In the 1980s, with guidance from faculty 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 papers of more than fifty significant economists have been donated to the library. These collections offer a valuable resource to researchers in the history of economic thought, particularly those interested in twentieth-century economic thought.
An annotated list of the collections in the Economists' Papers Project is located here.
Duke’s collections contain a wealth of research material on virtually every area of 20th century economic thought. 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.
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).
Economics at Duke
History of Economic Thought Organizations and Resources