Douglas Edward Leach Papers

Identifier: MSS.0253

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content Note

The Douglas Edward Leach Papers, 1950’s-1994, include correspondence, class notes and teaching materials, lectures, materials pertaining to professional organizations and activities, manuscripts of writings, and research materials. The thirteen boxes of this collection cover approximately 5.46 linear feet. Theses materials are arranged in five series and encompass the years of Dr. Leach’s professional career as a professor of history. As a group, these papers present a clear picture of a university professor’s life, including teaching, research, writing, committee work, and involvement in professional activities beyond the classroom and the university.

The largest part of the collection, Series I, contained in five boxes, consists of correspondence. It is arranged alphabetically by correspondent’s last names and, following Dr. Leach’s filing pattern, letters to and from him and the letters in reply, are grouped together as they were sent or received in chronological order. Of particular interest is his correspondence with Alexander Heard and Samuel Eliot Morison.

Series II, in two boxes, is a collection of Dr. Leach’s class notes, exams, and resource materials used in his classroom teaching.

Series III, in one box, consists of lectures, both in outline and in manuscript from. Dr. Leach presented these lectures to professional and community groups between 1951 and 1994.

Series IV, in two boxes, is a collection of materials pertaining to Dr. Leach’s involvement in professional organizations, such as the American Historical Association. It also contains materials dealing with his direction of the Vanderbilt-in-England program. Particularly interesting is his correspondence with David B. Quinn, the British historian, concerning Quinn’s honorary membership in the American Historical Association.

Series V, in three boxes, is composed of the materials concerning Dr. Leach’s publications. There are manuscripts, research materials, correspondence, contracts, and reviews of his books and articles.


  • 1950’s-1994

Language of Materials


Biographical Sketch

Douglas Edward Leach was born in Providence, Rhode Island, 27 May, 1920, the son of Arthur Edward and Saidee Raybold Leach. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University in 1942, and from 1942 to 1946 he served as a deck officer in the U.S. Navy. Most of his sea duty was in the Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Elden. Following World War II, he earned his M.A. (1947) and Ph.D. (1952) from Harvard University. He married Brenda Mason in 1950, and the couple had two children, Carol Brenda and Bradford Raybold. Dr. Leach died July 1, 2003 in Nashville.

Leach began his career as a history professor at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, where he taught from 1950 until 1956. In 1956, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University where he remained until his retirement in 1986. Dr. Leach was a leading authority on 17th century colonial American history. His books include Flintlock and Tomahawk: New England in King Philip’s War; The Northern Colonial Frontier, 1607-1763; Arms for Empire: A Military History of the British Colonies in North America, 1607-1763; and Roots of Conflict: British Armed Forces and Colonial America, 1677-1763.

Among his numerous scholarly achievements were Fulbright Lectureships at the Universities of Liverpool, England and Auckland, New Zealand, and the Harvey Branscomb Distinguished Professorship in 1981-1982. He chaired Vanderbilt’s Department of History from 1979 until 1982, and directed the Vanderbilt-in-England Program at the University of Leeds in 1974-1975.


5.46 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the Douglas Edward Leach Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


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