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Collection Number: 01967

Collection Title: Sturgis E. Leavitt Papers, 1911-1966

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 325 items)
Abstract Sturgis Elleno Leavitt (1888-1976) was born in Newhall, Me. In 1914, he bagan his teaching career at the University of North Carolina, advancing through the ranks to Kenan Professor of Spanish and retiring in 1960. He was a widely recognized expert in Spanish literature and wrote and spoke extensively on the teaching of Spanish and on Pan-American international relations. Materials relating to Leavitt's career, includin.fffg a small amount of general correspondence, 1923 1960s, chiefly relating to awards Leavitt had received or to trips he had taken or was about to take. Only a few more substantive letters dealing with Spanish language or literature are included. There are also lengthy letters, 1911-1960s, that Leavitt wrote during his travels. These letters document travels in Europe, Latin and South America, and around the U.S. Also included are a few speeches, essays, and reports written by Leavitt, chiefly on the study and teaching of Spanish literature, biographical materials, clippings, materials relating to his 1952 trip to the west coast of South America for the U.S. State Department's Educational Exchange Program, materials from the centenary celebrations Leavitt attended of Cuban patriot Jose Marti in 1953 and Chilean scholar Jose Toribio Medina in 1952, and items relating to Leavitt's being named mayor for life of Zalamea de la Serena, Spain, in 1959. There are also a few photographs of Leavitt at various stages of his career.
Creator Leavitt, Sturgis E. (Sturgis Elleno), b. 1888.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Sturgis E. Leavitt papers, #1967, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Gifts of Stugis E. Leavitt in the 1960s and 1970s and from Catherine McKnight of Chapel Hill, N.C., in January 1988.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Sturgis Elleno Leavitt was born in Newhall, Me., in 1888. He received his A.B. degree from Bowdoin College in 1908 and his M.A. in 1913 and Ph.D. in 1917, both from Harvard University. Also in 1917, he began his teaching career at the University of North Carolina, advancing through the ranks to Kenan Professor of Spanish and retiring in 1960. In 1941, he was named director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at UNC, and, in 1947, he help found the Southern Humanities Conference, which included fifteen societies focused on Latin American interests.

Leavitt was a widely recognized expert in Spanish literature and wrote and spoke extensively on the teaching of Spanish and on Pan-American international relations. He also authored many Spanish textbooks and compiled numerous bibliographies of Spanish literature. He also served as editor of the South-Atlantic Bulletin, the Revista Iberoamericana, and as associate editor of the Hispanic Review. He was a member of the board of trustees of the American Council of Learned Societies from 1946 to 1950 and chair of the Southern Humanities Conference from 1948 to 1951. He also served twice as president of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and once as president of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.

Leavitt traveled extensively, especially in Spain and Latin America. In 1953, he visited the west coast of South America lecturing at cultural centers and universities under the auspices of the U.S. State Department.

Throughout his long career, Leavitt received numerous honors, including honorary degrees from Davidson College and Bowdoin College. In 1959, he was made honorary mayor for life of Zalamea de la Serena, Spain. In 1961, he received a National Foreign Language Award from the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. In 1972, he was selected as one of the top ten scholars of Spanish in the U.S., and, in 1974, was elected to the Mexican Academy and as one of the first members of the Academy of Spanish Literature.

Leavitt was a member of the Mayflower Society and married to Alga Leavitt (d. 1964), who coached Thomas Wolfe when he acted with the Carolina Playmakers in the 1919 season.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes a small amount of general correspondence, 1923-1960s, chiefly relating to awards Leavitt had received or to trips he had taken or was about to take. Only a few more substantive letters dealing with Spanish language or literature are included. There are also lengthy letters, 1911-1960s, that Leavitt wrote during his travels. These letters document travels in Europe, South America, and around the United States. Also included are a few speeches, essays, and reports written by Leavitt, chiefly on the study and teaching of Spanish literature, biographical materials, clippings, materials relating to his 1952 trip to the west coast of South America for the U.S. State

Department's Educational Exchange Program, materials from the centenary celebrations Leavitt attended of Cuban patriot Jose Marti in 1953 and Chilean scholar Jose Toribio Medina in 1952, and items relating to Leavitt's being named mayor for life of Zalamea de la Serena, Spain, in 1959. There are also a few photographs of Leavitt at various stages of his career.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence. 1911-1960s.

About 210 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. General Correspondence, 1923-1960s.

About 80 items.

Arrangement: chronological by decade.

Letters chiefly relating to awards Leavitt had received or to trips he had taken or was about to take. Only a few more substantive letters dealing with Spanish language or literature are included.

Folder 1

1923-1939 #01967, Subseries: "1.1. General Correspondence, 1923-1960s." Folder 1

Folder 2

1940s #01967, Subseries: "1.1. General Correspondence, 1923-1960s." Folder 2

Folder 3

1950s #01967, Subseries: "1.1. General Correspondence, 1923-1960s." Folder 3

Folder 4

1960s #01967, Subseries: "1.1. General Correspondence, 1923-1960s." Folder 4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s.

About 130 items.

Arrangement: roughly chronological.

Chiefly lengthy letters that Leavitt wrote during his travels. These letters document travels in Europe, Latin and South America, and around the United States, and contain Leavitt's observations on what he saw and did. Some of these letters were addressed to specific persons (early ones often to Leavitt's mother), but many were meant to be circulated among friends and family and ultimately returned to Leavitt.

Folder 5

1911, Europe #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 5

Folder 6

1919, South America #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 6

Folder 7

1920, South America #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 7

Folder 8

1929, Spain #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 8

Folder 9

1930s, Mexico #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 9

Folder 10

1940s, Mexico #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 10

Folder 11

1950s, South America (excluding State Department trip and centenaries) #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 11

Folder 12

1950s, eastern U.S. #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 12

Folder 13

1960s, eastern U.S. #01967, Subseries: "1.2. Travel Letters, 1911-1960s." Folder 13

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings, 1950-1960s.

About 15 items.

Short writings by Leavitt, including typed copies of speeches on various subjects, most having to do with the study and teaching of Spanish literature; a printed letter to the editor of the Chapel Hill Weekly on university teaching; and a printed copy of Leavitt's essay called "Strip-Tease in Golden Age Drama" (1966).

Folder 14

Writings #01967, Series: "2. Writings, 1950-1960s." Folder 14

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Items 1930-1960s.

About 100 items.

Biographical materials, clippings, materials relating to Leavitt's 1952 trip to the west coast of South America for the U.S. State Department's Educational Exchange Program, materials from the centenary celebrations Leavitt attended of Cuban patriot Jose Marti in 1953 and Chilean scholar Jose Toribio Medina in 1952, and items relating to Leavitt's being named mayor for life of Zalamea de la Serena, Spain, in 1959. There are also a few photographs of Leavitt at various stages of his career.

Folder 15

Biographical materials, including award citations and copies of programs from conferences Leavitt attended. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." Folder 15

Folder 16

Clippings, 1940s-1960s, chiefly documenting Leavitt's activities. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." Folder 16

Folder 17

Educational Exchange Program Trip, 1952, consisting of materials relating to Leavitt's trip to the west coast of South America under U.S. State Department sponsorship. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." Folder 17

Folder 18

Honorary mayor of Zalamea de la Serena, Spain, 1959, including background material on how Leavitt became mayor. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." Folder 18

Folder 19

Centenary of Jose Marti, 1953, Havana, Cuba, consisting of materials about the conference in which Leavitt participated. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." Folder 19

Folder 20

Centenary of Jose Toribio Medina, 1952, Santiago, Chile, consisting of materials about the conference in which Leavitt participated. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." Folder 20

Image P-1967/1-7

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P-1967/6

P-1967/7

Photographs, 1940s-1960s, of Leavitt alone or with colleagues, largely unidentified. #01967, Series: "3. Other Items 1930-1960s." P-1967/1-7

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, July 1992

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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