Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Wilson, H. H. (H. Hubert)
H.H. Wilson Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
8 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-8


The papers of Princeton University professor Harper Hubert Wilson document his interest and work in civil liberties. A self described "conservative, anarchist and socialist," Wilson provoked his students to think critically about the social problems confronting society, and to challenge the prevailing assumptions about American politics.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The H.H. Wilson papers consist of correspondence, course material, speeches, and publications that document Wilson's interest in civil liberties.

Collection Creator Biography:

Wilson, H. H. (H. Hubert)

H. Hubert Wilson was a professor in Princeton University's Department of Politics from 1947-1977. He was known as an ardent supporter of civil liberties, and many of his undergraduate courses invoked that topic.

Harper Hubert Wilson was born on June 18, 1909 in Springfield, Massachussetts. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Springfield College in 1933. After graduation, he taught at the Wilbraham Academy until 1938. He continued his education and received a Master's Degree in Economics in 1939 from Clark University. Wilson then went on to teach for one year at the Staten Island Academy before moving on to the Putney School. He taught at Putney for two years before serving as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, he enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin where he received his Ph.D. in political science in 1947.

Wilson joined the Princeton faculty in 1947 as a specialist on American institutions and the British government. His Politics 203 (Political Power in the U.S.) and 306 (Politics of Civil Liberties) courses became favorites of undergraduates. Wilson developed the Politics 203 course to shock and stimulate students to be aware of the problems of power and dissent in American political life. The groundbreaking approach of studying political phenomena through an analysis of the class, group and power structures of a given society was quickly copied by other institutions. Wilson also taught two graduate courses, Politics 508 (American Legislatures) and 524 (Political Power in American Society).

An ardent supporter of civil liberties, Wilson was highly critical of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the United States Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) director J. Edgar Hoover. He organized a conference of legal authorities and educators to criticize Hoover's leadership of the F.B.I., and he helped to form the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee when the American Civil Liberties Union refused to defend self-professed Communists. He was also a member of the National Advisory Committee of Consumers Union, and served on the Advisory Committee of the L.M. Rabinowitz Foundation. In 1966, he participated in the Yale Socialist Symposium and in 1967 took part in the Philadelphia Peace Convention.

Wilson retired in May 1977 and was named Professor Emeritus in July of 1977. In August 1977, Wilson was found dead in a small swimming pool at his home. Wilson escaped to the pool in an attempt to avoid a swarm of bees (to which he was allergic) that he stirred up while mowing his lawn. The official cause of death was drowning associated with anaphylactic reaction due to bee stings.

Collection History


The papers were donated to the Princeton University Library in 1978 by Mrs. Virginia Wilson, with additional material donated in 1979 .


No information about appraisal is available for this collection.


These papers were processed with the generous support of The National Historical Publications and Records Commission and The John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kristine Marconi with the assistance of Jean Holliday, Rosemary Switzer and Chris Hoyte. Finding aid written by Kristine Marconi with the assistance of Jean Holliday, Rosemary Switzer and Chris Hoyte.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

H.H. Wilson Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-8