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|Size||22.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 12000 items)|
|Abstract||William Terry Couch was director of the University of North Carolina Press, 1932-1945; director of the University of Chicago Press, 1945-1950; editor-in-chief of Collier's Encyclopedia and Yearbooks, 1952-1959; editor of the American Oxford Encyclopedia, 1959-1963; and co-director of the Center for American Studies in Burlingame, Calif., 1963-1964. Correspondence, notes, writings, subject files, card files, and photographs documenting Couch's life from 1926 through 1988. Much of the material covers his career in publishing, including his work at university presses during the 1930s and 1940s and his work with encyclopedia companies such as Crowell-Collier Publishing Company and J. J. Little and Ives Company during the 1940s and 1960s. Couch's official press records during the time he was director of the University of North Carolina Press are not included; most of the correspondence during that period is with friends and colleagues. Couch was dismissed in 1950 from his position as director of the University of Chicago Press by Robert M. Hutchins, and there are notes, writings, and correspondence on this controversy and the related issue of academic freedom. From Couch's later years, there are letters from conservative thinkers such as William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk and writings by Couch about his anti-communist sentiments and support of racial segregation. Other correspondents include Paul Green, Allen Tate, James Feibleman, Josephus Daniels, Jonathan Daniels, Louis Round Wilson, Luther Hodges, Holt McPherson, Cleanth Brooks, David Hoggan, R. J. Rushdoony, F. Maynard Adams, G. Warren Nutter, Daniel Singal, Henry Regnery, and Eliseo Vivas.|
|Creator||Couch, William T. (William Terry), 1901-|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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.
William Terry Couch
1901 Born 4 December in Pamplin, Va., son of a Baptist minister.
1917 Moved with family to farm between Chapel Hill and Durham. N.C.
1917-1918 Worked on farm and with Southern Power Company.
1920 Entered the University of North Carolina (January).
1920-1922 Served in the army; failed physical exam to enter West Point.
1922-1925 Returned to UNC. Worked as library assistant and as editor of Carolina Magazine.
1925 Married Elizabeth Calvert.
1925 Asked to direct the UNC Press by its director, Louis R. Wilson, while he took a leave of absence.
1926 Graduated with a B.A. degree from UNC.
1926 Appointed assistant director of the UNC Press.
1932 Appointed director of UNC Press when Dr. Wilson went to the University of Chicago.
1933 Edited and published Culture in the South.
1936 Appointed associate director of N.C. Writers Project. Supervised writing of North Carolina state guide.
1938-1941 Served as regional director of the Federal Writers Project.
1939 Edited and published These Are Our Lives.
1941-1943 Served as president of the American Association of University Presses.
1945 Resigned from UNC Press to accept offer from University of Chicago Press (August).
1945-1950 Served as director of University of Chicago Press.
1950 Fired from University of Chicago Press (November).
1951-1952 Moved to Medfield, Conn.; searched for a job and considered graduate work at Harvard or Yale.
1952 Hired by Crowell-Collier Publishing Co. Moved to New York (August).
1952-1959 Served as editor-in-chief of Collier's Encyclopedia and Year Books.
1959 Resigned from Crowell-Collier to accept job with J.J. Little and Ives Co. (July).
1959-1963 Served as editor of American Oxford Encyclopedia, published by Little and Ives.
1963 Resigned from Little and Ives to join the staff of the newly formed Center for American Studies in Burlingame, circa (March).
1963-1964 Served as co-director of Center for American Studies.
1965 His wife, Elizabeth Calvert, died (September).
1965 Returned to Chapel Hill.
1967-1968 Lived in New York while writing a book.
1967 Married Caro Mae Green, sister of Paul Green (March).
1968 Retired in Chapel Hill.
1970 Divorced from Caro Mae Green (October).
1972 Married Florence Stullman.
1988 Died on 10 December in Charlottesville, Va.Back to Top
These papers document both professional and personal aspects of the adult life of William Terry Couch. His professional life is more thoroughly documented than his personal life, and the majority of personal material appears after his retirement. His careers at the UNC Press, University of Chicago Press, Crowell-Collier Publishing Company, J.J. Little and Ives, and the Center for American Studies are covered in separate series. The official University records from his years as director of the UNC Press are found in the University Archives (UNC Press Records, Subgroup 2, the Director's Records).
The largest series in the collection is Series 8 which contains two subject file runs arranged by Couch and one run of miscellaneous subject files. The original order has been maintained in the first two runs.
An arrangement scheme was imposed on the remainder of the collection.
This collection was received and processed at the Southern Historical Collection in two parts. The first accession consisted largely of what are now Series 1-5; the second consisted largely of the remainder of the collection. There is some consequent overlap between Series 1-5 and Series 8.Back to Top
Arrangement: chronological and by subject.
This series consists entirely of general non-Press related correspondence from 1926, just after Couch began working for Louis Round Wilson, to September 1945 when he left Chapel Hill. It contains letters to and from numerous friends and colleagues, including Paul Green, Allen Tate, James Feibleman, and Josephus and Jonathan Daniels. There is correspondence with the editors of several magazines and newspapers to which Couch contributed, with discussions of various controversial topics, most notably the Sacco and Vanzetti case and the Gastonia textile workers' strike in the late 1920s.
Couch received several job offers during the 1930s and 1940s and there are a number of letters relating to two prospects that he seriously considered, the F.S. Croft Company in the late 1930s and the Princeton University Press in 1941. Also included are papers related to occasional speaking engagements Couch made around the South and to outside consultant work he did in drawing up publishing surveys for the American Library Association and for the University of Texas.
For material related to his directorship of the UNC Press, see the UNC Press Records, particularly Subgroup 2, the Director's Records, in the University Archives.
Arrangement: chronological and by subject.
This series covers the period from September 1945 when Couch took over as director of the University of Chicago Press to November 1950 when he was fired by the University's president, Robert M. Hutchins. It also includes papers from the interim period when Couch moved to Connecticut in December 1950 to look for work and consider graduate school through August 1952 when he began work with Crowell-Collier's in New York. His papers while at Chicago consist of personal correspondence, material on the editorial and financial policy of the Press, and on the controversy over a book he published in 1949, entitled The Case of General Yamashita, dealing with the trial and execution of a Japanese general as a war criminal just after World War II. But the bulk of this series is made up of papers dealing with the repercussions over Couch's dismissal. Besides background documents circulated by Couch, there is considerable correspondence with friends, associates, magazine and newspaper editors, and various organizations regarding the reasons for the dismissal (Couch claimed it was due to a book on the treatment of Japanese-Americans in California during World War II which he published in 1948 over the University's disapproval). Letters discuss possible means of challenging the action or at least of publicizing it.
Arrangement: chronological and by subject.
These papers begin in August 1952 when Couch became editor-in-chief of Collier's Encyclopedia and end with his resignation in July 1959. Much of the material related to his work deals with specific articles written for either the yearbooks or for revised editions of the encyclopedia, as well as with more general editorial and financial concerns. Couch's personal correspondence during this period reflects his interest in such issues as civil rights, academic freedom, the threat of communism, and the need for stronger conservative forces in the country. His correspondents include William F. Buckley, editor of the new National Review, and Robert Welch, head of the John Birch Society, both of whose efforts Couch supported. There are also numerous letters to and from North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges, Holt McPherson, Kenneth Colgrove, Russell Kirk, and Cleanth Brooks. See also subseries 8.2 which contains subject files compiled during this period.
Arrangement: chronological and by subject.
From August 1959 to March 1963, Couch served as editorial vice-president of Little and Ives in New York. His primary responsibility was the revision of their American Oxford Encyclopedia, and this brief series is made up primarily of papers related to that task. The personal correspondence is mostly with Ivan R. Bierly concerning ideas for a bicentennial encyclopedia for Americana and other proposals.
Arrangement: chronological and by subject.
The Center for American Studies was a research organization organized in 1963 and financed by the William Volker Fund. Its purpose was to initiate and encourage various scholarly endeavors in order to bring about "a revival of conservative principles in America". Couch was involved in the establishment of the Center and there is correspondence beginning in 1957 on in which the development of the concept can be traced. Although his primary responsibility while at the Center was the production of an Encyclopedia of Americana, Couch also had a hand in many other projects, including a Vital Issues Series of books and several bicentennial proposals. This series includes correspondence and memoranda dealing with all of these. Also of major concern were a controversy involving the association of the Center with two neo-Nazi writers, David Hoggan and R. J. Rushdoony, and negotiations with Stanford University, ultimately unsuccessful, for a merger of the Center with the Hoover Institute. The Center closed late in 1964.
Chiefly correspondence with friends and relatives although Couch continued to correspond with some of his professional associates and wrote numerous letters to editors of newspapers expressing his political views.
Family letters include news of his children and grandchildren. There is scattered correspondence detailing his relationships with his second and third wives, Caro Mae Green and Florence Stullman, and his relationship with Emily Maclachlan.
In his letters to his friends, he expressed his views on current situations in the United States such as his concerns over higher education and the civil rights movement in the South. Also included is general social correspondence.
Arrangement: alphabetically by title.
Articles, editorials, book reviews, and other writings by Couch, some of which were published. Also included is a manuscript version of his book, The Human Potential published by Duke University Press in 1974. Most entries consist of both the text (in typescript or printed form) and correspondence related to it. Some contain only one or the other as the folder list indicates.
This subseries does not include the two books Couch edited which were published by the UNC Press. For material on those, see the UNC Press Records, Subgroup 2, Director's Records, and Subgroup 4, Author/Title Publication Records.
Arrangement: alphabetical by author.
Chiefly typescripts of book length items written by Couch's friends and colleagues. Included are a few shorter articles by E. M. Adams, professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina; two book-length manuscripts written by Couch's sister, Janie Haltiwanger, one of which is about family history; a typed manuscript entitled True Deliverance, by Charles B. Wood, a fictional account of a murder trial; a book-length collection of essays by Crouch's son-in-law, G. Warren Nutter, a professor of economics and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1969 to 1973. Also included is a copy of part of The War Within, by Daniel Singal, which contained a chapter on Couch. Couch penciled in notes and comments.
This series contains three separate subject file runs.
The first two were established by Couch. The first run, subseries 8.1, dates primarily from after Couch's retirement. The second run, subseries 8.2, appears to have been compiled between 1950 and 1959 when Couch worked at Crowell-Collier.
The third subject file run, subseries 8.3, consists of miscellaneous subject files pulled together during processing.
Correspondence, notes, memos, brochures, writings, and financial material pertaining to all aspects of Couch's personal and professional life.
Files include correspondence with personal friends such as J. O. Bailey and A. N. J. Den Hollander, who discussed their disapproval of student activism in the 1970s. Henry Regnery wrote about putting together a festschrift on Eliseo Vivas. Couch wrote several angry letters to William F. Buckley because The National Review had refused to publish a letter from Couch replying to criticisms of him by Harry Jaffa. Russell Kirk wrote about many topics including Couch's experiences at the University of Chicago. There are also letters from E. M. Adams, Eliseo Vivas, and other friends.
A large group of files, which begin with the title "Book," are about the book Couch wrote entitled, The Human Potential, which was published by Duke University Press in 1974. Another large group of files deal with The War Within by Daniel Singal, which contained a chapter on Couch.
Also included is a file on agrarianism. Couch had been interested early in his career in equal distribution of land as a way of alleviating poverty in the South. This file contains copies of some of his writings, as well as correspondence on this issue.
Also included are files on members of Couch's family. These are filed under the headings "Couch" and "Nutter," the married name of his daughter. One of the major topics was the illness of his son-in-law, G. Warren Nutter. Nutter had offered to be a guinea pig in testing the effects of using marijuana to combat nausea from chemotherapy, and Couch wrote numerous letters to government officials trying to get approval for the project.
The bulk of this material dates from 1950 to 1959 when Couch worked at Crowell-Collier. It is chiefly correspondence between Couch and university professors, publishers, and editors. Among the correspondents are William F. Buckley, Kenneth Colgrove, David S. Collier, Russell Kirk, and Henry Regnery. Also included are a few files of correspondence with E.O. Fontain and John Ryan who worked at Crowell-Collier.
Couch often expressed his support for conservative viewpoints and his strong opposition to Communism. In letters to Henry E. Garrett and to J. J. Kilpatrick, Couch also expressed his support for segregation and his unhappiness with liberal propaganda.
Chiefly correspondence dealing with specific family matters. Included is correspondence between Couch and his brothers and sisters concerning two other brothers, Henry and Adrian Couch, who went insane at the beginning of the 1930s. Also included are letters relating to family disputes over ownership of property left by Couch's parents. Also included are letters between Couch and his second wife, Caro Mae Green Couch, chiefly during 1969 and 1970 when they divorced.
Three boxes of index cards containing quotations and other bits of information on ideas and concepts such as "habit," "knowledge," and "will." Most cards include the source of the quotation and are filed alphabetically by author of the work.
Processed by: John Inscoe, March 1982; Shonra Newman with assistance from Jenny Robbins, December 1990
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Revised by: Dawne Howard Lucas, July 2021Back to Top