Personal papers of Oswald P. Backus III
Professor Backus joined the University of Kansas in 1950 where he served for twenty-two years. Professor Backus made substantial contributions to the Department of History, including many years of assistance in graduate advising, and was a leading organizer of the program of Slavic and Soviet Area Studies at the University of Kansas. His vigorous activity in expanding scholarly resources for the program extended to the arrangement for book exchanges with institutions in the Soviet Union. The collection includes office files, indexes and bibliographies, manuscript materials, mimeographed material on Soviet law, and correspondence.
- 1942 - 1972
- Backus, Oswald P. (Person)
Language of Materials
English; Slavic and East European; French
Conditions Governing Access
No access restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.
Biography of Oswald P. Backus III
Oswald P. Backus III was born in Rochester, NY, in 1921. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1942 and became a memeber of Phi Beta Kappa. Including extensive foreign language study in his academic training and possessing an extraordinary linguistic ability, Professor Backus completed his A.M. degree from Columbia University in 1943 with a major in Eastern European languages. His graduate work was interrupted from 1943-46 by military service as an intelligence specialist, a position in which he utilized his language training. Backus later entered Yale University Graduate School and received his Ph.D. degree in Russian history in 1949. His interest in law and legal history led to the completion of the LL.B. degree at Harvard University in 1959.
Professor Backus' career as a professor included two years at Rutgers from 1948 to 1950, the year in which he joined the faculty of the University of Kansas; he served at KU for twenty-two years. During this time he held several visiting faculty appointments and was also active as a visiting lecturer at other academic institutions in the United States and abroad. Professor Backus made substantial contributions to the Department of History, including many years of assistance in graduate advising. He was a leading organizer of the program of Slavic and Soviet Area Studies at the University of Kansas and served as the program's Chairman for three and one-half years, as well as Director of off-campus activities for four years. His vigorous activity in expanding scholarly resources extended to the arrangement for book exchanges with institutions in the Soviet Union. Backus assisted in setting up intensive summer Russian language programs in Finland and Russia; he also had prime responsibility for inaugurating the Polish Exchange Program between the Universities of Poznan and Kansas, serving as its Director from its inception in 1969.
Professor Backus played an active role in national and international organizations, focusing his extensive research on two main issues: (1) the influence of West Russians upon Muscovite Russia from the late fourteenth century through the early seventeenth with attention to influences upon the West Russians, stemming from Poland and from other lands including Muscovy itself; and (2) continuity in Russian legal history as revealed in a detailed examination of specific strands such as the law of theft and with attention to attitudes among the people, especially as evident in religious literature.
23 Linear Feet (23 boxes)
- Guide to the Oswald P. Backus III Collection
- Personal papers of Oswald P. Backus III
- Finding aid prepared by sk, 2005; revised by skt, 2010; Finding aid encoded by sk, 2005; revised by skt, 2010
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in English.
- Finding aid permalink
- Preferred citation
Oswald P. Backus III Collection , University Archives, PP 25, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries