Duke acquires John Hope Franklin papers

Posted September 13, 2012 12:40 p.m. EDT

— Duke University announced Thursday that it has acquired more than 300 boxes of papers and other materials belonging to late historian and Duke professor John Hope Franklin.

Franklin is widely credited with transforming the study of American history through his scholarship, while helping to transform American society through his activism. He is best known for his groundbreaking 1947 book “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans” and for his leadership of then-President Bill Clinton’s 1997 National Advisory Board on Race.

Franklin died three years ago.

Franklin donated a small collection of his personal papers to Duke in 2003. The latest addition, donated by Franklin’s son and daughter-in-law, completes the archive, officials said.

“John Hope Franklin always wanted his papers to have an academic home where they would get into the hands of students and scholars quickly,” his son, John Whittington Franklin, said in a statement. “He wanted to make sure that they would be used. We found such a home for his papers in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Duke Libraries, with a dedicated staff to care for the collection.”

The donation of papers includes diaries, correspondence, manuscripts of writings and speeches, awards and honors, extensive research files, photographs and video recordings. The collection also includes materials that trace the Franklin family’s personal history, including its long involvement with the civil rights struggle in Tulsa, Okla.

“The John Hope Franklin papers are an important resource for anyone interested in African-American history, U.S. history in general or the life of a great historian,” Deborah Jakubs, vice provost for library affairs at Duke, said in a statement. “John Hope Franklin was the epitome of the public intellectual – deeply engaged with the issues of his time and yet personally down-to-earth. We are grateful to the Franklin family for placing his papers here at Duke, his intellectual home for so long.”