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Benjamin Evans Lippincott papers

Identifier: ua00745

Scope and Content

General Correspondence (folders 1-4), the American Association of University Professors (folder 5), and the American Federation of Teachers (folders 6-8), comprise the bulk of the collection. Few records relate to the Department of Political Science.

Many of Lippincott's outside activities are reflected in the papers. The correspondence files (1929-1942) contain routine correspondence, as well as correspondence regarding University affairs and pertaining to books and articles written by Lippincott.

Professor Lippincott's political views were often challenged and animosity felt towards him is indicated in the correspondence. Several photostatic copies of threatening letters from the "Christian Vigilante" which were received by him during fall quarter (October-December 1935) are located in folder 9. A letter written by Lippincott on November 29, 1935 (in general correspondence) refers to these threats. Also in a 1940 letter to Emerson P. Schmidt, professor of economics at the University, Lippincott defended his views on socialism.

Information, correspondence, and reports on the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) undated, 1937-1946, detail Lippincott's involvement in this organization. He served on a special University committee on tenure and a report of the committee ©.1938) is in the papers. (Drafts of tenure proposals are also located in the section concerning AFT.) Several other reports are included in this section. They are the "Report of the Committee on the Place and Function of the Facilities in the Government of the University of Minnesota Chapter of AAUP" (1939?); "Final Report of the AAUP Committee on the Problems of Instructors," submitted at the Chapter Meeting on December 7, 1939; "A Study of Salaries in Relation to Resignations from the University of Minnesota Academic Staff, September 1942-September 1946;" and a report of the Fact Finding Committee appointed jointly by the University of Minnesota units of the AAUP and the AFT. During 1938-1939, the University Chapter of AAUP studied questions of faculty participation in University administration. Correspondence and the results of a questionnaire on faculty participation is included in the folder on AAUP.

Papers relating to the American Federation of Teachers cover the dates 1936-1942. Lippincott was also extremely active in the AFT. He served as the organization's secretary from 1937-1938 and its president from 1938-1939. Included in this section is a paper of the National Academic Freedom Committee of the AFT entitled, "Statement of Principles with Particular Reference to Totalitarian Movements," (n.d.); information on AFT conventions; minutes of meeting of the Minnesota Federation of College Teachers, Local 444, 1937-1939; minutes of the Executive Committee of Local 444, 1937, 1939-1940; and AFT constitutions dated 1936-1939, and 1941.

The papers reflect Lippincott's value of academic freedom, individual rights and freedom of speech. This is evident in letters (from William Anderson and Benjamin Lippincott), reports regarding unofficial student organizations whose members held opinions and political views contrary to those of the University, a memorandum to Minnesota Local 444 from Dr. Lippincott regarding policies and problems of housing for black students at the University, and drafts of tenure proposals.


  • Creation: 1929-1980s


Language of Materials


Use of materials:

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law Title 17, U.S. Code. Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Benjamin E. Lippincott (1902-1988)

Benjamin Evans Lippincott graduated from Yale Sheffield Scientific School in 1925 with a B.S. in administrative engineering. He studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, from 1927-1929. At that time he interrupted his studies to take a position as instructor of political science at the University of Minnesota, then returned to England in the summer of 1930 to finish his Ph.D. degree. He was made an assistant professor of political science in 1932 and an associate professor in 1939. From 1942-1946, Lippincott served as a volunteer in the Air Force, first as a teacher and later as a historian for the Thirteenth Army Air Force in the South Pacific. He received a Legion of Merit medal for his service. In 1946, he returned to the University and became a full professor of political science. He remained on the University of Minnesota faculty until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1971.

He wrote Victorian Critics of Democracy, published in 1938, and Democracy's Dilemma: Freedom to Destroy Freedom, published in 1965. The Benjamin Lippincott Symposium Room, located in the Social Sciences building, is named in honor of him. Benjamin Lippincott died November 10, 1988 at the age of 86. His wife, Gertrude, was widely known as an interpreter and teacher of the modern dance. She died in June 1996.


.75 Cubic Feet (2 boxes (hollingers))


The collection contains the personal and professional papers of Benjamin Evans Lippincott, professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

Related Materials in University Archives

  • Department of Political Science records
  • UMedia Audio Collection: Emeritus, "Benjamin Evans Lippincott interviewed on his political thought and theory, teaching methods, and former students," January 6, 1973:

Benjamin Evans Lippincott papers, 1929-1980s
Karen Klinkenberg, revised by Kate V. Flanagan
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Revision Statements

  • January 2020: Accretion of correspondence added (1 folder); related materials updated
  • November 2022: Accretion of 1 folder of correspondence and 2 audio reels added

Collecting Area Details

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