell, including many on the life of Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and economics and economic history. Also included are Mitchell's 1931 report on lynchings in Salisbury, Md.; his contribution to a 1931 ACLU pamphlet called Black Justice; and an unpublished autobiography. A few family history materials, clippings, financial and legal papers, photographs, and other items are also included.|
|Creator||Mitchell, Broadus, 1892-1988.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
(Parts of the following were taken from Jacqueline Hall's article on Broadus Mitchell in Radical History Review 45, 1989, pages 31-38.)
Broadus Mitchell, economic historian and ardent socialist, died on 28 April 1988 at the age of 95. Born 27 December 1892 in Georgetown, Ky., to Samuel Chiles and Alice Broadus Mitchell, he grew up in an academic family devoted to the "New South" panaceas of industrialization, education, and racial uplift. His mother was the daughter of the head of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. His father, who taught at Richmond College (later the University of Richmond), became president of the University of South Carolina in 1909, only to resign four years later when Governor Coleman L. Blease attacked him for favoring "blacks over white womanhood." Mitchell had recommended that a Peabody Fund gift earmarked for black education go to the state college for Negroes rather than the white women's college. Broadus's siblings were Morris Randolph (1895-1976), educator and organizer and first president of the Friends World College; George Sinclair (1902-1962), textile industry labor leader; Terry, advertising manager of Waynesboro, Pa.; and Mary, wife of George Orr Clifford of Chapel Hill, N.C.
Broadus Mitchell was torn between journalism and academics. He first chose journalism, working off and on as a reporter between 1913 and 1918. He pursued graduate work in political economy at Johns Hopkins with the purpose of deepening his ability to write about the South's economic woes. His dissertation, completed in 1918, was published in 1921 as The Rise of Cotton Mills in the South. At Hopkins, he was drawn into social work and socialism, in part through his association with Elizabeth Gilman, one of Maryland's leading reformers. He also developed an enduring commitment to socialism, pacifism, and workers' education.
Although Mitchell opposed the U.S. entry into World War I, he served a brief stint in the army. After the war, he chose to join the faculty at Johns Hopkins rather than return to journalism. While at Hopkins, he took his students out of the classroom, guiding them on a trip to the Soviet Union, and using the city of Baltimore as a laboratory for illustrating the contradictions of "poverty in the midst of plenty." He also conducted courses for immigrant workers, tried in vain to start a Labor College at Johns Hopkins, and taught first at the Bryn Mawr Summer School and then at the Southern Summer School for Women Workers.
Mitchell turned more sharply to the left as the Depression grew, and his 1931 investigation of two lynchings on Maryland's Eastern Shore earned him a reputation in the black community as one of the few sparks of liberalism at Johns Hopkins. In 1934, Mitchell ran for governor of Maryland on the Socialist party ticket against the Democratic incumbent who had failed to punish the protagonists in the Eastern Shore lynchings. Mitchell captured 7,000 votes, twice as many as Maryland Socialists had ever won before.
By 1938, Mitchell's advocacy of socialism and racial justice had alienated some of his senior colleagues and won him the enmity of the Johns Hopkins administration. In 1939, after fights with the administration over academic freedom and the admission of a black social worker to the graduate program in political economy, Mitchell resigned.
In 1935, three years before his troubles at Johns Hopkins came to a head, Mitchell's wife, Adelaide Hammond, whom he had married in 1923 and with whom he had two children - Sidney, who became a professor of English at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., and Barbara Sinclair, who married Stefan Grove - divorced him. A year later, he married Louise Pearson Blodget, an historian to whom he was devoted and with whom he collaborated on a number of his later works. Broadus and Louise also had two children, Theodora and Christopher. In 1939, the Mitchells went to California, where Broadus taught at Occidental College. When he opposed U.S. intervention in World War II and took public stands on other controversial issues, Occidental's president refused to renew his contract. After two years at Occidental, the Mitchells found themselves back on the east coast with no means of support. After holding several temporary jobs, Louise began teaching at Mills College of Education, and, in 1943, Broadus took over the position of research director for the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union. When the war ended, Mitchell moved on to the Economics Department at Rutgers, where he taught from 1947 until he was forced to retire at age 65 in 1958.
Mitchell joined the Economics Department at Hofstra in the fall of 1958 and accepted the challenge of teaching in the University's experimental New College. There, he moderated a 1959 forum on communism. He also managed to bring onto the faculty a kindred spirit named Dorothy Douglas, an economist who had resigned from Smith when she became a target of red-baiting. When he was awarded an honorary degree and asked to deliver the commencement address in 1967, he took the opportunity to speak out against the war in Vietnam.
In 1967, at the age of 75, Broadus Mitchell retired once more. He spent the last years of his life in New York and on his beloved farm in Wendell, Mass.
Always an activist, Mitchell was above all an independent and dedicated scholar. All told, he wrote 17 books, counting those he co-authored, and numerous articles. During the 1920s, he wrote Frederick Law Olmstead, A Critic of the Old South (1924), which served as a vehicle for his own critique of the Lost Cause, and William Greed, Factory Master of the Old South (1928). With brother George Sinclair Mitchell, he published The Industrial Revolution in the South (1930). He was recognized as an expert on the life of Alexander Hamilton, on whom he wrote extensively, publishing numerous articles and books, including Heritage from Hamilton (1957); Alexander Hamilton (1957, 1962); Alexander Hamilton: The Revolutionary Years (1970); and Alexander Hamilton: A Concise Biography (1976). He also wrote American Economic History (1947); Depression Decade (1947); Economics: Experience and Analysis (1950); A Biography of the Constitution of the United States (1964, 1975); Great Economists and Their Times (1966); Postcripts to Economic History (1967); The Industrial Revolution in the South (1969); The Road to Yorktown (1971); and The Price of Independence: A Realistic View of the American Revolution (1974). Some of these works were written in collaboration with Louise Pearson Mitchell.Back to Top
Correspondence, writings, and other papers of Broadus Mitchell. Correspondence, 1900-1982, is with colleagues, family members, and friends. There are, unfortunately, relatively few items from Mitchell's tenure at Johns Hopkins and none from his gubernatorial campaign. The bulk of the correspondence dates from after his retirement from Hofstra in 1967.
Beginning in the 1930s, most of the letters relate to his research interests and his teaching career, until 1939 at Johns Hopkins, from 1947 to spring 1958 at Rutgers University, and from fall 1958 to 1967 at Hofstra University. Mitchell's stormy career at Hopkins is sketchily documented. In 1937, there are letters relating to an academic freedom protest at Hopkins that centered around Mitchell, who had been accused of using "vulgar epithets" in class when it was reported that he had referred to Supreme Court justices as "nine old bastards." In November and December 1938, letters show Mitchell in the middle of further controversy at Hopkins, this time over the issue of whether or not to admit an African-American student to the graduate program. During Mitchell's tenure at Rutgers University, his reputation as an expert in economics and on the life of Alexander Hamilton grew. Mitchell appears to have had several fights with the Rutgers administration, but they were not as fierce as those with administrators at Johns Hopkins. Letters from the Hofstra University period are even less contentious.
Many letters in the collection document the progress of Mitchell's career not only as a teacher, but as an economist, an historian with particular interest in the life of Alexander Hamilton, and an espouser of liberal thinking. Among the letters are three letters in the 1930s from H. L. Mencken about Mitchell's writing, one in 1932 from Norman Thomas relating to the ACLU, and one in 1935 in which Franklin Roosevelt discussed the problems of sharecroppers. There are also many letters from colleagues and former students, among them economist Anatol Murad, who became a life-long friend; H. L. Mitchell; Lynn Turgeon; Daniel Singal; William Leonard; Paul Jacobi; Robert Solo; Harold C. Syrett, editor of the Alexander Hamilton papers; and Barbara A. Chernow.
Also included is family correspondence, particularly in the later years. These letters are chiefly from Mitchell's son Sidney; his sister Mary, wife of George Orr Clifford, who lived in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and his brother Morris, who founded the Friends World College. These letters tend to deal with routine family matters.
There are also writings by Broadus Mitchell, including many on the life of Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and economics and economic history. Also included are a 1931 report on lynchings in Salisbury, Md.; Mitchell's contribution to a 1931 pamphlet called Black Justice that was published by the American Civil Liberties Union; a few short reminiscences of his childhood; and the typescript of a full-length, unpublished autobiography.
A few family history materials, clippings, financial and legal papers, photographs, programs and class listings, reviews of Mitchell's books, writings by others, a ballot and lapel pin from Mitchell's 1934 bid for governor of Maryland, and other items are also included.Back to Top
Correspondence of Mitchell with colleagues, family members, and friends. There are, unfortunately, relatively few items from Mitchell's tenure at Johns Hopkins and none from his gubernatorial campaign. The bulk of the correspondence dates from after his retirement from Hofstra in 1967.
Substantive letters appearing throughout this series show that Mitchell's mind remained clear and creative as he grew older. While not quite the firebrand he was in the 1930s, later letters show him active in teaching, lecturing, and reviewing the work of others, as well as writing on various historical and economic subjects well into his eighties.
Note that some of the letters, particularly in later years, are addressed to either Louise Pearson Mitchell or Mitchell's sister Mary, who seems to have annotated and forwarded most of her mail to her brother. Note, too, that carbon copies of Mitchell's replies to letters frequently appear on the back of the letter to which he was responding.
Early letters, circa 1900-1905, are written in a childish hand and are from Mitchell to family members at home in Richmond, Va. In 1913, there is a carbon copy of a letter of recommendation from McDavid Horton of the Daily Record of Columbia, S.C., describing Mitchell's talents as a newspaperman. There are few letters from the 1920s.
In the 1930s, there are letters of inquiry to or from economists, librarians, archivists, and others relating to various research topics that Mitchell was pursuing. In 1933, for example, there are letters about Mitchell's study of the life of Alexander Hamilton. Also in the 1930s are three letters from H. L. Mencken: 1 February 1932, about Mencken's desire to see Mitchell's report on the Maryland lynchings; 29 December 1932, about an article on technocracy Mitchell had submitted to The American Mercury; and 16 July 1935, about Mencken's wanting to meet with Mitchell to discuss various topics. There are also a letter dated 25 April 1932 from Norman Thomas about attending an American Civil Liberties Union function, and a letter dated 1 May 1935 in which Franklin Roosevelt discussed the problems of sharecroppers.
In 1933, there are letters from Mitchell in which he speculated about why he was not promoted at Johns Hopkins. In 1937, there are letters relating to an academic freedom protest at Hopkins that centered around Mitchell, who had been accused of using "vulgar epithets" in class when it was reported that he had referred to Supreme Court justices as "nine old bastards." In November and December 1938, letters show Mitchell in the middle of further controversy at Hopkins, this time over the issue of whether or not to admit an African-American student to the graduate program. Included is a letter in support of the idea from Virginius Dabney, editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In 1939, there are many letters relating to Mitchell's resignation from Johns Hopkins, especially letters of support from his colleagues at Hopkins and other institutions. There are also a few letters about his search for a new position, including one from reformer Elizabeth Gilman, who apparently was trying to help him find a post. There are no letters relating to his tenure at Occidental College, except mention of the fact that he had accepted a position there.
There are few family letters during this period and none relating to Mitchell's divorce.
During this period, Mitchell taught at Rutgers University and grew in stature as an expert in economics and on the life of Alexander Hamilton. Mitchell appears to have had several fights with the Rutgers administration; in 1949, for example, there are letters about his unsuccessful struggle to advance to the rank of professor. These fights, however, lack the intensity evident in his battles with administrators at Johns Hopkins. Those earlier battles continued to be discussed even after Mitchell had secured the position at Rutgers. In July 1952, for example, there are letters questioning whether he had resigned voluntarily from Hopkins or had been forced out.
Many letters during these years show the progress of Mitchell's scholarly career, particularly his emergence as a prominent interpreter of the life of Alexander Hamilton. In 1951, Mitchell went to the Virgin Islands to investigate Hamilton's early life, and, while there are few letters relating directly to the trip, the research Mitchell did there fed correspondence for several years. There are also letters relating to other subjects in which Mitchell was interested and to the many articles and books he produced during this time.
Letters from family members gain in volume in these years. Beginning in 1951, there are letters from daughter Barbara (Bobs) at Bard College and in 1953 from son Sidney (Beanie), who started teaching English at Mary Washington College in 1955. There are also letters from various organizations Mitchell supported, among them the American Civil Liberties Union, the Metropolitan Economic Association, the New Jersey Committee for Peaceful Alternatives, Southerners for Civil Rights, and the Foundation for World Government.
Mitchell retired from Rutgers at the end of the 1957-1958 academic year and began teaching at the New College at Hofstra University in fall 1958. While there is some routine correspondence about internal affairs at New College, most of the letters in this period relate to research interests, including various aspects of economics and the life of Alexander Hamilton. Many of the letters treating economics are from other economists seeking advice from Mitchell about their research. There are also many letters from former students, among them Anatol Murad, who became a life-long friend. Murad was instrumental in Mitchell's spending the 1961 1962 academic year as a visiting professor at the University of Puerto Rico. There is very little in the papers that relates to this trip.
There is much correspondence with publishers, as several of Mitchell's books and many journal and newspaper articles were published during this time. He was also an active contributor to such publications as the Dictionary of American History. As Mitchell continued his own work on Hamilton, letters show that he also was interested in monitoring the progress of Harold C. Syrett of Columbia University, who was editing Hamilton's papers for publication.
There are also family letters, particularly from Ellen Mitchell, later Ellen Mitchell Craib, daughter of Mitchell's brother George, and from Mitchell's own son Sidney, who remained in the English Department at Mary Washington College. These letters tend to be about the comings and goings of family members. Correspondence to and from organizations in which Mitchell was involved cluster around 1960, when there are a few letters from the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee protesting the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Mitchell retired from Hofstra at the end of the 1966-1967 academic year.
Mitchell retired to "Oldfields" in Wendell, Mass., but letters show that he spent a great deal of his time traveling about to meetings, giving lectures, and consulting with colleagues far into the 1970s. Of note is correspondence, beginning in July 1970, with Daniel J. Singal, who wrote extensively on Mitchell in the The War Within (1982). There are many letters to and from publishers and editors as Mitchell did a great a deal of writing for publication during this period.
Letters from colleagues and former students continue. Besides Anatol Murad, there are letters from H. L. Mitchell, Lynn Turgeon, William Leonard, Paul Jacobi, Robert Solo, and Barbara A. Chernow, among others. Mitchell's continuing interest in liberal causes is documented in carbon copies of the many letters he wrote to newspapers and to politicians about various subjects. In December 1972, he resurrected a long-standing dispute with Rutgers about the dismissal of two professors in the 1950s.
Family correspondence greatly increased in volume during this period. Especially active was Mitchell's sister Mary, wife of George Orr Clifford, who lived in Chapel Hill, N.C., and appears to have written to her brother about twice a week, chiefly about activities of family members. She also appears to have annotated and forwarded many letters she received from other family members. There are also letters, 1972-1975, from Mitchell's brother Morris at the White Pines Friends World College Study Center in Clarkesville, Ga. These letters are also about family affairs.
Chiefly family letters and greeting cards, with a few letters from colleagues.
Writings by Broadus Mitchell, including many about the life of Alexander Hamilton, about the American Revolution, about economics and economic history, and other topics.
A typescript and two annotated galley copies of Alexander Hamilton: A Concise Biography (1976) and typed and printed copies of short pieces on Hamilton.
Typescript of The Price of Independence: A Realistic View of the American Revolution (1974) and typed and printed copies of short pieces on the Revolution, the American Constitution, and George Washington.
Typescript of Postscripts to Economic History (1967) and typed and printed copies of short writings on economics, including pieces on prominent economists, business history, and the study and teaching of economics. There are also a few class lectures and book reviews, and a 1932 pamphlet in French called L'Industrie du coton dans les etats sudistes de l'Amerique, which Mitchell wrote with his brother, George Sinclair Mitchell.
Early childhood writings, including several stories Mitchell published in newspapers around 1904; a 1931 report on lynchings in Salisbury, Md.; Mitchell's contribution to a 1931 pamphlet called Black Justice that was published by the American Civil Liberties Union; and a few short reminiscences of his childhood. Also included is a typescript of an autobiography Mitchell appears to have written in 1978-1979, but which was never published, and a transcription of a 1972 interview Mitchell did with the Columbia University Oral History Research Office for its series on Southern intellectuals.
Biographical and family history materials, clippings, financial and legal papers, photographs, programs and class listings, reviews of Mitchell's books, writings by others, and miscellaneous materials as described below.
Includes a sketch of Morris R. Mitchell and a few printed items relating to the Broadus and Mitchell families. About 10 items.
About Broadus Mitchell, many of them relating to his resignation from Johns Hopkins University in 1939. About 25 items.
Chiefly relating to Mitchell's historical interests. About 25 items.
Includes a few book contracts. Note that there are other contracts with publishers that appear in Series 1 as enclosures to letters. About 15 items.
Includes about ten photographs of Mitchell alone or with colleagues and seven views of Saint Kitts, British West Indies, including two views of Alexander Hamilton's birthplace on the island.
Programs for lectures and other functions and class listings for courses offered, 1960-1977 #04141, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1928-1978." Folder 67
About 20 items.
The bulk are reviews of Alexander Hamilton: A Concise Biography (1976). About 60 items.
Chiefly on topics of historical interest. About 10 items.
Includes a ballot and lapel pin from Mitchell's 1934 bid for governor of Maryland on the Socialist Party ticket. About 15 items.
Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, February 1992
Encoded by: T. Mike Childs, February 2008
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.Back to Top