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Collection Number: 04470

Collection Title: William A. McKnight Papers, 1949-2000

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.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 900 items)
Abstract William A. McKnight (1911-1986), professor, 1936-1978, in the Department of Romance Languages, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was active in promoting the study of contemporary Spanish literature. The collection includes correspondence, notes, photographs, and other materials chiefly relating to McKnight's work with contemporary Spanish authors. Correspondence, some in Spanish, is largely with and about contemporary Spanish authors and booksellers, including Antonio Buero Vallejo (1916-2000), Alejandro Casona (1903-1965), and Francisco Garcia Pavon (1919-). There is also some material relating to McKnight's work as assistant editor for Spanish of the Modern Language Journal and his role in Spanish literature collection development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Several bibliographical lists of Spanish literature are included.
Creator McKnight, William A. (William Albert), 1911-1986.
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 William A. McKnight Papers #4470, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Transferred from the Department of Romance Languages, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with permission of heirs, in November 1986. Received from Norva M. Bounds of Cedar Point, N.C., in March 2003 (Acc. 99451).
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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William A. McKnight served on the faculty of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1936 to 1978 and was active in promoting the study of contemporary Spanish literature.

Born in Shelby, N.C., McKnight grew up in Denver, N.C., and was a 1932 graduate of Davidson College. He received his M.A. in 1937, and Ph.D. in 1951, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

During his tenure in Chapel Hill, McKnight played a significant part in the development of the University's holdings in Spanish literature, particularly the Spanish Drama Collection. He was also instrumental in the University's acquisition of the Wyatt Andrew Pickens Collection of Foreign Language Books.

He also served as chair of the Contemporary Spanish Literature Section of the Modern Language Association (MLA); assistant editor for Spanish of the Modern Language Journal; and chair of the MLA's Spanish Bibliography Committee, which began publishing the Bibliography of Contemporary Spanish Literature in 1953. He was also a Peace Corps teacher and advisor.

McKnight received the Tanner Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1963. In 1978, a permanent endowment fund was established in his name at the Ravenscroft School in Raleigh to provide financial assistance to students and teachers in the school's foreign language program.

McKnight died on 11 June 1986.

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The collection includes correspondence, notes, photographs, and other materials chiefly relating to the work with contemporary Spanish authors of William A. McKnight, professor of romance languages at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Correspondence, some in Spanish, is largely with and about contemporary Spanish authors and booksellers, including Antonio Buero Vallejo (1916-2000), Alejandro Casona (1903-1965), and Francisco Garcia Pavon (1919- ). There is also some material relating to McKnight's work as assistant editor for Spanish of the Modern Language Journal and his role in Spanish literature collection development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Several bibliographical lists of Spanish literature are included. Materials are in subject files created and titled by McKnight.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1949-2000.

About 900 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical.

Folder 1-3

Folder 1

Folder 2

Folder 3

Barbazan, Julian, 1949-1985 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 1-3

Correspondence, chiefly in Spanish, between McKnight and Julian Barbazan, a bookseller in Madrid, Spain. About 150 items.

Folder 4-10

Folder 4

Folder 5

Folder 6

Folder 7

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

Buero Vallejo, Antonio, 1964-2000 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 4-10

Correspondence, chiefly in Spanish, between McKnight and Spanish playwright Antonio Buero Vallejo; his wife, Victoria Rodriguez de Buero, an actress; their sons, Carlos and Enrique; and others. Much of the material, including a few photographs, relates to Buero's two visits to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1966 and 1970. After McKnight's death in 1986, his daughter Norva continued to correspond with the Buero family until 2000. About 250 items.

Folder 11

Casona, Alejandro, 1975-1976 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 11

Correspondence and notes relating to efforts by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to purchase the papers of Spanish dramatist Alejandro Casona (1903-1965). About 20 items.

Folder 12

Coleccion Teatro, 1961 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 12

Correspondence, lists of titles, and notes relating to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's purchase of Coleccion Teatro's series of Spanish plays. About 30 items.

Folder 13

Garcia Pavon, Francisco, 1970-1983 #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 13

Correspondence, chiefly in Spanish, between McKnight and Francisco Garcia Pavon, Spanish humorist and essayist, discussing contemporary Spanish literature and personal matters. About 35 items.

Folder 14-17

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Modern Language Journal, 1962-1972 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 14-17

Correspondence and notes chiefly relating to McKnight's work as assistant editor for Spanish. Most correspondence is between McKnight and Robert F. Roeming, managing editor. Included is material relating to the controversy over transferring the MLJ from the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations, Inc., to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. About 300 items.

Folder 18

O'Connor, Patricia W., 1972-1979 #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 18

Correspondence with Patricia W. O'Connor of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Cincinnati. Included is O'Connor's paper on censorship in Spain, presented at the Modern Language Association's meeting in 1972. 3 items.

Folder 19

Pickens Collection, 1981-1985 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 19

Correspondence and notes related to the Wyatt Andrew Pickens Collection of Foreign Language Books, donated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Elizabeth Long Thompson in 1983. McKnight was instrumental in facilitating the donation. About 30 items.

Folder 20

"A Play by Any Name," undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 20

Typescript of essay by McKnight on the originality of the titles of Spanish dramas. 1 item.

Folder 21

Zalamea de la Serena, 1964-1968 and undated #04470, Series: "Papers, 1949-2000." Folder 21

Correspondence and notes relating to Zalamea de la Serena, Spain. In 1964, Sturgis E. Leavitt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was named "alcalde honorario" (honorary mayor) of the town in recognition of his work on resurrecting Calderon de la Barca's El Alcalde de Zalamea. In 1965, McKnight was awarded the same honor for his work with Leavitt. About 50 items.

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Photographs P-4470/1-7.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Nick Robinson, Lynn Holdzkom, Nancy Kaiser, 1986, 1987, 2004

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, September 2004

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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