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Economists' Papers Archive: Getting Started

Description and list of archival collections, also known as the Economists' Papers Project, related to economics in the Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

New Collections

Overview of the Collections

In the 1980s, with guidance from faculty in the Center for the History of Political Economy in the Economics Department, Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library initiated an ongoing program to preserve the papers of distinguished economists.  To date, the Library has received the papers of more than seventy significant economists, including twelve Nobel laureates.  These collections offer a valuable resource to researchers in the history of economic thought, and include papers in virtually every area of modern economics.

An annotated list of the collections in the Archive of Economic Thought is located here.

Duke’s collections contain a wealth of economic research materials, including resources on game theory, public policy, growth theory, and many other areas.  The sizes of the collections vary from very small collections of a few folders to hundreds of linear feet of material.  Each of the collections has distinctive research value. Some contain all professional correspondence as well as the notes, drafts, and manuscripts of major works. Others contain information on political involvement, records of professional involvement (e.g., editorial boards, conference participation, etc.), and personal biographical material.  Most of the collections are from economists working in America but include large aggregations of research material on areas worldwide. 

In addition to the papers of individual economists, the library also holds the records of several organizations and journals important for the history of economic thought.  Chief among them are the records of the American Economic Association, founded in 1885. This collection consists of more than 350 linear feet of materials and includes the records (correspondence and referee files, accepted articles, papers and proceedings) of the American Economic Review. The library is actively acquiring new collections as well as organizing and cataloging existing collections. 

For further information on the history of the collections, see the article “Archiving the History of Economics” by E. Roy Weintraub et al. in the Journal of Economic Literature 36.3 (September 1998), pp. 1496-1501 (link functional for Duke users only).  

Associate Curator of Collections

Sara Seten Berghausen
David M. Rubenstein Library
080K Rubenstein Library

Collections in the Economists' Papers Archive