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James Rorty papers

Identifier: Ax 769

Scope and Contents

Series I: Correspondence is separated into outgoing and incoming sections. Outgoing correspondence is organized by date (1915-1972). Incoming correspondence is organized alphabetically by name or title. Incoming letters include fan letters and congratulatory letters regarding Rorty's poetry.

There is another section of incoming correspondence from family members.

Series II: Journals and notebooks contain literary notebooks with prose and poetry drafts and ideas, and day journals (1919-1920s; 1960s).

Series III: Manuscript material is organized by type: Book Length; Plays; Article Length; Book Reviews; Voice of America Files; Poetry; Poetry Collections; and miscellaneous chapters, fragments, and pages. Material within each section is organized alphabetically by title.

Voice of America material was written during Rorty's employment with the Ideological Advisory Unit, from 1951-1953.

Series IV: Tearsheets and Clippings contains articles about Rorty, articles written by Rorty; and possibly tearsheets and articles gathered by Rorty. Material is arranged by title of work.

Series V: Miscellaneous Items includes manuscripts by others, press clippings, reviews of Rorty's books, photographs, biographical outlines, contracts, and other financial records.

Series VI: The Papers of Eva Beard includes correspondence, manuscripts, tearsheets and clippings, household notes, copyright records, and biographical information.

Series VII: The papers of Marion Bullard includes manuscripts, original sketches, clippings, press, address books, and photographs.

The collection also includes publications by Rorty, and by others.

Photographs have been removed from their original placement in the collection, and are stored separately for preservation reasons, under the call number PH123.

The collection also includes an accession of 2005: 05.034.M which includes correspondence and literary manuscripts.


  • 1915-1972


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

James Rorty (1890-1973) was born March 30, 1890, in Middletown, New York, the son of Octavia (Churchill) and Richard McKay Rorty. He was educated in Middletown schools and at Tufts College, where he received his Bachelor's in 1913. He did graduate work at New York University and The New School for Social Research.

During WWI he served as a stretcher bearer on the Argonne front, earning the Distinguished Service Cross, and shortly after returning from Europe he married Maria Ward Lambin. They were divorced in 1928, and he married Winifred Raushenbush, and together they had one son, Richard.

James Rorty's career as a journalist and poet spanned over sixty years. In the introductory chapter of his unpublished memoirs, he called himself "the last of the muckrakers," but enlarged on that image in a newspaper interview where he stated that his books against individual industries were only part of his overall work of combating social injustice in America. "My work has been all one book - prose, plays, and poetry - on American economy and culture," he is quoted as saying.

Rorty also worked as an editor, journalist, advertising copy writer, and consultant for the Tennessee Valley Authority.


10 linear feet (9 containers)

Language of Materials



James Rorty (1890-1973) was an American writer and poet who tackled subjects such as American industries, Joseph McCarthy, labor, medicine, nutrition, advertising, and Jim Crow. The collection (1915-1972) contains James Rorty's literary manuscripts, journals, correspondence, memoirs, and photographs as well as manuscripts and correspondence by Rorty's sisters, the writers Eva Beard and Marion Bullard.


Collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Correspondence Series II: Journals and Notebooks Series III: Manuscripts Series IV: Tearsheets and Clippings Series V: Miscellaneous Series VI: Papers of Eva Beard Series VII: Papers of Marion Bullard Series VIII: 2005 Accession Series IX: Photographs (PH123)

This collection may have received a basic level of processing including some organization and rehousing. The initial accession(s) were processed and arranged as a whole and are reflected in the series arrangement. Subsequent accession(s) for the collection have not been merged or organized as a whole. Each subsequent accession is described separately.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents. Folder titles are based on those created by the creators or previous custodians. Titles have not all been verified against the contents of the folders. In some cases, staff supplied folder titles during initial processing.

Other Finding Aids

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff in 1974; and Tanya Parlet, 2013.

Photographs processed by Megan Dazey.

Materials within this collection are arranged first by initial accession(s) that were processed together as a whole and then by subsequent accession(s). This organization reflects the fact that the collection had been processed at one point in time and then more materials were acquired in increments over time. This organization is also based on the decision not to merge the various accessions and organize them into a whole at this point in time, given the fact that future accruals are anticipated and/or that this organization is deemed sufficient for access.

Researchers should note that materials within a series or accession may overlap and/or relate to materials found in other accessions or initially processed materials. For example, correspondence may be found in all or only some groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers may need to consult each accession.

Researchers should also note that similar materials can be arranged differently in each accession, depending on how the material is organized upon receipt or during initial processing. For instance, correspondence is one accession may be arranged alphabetically, while correspondence in another accession is arranged chronologically.

Guide to the James Rorty Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA