Scope and arrangement
The John P. Diggins papers consist of correspondence, project files, and teaching files. His correspondence contains chiefly letters from colleagues and other readers of his work, many of whom who contacted Diggins to support or refute his arguments and to share information. The correspondence also includes copies of the many "letter to the editor" that Diggins wrote in response to newspaper and magazine articles. Routine correspondence concerns the publication of his writing, his speaking engagements, and consultation work. Notable correspondents in the Diggins Papers include philosophers Will Herberg and Sidney Hook, historians Theodore Draper, Lewis Mumford, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., sociologists Daniel Bell and David Riesman, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, Heritage Foundation official Robert Huberty, and authors Susan Sontag and Joan Didion. Letters from Sidney Hook and James Burnham are photocopies of originals given by Diggins to the Hoover Institution. Original letters by Diggins which were returned after his death are also present.
The project files, arranged by the book title to which they refer, include correspondence, book contracts, research notes, and comments from other historians. In additon to files on some of his published works, there are files on proposed projects, such as a festschrift honoring Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and an unfinished work on Reinhold Niebuhr. Much of the material in this series consists of translations and notes on the writings of Max Weber, related to his 1998 publication of Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy. There is also correspondence and materials within the Portable John Adams book materials relating to Diggins' consultation work on the HBO miniseries, John Adams.
The teaching files contain correspondence, typed lecture notes, syllabi, examination questions, and research material used in classroom and public presentations. In some instances, essays by Diggins are included within these files. Many of the files contain full lecture scripts which provide evidence of Diggins' style of presentation as well as his perspective on a broad variety of topics. The teacing files cover most of Diggins' career. Several folders contain handouts received by Diggins as an undergraduate and graduate student. Lecture topics fall loosely into his teaching field of intellectual history but also cover such general topics in U.S. history as Puritanism, World War I, and Populism. The folder titles are Diggins' own.
The John P. Diggins papers are arranged in three series: