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Harold Garfinkel papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Note about Ethnomethodology
  • Abbreviations
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Processing Note

  • Title: Harold Garfinkel papers
    Collection number: 1273
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 86 linear ft. (160 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1952-2007
    Abstract: Harold Garfinkel was a professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1954 to 1987. The papers include: materials relating to Garfinkel's study of correspondence received by California Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown regarding the criminal case of Caryl Chessman (executed on May 2, 1960) and issues regarding capital punishment; transcripts and audio recordings of UCLA course lectures by Garfinkel (Sociology Department); correspondence; speeches and presentations; reprints; research notes and data; and research proposals.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.
    Creator: Harold Garfinkel, 1917-2011

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Harold Garfinkel papers (Collection 1273). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233061 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Professor Harold Garfinkel, 1981 and 2010.


    Harold Garfinkel was the social theorist who developed and utilized ethnomethodology to study social thought and practice. He received a BS in economics from the University of Newark in 1939; an MA in sociology from the University of North Carolina in 1942; and a Ph.D in sociology from Harvard University in 1952. He worked as an assistant professor (1954-1957) and professor of sociology (1960-1984) at UCLA. He received the Cooley-Mead Award of the Social Psychology Section of the American Sociological Association in 1995. He wrote Studies in Ethnomethodology published in 1967.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of materials relating to a project to study the correspondence received by the Governor of California, about the case of Caryl Chessman, 1959-1960, and related issues such as capital punishment. Chessman was convicted on various felony counts and his execution on May 2, 1960 brought to an end court proceedings that had lasted over a period of years.
    The original letters to the Governor are arranged in several numbered sequences: a detailed description of both the arrangement and the numbering system, which was set up by the Governor's Office and subsequently retained, is given in Box 2, as part of what appears to be a draft progress report dated September 12, 1962, on the study project.
    Correspondence is selected (not all correspondence is included).
    The addition to the Harold Garfinkel Papers was acquired between 2008-2010 and includes Garfinkel's professional and research files dating prior to and after Garfinkel's Chessman research; selected audio recordings; correspondence and printed email; typed transcriptions of course lectures and presentations; reprints; research notes; and research proposals.

    Note about Ethnomethodology

    Ethnomethodology: "refer[s] to the investigation of the rational properties of indexical expressions and other practical actions as contingent ongoing accomplishments of organized artful practices of everyday life."


    • HG = Harold Garfinkel
    • NIMH = National Institute for Mental Health
    • NPI = Neuropsychiatric Institute (University of California, Los Angeles)

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Correspondence and other files re: project (Boxes 1-3).
    2. Copies of case papers and court documents “Governor's Diary,” 1959-60 (Box 4).
    3. Card indexes re: project (Boxes 5-6).
    4. Samples of original letters to California Governor re: Chessman case (Boxes 7-12).
    5. Original letters to Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown (Boxes 13-148).

    Processing Note

    Addition to Collection 1273 processed by Charlotte B. Brown, University Archivist, 2008-2010.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Garfinkel, Harold--Archives.
    University of California, Los Angeles. Dept. of Sociology--Faculty--Archival resources.
    Chessman, Caryl, 1921-1960.
    Sociologists--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.