Collection Scope and Content Summary
Language of Material:
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine
Title: Robin M. Williams, Jr. papers
Williams, Robin M., Jr.
Identifier/Call Number: MS.F.039
4 Linear Feet
Date: 1937-2005 and undated
Abstract: This collection is comprised of the
professional papers of sociologist and UCI faculty member Robin M. Williams, Jr.
(1914-2006). Contents include draft manuscripts, conference papers, clippings and ephemera,
research notes, reprints and photocopies of academic articles, correspondence, and the
transcript of an oral history interview conducted with Williams in 1969 by Cornell
University Libraries. Materials date from the early years of his career in the late 1930s
and early 1940s to his final years in the mid 2000s.
The collection is unprocessed but is open for research, with the exception of one
restricted file in box 1.
Robin M. Williams, Jr. papers. MS-F039. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine
Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information
about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder
descriptions, and box/folder locations.
The following is adapted and excerpted from an obituary written by
Williams' daughter, Nancy Elizabeth O'Connor, and UCI colleague Calvin Morrill, Department
of Sociology, 2006:
"Robin Murphy Williams was born on October 11, 1914 in Hillsborough, NC, son of Robin M.,
Sr. (a farmer) and Mabel (a homemaker). He received his B.S. in 1933 from North Carolina
State College; his M.S. in 1935 from N.C. State and the University of North Carolina; his
M.A. in 1939 from Harvard University; and his Ph.D. in 1943 from Harvard University.
Williams' career spanned much of the 20th century, beginning in 1946 with his appointment
as a member of the Sociology Department at Cornell University in 1946. He served as chair of
that department from 1956 through 1961, and was appointed the Henry Scarborough Professor of
Social Science in 1967. After becoming professor emeritus in 1985, Dr. Williams continued to
teach at both Cornell University and the University of California, Irvine. Beginning in
1991, he split his time between Ithaca and Irvine, but only taught at Irvine. At Irvine, he
became a key supporter for the expansion of the Sociology Department, regularly meeting with
upper administrators in the early days of the Department to extol the importance of both the
field and the promise of the Irvine Sociology Department. He remained a staunch benefactor
of the department until his death.
Williams' research fostered understanding of some of the most difficult problems of
American society. He devoted much of his career and writing to studies of intergroup
tensions, race relations, war and peace, ethnic conflict, and altruism and cooperation. His
best-known works include
The American Soldier (Vols. 1-11,
Schools in Transition (1954);
What College Students Think (1960);
The Reduction of
Strangers Next Door
American Society: A Sociological Interpretation (1st
edition, 1951; 2nd edition, 1960; 3rd edition, 1970);
Accommodation: Ethnic Conflict and Cooperation
(1977); and most recently,
The Wars Within: Peoples and States in Conflict (2003). He was
also a co-editor of
A Common Destiny: Blacks and American
(1989). He was the author, as well, of some hundred and fifty articles,
monographs, and chapters in edited volumes that contributed to research and policy. As an
Army researcher on the frontlines during World War II, he was a contributor to the classic
The American Soldier. He was also key contributor to
the amici briefs that supported the 1954 Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education.
His last article – which charted the past, present, and future of American sociology –
appeared in the prestigious
Annual Review of Sociology three
months after his death.
Williams was a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of
Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Research Council, and the
Pacific Sociological Association, among others. He was a Past-President of the American
Sociological Association, Past-President of the Eastern Sociological Association, Founding
Editor of Sociological Forum, and the Co-Chair of the Committee on the Status of Black
Williams died on June 3, 2006 at Irvine Regional Hospital in Irvine, California."
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection is comprised of the professional papers of sociologist and UCI faculty
member Robin M. Williams, Jr. (1914-2006). Contents include draft manuscripts, conference
papers, clippings and ephemera, research notes, reprints and photocopies of academic
articles, correspondence, and the transcript of an oral history interview conducted with
Williams in 1969 by Cornell University Libraries. Materials date from the early years of his
career in the late 1930s and early 1940s to his final years in the mid 2000s.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
University of California, Irvine -- Faculty -- Archives
University of California, Irvine -- Archives