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Personal papers of Robert E. Hemenway

Call Number: PP 487


Robert "Bob" Hemenway was the sixteenth Chancellor at the University of Kansas. Materials in his collection include administrative documents from his time at KU and from previous posts at the University of Kentucky, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Oklahoma; his literary biography of Zora Neale Hurston; and his dissertation on Charles Brockden Brown, amongst other materials related to Hemenway's career.


  • Creation: 1906 - 2008


Language of Materials

English; German; French; Spanish; Russian

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 Robert E. Hemenway

Robert Emery Hemenway was born on August 10th, 1941, in Nebraska. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1963, an M.A from Kent State University in 1965, and his PhD, also from Kent State University, in 1966.

Hemenway's first teaching job was in the English Department at the University of Kentucky, 1966-1968. At the University of Wyoming from 1968-1973 he taught in the American Studies program, broadening his research into African American literature in general and Zora Neale Hurston specifically. He returned to the University of Kentucky in 1973, serving as the Chair of the English Department from 1981 until his departure in 1986.

In 1981 Robert Hemenway married Leah Renee Hattemer. Together they had 8 children: Gina, Robin, Jeremy, Karintha, Langston, Matthew, Zack, and Arna.

At the University of Oklahoma from 1986-1989, Hemenway served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He returned to the University of Kentucky from 1989-1995 again to serve as its Chancellor. In 1995, he was selected as the 16th Chancellor of the University of Kansas, retiring from that position in 2009 but continuing to teach at KU.

Robert E. Hemenway passed away July 31st, 2015 in Lenexa, Kansas.


30.75 Linear Feet (36 boxes + 5 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder, 1 framed object)

Scope and Contents

The Robert E. Hemenway collection includes graduate school course notes and papers, dissertation research, teaching materials and course evaluations, audio-visual material, photographs and slides, correspondence, microfilmed documents, and administrative documents.

The collection includes drafts and research material related to Hemenway's biography about author Zora Neale Hurston, as well as his research on early American novelist Charles Brockden Brown. There is information related to a variety of conferences and symposia in which Hemenway participated, as well as professional and academic associations including the National Association of State Unviersities and Land-Grant Colleges and the American Council on Education. There is also information regarding Hemenway's various travels, including his participation in the 2005 World Economic Forum meeting.

Physical Location

PP 487

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Robert E. Hemenway, 2009; Mr. Stoner; Linda Orr.

Processing Information

Materials previously located at PP 386 have been processed into PP 487; some materials removed from this collection in 2017 and transferred to the Chancellor's Office record group (RG 2).

Guide to the Robert E. Hemenway Collection
Personal papers of Robert E. Hemenway
Finding aid prepared by lmb, 2010. Finding aid encoded by lmb, 2010. Finding aid revised by lmb, 2016; mwh, 2018.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Robert E. Hemenway, PP 487, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States