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White (Hayden V.) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biography
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Content Description
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Additional Collection Guides

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: Hayden V. White Papers
    source: Brose, Margaret
    Creator: White, Hayden V., 1928-2018
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.323
    Physical Description: 27.18 Linear Feet (21 boxes)
    Physical Description: 40.7 GB (34,270 digital files)
    Date (inclusive): 1950-2017
    Language of Material: English, Italian, German, French

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection open for research. Digital files are available in the UCSC Special Collections and Archives reading room. Some audiovisual materials and some digital files may require reformatting before they can be accessed. Technical limitations may hinder the Library's ability to provide access to some digital files. Access to digital files on original carriers is prohibited; users must request to view access copies. Contact Special Collections and Archives in advance to request access to digital and audiovisual files.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Margaret Brose, 2019.


    This collection is arranged in seven series:
    • Series 1: Research Files
    • Series 2: Correspondence
    • Series 3: Writings and Publications
    • Series 4: Talks, Speeches, and Conferences
    • Series 5: Teaching Files
    • Series 6: Awards, Degrees, and Photographs
    • Series 7: Digital Files
    Materials within each series are arranged chronologically unless otherwise specified.


    Hayden V. White (1928-2018) was a literary critic and historical theorist. During his academic career, White made contributions to the study of narrative theory, historiography, and hermeneutics. A central thread of White's research throughout his career was questioning how historical events are constructed through writing and discourse. As a teacher and researcher, White held the distinguished title of University Professor in the University of California system, where he spent most of his career at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also taught at the University of Rochester, Wesleyan University, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley, and Stanford University.
    White was born July 12, 1928 in Martin, Tennessee. His family moved to Detroit in the early 1930s, during the Great Depression. Near the end of World War II, White enlisted in the Navy and served as a pilot. He then attended Wayne State University (then Wayne University) on the GI Bill, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1951 before pursuing graduate studies in the same subject at the University of Michigan and earning an M.A. in 1952, with a focus in medieval history. He would complete his doctoral dissertation in 1955, after spending two years in Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship. His thesis, heavily influenced by the sociological concepts and methodology of Max Weber, was on the institutional and ideological causes of the papal schism of 1130.
    White started his professional career at Wayne State University in 1955, and then moved to the University of Rochester in 1958. In 1968, he began teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he remained for seven years. At Wesleyan University in Connecticut, he was the Director of the Center for the Humanities from 1973 to 1976. In 1978, White started as a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he was instrumental in the development of the History of Consciousness program. He was named Presidential Professor in 1985 and University Professor in 1990. After officially retiring from the History of Consciousness department in 1996 (but remaining for advising and some teaching duties thereafter), he taught Rhetoric at the University of California Berkeley from 1996-1997 and Comparative Literature at Stanford University from 1996 to 2008. Throughout his career, White traveled extensively, and was a Visiting Professor in Italy, Germany, France, Poland, China, and Japan.
    In 1972, while a history professor at UCLA, White sued the Los Angeles Chief of Police Edward Davis for spending public funds in covert intelligence gathering on college campuses by LAPD police offers. White reported that police officers were registering undercover as UCLA students, attending classes, joining student organizations, and subsequently making reports to the police department about discussions happening in classes and organization meetings. This case, White v. Davis, went to the California Supreme Court in 1975, where the court ruled unanimously in White's favor. White v. Davis set a precedent which established that police cannot engage in surveillance of political activity without reasonable suspicion of a crime.
    White's major published works include Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (1973); Tropics of Discourse (1979); The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, which contains "The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality," (1987); Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect (1999); The Fiction of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory, 1957–2007 (2010); and The Practical Past (2014). He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and received honorary doctorates (Doctor of Humane Letters) from several institutions including the University of Michigan, Wesleyan University, North Carolina State University, the University of Bucharest, Gdansk University in Poland, and the Freie Universität of Berlin.
    Hayden White passed away at the age of 89 on March 5, 2018 in Santa Cruz, California.
    Additional reading:
    White, Hayden, & Vanderscoff, C. (2013). Hayden White: frontiers of consciousness at UCSC. Santa Cruz, Calif: University of California, Santa Cruz, University Library.
    Paul, Herman. (2008) "A Weberian medievalist: Hayden White in the 1950s," Rethinking History , 12:1, 75-102.
    White, Hayden V. (1996) "Storytelling: Historical and Ideological", in Centuries' Ends, Narrative Means , ed. Robert Newman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 58-78.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Access to the born digital materials of the Hayden White Papers is available on-site in the UCSC Special Collections & Archives reading room. The software application QuickView Plus is recommended for reading and viewing, and is provided for use in the reading room. Note that some files stored may be inaccessible due to obsolete formats, lack of required software, or file degradation.

    Preferred Citation

    Hayden V. White Papers. MS 323. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Processing Information

    Paper materials processed by Christian Alvarado in the Center for Archival Research and Training (CART) with assistance from Alix Norton, 2019. Nearly all titles in this collection were derived from the original folder titles as received from the donor. Original folders were used when they were deemed to be serviceable, in order to retain notes that White had written on the folders.
    Digital materials processed by Patrick King in the Center for Archival Research and Training (CART), under the direction of Kate Dundon and Alix Norton, 2019. Digital files were transferred from carrier disks and hard drives in 2019. Some files were not able to be transferred from the carrier disks due to technical constraints. Duplicate files, personnel records, and other out of scope files were not retained. Files were not reformatted, and file names are original to the creator. Original disks were retained and are included in the collection.

    Related Materials

    The oral history of Hayden White, Frontiers of Consciousness at UCSC, was conducted by Cameron Vanderscoff and published in 2013 by the Regional History Project, UCSC Library. Available online at https://escholarship.org/uc/item/20b91099
    Hayden White's published works may be found in the UCSC Library by searching "White, Hayden" in the Author/creator field in UCSC Library Search.
    The collection of early printed books that Hayden White and his wife and UCSC professor Margaret Brose donated to the UCSC Library can be found by searching "Hayden White and Margaret Brose Collection" in UCSC Library Search.

    Content Description

    The Hayden V. White papers document White's professional, teaching, and research career from the 1950s to 2017. A significant portion of the collection contains White's research files, which include his notes and writings, correspondence, and collected files on various topics, authors and research themes. A small amount of White's undergraduate and graduate work is included in the research files. The correspondence series contains letters and other materials that were not filed with research files, and mainly contains conference invitations, publication and review requests, communications with colleagues at UC Santa Cruz regarding the History of Consciousness department, other professional communications, documentation on the White v. Davis legal case, and some personal correspondence. Writings and publications include both typed and handwritten notes, manuscripts, and annotated drafts of many of his works, as well as offprints of selected published works. Teaching files include course notes, lecture notes and planning documents, and some lecture audio recordings. White was professionally active in conferences and was invited to speak on many occasions, the preparation and products of which are present in this collection. Digital files include research files, talks, and writings from the mid-1990s to the 2010s.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Property rights for this collection reside with the University of California. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. The publication or use of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use for research or educational purposes requires written permission from the copyright owner. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more information on copyright or to order a reproduction, please visit guides.library.ucsc.edu/speccoll/reproduction-publication.

    Additional Collection Guides

    For a complete inventory of the contents of Series 7: Digital Files, see the following guide:

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    College teachers -- California -- Santa Cruz
    Europe -- Civilization -- 19th century
    Historiography -- Europe
    Faculty papers
    Brose, Margaret
    White, Hayden V., 1928-2018
    University of California, Santa Cruz