Norman A. Graebner Papers, 1935-2004
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Brief Description: Papers of Norman A. Graebner (1915- ), professor of history (1956-67), including correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, menus, photographs, manuscripts, course notes, and household financial ledgerbooks relating to teaching at Iowa State College (1948-56), the University of Illinois (1956-67), and the University of Virginia (1967- ); student recommendations and placement; research on American politics, diplomacy and the West in the mid-nineteenth century and American foreign policy in the twentieth century; lecturing; academic publishing; teaching and traveling in England (1958, 1990) and Australia (1962); teaching in Germany (1998-1999) as a Fulbright Scholar; Program and Historical Records Committees of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians (1956-75); the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; family affairs; the Fulbright Alumni Association (1988-90); The Harry S. Truman Book Awards (1987-92, 1996); the General Accounting Office History Program Advisory Committee (1989-92, 1995); and Graebner's courses as a student at Milwaukee State Teachers College (1938-41, 1947-48).  Principal correspondents include Gilbert Fite, Edward M. Bennett, Richard Van Alstyne, McGraw-Hill Book Company, and Ronald Press. The papers also include materials relating to Graebner's directorship of the Pennsylvania State University Bicentennial Program "Freedom:  Then, Now, and Tomorrow" (1975-76).
Held at:
University of Illinois Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 333-0798
Fax: (217) 333-2868
Email: illiarch [at]
Record Series Number: 15/13/35
Created by: Graebner, Norman A. (1915-)
Volume: 13.3 cubic feet
Acquired: 5/19/1975; 7/10/80; 6/20/82; 6/25/93; 6/19/95; 8/1/95; 6/8/98; 9/7/99; 12/11/01; 8/13/04
More information is available at
Arrangement: Chronological by year and alphabetical thereunder, with significant correspondents in separate alpha.
Biographical Note for Graebner, Norman A. (1915-) :

Norman Arthur Graebner (1915-2010) was visiting professor (1956-57) and professor (1957-67) at the University of Illinois (UI) History Department. He was a revered educator and lecturer as well as a leading historian of American diplomacy.

Graebner was born in Kingman, Kansas, on October 19, 1915. He earned his bachelor's degree from Milwaukee State College (1939) and a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma (1940) before serving in the US Army during World War II. Following the war, he earned his PhD from the University of Chicago (1949). During his career, Graebner was recognized as one of the leading scholars of American diplomacy and its intellectual history as well as a proponent of the realist school of American diplomacy, similar to Hans Morgenthau (1904-80), George Kennan (1904-2005), and Walter Lippmann (1889-1974). He held teaching positions at UI (1956-67) and the University of Virginia (1967-1986). At the UI, his lectures were popular amongst students and one of his classes was broadcast on the radio to over 75,000 listeners. He published more than twenty books during his career as author, co-author, and editor, including Empire on the Pacific: A Study in American Continental Expansion (author, 1955), An Uncertain Tradition: American Secretaries of State in the Twentieth Century (author, 1961), Ideas and Diplomacy: Readings in the Intellectual Tradition of American Foreign Policy (author, 1964) and The Cold War: A Conflict of Ideology and Power (editor, 1976). Graebner was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the Society of American Historians. He retired from the University of Virginia as professor emeritus of history in 1986.

Graebner was married to Laura Baum (d. 1997), Jane Shannon (d. 2002), and Mary Moon. He died on May 10, 2010.


Richard Dean Burns, "In Memoriam: Norman Arthur Graebner (1915-2010),"Perspectives on History, January 1, 2011, accessed May 27, 2020,

Jerald A. Combs, "Norman Graebner and the Realist View of American Diplomatic History," Diplomatic History 11, no. 3 (Summer 1987): 251â??264. Accessed May 27, 2020,

Subject Index
Bicentennial, United States
Cold War
Eastern Illinois University
England - Education
England - History and Geography
Faculty Papers
Foreign Policy
Fulbright Awards
History Department
International Relations
Iowa State University
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Military Academy, United States
Military History
Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Music -- Australia - History and Geography
Oxford University
Pennsylvania State University
Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
Stanford University
State, United States Department of
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]