This collection contains correspondence and other papers of Frederick Jackson Turner, a historian who worked at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University in the early twentieth century, specializing in the American frontier and the Midwest. The collection includes originals and carbon copies of correspondence, notes, and publications.
Frederick Jackson Turner was born in Portage, Wisconsin, in 1861. He was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins University, where he studied American history, completing a thesis on the Wisconsin fur trade. He was well-known for his "frontier thesis," which suggested that the United States' success and unique identity was formed due to the United States' westward expansion. He taught American history at the University of Wisconsin until 1910, when he moved to Harvard University. He was also an early leader of the American Historical Association, and served as the Association's president in 1910. Turner retired from Harvard in 1924 and moved to take a position at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, where he died in 1932.
The collection primarily consists of twenty-three handwritten and typed letters from Frederick Jackson Turner to Clarence W. Alvord, a professor of history at the University of Illinois (1901-1920) and head of the Illinois Historical Survey (1911-1920). It also includes carbon copies of eight letters from Alvord to Turner. In the correspondence, dating from 1908 to 1916, Turner and Alvord discussed their work and research and their involvement in the American Historical Association. Other materials in the collection include two letters from Turner to William S. Robertson, a professor of history at the University of Illinois; a typed list of publications on Western history with Turner's handwritten notes; an article from the Harvard Bulletin on Turner's move to Harvard; and an offprint of Turner's article "Is Sectionalism in America Dying Away?", published in the American Journal of Sociology in March 1908.
The collection was created in the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, prior to 1956. The letters between Frederick Jackson Turner and Clarence Alvord, as well as the Harvard Bulletin and American Journal of Sociology articles, were added to this collection between 1956 and 1976.