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Collection Number: 04014

Collection Title: Rupert Bayless Vance Papers, 1926-1975

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.

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Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 750 items)
Abstract Rupert B. Vance (1899-1975), Kenan professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was associated with the Institute for Research in Social Science at the University from the 1920s to the 1970s. He was a leading sociologist of the American South and actively encouraged social, political, and economic changes in the region. Correspondence, mostly scattered, of Vance, about fifty drafts and other versions of writings by Vance, and miscellaneous other items. Correspondence, chiefly from the 1950s, deals largely with Vance's projects involving economic and social conditions in the South and with his administrative duties. There also are a letter, 1935, from poet Donald Davidson (1893-1968); letters, 1933, 1949, 1954, from C. Vann Woodward (1908- ); and letters, various dates, from Howard W. Odum. Letters from the 1930s discuss the status of sociology at the University of North Carolina.
Creator Vance, Rupert Bayless, 1899-
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Restricted. May be read for information only. Permission to cite, copy, or publish must be requested from Victor Stuart Vance of Chapel Hill.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Rupert Bayless Vance papers #4014, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the North Carolina Collection, UNC-CH Library, in 1971, and from Rheba U. Vance of Chapel Hill in February 1977 and February 1990.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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Processed by: Chueck Israel, February 1989

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Rupert Bayless Vance was born in 1899 in Plummerville, Arkansas. He received a masters degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, then, in 1926, joined the faculty of the Sociology Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He remained at Chapel Hill for forty years, playing a leading role in the introduction of the sociological study of the South.

Vance was a prolific writer, publishing seven books and hundreds of articles. Through his writings, teaching, and public appearances, he made it clear that he was not only interested in the analysis of social problems. Following the lead of his mentor Howard W. Odum, Vance often went beyond analysis, daring to suggest solutions and urging the South to embrace economic, political, and social progress. Vance's approaches to his work evolved along with the discipline of sociology, and, in the 1950s and 1960s, he concentrated on new statistical methods and demography.

Vance's interests and activities ranged beyond sociology. He served, for example, on the governing board of the University of North Carolina Press and was active in community work. Rupert Vance died on 25 August 1975.

For additional information see sketches of Vance by Edgar T. Thompson in The Encyclopedia of Southern History and by Elizabeth McGehee in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (1989).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

These papers chiefly relate to Rupert Vance's career as a sociologist. The extent of the collection is disappointing. According to his wife, this is partly explained by the fact that Vance routinely discarded incoming correspondence Some incoming correspondence survives, however, especially from the early and later years, and there is enough material to give a sense of the range of Vance's professional interests.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1932-1975 and undated.

About 575 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Carbon copies of outgoing correspondence and original incoming letters, with almost half of the series dating from the 1950s. The letters are to and from colleagues around the country and relate to many of Vance's professional interests. Although somewhat scattered, much of this correspondence is fairly substantive in nature. Early correspondence largely centers on Vance's efforts to gather information for his various works in progress. While substantive correspondence never completely disappears, beginning in the early 1950s, a higher percentage of letters dealing with administrative matters (recommendations for students and colleagues, arranging of conferences, etc.) is present.

Of particular interest are letters to and from historian C. Vann Woodward (November 1933, September 1949, September 1954) and from poet Donald Davidson (27 February 1935). In February and May 1937, there are letters from Howard Odum, including one on 14 May 1937 in which Odum outlined why he thought Vance should stay at the University of North Carolina rather than accept a teaching/research position at from Louisiana State University. Letters about sociology at UNC are especially prominent around 1937, when Vance, as chair of the Committee on the Status of the Social Sciences in the Liberal Arts Program, solicited views from his colleagues on the position of the social sciences at UNC. There is also considerable correspondence between Vance and the UNC Press, for which he reviewed many manuscripts in the 1950s.

Folder 1


Folder 2


Folder 3


Folder 4


Folder 5


Folder 6


Folder 7


Folder 8


Folder 9

January 1949

Folder 10

February 1949

Folder 11

March 1949

Folder 12

April-December, 1949

Folder 13

January-May 1950

Folder 14

June-September 1950

Folder 15

October-December 1950

Folder 16

January 1951

Folder 17

February 1951

Folder 18

March 1951

Folder 19

April-June 1951

Folder 20

July-October 1951

Folder 21

April-September 1952

Folder 22

October-December 1952

Folder 23

January-March 1953

Folder 24

April-September 1953

Folder 25

October-December 1953

Folder 26

January-March 1954

Folder 27

April-June 1954

Folder 28

July-December 1954

Folder 29

January-March 1955

Folder 30

April-June 1955

Folder 31

July-December 1955

Folder 32

January-June 1956

Folder 33

July-December 1956

Folder 34

January-March 1957

Folder 35

April-June 1957

Folder 36

September-December 1957

Folder 37

January-March 1958

Folder 38

April-May 1958

Folder 39

June 1958

Folder 40

July-December 1958

Folder 41


Folder 42


Folder 43


Folder 44


Folder 45

January-March 1964

Folder 46

April-June 1964

Folder 47

July-December 1964

Folder 48

January-March 1965

Folder 49

April-December 1965

Folder 50

January-August 1966

Folder 51

October-December 1966

Folder 52


Folder 53


Folder 54


Folder 55


Folder 56


Folder 57


Folder 58


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings by Vance, 1926-1972.

About 50 items.

Notes and draft and published versions of essays, lectures, speeches, and book chapters. There are multiple drafts of a few of the essays.

Folder 59

Handwritten and Typed Versions Book reviews

Folder 60-63

Folder 60

Folder 61

Folder 62

Folder 63

Handwritten and Typed Versions Essays

Folder 64

Handwritten and Typed Versions "Population and Its Problems"

Folder 65-66

Folder 65

Folder 66

Handwritten and Typed Versions Lectures and speeches

Folder 67

Handwritten and Typed Versions Miscellaneous book chapters

Folder 68-70

Folder 68

Folder 69

Folder 70

Handwritten and Typed Versions Miscellaneous notes

Folder 69

Handwritten and Typed Versions Miscellaneous writings

Folder 71-74

Folder 71

Folder 72

Folder 73

Folder 74

Handwritten and Typed Versions The Urban South: A Symposium

Folder 75-76

Folder 75

Folder 76

Other writings

Folder 77

Published Versions Book reviews

Folder 78

Published Versions Essays

Folder 79

Published Versions The Negro Agricultural Worker under Federal Rehabilitation Program

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Writings by Others, circa 1935-1970.

About 25 items.

Published and unpublished essays by colleagues of Rupert Vance.

Folder 80-83

Folder 80

Folder 81

Folder 82

Folder 83

Appalachian Studies

Folder 84


Folder 85-86

Folder 85

Folder 86

Odum, Howard W.

Folder 87

P-Z and unascribed

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Papers, circa 1928-1968.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Pictures, Undated.

4 items.
Image P-4014/1-2



Portraits of Rupert Bayless Vance

Image P-4014/3-4



Rupert Bayless Vance and colleagues

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