Odyssey of an Archives: What the History of the Gordon W. Prange Collection of Japanese Materials Teaches Us About Libraries, Censorship, and Keeping the Past Alive

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2007-05-07

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In 1949, a professor of German history named Gordon W. Prange obtained a set of rare publications and censorship documents pertaining to the Allied Occupation of Japan. He shipped these materials to the University of Maryland, where for the next fifty years a parade of faculty and staff alternately neglected, protected, exploited, and cherished them. This Master's thesis traces that history, paralleling the rising fame of the Prange Collection with developments in East Asian Studies and Prange's interest in Pearl Harbor. It concludes with a discussion of applied concepts in archival science, arguing that the relatively late development of the American archival discipline coupled with the complicated format of Prange Collection materials meant that the archival qualities of the Collection took many years to recognize. Sources include original oral history interviews and archival research. This thesis contributes to the interdisciplinary field of archival history.

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