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William Graves Carleton Papers

Identifier: Ms Coll. 007

Scope and Content

Correspondence, manuscripts for published and unpublished writings, lectures, speeches, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Records of Dr. Carleton's life and career as Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Florida. Correspondence with C. Vann Woodward, who began his academic career at Florida in the 1930s, spans the years from 1940 to 1971. Carleton's interest and concerns in domestic politics are documented in the correspondence with Claude Pepper, Raymond Robins of Chinsegut Hill, (William) Earl Faircloth, George Smathers, John B. Orr, Leroy Collins, and Phil Locke. His views on international relations before the war are documented in the correspondence with Joseph P. Kennedy, Charles A. Beard, and the America First Committee. (See also Pepper, Woodward, and Robins correspondence.) His work in support of world federalism is documented in the files entitled "Rotary Club of Tampa--Peace Aims Committee", "Paul Smith", "Southern Council on International Relations", "United Nations Committee of Asheville", and "Carolina Institutes of International Relations."

Of singular interest in matters related to American conduct in world affairs are letters from Claude A. Hawley on U. S. involvement in World War II, a letter from Agnes Smedley on U.S. policy in China, descriptions of combat and life in Korea in the letters of Jack Lamb, and first-hand accounts by Jason Finkle describing an attempted coup against Ngo Dinh Diem in 1961 and Finkle's criticism of U.S. support for the Diem regime.

Box 8 in Series 7a contains an addendum of family correspondence. Box 8 in Series 7b contains an addendum of publications that were pulled from a deaccessioned collection entitled Professors in Print.


  • 1918-1982
  • Majority of material found within 1928-1982



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Biographical/Historical Note

William Graves Carleton, Professor of History and Political Science, is remembered as one of the University of Florida's most colorful lecturers and productive scholars. Known affectionately to his students as "Wild Bill", Carleton was a dynamic speaker in the classroom and widely sought for speaking engagements. As a scholar, his major fields of study were American politics and culture and international relations. He authored The Revolution in American Foreign Policy (1954), Technology and Humanism (1970), and hundreds of articles and book reviews.

Carleton was born in Evansville, Indiana, and came to the University of Florida as a student in 1924. In 1925 he returned to Indiana and attended the University of Indiana where he received his B.A. (1926) and an M.A. (1934). At Indiana he studied history under William O. Lynch with whom he continued to correspond. He came back to Florida in 1926 as a law student and instructor in history and political science. He was also a lecturer in the General Extension Division. He attained his Juris Doctor from the College of Law in 1931. His early years in Indiana and at the University of Florida are recollected in his memoir, Free Lancing Through the Century.

From 1940 to 1957, he was chairman of the Department of Social Sciences in the General (later University) College. Carleton was the principal architect of the American Institutions (C-1) curriculum and his classes in C-1 were often attended by up to 600 students. Carleton retired from the faculty in 1962. He was a close friend of Manning Dauer and C. Vann Woodward.

In addition to scholarly and classroom activities, Carleton was also active in Democratic Party politics and was an outspoken supporter of New Deal liberalism. During the1928 presidential election, Carleton was a stump speaker for Al Smith. His activities in support of Smith are also detailed in Free Lancing Through the Century. He was active in the 1932 and 1936 elections as well.

Carleton was keenly interested in international politics. In the years prior to World War II, Carleton made numerous speeches in favor of American neutrality and opposed Roosevelt's alliance with England. After Pearl Harbor, Carleton abandoned his isolationist position and became an enthusiast for world government and the United Nations Movement. Carleton worked with the Peace Aims Committee of the Rotary Club and delivered speeches before Win the Peace Meetings in Jacksonville and Tampa where he first outlined his internationalist position. In post-war years, Carleton was often critical of American foreign conduct.


7.6 Linear feet (17 boxes, 1 microfilm reel, and 7 volumes)

Language of Materials



Papers of historian, political scientist, and University of Florida professor, William G. Carleton.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the William Graves Carleton Papers
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff
December 2008
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America