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Personal papers of Rud Turnbull

Call Number: PP 511


This collection includes many of Rud and Ann Turnbull's publications, presentations, research notes, grant applications, and related materials regarding Rud and Ann's research and teaching on intellectual developmental disabilities. The collection also includes personal files on their son, Jay Turnbull (JT), who was diagnosed with many disabilities.


  • Creation: 1967 - 2020


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biographies of Rud (1937- ) and Ann (1947- ) Turnbull

Rud and Ann Turnbull together co-directed the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas, which they co-founded in 1988. They have both dedicated their careers to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities. They have authored separately or co-authored over 35 books and hundreds of articles, chapters and monographs. The Turnbulls are parents to a deceased son, Jay, who had several disabilities, and daughters Amy and Kate.

In addition to being the Co-Director of the Beach Center on Disability, Rud Turnbull was a Professor of Special Education (Department Chairman, 1980-83), Courtesy Professor of Law (1980-2003; 2008), Senior Research Scientist at the Life Span Institute, Gene A. Budig Teaching Professor, 2005-2006, and Marianna and Ross Beach Distinguished Professor (2006-2014) at the University of Kansas. His major areas of interest have included special education law and policy, mental disability law and policy, policy analysis regarding citizens with disabilities, ethics of professional intervention with citizens with disabilities, and families of citizens with disabilities. He has been admitted to the bar in Maryland and North Carolina and was a non-practicing lawyer.

A few of the honors that Turnbull has been awarded include the University of Kansas School of Education's Leadership Award (1995), the Gene A. and Gretchen Budig Teaching Professorship in Special Education (2004-2005), and the Kansas University School of Education's "Making a Difference" Award (2005). He was given emeritus professor status at his retirement in 2014.

Ann Turnbull's other job titles have included Professor at the Department of Special Education and Senior Scientist at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at KU. She has been awarded many honors, including the "Outstanding Woman Teacher" Award from KU's Commission on the Status of Women (1982), the University of Kansas Graduate School Award for mentoring graduate students (2002), the School of Education Research Award (2003), the School of Education Making a Difference Award for "Distinguished Leadership, Research, Teaching, and Service" (2005), and the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professorship (2007), among others. Her major areas of interest have included family systems research and intervention, family involvement and advocacy, educational policy, and school and community inclusion.


25.5 Linear Feet (32 boxes + 2 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection has been roughly organized into several series, reflecting the work that Rud Turnbull has accomplished at the University of Kansas and elsewhere. These series include Writings, which includes drafts, notes, and materials related to publications authored by Rud (and Ann) Turnbull; Policy and legislation, which consists of reports, notes, reference materials, and other material related to Turnbull's research into U.S.- and state-based policies and legislation regarding individuals with disabilities; records related to international relationships with organizations, particularly the Instituto Interamericano del NiƱo; records related to the foundation, continuation, and work of the Beach Center on Families and Disability; records related to teaching and awards received for teaching while at the University of Kansas; conferences attended and presentations given by the Turnbulls; materials related to the Turnbulls' son, Jay Turnbull; and some audio-visual material.\

The collection represents the life work of Rud Turnbull, as well as providing considerable information about the work of his wife Ann. Terms and language used in the collection are representative of when the texts were created and have been replicated in this finding aid only when directly quoting from original captions and folder titles.

Physical Location

PP 511

Physical Location

PP 545

Physical Location

UA AV 24

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Rud Turnbull, 2014, 2018, 2021.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Rud Turnbull Collection
Personal papers of Rud Turnbull
Finding aid prepared by cc, 2011. Finding aid encoded by cc, 2011. Finding aid revised by ea, 2013; mwh, 2017; mmj, 2022, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Rud Turnbull, PP 511, 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