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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.|
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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).Back to Top
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.Back to Top
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.
Notes and draft and published versions of essays, lectures, speeches, and book chapters. There are multiple drafts of a few of the essays.
Published and unpublished essays by colleagues of Rupert Vance.
Awards, clippings, financial records, items relating to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Institute for Research in Social Science, copies of Vance's resume and other biographical materials, and miscellaneous items.
Processed by: Chueck Israel, February 1989
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top