SCUA

Copeland, Thomas W.

Thomas W. Copeland Papers, 1923-1979.

22 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 050
Thomas W. Copeland, 1940
Thomas W. Copeland, 1940

A scholar of eighteenth century British literature and culture, Thomas W. Copeland began what would become more than half a century of research on the statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke while studying for his doctorate at Yale (1933). After publication of his dissertation in 1949 as Our Eminent Friend Edmund Burke, Copeland was named managing editor of the ten-volume Correspondence (1958-1978). After academic appointments at Yale and the University of Chicago, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1957, remaining here until his retirement in 1976. A chair was established in his name in the Department of English.

The Copeland Papers are a rich collection of personal and professional correspondence, journals and writings from Copeland’s Yale years, manuscripts, typescripts, notes, and draft revisions of his works on Edmund Burke, and a journal chronicling Copeland’s four-year exercise in the daily practice of writing.

Background on Thomas W. Copeland

An eminent scholar of the political philosopher Edmund Burke, Thomas W. Copeland was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, on July 10, 1907, the youngest of two sons of the attorney Mark Anson Copeland and Louise Wellsted. Distinguishing himself during his undergraduate years at Yale (AB 1928), Copeland spent a year sidelined in study at Harvard Law School before returning to Yale to pursue a doctorate in English literature. It was during his third year in the program that he discovered Burke, who would become the subject of his dissertation, Burke and Dodsley’s Annual Register (1933), and the focus of his scholarly life for the next five decades.

In the Depression’s slim job market, Copeland took an Instructor’s appointment at Cornell, but he was called back the next year to his alma mater, serving as Instructor (1934-1940) and then Assistant Professor (1940-1949). During the Second World War, he was commissioned in the Navy reserves, retiring in 1945 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, moving to the University of Chicago in 1949.

The timing of the appearance of Copeland’s first monograph — a much-amplified version of his dissertation, Our Eminent Friend Edmund Burke (New Haven, 1949) — proved to be fortuitous. As his reputation rose as an authority on Burke, Eric Spencer Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, the ninth Earl Fitzwilliam, agreed to deposit the papers housed at the family’s Yorkshire estate, Wentworth Woodhouse, at the Sheffield Central Library, including the bulk of Burke’s correspondence. Copeland became a leader of a multi-national editorial team devoted to the massive collection, issuing the Checklist of the Correspondence of Edmund Burke in 1955 and the first of ten volumes of the Correspondence of Edmund Burke in 1958.

Devoted himself to his scholarship, Copeland split his time — and salary — evenly between Chicago and Sheffield for several years. He came to UMass in 1957 as part of a small wave of academic hires designed to strengthen the humanities, recommended by his close friend from graduate school days and faculty member at UMass, Maxwell Goldberg. He continued his practice of alternating years in Sheffield, and while in Amherst, he devoted about one third of his time to the editorial. Despite splitting his time, he became well known on campus for his wit and sharp memory, and he was often described with the words civilized, erudite, scholarly, and unpretentious. In 1961, in recognition of his scholarly distinction, he was selected to become one of the first faculty members to be designated Commonwealth Professor. Twice a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he was recognized with honorary doctorates from Burke’s alma mater, Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Sheffield.

Although Copeland formally retired in 1976, he continued in his scholarly pursuits and was completing an edition of the correspondence of Burke and Boswell when he died unexpectedly at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton on Jan. 28, 1979. He was commemorated with a named professorship, the Thomas W. Copeland Professor of English, which was filled by his friend and colleague Arthur Kinney.

Contents of Collection

Like most of his academic career, the Copeland Papers are centered on five decades of study of the eighteenth century statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke. Volumetrically, the largest portion of the collection is comprised of drafts of Copeland’s publications on Burke, but the collection includes significant correspondence relating to his editorial work and scholarly connections, as well as some amusing and occasionally fascinating letters and a journal written while an undergraduate at Yale.

The papers are organized into four series: Personal material, Correspondence, Professional records, and Writings.

Series descriptions
1923-1979
2 boxes

Biographical and bibliographical material, family correspondence, journals and writings while a student at Yale.

1946-1977
3 boxes

Correspondence with family members, primarily his brother Mark and sister Margaret; UMass faculty members; members of the “Burke factory” in Sheffield, England, where the multi-volume Correspondence of Edmund Burke was produced; and other colleagues and friends. Complete names for many correspondents are difficult to determine and a large proportion of the letters are undated.

Material on Copeland’s professional appointments at Yale and UMass, on scholarly organizations and activities in the U.S. and in England, and a journal (1973-1976) that was an exercise at keeping his hand in at writing.

1933-1984
15 boxes

Manuscripts, typescripts, voluminous notes and revisions, plans and funding, some correspondence, and lists of Edmund Burke materials (mostly at Sheffield Public Library in England). All are arranged in subseries under the titles of the various works about Edmund Burke. The titles are listed in chronological order beginning with Copeland’s dissertation on Burke in 1933 through Portrait of Burke which was to be published in 1987 from these papers, edited by Elizabeth Lambert. A grant application by Lambert contains background information, and descriptions of the editing task and of Copeland’s study of Burke scholarship. A letter from Valerie Jobling, Assistant at the “factory”, sheds light on the bulk of Burke project materials which were retained in England. A clipping from a Sheffield Library report indicates that all photocopies and microfilm used in the course of the project would be retained there.

Collection inventory
Series 1. Personal material
1923-1979
2 boxes
Guide
undated
Box 1: 1
Biography
1942-1979
Box 1: 2
Copeland Memorial
1979
Box 1: 3
Bibliography of Publications
ca.1963
Box 1: 4
Correspondence: letters to family while student at Yale
1926-1927
Box 1: 5
Journal while student at Yale
ca.1927
Box 1: 6
“Thomas Copeland, An Autobiography”
1923
Box 1: 7
School and college writings
ca.1923-1927
Box 1: 8-10
School and college papers
ca.1924-1927
Box 1: 11-13
“On Reading the Classics of Literature”
ca.1927
Box 1: 14
“Poe in Criticism”
ca.1927
Box 1: 15
“Swift and the Satiric View of Politics”
ca.1927
Box 1: 16
Untitled writings, notes
ca.1927
Box 1: 17
Cards — quotations and notes (probably while student at Yale)
undated
Box 2:
Series 2. Correspondence
1946-1977
3 boxes
Family
undated
Box 3: 18
Brogan, Howard
undated
Box 3: 19
Brooke, John (Jack)
undated
Box 3: 20
A-B
undated
Box 3: 21
Case, Grace
undated
Box 3: 22
Chapman, Gerald
undated
Box 3: 23
Commager, Felix and Evan
undated
Box 3: 24
C-F
undated
Box 3: 25
Goldberg, Maxwell H.
undated
Box 3: 26
G
undated
Box 3: 27
Hofer, Ernest H.
undated
Box 4: 28
Jobling, Valerie
undated
Box 4: 29
H-L
undated
Box 4: 30
Marshall, Peter J.
undated
Box 4: 31
McLoughlin, Timothy O.
undated
Box 4: 32
Osborn Collection
undated
Box 4: 33
M-O
undated
Box 4: 34
P-R
undated
Box 4: 35
Smith, Milton S.
1946-1955
Box 5: 36-37
Smith, Robert A.
1949-1967
Box 5: 38
Sutherland, Dame Lucy
1955-1977
Box 5: 39
Woods, John A.
undated
Box 5: 40
Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell
undated
Box 5: 41
S-Z
undated
Box 5: 42
Unidentified
undated
Box 5: 43
Miscellaneous
undated
Box 5: 44
Series 3. Professional material
1948-1979
2 boxes
Conference on British Studies
1966-1978
Box 6: 45
Correspondence re professional positions (from folders labeled “Mein Kampf”)
1948-1960
Box 6: 46
Historical societies — England
undated
Box 6: 47
Invitations
undated
Box 6: 48
Journal, Crisis of 1974 (from folders labeled “Mein Kampf”)
1973-1976
Box 6: 49
National Endowment for the Humanities, Editing Panelist
1976
Box 6: 50
Organizations: Charity and politics
undated
Box 6: 51
Scholarly
undated
Box 6: 52
Oxford
undated
Box 6: 53
Misc.
undated
Box 6: 54
Trinity College, Dublin
undated
Box 6: 55
UMass Faculty Reports and Applications for Leave
1968-1975
Box 7: 56
UMass Position
1957-1976
Box 7: 57
UMass Teaching
undated
Box 7: 58
Yale
1966-1979
Box 7: 59
Yale Class of 1928, 50th Anniversary
undated
Box 7: 60
Yale Teaching (from folders labeled “Mein Kampf”)
undated
Box 7: 61
Series 4. Writings
1933-1984
15 boxes
Edmund Burke’s Authorship of the Book Review in the Annual Register for the Years 1758-1770 Dissertation
1933
Preface and Introduction
1933
Box 8: 62
Three binders of notes and lists, Catalogue of Burke’s Library (see also folder 98)
1933
Box 8: 63
Manuscript
1933
Box 9: 64-68
Burke’s First Ten Years
1933
Box 9: 69
Burke and English
1933
Box 9: 70
Notes, typescripts, correspondence
1933
Box 9: 71
Books and authors lists
1933
Box 9: 72
By year (1758-1770) and by subject
1933
Box 9: 73
Introduction and reviews
1933
Box 9: 74
Our Eminent Friend Edmund Burke
1949-1950
Typescript
1949-1950
Box 10: 75-80
Yale University Press
1949-1950
Box 10: 81
Publication: Jonathan Cope
1949-1950
Box 10: 82
Reviews
1949-1950
Box 10: 83
Paine and Jefferson letters
1949-1950
Box 10: 84
Misc.
1949-1950
Box 10: 85
Checklist of the Correspondence of Edmund Burke
1955
Bound volume, annotated
1955
Box 11: 86
Correspondence
1955
Box 11: 87
Correspondence of Edmund Burke
1958-1976
Planning
undated
Box 12: 88
Style, book and notes
undated
Box 12: 89
“Additional letters”
undated
Box 12: 90
“New letters”
undated
Box 12: 91
Burke family letters
undated
Box 12: 92
Revised Checklist of the Correspondence of Edmund Burke
undated
Box 12: 93
Index: Barbara Lowe
1969-1977
Box 12: 94
Errata and Addenda
undated
Box 12: 95
Misc.
undated
Box 12: 96
History of the Project
1963-1974
Box 12: 97
Catalogue of the Library of Edmund Burke (see also folder 63)
undated
Box 13: 98
Sheffield Library
1949-1955
Box 13: 99
Sheffield Library: Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments
undated
Box 13: 100
Calendars and Lists of Holdings at Sheffield, Northampton, and other libraries
undated
Box 13: 101
Smith, Robert A., “Burke’s Use of History”
1952
Box 13: 102
Athlone Press
1952
Box 13: 103
Reviews and news releases
undated
Box 13: 104
Queries from scholars, publishers
1967-1977
Box 13: 105
Rockefeller Foundation
1952-1953
Box 13: 106
Carnegie Account
1956-1958
Box 13: 107
Carnegie Account
1970-1976
Box 13: 108
Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke
1970-1984
Advisers and editors
undated
Box 14: 109
Consultant: William B. Todd, Correspondence
1973-1978
Box 14: 110
Correspondence
undated
Box 14: 111
Editor: J. T. Boulton, Correspondence
1970-1978
Box 14: 112
Editor: D. C. Bryant, Correspondence
1974-1978
Box 14: 113
Editor: Paul Langford, Correspondence
1971-1979
Box 14: 114-115
Parliamentary speeches
undated
Box 15: 116
Paul Langford, Editor
undated
Box 15: 117
Planning
undated
Box 15: 118
Development
undated
Box 15: 119
Financing
undated
Box 15: 120
Publishing
undated
Box 15: 121
Portrait of Burke
ca.1987?
Elizabeth Lambert, Editor
undated
Box 16: 122
Typescript with notes and revisions
undated
Box 16:
Introduction
undated
Box 16: 123
Abdiel
undated
Box 16: 124
Aristocracy
undated
Box 16: 125
Attachment
undated
Box 16: 126
In Serried Ranks
undated
Box 16: 127
A Guardian Watch
undated
Box 16: 128
So Spake the Fervent Angel
undated
Box 16: 129
Reflections
undated
Box 16: 130
Among the Faithless
undated
Box 16: 131
Revolution
undated
Box 16: 132
Tragedy
undated
Box 16: 133
Criticism/Epilogue
undated
Box 16: 134
Plan of project
undated
Box 17: 135
Project notes, criticism
undated
Box 17: 136
First draft
undated
Box 17:
Introduction, An Age of Portraits
undated
Box 17: 137
A Portrait of Burke
undated
Box 17: 138
Abdiel
undated
Box 17: 139
Aristocracy
undated
Box 17: 140
Attachment
undated
Box 17: 141
In Serried Ranks
undated
Box 17: 142
A Guardian Watch
undated
Box 17: 143
So Spake the Fervent Angel
undated
Box 17: 144
Reflections
undated
Box 17: 145
Among the Faithless
undated
Box 17: 146
Sedition in Heaven
undated
Box 17: 147
Revolution
undated
Box 17: 148
Tragedy
undated
Box 17: 149
First draft II — Fragment
undated
Box 17: 150
Complete Typescript
undated
Box 18:
Introduction-Aristocracy
undated
Box 18: 151
Attachment-Tragedy
undated
Box 18: 152
Partial Typescript
undated
Box 18:
Preface, Portraiture, Abdiel, Aristocracy
undated
Box 18: 153
Introduction, An Age of Portraiture, A Portrait of Burke, Abdiel, Aristocracy
undated
Box 18: 154
Abdiel
undated
Box 18: 155
Aristocracy
undated
Box 18: 156
Attachment
undated
Box 18: 157
Fragment
undated
Box 18: 158
Note card file
undated
Box 19:
Copeland writings and lectures
undated
“Boswell’s Portrait of Burke” from the Age of Johnson
undated
Box 20: 159
“Burke on Taste”
undated
Box 20: 160
Dissertation on Burke
undated
Box 20: 161
Festschrift for James M. Osborn, Yale
undated
Box 20: 162
Lectures various places
1954-1978
Box 20: 163
Lecture, Univ. of Bonn
1955
Box 20: 164
Paper, American Historical Association
undated
Box 20: 165
Published articles, reviews
undated
Box 20: 166
The Scholarly Factories, Lecture
undated
Box 20: 167
Paper, Conference on British Studies
1965
Box 20: 168
Miscellaneous
undated
Essays from an envelope marked “Margaret’
undated
Box 21: 169
William Burke (213 p. book) poetry, essays, etc.
undated
Box 21: 170
“Unsorted reading notes”
undated
Box 21: 171
“Burke – miscellaneous”
undated
Box 21: 172
Photocopies of unidentified handwritten material
undated
Box 21: 173
Burke and the Academic Ideal
undated
Box 21: 174
Original manuscripts, brittle paper (copied)
undated
Edmund Burke’s Authorship of the Book Reviews in the Annual Register for the Years 1758-1770
undated
Box 22: 175-178
Our Eminent Friend Edmund Burke — typescript
undated
Box 22: 179-184
Paine and Jefferson letters
undated
Box 22: 185
“Unsorted reading notes”
undated
Box 22: 186
Administrative information
Provenance

Acquired from Mrs. Chads O. Skinner, 1981.

Processing Information

Processed by Virginia Conrad, 1987.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Thomas W. Copeland Papers (FS 050). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Subjects

  • Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Contributors

  • Golden, Morris
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